The Eight Most Popular Online Degrees

March 3, 2013

In the age of technology, where jobs as we know them are constantly changing, so too are the requirements and education to get a job in today's markets. For the person who is busy and has no time for school, online courses are a great way to go and probably the future of education as the costs of universities accelerate, in a job market that has little to offer many graduates burdened with huge school loans. With an online degree you can start a new career based on your interests. You can also seek part time employment in your field while getting the degree.

Online education becoming more popular and more accepted by employers. As for quality, a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009 and updated in 2010 found that "on average, students in online learning conditions performed modestly better than those receiving face-to-face instruction. Online college professor Dani Babb says the added value of online degrees is related to the way online courses are conducted. Students generally interact more with fellow students and teachers when they are online, which helps build the kind of communications skills today's employers are seeking.

The Eight Most Popular Online Degrees   Yahoo - March 3, 2013

Considering earning your degree online? Find out which online degrees rank highest in popularity. Are you thinking of going to school online and wondering which degree to choose? Eduventures, a Boston-based research firm, ranked the top eight online bachelor's degrees in terms of enrollment. Keep reading to see why these degrees are so popular.

Career #1 Online Degree - Business

Enrollment for online business - sometimes called business administration - degrees topped all others in recent years. Perhaps that's because this program generally helps students hone the same computer skills that are used in the business world. You're also likely to get a chance to broaden your business horizons beyond a single zip code.

Along the way, your online studies might include economics, statistics, corporate budgeting, and accounting, based on reports by the U.S. Department of Labor. Some of the careers that might require this degree for entry include administrative services manager, financial analyst, and personal financial advisor.

Students in online business administration programs often work in groups or teams, much like they would in real-world business practices. Employers in this field value people who know how to effectively use technology to, as one might say, get down to business. Knowing how to use the latest and greatest technology at school translates into an easier time being hired. The objective of some online business programs is to give students a chance to develop their entrepreneurial skills and show they have the potential to make products or services profitable. It's all done online with things like mock presentations on Skype, just as if the venture capitalists were in the room.

Career #2 Online Degree - Computer and Information Technology (IT)

Looking to get into an area like online computer support, cyber security, or network administration? Consider earning your IT degree online. IT finished second among online bachelor's degrees in enrollment, according to Eduventures. While some IT students may be more comfortable than most when learning in an online environment, there are also career-specific reasons that could be driving the demand for this particular online degree.

Career #3 Online Degree - Criminal Justice

Good guys and bad guys alike use the internet. Guess what? Online criminal justice students do too, and they're doing it in increasingly large numbers. "Most of the students in our CJ program are adults with families looking for a career change, and online classes provide an opportunity for them to work on this new degree according to their schedule," Govea says. n addition to flexibility, these programs can potentially prepare you to pursue a wide variety of careers, according to Eby. "From prevention to enforcement to the legal process to terrorism and homeland security the online classroom affords individuals the opportunity to learn from experts around the country..." he says.

Career #4 Online Degree - Nursing

While nursing may not be the first online bachelor's degree that springs to mind, it finished fourth overall in terms of enrollment in 2009. Online nursing programs are helping meet the industry's growing demand for a trained workforce. This is a group of individuals who traditionally enjoy working collaboratively and they often thrive in an online setting.

Career #5 Online Degree - Education

Want to stay current in education? Studying online is just one of many technology-driven changes that are revolutionizing the field. Higher level certifications, such as masters programs in education online, are also becoming increasingly prevalent. If you move into a teaching career, you'll likely want to incorporate your own online tools and technology into your courses, whether you are teaching online or inside a classroom. By getting your degree online, you could study different approaches and techniques to do this.

Career #6 Online Degree - Health Care

If you're looking for a career-focused degree that you can earn online, health care may be your pick. Not only is this a growing field, but the degree finished in at number six in terms of online enrollment, according to Eduventures' research. The health care program is popular at Brookhaven College in Texas, says Govea, who uses a simple math equation to explain why. "The highest rate of pay + shortest degree = high enrollments," he says. Generally speaking, studying health care could be a smart move to make. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, health care features 10 of the 20 fastest growing careers.

A starting point for people interested in managing a health care facility might be an online bachelor's degree in health care administration. In the degree program, students become familiar with the practices and principles of managing hospitals, nursing homes, and clinical facilities. The degree generally qualifies workers for entry-level or assistant management positions at smaller health care organizations, the Department of Labor reports.

Getting an online bachelor's degree in health care administration can help students qualify for careers in specialty fields such as health information management. Professionals in information management have the important task of organizing and protecting patient records at a time when threats to online security abound. In an online degree program, prospective health information managers might experience what it's like to work with records that are increasingly being switched from paper to online databases. In school, they are getting strong doses of medical records and medical coding, and they are doing it all online. This is hands-on experience they can use as health information managers.

Earning an associate's degree in medical assisting can qualify you for entry-level positions in this fast-growing profession. Medical assistants are among the fastest growing of all health care occupations. Nearly 164,000 new workers will be hired between 2008 and 2018, says the Department of Labor.

The Value of Online Study: An associate's degree in medical assisting is a valuable online degree option for people who want scheduling flexibility as they prepare to enter the health care profession. Some portions of the degree work must be completed in a clinical setting (face-to-face work with actual patients), but online courses provide students an opportunity to generally pick and choose when they want to study. The value is that you are able to go to school while you are still working.

Career # Online Degree - Communications

Not long ago it was email...Now it's social media that is changing the way people communicate. Studying communications online is a natural way to immerse oneself in this rapidly evolving field. While studying communications online, you'll likely be working independently and in small and large groups, utilizing tools like live video streaming, webcams, message boards, and email. Excellent communication skills are a critical qualifier for any job seeker. Online communication students gain real-world experience in communications, advertising, media, and public relations utilizing a wide variety of media. In an online classroom, students interact with professors and peers from around the globe, teaching them to communicate in a virtual environment.

Career #8 Online Degree - Psychology

Since people are spending more and more time online these days, it makes sense that psychology students may be trending in that direction too. Psychology, after all, is the study of human behavior. Sound appealing? You're not alone. An online psychology degree programs have exploded in the last ten years and he thinks that career changers in particular are helping drive demand. Often, when individuals are forced to redefine themselves through a response to a reduction in force or early retirement, they will choose a career that provides them more personal satisfaction than the one they previously held. Two major reasons why online psychology degree programs are so popular are: first, they provide a broad foundation for a variety of careers, and second, they afford students the opportunity to purse a degree while allowing time for work and family.

Also related to this field is Human Resource Management:

If you already have a bachelor's degree and professional experience in the field of human resources (HR), moving into a senior-level position might be your next logical step. A master's degree program provides study in specialized areas such as labor relations and personnel management, according to the Department of Labor. Prospective labor relations specialists, for example, take courses in labor law, collective bargaining, and labor economics.

Human resources professionals are being required to become more familiar with changing technologies, computer systems, and digital communications in order to provide services to their companies, the Department of Labor reports. An online degree program can help familiarize degree students with the kind of technology they will need in their HR careers. The biggest change in human resources management right now has been the migration of workers into the telecommunications environments. It's important to have experience of working with people who are not in the same room as you.