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The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers

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The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers are organized by subject. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 2018’s fall semester had 6,932,074 students taking courses online.

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This list is centered around the best online degrees for getting and advancing in a rewarding career in the modern workforce. These are also the best online degrees most likely to get you a job.

Online degrees are being offered in a very wide variety of education levels. For this list, we focus primarily on online bachelor’s degrees for entry level jobs.

Why Choose These Degree Subjects?

These degrees were selected based on these factors: salaries in their career fields, job growth rates, and versatility of occupation options. Many of these online degrees programs may qualify online students for a variety of different careers in the workforce. Online degrees such as Business Administration, Finance, and Criminal Justice can qualify online students for many career fields, through obtaining the single degree. Mainly these require at least a bachelor’s degree.

Woman sitting with LaptopEach Online Degree Subject Provides:

  • An Overview of the Online Degree
  • Articles that Rank the Best Online Degrees and Online Colleges for that Degree
  • Accredited Online Colleges currently offering these Online Degrees that are looking for new students
  • Career and Salary information from the US Bureau ofLabor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook

The 20 Best Online Degrees for Careers

  1. Business Administration
  2. Accounting
  3. Finance
  4. Marketing
  5. Human Resources
  6. Hospitality Management
  7. Project Management
  8. Industrial Organizational Psychology
  9. Video Game Design and Game Art
  10. Animation and Graphic Design
  11. Computer Science
  12. Environmental Science
  13. Engineering Management
  14. Healthcare Administration
  15. Health Informatics
  16. Health Education
  17. Education
  18. Criminal Justice
  19. Homeland Security
  20. Communication

Frequently Asked Questions

 The 20 Best Online Degrees For Careers

Note: All salary and growth rate data was gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (unless otherwise noted). The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Labor, and each year collects occupational data such as median salary amounts, minimum degree required, and growth rates for many occupations in the United States.

BUSINESS

1. Business Administration

Business Professional Talking on the Phone

Business Administration is the most popular online degree because it allows for so much versatility in the education that students receive, and for getting a good job after graduation.

Whether you’re getting an Associate’s in Business Administration, a Bachelor’s of Business Administration (BBA), or a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), a degree in Business Administration allows you many options in finding a well paying job. More students are enrolled in online Business Administration than any other degree program.

Online Degree Options in Business Administration:

Online Associate’s Degree in Business Administration:

Usually requires around 60 credit hours. This online degree includes the “basics” (basic classes of an associate’s degree). Usually this involves 30 general or basic credit hours towards getting an associate’s degree in general, and 30 credit hours of business classes.

Once a student has received the Associate’s in Business Administration degree, all that is required towards getting a bachelor’s in Business Administration is taking the remaining business classes.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (BBA):

A bachelor’s degree in Business Administration usually requires 120 credit hours (which includes an associate’s degree. In general, a bachelor of Business Administration provides an in-depth study of the fundamentals of how business operates. An online BBA can offers a competitive edge over other business degrees because of the broad spectrum of business education.

Examples of online BBA degree specialization options:

  • Management
  • Human resources
  • Information Systems
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Supply Chain Management and Logistics

A strong appeal of this degree is the income and stability that this degree can bring. Graduates who have a bachelor’s degree in business earn an estimated $2.6 million dollars over the course of their career, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Chief Executive Officers are one of the highest paid careers according to the BLS, earning $193,850.00 median annual salary for 2019, requiring only a bachelor’s degree in Business.

Related articles:
Business Administration Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Chief Executive Officers $193,850.00 150,000 6%
Administrative Services Managers $96,940.00 21,200 6%
Compensation and Benefits Managers $122,270.00 500 3%
Training and Development Managers $113,350.00 3,100 7%
Personal Financial Advisors $87,850.00 11,600 4%
Budget Analysts $76,540.00 1,900 3%
Compensation, Benefits, and Job Analysis Specialists $64,560.00 7,500 8%

2. Accounting

Accountant

Getting at least a Bachelor’s in Accounting sets graduates up for a field that has become one of the most stable in our economy. Some Accountants choose to work more independently in fields such as bookkeeping, payroll, or tax preparation. While those that prefer working in groups go into fields like account management, investments, and consulting.

