Wondering what degrees you could pursue online to accommodate your busy schedule? Here are six to consider.You'd like to go back to school to earn a degree, but between your job, your kids, and life in general, time is something that is not on your side. Good news: online education may provide the flexibility you need to achieve your goals.
Not only that, but certain degree programs lend themselves to the online format and may offer added benefits that could round out your skill set. But it won't be easy. Attending school online will require discipline to balance work, life, and your education.
Up for the challenge? Keep reading to learn about six degrees that can prepare you to pursue a career while still leaving you with some "me" time.
According to the College Board, in a business administration and management program, you could take classes in subjects like operations management, accounting, business ethics and law, marketing, and economics.
Why Consider Online: "Key skills in business revolve around focus, prioritization, concentration, and deadlines. In other words, the ability to get things done and make decisions," says Tim Dugger, president and owner at Career Café, a career-coaching agency. "[E]arning an online degree builds these skills and allows someone to enhance them," he says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.
Potential Career Path: Human Resources Manager
A bachelor's degree in business administration - along with related work experience - is one way to prepare for a career as a human resources manager, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Some higher-level jobs may also require an MBA, or a master's degree in human resources or labor relations, the Department of Labor says.
Typical coursework in a health services administration program may include classes like accounting, health care administration, health care law, statistics, and human resources management, according to the College Board.
Why Consider Online: "Employers may appreciate that you've spent time learning the technical aspect of working across a digital landscape," Dugger says. "With so much of the health care system going digital, those comfortable using technology could have a competitive advantage."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.
Potential Career Path: Medical and Health Services Manager
You'll need at least a bachelor's degree in health care administration to pursue this career, as the U.S. Department of Labor says, "prospective medical and health services managers have a bachelor's degree in health administration." They also say that master's degrees in health services, public health, long-term care administration, public administration, and business administration are common.
In a computer science program, you could take classes in subjects like software engineering, computer system organization, artificial intelligence, and digital system design, according to the College Board.
Why Consider Online: Dugger says computer science is one of the areas that most lends itself to the online platform. "The benefits of studying computer science online include flexibility in program concentration as well as the comfort of being able to work in a quiet, controlled environment," he says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.
Possible Career Path: Computer Programmer
Although some employers hire workers with associate's degrees, most computer programmers have a bachelor's degree, notes the U.S. Department of Labor. Most of these professionals pursue a degree in computer science or a related field.
In an MBA program, you might take courses like decision sciences, organizational behavior, finance, and economics, says the Princeton Review, an organization that offers test preparation services.
Why Consider Online: "Take what I said in the business administration program about required skills and put those on steroids," Dugger notes. Additionally, Dugger sees online study as a possible proving ground for our global business world.
“With global teams becoming the norm, one of the challenges to leaders today is working with subordinates, peers, and managers who many times are located thousands of miles away,” he says. "If you can prove you can complete an intensive degree program online, employers may see you as a valuable asset to manage teams across the world."
Next step: Click to Find the Right MBA Program.
Possible Career Path: Management Analyst
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that while a bachelor's is typically the requirement for entry-level positions as a management analyst, some employers prefer to hire candidates who have an MBA.
Intro, intermediate, and advanced accounting are all listed as typical courses in an accounting program, per the College Board. You may also take classes in business law, auditing, and cost accounting.
Why Consider Online: "Every organization needs an accountant, so someone that’s proven they’re able to get their work done without a supervisor hovering over their shoulder is valuable," Dugger says. "When you earn your degree online, self-motivation is the name of the game and an employer sees benefit in that."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Possible Career Path: Accountant
A bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is required for most accountant positions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
As a nursing student, the College Board says you may take courses in adult nursing, health assessment, pharmacology, and nutrition.
Why Consider Online: "[T]he online nursing environment teaches students both the techniques of online learning as well as where to go to research information when they need it," Dugger notes.
The other benefit, Dugger says, is that an online nursing program allows you to work full-time while completing your degree on your own time. "A traditional nursing program can tie you up for 6-8 hours a day, or even more depending on the intensity of the program," he says. "The flexibility of an online degree offers the opportunity to pursue a nursing degree to someone who would normally not be able to do so."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Possible Career Path: Registered Nurse
The U.S. Department of Labor says that usually registered nurses take one of three education paths: a bachelor's of science in nursing, an associate's in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. All states also require registered nurses to be licensed. The Department of Labor also notes that a bachelor's degree or higher is often required for positions in the areas of research, consulting, teaching, and administration.