Degrees You Can Earn While Keeping Your Job

Degrees For Working Adults

A flexible degree program could mean you don't need to quit your full-time job to go back to school.

Between taking care of the family, working a full-time job, and balancing a social life, you're probably wondering how you could possibly fit earning a degree into your busy schedule. Good news: Unlike a traditional education, an online degree program could offer you the flexibility to complete your degree whenever you see fit.
But that's not the only reason you might consider going to school online.
"Online learning is a great supplement while working full-time because you have the opportunity to apply what you're learning within your current employment while growing your experience alongside your education, making you even more valuable as a professional," says Megan Pittsley-Fox, a career coach at WorkLife Careers, a career management agency in San Jose, Calif.
Of course, convenient doesn't mean easy. It can take hard work and self-discipline to complete online coursework successfully.
But if you're up for the challenge, keep reading to learn about seven great online degrees you could earn while working full-time.

Online Degree #1: Business Administration

The business world is cutthroat, and those climbing the corporate ladder need every available tool in their toolbox to succeed. So earning an online bachelor's degree in business administration could help you get ahead without forcing you to turn in your two-week notice.
What might you learn in this degree program? The College Board, an organization that promotes higher education, says that students pursuing a business administration and management degree may take courses in operations management, financial management, accounting, business ethics and law, economics, and marketing.
The Online Advantage: "Since most business careers involve office work and electronic communications, achieving a business degree online fits right into the skill set needed to achieve success in the office," says Pittsley-Fox.
"And many times," she adds, "working with people from all over the world in an online course opens your mind to new possibilities that you can take to the office to strengthen your interpersonal skills with your colleagues and supervisors."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Business Administration Program.
Potential Career Options*:
  • Human resources manager
  • Financial manager

Online Degree #2: IT and Information Systems

Love the idea of developing computer programs or helping an organization work out its technical kinks? An online degree in information systems or IT could be just what you need to gather the necessary skills without sacrificing your full-time paycheck.
In an information technology program, you could take courses in computer networking, computer systems and architecture, and Web technologies, according to the College Board. You'll also focus on learning how computer systems support communications and business needs.
The Online Advantage: Pittsley-Fox says that the IT field is a hot one for online education because its very essence is focused on continued education and the latest technological advances.
Plus, by earning your degree in information technology while working, "you also display an exceptional ability to multi-task and self-motivate," Pittsley-Fox says. It also shows "that you're a driven, proactive professional who doesn't need someone watching over their shoulder to get their work completed," she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right IT and Information Systems Program.
Potential Career Options:
  • Database administrator
  • Network and computer systems administrator

Online Degree #3: K-12 Education

Have you always dreamt of teaching and mentoring the youth of the nation? An online degree in education could allow you to pursue your teaching passions without leaving your current full-time job.
"Education majors study how people learn and how to best teach them," notes the College Board. "Classes cover such topics as educational psychology, school health and safety issues, and the planning of classroom activities."
The Online Advantage: The entire educational world is moving towards online and blended learning models, just as higher education is, says Pittsley-Fox.
"Teachers who have utilized online learning management systems will be able to bring technology into their classrooms in a much more meaningful way. It also opens many doors into online tutoring and other supplemental education opportunities," she says.
Next step: Click to Find the Right K-12 Education Program.
Potential Career Options:
  • Elementary school teacher
  • High school teacher

Online Degree #4: Accounting

Love crunching numbers but don't want to be crunched for cash when your bills are due? Earning your degree in accounting online could allow you the flexibility to work full-time while going to school in your free time.
You may take courses in intro, intermediate, and advanced accounting, reports the College Board. Business law, auditing, and tax accounting are also typical types of coursework.
The Online Advantage: Pittsley-Fox says that the accounting world is increasingly technology-driven, and earning your degree online puts you face-to-face with that technology right up front.
"Accounting majors that earn their degrees online get first-hand knowledge of the latest computer applications and [Enterprise Resource Planning] systems, so they may find themselves ahead of the curve when it's time for the real deal," she adds.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.
Potential Career Options:
  • Accountant
  • Auditor

Online Degree #5: Nursing

Do you see yourself working in the fast-paced environment of the medical field, but don't see yourself spending years in med school training to be a doctor? An online degree in nursing allows you the opportunity to pursue a career in this exciting field without quitting your full-time job.
According to the College Board, in a nursing program you could expect to take classes in things such as health assessment, childbearing-family nursing, pharmacology, and complex nursing.
The Online Advantage: Pittsley-Fox says you'll get first-hand knowledge of the rapidly-changing technological aspects of the medical field when you study your degree online.
And while the U.S. Department of Labor says that earning an associate's degree is one way to enter the nursing profession, if you're already working as a nurse, Pittsley-Fox says that earning a higher degree online (like a bachelor's or a master's, for example) could prep you to advance toward management opportunities.
Next step: Click to Find the Right Nursing Program.
Potential Career Options:
  • Registered nurse
  • Nurse educator

Online Degree #6: Paralegal Studies

Love the thrill of the courtroom but can't envision how you could earn a degree that puts you into the action while still working your full-time job? You may want to consider earning your degree in paralegal studies online.
What can you expect to study? The College Board says typical courses in a criminal justice program could include civil procedure, ethics, litigation, and law office administration.
The Online Advantage: "Working as a paralegal requires extensive research, computer, and administrative skills," says Pittsley-Fox. "Pursuing an online degree in paralegal studies not only proves to your employer that you're capable of doing the work required in the job, but that you've already had serious practice in those skills while earning your degree."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.
Potential Career Options:
  • Paralegal
  • Legal assistant

Online Degree #7: Graphic Design

Do you look at magazine ads and billboards and envision how the design could be better? If yes, did you know you could earn your degree in graphic design without quitting your current job?
It's true. And the College Board says that classes like graphic design techniques, Photoshop for designers, and typography could comprise the typical coursework for a graphic design major.
The Online Advantage: "Online graphic design degrees are great because all of your day-to-day work in that field is going to be done online anyhow," says Pittsley-Fox.
"The time you save in commuting to school you can use to build sites for your portfolio, which will be the most important aspect of your applications," she says. "Most graphic designers even have their own business and do freelancing work from home, so the classroom environment could mimic that 'remote' sentiment."
Next step: Click to Find the Right Graphic Design Program.
Potential Career Options:
  • Art director
  • Graphic designer

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