With overcrowding limiting access to some forms of higher education, students seeking alternatives could still find flexible options.
Thinking of going back to school? It may be harder to find a spot in an academic program than it was even two years ago.
The economic downturn has created overcrowding at some schools, and reports point to a trend that sees junior and four-year colleges turning away students in bunches.
- According to the New York Times, the City University of New York and its six community colleges have started a waiting list for the first time this fall.
- Some 140,000 students had to be turned away from California community colleges in 2009-2010, says the state's community colleges chancellor's office in a recent report.
- In Utah, at least three schools may abandon their open-door policies and consider enrollment caps, reports a recent story in Deseret News.
Where can students go when education options are drying up?
Online schools and other private colleges and universities are some viable alternatives for students trying to reach their educational and career goals, whether those goals are getting a degree for the first time or improving career-related skills and expertise.
If you're ready to go back to school and want to know where you could find academic programs - keep reading...
#1 - Medical Assisting
Medical assistant programs are available at many online and campus-based schools. You could potentially earn a medical assisting certificate or diploma in one year or an associate's degree in medical assisting in two years, on average, and depending on your course load.
Career Options: A career as a medical assistant could allow you to pursue opportunities in a variety of settings, such as hospitals and doctors' offices. Potential career titles might include administrative and clinical medical assistant.
Average Earning Potential for Medical Assistants: $29,450*
#2 - Business
In a recent Yahoo! Education article, we named the bachelor's degree in business administration our "Most Valuable Degree" for its performance in a number of categories including career opportunities and, average starting earning potential.
Career Options: With this credential you could potentially pursue opportunities in sales, marketing, management, or other disciplines in a variety of industries including technology, health care, manufacturing, retail, consumer products, and many others.
Average Earning Potential for Business Degree Holders: $45,200**
#3 - Finance
Finance programs are offered at many types of schools, so if you're interested in earning your bachelor's degree or master's degree in business administration (MBA) now, we can help you find online schools or a campus-based program in your area.
Career Options: Financial analysts can work with businesses or individuals while tracking the progress of commodities, stocks bonds, and other types of investments. Possible career titles might include risk analyst, portfolio manager, and fund manager.
Average Earning Potential for Financial Analysts: $85,240*
#4 - Dental Assisting
Career Options: As a dental assistant, you would most likely work at a dentist's office, keeping patient records, setting up equipment, assisting the dentist, and interacting with patients.
Average Earning Potential for Dental Assistants: $34,000*
#5 - Accounting
Accounting programs are offered at many online and campus-based schools. And it's a good thing they are - because a bachelor's degree in accounting could help you prepare to pursue an entry-level accountant position. If you're interested in junior accountant opportunities, an associate's degree in accounting could be a good option for youy.
Career Options: The accounting field gives you a variety of opportunities to work in the private, public, and government sectors. Public accountants, for example, are often responsible for a broad scope of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting duties for clients.
Average Earning Potential for Accountants: $67,430*
#6 - Human Resources
HR programs can often be found at both online colleges and a variety of campus-based schools. We can help you find a program that works for you. Consider a bachelor's degree with a concentration in human resources administration or management.
Career Options: Working in the field of human resources has the potential to take you to a wide range of career destinations including: recruitment specialists, employment and placement managers, employment interviewers, and analysts specializing in compensation and benefits.
Average Earning Potential for Compensation and Benefits Managers: $95,230*
#7 - Computer Software
If you want to join the technology work force, a bachelor's degree program in computer science, software engineering, and math can be a great start. An associate's degree or certificate can help give you additional options to prepare for this field.
Career Options: As a software engineer, you could design and develop all kinds of software for computer games, business applications, and operating systems. You might even work on constructing a company's computer system or expanding an existing one.
Average Earning Potential for Computer Software Engineers, Applications: $90,170*
#8 - Registered Nursing
Degree and course options could be plentiful should you choose to study nursing at an online school or at a local campus. (We can help you find a school.) Just remember, in nursing programs, some course requirements will likely need to be completed at a campus location. Consider bachelor's degree, associate's degree, or diploma.
Career Options: Although the majority of RNs work in hospitals, you might also have the opportunity to pursue positions in physicians' offices, outpatient treatment facilities, and home health care agencies.
Average Earning Potential for RNs: $66,530*
*Average annual salary represents the national estimate of mean annual wage as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2009.
**Average starting earning potential information comes from Payscale's 2010-2011 college salary report.