Either way, the field is still driven by studious attention to detail and self-motivation. This skill set, which equips one for success as an Accountant, is the same to succeed in an online degree. Accountants can become CPA’s (Certified Public Accountants).

Each state’s Board of Accountancy provides licensure to become a Certified Public Accountant. CPA’s must pass a national exam. The majority of states in the U.S. require that CPAs finish 150 semester hours of higher education to become licensed.

This is, on average, 30 hours more than a typical bachelor’s degree in Accounting. Some colleges have a combined bachelor’s and master’s program designed to meet the 150 hour course load. These are usually five year programs. A master’s in Accounting is not required to become a CPA.

Related Article:
Accounting Careers: Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree: Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Accountants and Auditors $71,550 90,700 6%
Budget Analysts $76,540 1,900 3%

3. Finance

Financial Analyst

Finance is one of the more stable job fields in today’s market with an overall estimated growth rate of 19%, (much faster than the average occupation). Finance, in short, means looking after the money in a responsible and profitable way.

In the workplace, Finance duties could include skills such as:

  • budgeting
  • managing investments
  • annual forecasts
  • becoming a Certified Financial Planner
  • supervising a team

An online degree in Finance can also open doors to working in different capacities. Finance careers may involve working with families as a Certified Financial Planner. In the business world, positions such as Financial Managers are crucial to its health and bottom line. What’s appealing about an online degree in Finance, is the salaries, growth rates, and stability of these careers.

As long as there is money being exchanged and tracked, there will be Finance majors getting hired. The growth rates and incomes of careers available with a bachelor’s in Finance, makes this one of the best choices in online degrees.

Related Article:
Finance Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rates
Financial Analysts $81,590.00 26,800 5%
Financial Manager $129,890.00 108,100 15%
Personal Financial Advisors $87,850.00 11,600 4%
Financial Examiners $81,090.00 4,900 7%

Featured Online College:

Southern New Hampshire UniversitySouthern New Hampshire University

Online BS in Finance

Online BS in Finance: Financial Planning

Online MS in Finance

Online MS in Finance: Corporate Finance

Online MS in Finance: Investments and Securities

  • Self Paced, 24/7 Online Access
  • Many Starts Dates Throughout the Year
  • One of the Lowest Tuitions in America
  • Accredited Online Degrees

Get More Information from Southern New Hampshire University

4. Marketing

Marketing Firm

Marketing combines a great deal of creativity, research, and savvy business skills. At some point, a company will need to launch a new product or generate awareness of existing services, and need marketing professionals to design a plan for marketing.

Marketers often bring new business and profit to their client’s bottom line. Marketing experts need to study substantial data about demographics, a product’s function, and cost analysis in order to do their job. They also need to use this considerable research to anticipate what the public will need next.

Given their essential role in the business world, it is not surprising that their salaries are so competitive. Marketing assistants can expect to earn between $30,000 to $60,000, while manager salaries run $50,000 to $90,000, and directors earn between $90,000 and $200,000.

These impressive numbers and respectable growth expectations make studying marketing an inviting option for anyone looking to further their career with an online degree.


Related Articles:
Marketing Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $135,900.00 per year 18,800 6%
Market Research Analysts $63,790 per year 130,300 18%

Featured Online College:

Southern New Hampshire UniversitySouthern New Hampshire University

Online Associate of Science in Marketing

Online BS in Marketing

Online BS in Marketing: Digital Marketing

Online BS in Marketing: Social Media Marketing

  • Self Paced, 24/7 Online Access
  • Many Starts Dates Throughout the Year
  • One of the Lowest Tuitions in America
  • Accredited Online Degrees

Get More Information from Southern New Hampshire University

5. Human Resources

Human Resources

People who specialize in Human Resources need to both attract and train productive employees, and keep them satisfied. They need to understand salaries, benefits packages, training programs, recruiting, and how to assist employees.

Once a company becomes large enough to require many employees, those employees become an asset that needs to be protected and developed. This field combines an awareness of new technology, interpersonal skills, and a lot of common sense.

The need for Human Resource specialists has especially grown in recent years as companies now have to comply with new healthcare regulations and seek to implement ever changing technologies into their training programs.

