Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Online

In today’s competitive marketplace, employers demand that their workers have a college education. Today, distance learning makes getting an online bachelor degree possible without having to enroll in a college campus program.

Why Get a Bachelor Degree Online?

Advances in technology allow you to get the same quality of education from distance learning as you would from a campus program.

Here are some additional advantages of earning a bachelor degree online:

  • Work full-time while completing an online bachelor degree
  • Learn organization, research, and time management for today’s fast-paced industries
  • Become proficient in internet technologies and web-based research
  • Communicate and collaborate with peers and professors around the world
  • No travel or commuting expenses

Earning Potential

There’s no doubt that having a bachelor degree will help you earn more in your profession. On average, people with a bachelor degree earn between $10,000 to $20,000 more a year than people who have had some college education. A person with a bachelor’s degree will earn almost twice as much over their lifetime as someone with only a high school education ($2.1 million compared to $1.2 million).

Types of Bachelor Degrees

There are two types of bachelor degrees available from online degree programs. The bachelor degree in the arts (B.A.) is designed to provide a broad liberal arts and science background. The bachelor degree in science (B.S.) covers the same areas of study for a B.A., but is geared towards education for a particular profession.

The most common bachelor degree programs include:

  • Business Management
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Information Technology Management
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering
  • International Business Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Safety Engineering
  • Computer Network Management
  • Visual Communications
  • Marketing

Top Careers for Bachelor Degree Earners

With the median wage increasing for workers with higher education degrees, the advantage of having a bachelor degree is obvious. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the following occupations, which require bachelor degrees, will grow faster through 2016 than other occupations requiring the same education:

  • Network Systems and Data Communications Analyst
  • Computer Applications Software Engineer
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Forensic Science Technician
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Systems Software Engineer
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Choosing an Online Bachelor Degree Program

There are many factors that go into choosing the right online bachelor degree program. First you need to decide what degree you want to pursue. If you are changing careers or just trying to increase your marketability in your current profession, find out which degree will serve you best.

Next, search for distance learning programs which are fully accredited. A degree from a school which is not accredited may not be recognized or accepted by your employers. You will also be unable to transfer credits to other schools if your degree comes for an online school which is unaccredited.

Finally, research the admission requirements and expenses for the online school to which you are applying. You will need to get your finances in order, apply for financial aid, and make sure that you meet all of the prerequisites for admission

What to Expect From an Online Degree Program?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsOnline degree programs come in a variety of types, from strictly-scheduled degrees for traditional students to self-paced programs for working adults. Classes usually communicate and submit assignments through special education software.

Online Degree Program Options and Types

The spectrum of online degree programs begins with hybrid programs, which are taught partly online and partly through in-person lectures or tests. These programs, along with some online programs, are set on a course schedule that resembles a traditional degree program in many ways and is usually designed for traditional students rather than working adults. Assignments and tests often have set due dates, and students are required to submit their work and participate in class discussions on a regular basis.

The other end of the online degree spectrum is often found in continuing education courses or college degrees for working adults. These courses may not have a set end date, much less due dates for assignments or tests. Often, these programs allow students to work whenever they desire and take as long as necessary to complete each class and, ultimately, their degree.

Most online degree programs fall somewhere between these two extremes, usually operating on a semester system that requires students to turn in all assignments by a particular semester-end date, but allowing students to work at their own pace in the mean time to complete assignments and tests.

What to Expect From Online Classes

Online classes use a variety of means for communication, including email, class forums and message boards, instant messengers and at times voice or video conferencing. Many times, online classes use specially designed education software that incorporates some or all of these features into a single package that can be accessed from a web browser. This gives students access to a centralized set of message boards through which they can communicate with the rest of their class, gives teachers a built-in email system for communicating with students and passing out or reviewing assignments and provides an automated testing and grading system for some types of assignments.

Usually, online classes have some form of participation requirement, both for the purpose of keeping students from becoming isolated, and for building teamwork within a class to help solve problems and reinforce key concepts. This participation requirement may take the form of a posting requirement on the class boards or it may mean class assignments in which students must work together.

How Does an Online Degree Work?

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsStudents in an online degree program learn through the Internet and web-based software. Online degrees follow a spectrum, from strictly scheduled to self-paced, depending on the type of program, and are usually presented via an online education portal system.

Online Degree Format and Pacing

Online degrees are available through traditional education institutions in a fully online format or a hybrid degree format. A hybrid degree format includes both online and campus-based classes. There are also many online institutions, with no physical campus, that offer educational opportunities to students.

Class formats for online degrees vary, and it’s important for students to enroll in a class format that fits their schedule. The more traditionally-scheduled class assigns and requires students to complete regular assignments and tests by certain dates throughout the semester. A self-paced course allows students to work at whatever pace they may wish, for as long as necessary to complete the course. Many classes fall somewhere in between these two formats and require students to have all work submitted by a particular date at the end of the semester.

Online Degree Specifics and Requirements

Because online degrees are not set in a physical classroom, students are required to show some sort of participation, either by posting a certain number of times in the class discussion boards or by completing class assignments with other students. In hybrid classes, this requirement is usually waived, as students must show up for a physical class on certain days throughout the semester. In continuing education programs or degrees for working adults, this participation requirement may be less stringent.

Most online classes are presented via a website that integrates forums, instant messenger, e-mail and streaming audio and video. Programs also offer automatic testing and real-time assignment review capabilities to create an online classroom environment for students. This ‘virtual classroom’ allows students to interact with each other and communicate with their teachers, along with viewing class calendars or informational posts. Teachers have the option of posting lectures and assignments as video, audio or text files.

Online Accredited Degree Programs: College and University Options

Emineo Media College Student ReviewsAccreditation from a recognized agency attests to the quality of online programs offered at traditional and online-only schools. Even degrees that cannot be fully completed online may have hybrid programs that give a student the opportunity to complete the majority of coursework and then take an internship or clinical lab on-campus.

What Colleges and Universities Offer Accredited Degree Programs Online?

Communications technology allows colleges and universities to offer online degree programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education database of accredited schools (www.ope.ed.gov) can guide a prospective student to accredited degree programs offered over the Internet. Because program offerings change, prospective students may wish to follow up on colleges selected through the database by visiting the college’s website, which may also allow students to apply for admission online.

Types of Degrees Available

A prospective student can earn any degree that is available at traditional colleges online with the exception of degree programs that require hands-on training. In addition to a full range of degrees, including doctorate programs, colleges offer GED programs and certificates of achievement through online programs. Online degree completion programs allow a student with some college credit through earlier on-campus studies to fulfill the remaining degree requirements online.

Some associate’s degree programs can be taken entirely online. Students can earn an Associate of Arts in Psychology from an accredited degree program. Others include Associate of Applied Science in Human Services, Associate of Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems.

Bachelor’s degrees that can be earned online from an accredited college include Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Transfer students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies, Bachelor of Liberal Studies and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Master’s degrees that are accredited can be earned online. Many schools offer online master’s degrees in education, business, psychology and information technology.

Types of Schools

Schools such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University and Capella University offer postsecondary education entirely online. Many traditional colleges have expanded their degree programs to an online presence. Some disciplines, such as nursing and engineering, are often presented as a hybrid course. Students attend clinical labs and workshops on-campus, but complete coursework online.