Online Degrees that Could Pay You Back

Online Degrees that Could Pay You Back

Want to earn an in-demand degree, but need some flexibility to make it happen? Check out these five online degree programs...

By Sarah Tann    

Let's face it: Juggling a job, family - plus that reality TV show obsession - is hard. Add school into the mix, and things could just get a little crazy.

The good news: You have options.

Online education, for example, provides the opportunity to study whenever and wherever it's most convenient - whether that's after your 9-to-5 gig or the latest "American Idol" episode.

More and more students are beginning to take advantage of this flexibility, too.

In fact, in the fall of 2010, over 6.1 million students - that's 31 percent of all higher education students - were taking at least one online course, according to "Going the Distance," a 2011 study by Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board.

Of course, if you're going to earn a degree, you want to think about its relevance - and potential payback, too.

To help, we looked to the National Association of Colleges and Employer's (NACE) "Job Outlook 2012 Survey," a forecast of employers' intentions to hire new college graduates.

With a total of 244 surveys returned by employers, the NACE was able to determine which degrees will be in-demand in 2012.

Keep reading to learn more...

Online Degree #1 - Business Administration

Starting up a new company, running a business, or managing a team definitely has its perks. But before you can take the reins, you might find it helpful to pick up some leadership and problem-solving skills from an online business program.

A bachelor's in business administration program, for example, can teach students how "to plan, organize, direct, and control an organization's activities," notes the College Board, an organization that administers academic aptitude tests. And if you earn this degree online, you could take commonly offered courses like operations management, accounting, and business ethics in the comfort of your home and pajamas...if that's your style, of course.

Click to find the Right Business Administration Program for You.

Payoff Potential: Financial analyst, insurance underwriter, and personal financial advisor, to name a few examples, are potential career paths that a bachelor's in business administration grad could pursue, says the U.S. Department of Labor.* According to the NACE report, 48.5 percent of the surveyed employers said they have their sights on business grads when it comes time to hire this year.


Online Degree #2 - Computer & Information Sciences

Do you wear your nickname "tech geek" or "computer nerd" with pride? Great news: there's a flexible way for you to fine-tune your skills and interest in the field - and it goes by the name of an online computer and information sciences bachelor's degree.

"Students in this major study a broad range of computer topics," notes the College Board. This means you'll likely get a peek into the various fields within the tech-industry, like computer science, informatics, and computer programming - which could allow you to pick and choose areas that best align with your interests.

Click to Find the Right Computer & Information Systems Program for You.

Payoff Potential: Despite what teenybopper movies may say, computer geeks are becoming increasingly popular - at least according to the 59.3 percent of surveyed employers who plan to hire computer and information sciences majors in 2012, notes the NACE report. And with a bachelor's degree in computer and information sciences, you could prepare to pursue techie careers such as network and computer systems administrators, computer programmer, and computer systems analyst.*


Online Degree #3 - Psychology

Getting into people's heads to try and understand their thoughts can get a bit confusing and scary at times. But, it could also be extremely exciting - especially if you acquire the right skills to do so from an online bachelor's degree in psychology. Even better, you can earn this flexible degree in bed, or on the couch, or in the kitchen, or...you get the point, right?

And with commonly offered courses like social psychology, personality, and perception and sensation, "psychology majors study the way humans and animals act, feel, think, and learn," notes the College Board.

Click to Find the Right Psychology Program for You.

Payoff Potential: Apparently, the need to get into people's heads is on the rise, with 71.4 percent of surveyed employers planning to hire psychology grads in 2012, notes the NACE report. Social worker, probation officer, and correctional treatment officer are just some of the "mind-boggling" career path options that bachelor's in psychology majors can prep to pursue.*


Online Degree #4 - Accounting

Numbers: some of us are good with them and others are not. If you fall in with the crowd that doesn't need a calculator to figure out your group's dinner bill, then you might find the flexibility and convenience of an online bachelor's degree in accounting to be a great option for you.

And not to worry, an online accounting degree could teach you more than just how to figure out the tip. In fact, "accounting majors learn how to gather, record, analyze, interpret, and communicate information about an individual's or organization's financial performance and risks," says the College Board.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program for You.

Payoff Potential: This all-about-numbers degree could help you prepare to pursue a career as an accountant, auditor, or budget analyst.* And according to the NACE report, 71.4 percent of the surveyed employers plan to hire accounting grads in 2012.


Online Degree #5 - Communications

If you're a chatter-box who's looking for a way to go to school on your own time, then an online degree in communications might be calling your name. Often offered at the bachelor's degree level, an online communications degree could teach you how to translate your "talkative" skills into the business sector.

According to the College Board, common courses like the power of communication, rhetorical criticism, and research methods can help hone your communications skills, as well as help you better understand how messages are exchanged on television, the Internet, and through mass media.

Click to Find the Right Communications Program for You.

Payoff Potential: You could use your knowledge and skills from a bachelor's in communications to help you prepare to pursue a career as a public relations specialist, market research analyst, or broadcast news analyst.* According to the NACE report, 95.7 percent of surveyed respondents plan to hire graduates with a communications major in 2012. Being chatty never sounded so good...


*All career options come from the U.S. Department of Labor, May 2011 statistics.

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