Graduates can enter the Human Resources profession with a bachelor’s degree.  Those interested in advancing their careers with a high rate of return on their education cost should seriously consider online Human Resource programs.

Related Article:
Human Resources Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree: Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Human Resources Managers $116,720 per year 10,400 6%
Human Resources Specialists $61,920 per year 46,900 7%

6. Hospitality Management

Hospitality ManagerThe service industry is a popular industry because of flexible hours and exciting places to work, such as hotels, casinos, restaurants, and cruise ships.

Hospitality/Service careers can include Hotel/Restaurant Managers, Spa Directors, and Food and Beverage buyers. Online Hospitality programs have the added benefit of complementing a pre-existing career in a related industry.

One of the biggest appeals to getting a degree in Hospitality is the very large diversity in career options. Some will pursue hotel management, where they will deal with great numbers of guests constantly cycling through their doors. Others will provide catering or restaurant management and an overall good dining experience. Still others will focus on care for the injured or elderly. Professional sports teams also employ Hospitality degree graduates to manage their travel.

Do you have years of experience on the lower rungs in the hotel or restaurant industry, and would now like to move into management? Due to the easy availability of online degrees, and the many entry-level jobs that let people in this industry easily get a foot in the door, Hospitality is rapidly becoming one of the most practical online degrees available.

Related Article:
Hospitality Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Hospitality Manager $50,200 0% 0%
Food Service Managers $55,320 per year 2,200 1%
Lodging Managers $54,430 per year -6,700 -12%
*All Data From PayScale


7. Project Management

Project Managers

A Project Management degree offers a wide variety of skills applicable to numerous industries, making it an ever-growing and exciting field of study.

From improvement in leadership and organizational skills to creative problem solving and time management, this degree has something to offer everyone.

The knowledge from such a program can be applied to financial services, engineering, design, and any other industry of your interest. Responsibilities of Project Managers vary based on the current task at hand, but every goal accomplished makes your business more competitive and profitable.

Salary bonuses may accompany your achievements, as such, benefits and compensation will also vary depending on experience, education level, and the field of industry. The projected salary range in upcoming years for Project Management is $80,000 to over $140,000, with an 11% growth rate.

Project Management Careers Average Salarie with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Project Manager $80,220.00 3,000 3%

8. Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial Organizational Psychologist

Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a field like no other because it incorporates both psychology and business together.

It applies psychology to how business is conducted, and takes into account the human element in the efficiency and productivity of business.

This field is one of the fastest growing occupations in America.

Organizational and Industrial Psychologists are hired either as in-house employees or as outside consultants.

The strong appeal of employers hiring Organizational and Industrial Psychologists is due to their expertise in helping companies produce a better workplace environment, increase productivity, hire better employees, decrease turnover, and create higher efficiency–resulting in smaller labor costs. All of these improvements help companies make money and improve their bottom line.

Related Article:
Organizational Psychology Career Average Salary with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Industrial and Organizational Psychologists $111,150 200 12.3%

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, & ENGINEERING

9. Video Game Design and Game Art

Video Game Designer

The Video Game industry is one of the largest in the world, with billions of dollars spent on the industry every year.

For students who enjoy playing video games and being creative with animation and graphic design, Video Game Design might be a natural degree choice.

A degree in Video Game Design will involve learning disciplines such as how to create 2D and 3D video game graphics and video game storyline development.

Students may develop video games for different platforms, such as mobile devices, tablets, and computers, along with stand-alone video game consoles.

Related Articles:
Game Design Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Multimedia Artists and Animators $75,270.00 per year 2,800 4%
Graphic Designers $52,110.00 per year -10,700 -4%
Game Developer $101,644.00* 7,940 26%
*ZipRecruiter Data

Featured Online College:

Southern New Hampshire UniversitySouthern New Hampshire University

Online BA in Game Art & Development

Online BS in Game Programming & Development

  • Self Paced, 24/7 Online Access
  • Many Starts Dates Throughout the Year
  • One of the Lowest Tuitions in America
  • Accredited Online Degrees

Get More Information from Southern New Hampshire University

10. Animation and Graphic Design

A Graphic Design of a Woman

The world of art and design meet the online computer world in the creative area of Animation and Graphic Design.

