Five Flexible Degrees To Consider Now


Degrees for busy people

Tight schedule? Before you cross education off your list, you might want to look into earning your degree online.

By Jennifer Berry
You might think that with your busy life, family obligations, and work schedule, there will never be time to go back to school. But going back to school doesn't necessarily have to mean physically going to school. You can pursue your education from the comfort of your own home, on your own schedule, and still earn a valuable degree.
"Online education is beginning to become as flexible as adult learners really need," says Rod Hewlett, vice president of Bellevue University's Institute for Advanced Professional Programs.
Plus, there are some distinct advantages to online education.
"Online learning is about gaining a valuable personal and professional boost," says Angela Ambrosini, adjunct design professor. "It allows you the opportunity to prosper, adapt in a fast and changing environment, [build] self-confidence, and mostly gives you the edge to stay ahead of the learning curve."
But, keep in mind that an online program might not be for everyone. If you're wondering if it may be right for you, Jay Titus, director of Academic Services for EdAssist (the largest provider of tuition assistance program management services), has some advice: "If I'm speaking with someone who has a full schedule, but can independently manage their time and is even moderately comfortable with technology, I will encourage them to explore an online program."
If that sounds like you, read on to learn about six degrees you could earn online, and why they might be just the thing you need to fit education into your life.

Degree #1 - Business Administration

Want to get a foot up in the business world? Earning your bachelor's degree in business administration online might be the solution you need to fit your degree in around your current schedule.
Some of the courses you might take include operations management, accounting, business ethics and law, business policy and strategy, and human resources management, according to the College Board, a not-for-profit membership organization committed to excellence and equity in education.
Why It's a Good Fit for Online: "Business administration is one of the most common degrees we see adult learners pursuing at EdAssist - both at the undergraduate and graduate level," says Titus. He adds that an online program can actually be more advantageous in some respects - like connecting students with people all over the world, for one example.
"By sitting in a virtual online classroom, you remove any geographical barriers and allow individuals access to more people than they may have access to in the traditional classroom," he explains.
Potential Career Path*:

Degree #3 - Computer Science

Have you always been good with computers, or are interested in solving technical problems? Don't let your packed schedule keep you from earning your degree in computer science. With online education, you can prepare to pursue a new career around your busy life.
Just think about all the things you might learn in classes like artificial intelligence, digital system design, software engineering, and the theory of formal languages - all courses the College Board says are typical of this major.
Why It's a Good Fit for Online: Perhaps the biggest perk for this degree is that studying computer science online gives working adults a chance to put their education to work right away.
"Degrees with specializations in the IT field allow individuals to gain competitive skills and management knowledge. The IT world presents constant challenges, and online students have the ability to maintain employment and utilize the workplace to comprehend and test the knowledge gained in their degree program," says Sher Downing, executive director of online academic services at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.
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Degree #4 - Information Technology

Another way to prepare to pursue a technical position - even if you don't have time to commit to a traditional brick-and-mortar school - could be to earn your information technology degree online.
You could study a wide range of fascinating topics like C++ programming, computer networking, database management systems, and web technologies, according to the College Board.
Why It's a Good Fit for Online: "Information technology students appreciate the use of technology for learning. The online classroom lets students learn about technology by using technology," says Mary Dobransky, dean of the College of Science and Technology at Bellevue University.
And much like the computer science degree, this degree doesn't depend on in-person collaboration, Titus says. "What's more important is that the student gains the technical skills," he adds. "Because curriculums don't change much - if at all - from on-campus to online, this degree works well for online education."
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Degree #5 - Accounting

You know that accounting is about much more than spreadsheets and bean-counting. But if you fear you'll never be able to pursue this important career because you don't have time to earn the necessary degree, think again. Earn your accounting degree online and you could have the flexibility to take courses at your own pace.
Those courses could include things like accounting, accounting information systems, business law, auditing, cost accounting, and tax accounting, according to the College Board.
Why It's a Good Fit for Online: Not only could you benefit from the flexibility of being able to schedule your classes on your own time, but the quantitative nature of the curriculum could be well suited to an online format, says Pamela Imperato, dean of the College of Business at Bellevue University
Downing adds that "[t]he field of accountancy requires students to have a broad foundation of courses that prepares them for careers in the public and private sectors," says Downing. "The flexibility of an online degree allows students to attend school for accounting while being employed in positions that allow for real-world application of their academic knowledge."
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Degree #6 - Graphic Design

Wish you could build a career on your artistic talent, but feel like there's no way you'd ever be able to fit a new degree into your fast-paced life? With online education, that graphic design degree might not be as out-of-reach as you fear.
Just think about learning graphic design techniques, Photoshop for designers, production design, and typography - all of which the College Board says are typical classes you might take for this major.
Why It's a Good Fit for Online: "Graphic design courses are very much suited for online study because they allow the flexibility and independence to study and do comprehensive projects on your own time," says Ambrosini.
"Design degrees require a lot of ingenuity and creativity - online learning allows this very environment for students," she says.
Potential Career Paths*:

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