Online education is here to stay, there is no doubt about it. As we as a culture advance technologically, those desiring to attend college now have an almost unlimited number of options in both universities and degrees.
More than 7 million Americans took for-credit classes online in 2013, and many of those students completed an entire degree online.
Many adults who had to forgo higher education in years past due to obligations and work restraints are returning to school virtually. Some adults are heading back into the virtual classroom due to being downsized during our current unpredictable economy.
Furthermore, students who want to earn a degree not offered locally now can choose from the global marketplace to obtain a degree in whatever they choose. Even typical-age college students who can attend a local university now often chose to earn their degree completely online so that they can work full time and perhaps save money by living at home.
As online education has become increasingly prevalent, trends in popular online degrees are being tracked. These degrees are fashionable, mostly because of the ease in which one can find an affordable, quality university that offers such a degree, but also because of the high job growth and higher job security these degrees provide.
The most popular degrees are focused mainly in the fields of business, healthcare, engineering. The following list includes the top 7 online degrees nationwide.
1. Graphic Design
Graphic designers are in high demand in our visual world. Businesses large and small require the skills of talented graphic designers who can communicate essential information to their potential clients through images.
Graphic designers create images for business logos, business websites, social media, marketing brochures, vivid packaging and various publications, just to name a few. Due to the limitless number of industries in which graphic design is critical, those with this degree can find exciting work in almost any field they choose.
Many online programs in graphic design are available from reliable colleges and universities. And, because graphic design is completed using computer based programs, it is a natural fit with online coursework. Those interested in this field can complete associate, bachelor and master’s degree programs exclusively online.
Additionally, because this field requires keeping up with all of the latest programs and trends in graphic design, those who have completed a degree can easily find reputable colleges in which to augment their skills and knowledge for the future. Students in graphic design programs attain expertise in visual communication design architecture, web development, e-commerce design applications multimedia and internet applications.
As with graphic design, all businesses have need of professionals who can ensure all of their financial records are in order. They also must make certain that their employees and invoices are paid, tax liabilities are paid on time and business legalities are kept current. And accountants are those professionals.
Accountants execute a wide assortment of crucial tasks in business, including analysis of financial documents, financial planning, budget analysis and preparation of financial documents. Those with a degree in accounting are highly sought after because all businesses and organizations rely on their expertise to stay in business. Even those who obtain this degree, but who are hired for a different position within a company can depend upon higher job security and most likely, job advancement.
Students interested in this field can choose from a myriad of online college programs that lead to associate, bachelor, or master’s degrees, certifications or continuing education programs. The curriculum for accounting includes coursework in federal and state tax law, payroll and other fundamental business topics, investments, financial planning and bookkeeping.
3. Information Systems Management
Information systems managers have the responsibility of implementing and administering all computer technology for the company who employs them. Again, because of the way technology has changed the way we work, information systems managers are in high demand.
They are in charge of analyzing the technological needs of their business or organization and locating the most effective tools available to meet those needs.
Information systems managers also are responsible for all of the security and maintenance of the computer technology and internet operations for the company. Additional job responsibilities include installing, updating and creating websites, as well as overseeing the IT employees under them.
This degree has become popular due to the fact that every industry, business and organization relies on technology to provide their products and services. Additionally, managerial skills are always in high demand, which can provide more job security for those with this degree. Most online colleges and universities offer this program, which typically requires a bachelor’s degree.
the world of marketing has changed greatly since the devise of the internet. Businesses of all kinds are vying for their spot in the global marketplace, which makes those with a marketing degree in high demand.
While traditional marketing concepts are still used, and therefore, learned in such a program, new technologies are also taught, making marketing a new and exciting prospect for many individuals preparing to attend college. Marketers must be able to reach their target markets, convincing them of their need for various products and services.
Degrees in marketing are typically at the bachelor and master’s level, though you can find associate and doctorate programs as well. Courses include topics in e-commerce, advertising, statistics, research and various business topics.
Social sciences are also included in the curriculum to teach students about the psychology of buying and social trends. In that the marketing field has changed greatly, different university programs offer specialties within the field, so that students are able to locate degree programs that focus on their interests, so they will be enticing to businesses requiring their specialized skills after graduation.
5. Web Design and Development
Websites are the new business card. As a result, it is logical that all businesses and organizations are in need of professionals who can effectively advertise their products and services.
Web design and development professionals are needed to evaluate what digital needs the business has and then determine how to accomplish these goals. It is vital that a business maintains a user-friendly website that attracts their target market and offers visitors the information they need, all in an alluring design.
Degrees in web design and development are available at many reputable online universities, where students can earn an associate, bachelor or master’s degree. In the interest of keeping ahead of popular trends, professionals may also desire to enhance their knowledge with additional certificates and/or continuing education; many institutions offer these as well.
Programs include courses in communications, marketing, design, social sciences, visual communications and humanities, as well as the creative aspects of web design and utilization of common software programs and other tools necessary to create websites for their employers.
6. Medical Assistant
This entry level position in the health care field completes important tasks, both medial and administrative. Medical assistants take patient histories, execute simple procedures, manage and maintain patient records and prepare patients for exams and laboratory procedures.
These functions allow doctors to focus on utilizing their specialized training to treat patients, while still maintaining essential records and gathering vital information that they need.
This program is offered at several online career schools and online colleges. Individuals have the choice of completing a degree or a certification in medical assistants, which allows them to begin working in their new field quickly.
Additionally, accredited online programs provide students with the qualifications needed to sit for the certification exams, which increases the student’s status when seeking employment. Classes include training in administering injections, venipuncture, clinical and administrative duties, abiding by privacy laws and regulations and infection control guidelines.
Most programs also include an externship requirement to ensure students receive the hands-on training they will need to perform their duties.
7. Health Care Administration
It is no secret that the medical field is always in need of skilled professionals. Health care administrators do billing and coding, manage the office and exam rooms, process insurance claims, set up appointments and maintain patient files and records.
As a result of new governmental and insurance policies, professionals with this degree are in higher demand than ever.
Most universities that offer online degrees include health care administration as one of their programs. Both complete degrees and certification programs are available, allowing students to complete their education and get into the workforce in short order.
Both associate and bachelor degrees are available to those wishing for advanced training in the field to develop further skills, which could enhance their job opportunities and security. Some online colleges also offer master degree programs for those who wish to work in larger facilitates where there would be a wider variety of job duties. With persistent governmental regulations, it is expected that the demand for trained health care administrators will continue to grow.
Regardless of the field an individual is interested in, an online degree is a valid, convenient way to pursue one’s dream of earning a higher education to gain a wider array of job opportunities and better job security. The convenience of online education in addition to the sheer number of accredited online universities makes it an exciting time to be a college student, no matter what time of life you are working towards your educational goals.
Jacqueline Myers M.A. is a long-time online college English professor who offers college students writing tips on her blog, Nitty-Gritty English. Connect with her on Twitter.