Animation and design opportunities are plentiful, as it is necessary for advertising, commercials, social media, websites, or any other avenue that attracts a target audience using graphics.

Like most developing fields in the technology sector, Animation and Graphic design students need to study a vast repertoire of available tools.

Furthermore, they also need to learn how to regularly update their knowledge as new strategies become available.

This flexible career has inspired many self employed workers and an incredible number of rising entrepreneurs.

related Article:
Graphic Design and Animation Careers Bachelor's Degree: Average Salaries in 2019 Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Graphic Designers $52,110.00 -10,700 -4%
Multimedia Artists and Animators $75,270.00 2,800 4%

11. Computer Science

Computer Scientist

With the boom of the information age, companies, both corporate and private, are heavily in need of individuals skilled in computer science.

Businesses as well as schools and government need to stay competitive and keep up with the ever-changing environment of the internet and technology.

Across the board in Computer Science, the compensation is generous for both entry-level and management positions.

Some possible occupations in computer science are Network Architects, Research Scientists, Programmers, and Software and Web Developers. One specific avenue that is growing rapidly and in high demand is Artificial Intelligence, (AI for short).

AI is defined as “machine learning” which includes technology like Apple’s SIRI and Amazon’s Alexa. Even the healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing industries are branching out and using this innovative technology.

Related Articles
Computer Science Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Computer Network Architects Bachelor's degree: $112,690.00 8,000 5%
Computer Programmers Bachelor's degree: $86,550.00 -20,100 -9%
Computer Systems Analysts Bachelor's degree: $90,920.00 46,600 7%
Database Administrators Bachelor's degree: $93,750.00 12,800 10%
Information Security Analysts Bachelor's degree: $99,730.00 40,900 31%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Bachelor's degree: $83,510.00 16,000 4%
Software Developers Bachelor's degree: $107,510.00 316,000 22%
Computer Support Specialists Associate's or Bachelor's Degree: $54,760.00 67,300 8%
Web Developers Associate's degree: $73,760.00 14,000 8%

12. Sustainable & Renewable Energy | Environmental Science

Wind Farm

A green job is defined as a career which ‘produces goods or provides services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources’, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With the ever increasing need to conserve energy and protect the environment, this field is rapidly growing in demand.

These scientists can work with the government or businesses to reduce waste, clean polluted areas, and even advise policymakers.

Foresters, Geoscientists, and Biologists are also occupations that can come from a degree in Sustainable and Renewable Energy.

Related Articles:
Sustainable & Renewable Energy and Environmental Science Careers Average Salaries with a Bachelor's Degree Additional Positions by 2029 Growth Rate
Environmental Scientists and Specialists Bachelor's Degree: $71,360.00 7,100 8%
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians Associate's Degree: $46,540.00 2,900 8%
Environmental Engineers Bachelor's Degree: $88,860.00 1,700 3%
Geoscientists Bachelor's Degree: $92,040.00 1,600 5%

COMMUNICATION

20. Communication

Communication Graphic

Good communication is key to any healthy relationship, whether in business or personal life. In the information age when people are now constantly communicating with others all around the world in a variety of mediums, the need to communicate, and do it well, has never been more important.

This is the focus of the Communication degree. There are countless theories and points of view to consider that all influence how we communicate–from gender and race to social and economic status. The Communication student will learn to navigate these differences and foster conflict resolutions.

The median for Communication salaries start at $30,830 and range up to $61,240 according to The BLS. Although it should be noted that these salaries vary broadly depending on what branch of Communication is pursued. Graduates can potentially find careers in news-related media, radio, television, public speaking, politics, spokesperson for private or public industry, film, reporting, preaching, and many other careers.

Related Article:

Frequently Asked Questions | The Best Online Degrees

What is the best online degree to get?

The best online degree to get, in terms of yearly salary income, is the Bachelor’s in Business Administration, which is the minimum degree required to be a Chief  Executive Officer. Chief Executive Officers are one of the highest paid careers according to the BLS, earning $193,850.00 median annual salary for 2019, requiring only a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. It is certainly one of the highest, if not the highest salary from an online bachelor’s degree.

What is the Easiest Online Degree?

