If heading to campus doesn't work for your busy life, consider earning a flexible degree when and where you want.
Has earning your degree been on your New Year's resolution list for a while now, but your schedule doesn't seem to allow you time to physically go to school? You may want to consider earning your degree online. That's because an online education offers flexibility of schedule and the convenience to take a class anytime, anywhere.
Mike Echols, executive vice president of strategic initiatives for Bellevue University, says that he usually sees online students that fall into a number of similar characteristics: they tend to be working adults, oftentimes with families, and they have complex schedules.
"They need flexibility in their learning," Echols adds. "I'd say that online learning lends itself particularly well to that population of people in particular."
However, while studying online is convenient, it isn't for everyone. It takes hard work and commitment to successfully complete a degree online.
But if studying online seems like it may be a good fit for your busy life, take a look at these five degree programs that translate well to a flexible, online format.
Have you watched cop cars swarm the scene of a crime and wished you had the time to gain the skills necessary for their job? Earning a criminal justice degree online could give you the flexibility of taking your classes from anywhere, at any time.
The College Board, a not-for-profit organization committed to excellence and equity in education, says that criminal justice students could take classes in policing society, criminology, juvenile justice, and statistics.
The Online Advantage: Echols say that in most online learning models, students must review and deliberate on facts, then discuss their ideas and their interpretation of those facts with other members of their online classroom.
And that's very similar to what criminal justice professionals have to do on the job.
"Professionals in this field are routinely challenged to gather, interpret, and communicate evidence to others in the legal system," says Echols. "It is this case-by-case study approach, combined with the practice of extensive debate and dialogue with other criminal justice students in the online class that lends itself so well to this profession."
If you've got your sights set on climbing the corporate ladder, it's possible that earning your degree in business administration online could help. Not only can you do it on your own time, but you'll also learn valuable skills that follow you post-graduation.
According to the College Board, students in this program could study classes like accounting, operations management, business statistics, and economics. This program prepares students to run an organization's activities.
The Online Advantage: Echols says that organizations are increasingly operating on a global basis with huge geographic reach, and studying online can expose students to interacting with others in different parts of the world.
"The boon to studying business administration online is that students immediately get immersed in that international component by working in a collaborative digital environment with students and teachers in other countries," he says. "The tools and tech they use in online learning help to grow the real-world skills they'll use on the job post-graduation."
Do complex problems and the interworking of computers sound like something you'd be interested in dealing with day-in and day-out? If so, earning your degree in the growing field of computer science could help you achieve your career goals, while offering you the flexibility of going to school online.
The College Board lists artificial intelligence, software engineering, and data structures and algorithms as typical classes for this major.
Online Advantage: Essentially, this degree is great to pursue online, because you'll be learning about computers while you're working on one.
"The exposure to tools used in class and the practical alignment with the career world is unmatched [in this program]," Echols says. "The design and deployment of a robust online education learning model is exactly - save the application testing - the deployment of these very skills," he adds.
If you catch yourself frequently looking more closely at posters, magazines, and websites, you may be a good fit for the popular field of graphic design. And because of the technological components of the coursework, this degree translates perfectly to an online format.
Typical coursework could include Photoshop for designers, typography, and history of graphic design, notes the College Board. They say that this program teaches students how to design books, magazines, websites, and more.
Online Advantage: Echols says that students of an online graphic design program use digital tools like Photoshop, and the online medium, to truly excel in their studies.
"While they're doing things like working with online educators who are teaching how to build online content in the form of multimedia, for example, they're also getting practical hands-on education for any employment opportunity they may pursue down the line," he adds.
If you can't stand the sight of blood, but really want to work in the booming field of health care, earning an online degree in health care administration could be a good match for you.
The College Board says health services administration students learn what it takes to oversee a health care facility, and possibly take courses like accounting, health care law, statistics, and health care ethics.
Online Advantage: "Health care providers say one of their biggest challenges is finding ways to integrate technology into their field for things like data capture, medical information, etc.," says Echols.
"The interesting thing about a student learning to function in an online collaborative mode, on a tech learning platform, is that they're exposed to the use of tech right from the start," he observes. "Learning on the platform that their field is struggling with puts them at an advantage - comfort and experience-wise - so they're able to better assimilate and teach others when they get on the job," Echols says.