This is a subjective question without an easy answer. Different  students have different academic strengths and weaknesses. Frankly, you shouldn’t be seeking “the easiest degree.” Your college degree is an investment in yourself. You have to pay whether the degree is easy or not, so make it worth it and learn what you want to learn to take you where you want to go in life! If you are seeking an easy online degree, you may not be ready to seek a degree at all.

For one student, Mathematics may be the easiest if they’re good at math. For other students, a Mathematics degree may be the most difficult. Generally speaking, the online Business Administration degree subject may be the easiest online degree, given that the specialization options are so vast and varied, that they offer many subjects that can fit with many student’s abilities quite well. From math-oriented degrees such as an online Business Administration degree in Business Intelligence, to a creative-oriented degree type such as the online Business Administration degree in Marketing.

The wide variety of specializations in an online Business Administration degree means that the degree can be tailored to students’ interests much more than other online degree subjects. This is partly why the online Business Administration degree is the most popular online degree. It may also qualify students for such a wide array of business careers that it is the most versatile for getting a job.

Is getting your degree online worth it?

Yes. There are two senses in which this question may be asked:

  1. Is getting your online degree worth it with respect to having the same credibility and validity as an on-campus degree? Yes. Online students receive the same education in most instances as on-campus students. Colleges are good at online degrees. Online students who’ve received their degree(s) online have the same career options before them as on-campus students. Employers generally speaking are perfectly amenable to online degree holders as qualifying for employment.
  2. Is getting your degree online worth it with respect to the cost of online degrees? This is a question of the return on investment discussed above. Generally speaking the answer is yes. Prospective online students are encouraged to figure out the Return on Investment, which is a calculation of tuition expense/career choice investment return. There are instances in which online education is less expensive than on-campus, given that on-campus expenses, such as meals, transportation, and dorms aren’t incurred.

 

Will employers respect my online degree

According to Northeastern University, in their publication Online Education in 2019, A Synthesis of the Data:

“Today — according to Northeastern University’s most recent national survey of HR leaders, which had a particular focus on the value of online credentials — a solid majority (61%) of HR leaders believe that credentials earned online are generally equal in quality to those completed in-person (Gallagher, 2018).”

What employers care about, generally speaking, is whether or not a student completed their degree. The question of whether the degree was obtained on-campus or online isn’t regarded as relevant. Often the employer will not even be aware that the degree was obtained online, unless you want to offer this information.

Obtaining a degree shows employers that students can navigate all that is required, such as passing the many classes, and fortitude to stick with the academic rigors to earn the degree over time, which often takes years. Obtaining a degree online can even be a bragging point for you. Online classes require more discipline and honesty, and many online students chose online so that they can work, which means an online degree graduate could boast that not only did he or she get a degree, but that they had the discipline to do it online, and while balancing work and school.

Employers may want to know that the online degree was obtained at a reputable college, and not a for-profit degree-mill kind of college. Make sure that your online college is not-for-profit if this is a concern of yours in choosing your college to pursue your online degree. There are many reputable and accredited not-for-profit colleges that offer reputable online degrees.

How can I find potential salaries in my state?

Career & salaries information for your state is offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Use their tool to find your state’s career field information: State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

How can I calculate return on investment for my degree?

College tuition is also a key factor, in that it plays into the return on investment from the degree:career ratio. Certain degrees have certain costs, and certain careers earn certain median salaries. Students have to determine what the return on investment is.

The first thing to do is determine what online degree an online student is interested in getting. Then determine which online colleges offer that degree and what their tuition rates are using the Net Calculator for College Costs.

Then see what the average salary is for that degree. Determine how many years the student will be working in that capacity at that career. So if a student graduates in their early twenties, they can assume 40 years of employment before retiring. Multiply the median salary of that career by 40 years, and you’ll get an idea of the potential lifetime earnings. You can add inflation into the equation to keep up with rising costs of living and raises over the 40 years.

The tuition is a fixed cost, or investment, and the expense will only increase if loans are taken and paid back over time. Students have to figure into the cost of the degree the interest rate over the life of the loan. This can be determined using a student loan simulator.

If a student’s college tuition amounts to $50,000 for the degree, and your potential earnings are $70,000 per year for 40 years (leaving out all of the inflation and interest rates for the student loans and salary), then your earnings are $2.8 million from an initial investment of $50,000.

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