Hot Degrees To Earn In Your Spare Time

Hot flexible degrees

Does it seem impossible to squeeze classes into your busy schedule? Then these flexible degrees could be right for you.

By Lia Sestric
Has "earn a college degree" been written on your to-do list for quite some time? Well, you may be able to cross this off your list if you pursue a degree online.
But where should you start? Fortunately, Learning House released a survey, "Online College Students 2013," which breaks down the most popular online undergraduate degrees.
One of the key findings of this report? About two-thirds of the students who completed an online program thought it was a good investment of time and money.
If it's convenience you're after, online education can give you that. But it's important to note that online learning does require hard work and discipline and as a result, may not be for everyone.
If you're ready to make the leap to advance your education, keep reading to discover the hottest online degrees.

Online Degree #1: Business Administration

If you've considered a business administration degree, you are not alone. According to the "Online College Students" survey, business administration has the highest enrollment.
The Online Benefit: Michael Detzel, associate director of online initiatives at the College of Mount St. Joseph says pursuing a business degree online allows students to find a program "that fits individual desires and needs, without being limited to a small geographic area."
As Detzel notes, having access to unique concentrations that may not be offered at a local college could make you stand out from the pack when it comes to finding a job in the business field.  
As a business administration and management student, you may learn how to plan, organize, and direct the activities of an organization, says the College Board. Some common courses might include economics, management information systems, financial management, and business policy and strategy.
Potential Career*:

Online Degree #2: Accounting

If you already know math is your strong point, why not pursue a degree in accounting? By earning it online, you can balance your studies and your busy life.  Plus, you could see for yourself why it ranks number two in popularity among online undergraduate programs according to the "Online College Students" report.
The Online Benefit:  Detzel says accounting has always been a safe field to enter, but online learning has been tailored to fit the accounting world of today. 
"The days of the accountant with a calculator and notepad are in the past," he says. "Advanced accounting software, complex programs, and word processing are a few of the technologies modern accountants use on a daily basis.  Online classes emphasize and provide hands-on training in these computerized accounting applications, while still complementing the core accounting curriculum."
An accounting program teaches students to interpret and communicate information on how an individual or organization is performing financially, says the College Board. Classes for this degree might include multiple levels of accounting courses as well as business law and auditing.
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Online Degree #3: Health Care Administration

Maybe you know you are not cut out to be a doctor. But if it is in your heart to pursue a career in health care, where you can still make a difference, why not consider an online degree in health services administration?
This degree is a popular choice to earn online, ranking number seven in the survey, and it can also fit into your busy schedule.
The Online Benefit: Detzel says an online health care administration program offers students a global perspective. Students of this online degree may also get a leg up in the profession, since they'll practice using software that's applied to real world situations in their field, he adds.
"Technology is essential to health care, from the computerization of health records to the myriad of health care software that is used in every medical office large and small," he says.
Students of health services administration could learn about the different responsibilities of overseeing health care facilities and the services they provide, says the College Board. Common courses include health care ethics, anatomy and physiology, statistics, and accounting.
Potential Career*:

Online Degree #4: Criminal Justice

Has a career in criminal justice always seemed exciting to you? You don't have to put that dream off any longer. An online criminal justice program could prep you for a career without giving up your current job. This degree ranked fourth in popularity for undergraduate degrees, according to the survey.
The Online Benefit: "Computers are playing a much larger role in criminal justice than ever before," says Detzel. As a result, many online courses teach students the computer skills and techniques to develop security systems, to compute and factor large quantities of data, and to protect companies who are finding it increasingly vital to do business online, he explains.
If you choose to pursue this degree, you may learn all aspects of the law, crime, and the justice system, says the College Board. In this program, you may interpret statistics and study court cases. The College Board reports that courses might include policing society, the U.S. criminal-justice system, and juvenile justice.
Potential Career*:

Online Degree #5: Early Childhood Education

Do you like the idea of lesson-planning and grading tests? If a degree in early childhood education has been on your radar but has seemed out of reach, an online program may be the right choice for you. According to the survey, early childhood education is the eleventh most popular online program. 
The Online Benefit: Detzel says early childhood education is very hot online right now because new technology allows for online simulations. "These simulations can play a key role in courses such as child psychology.  In these courses students can use the virtual simulations to experience situations and study reactions in ways they never ethically could before."
As an early childhood education student, you may learn how to create and manage a nurturing, safe classroom where every student thrives, says the College Board. Coursework may possibly include child development, curriculum methods, and instructional design.
Potential Career*:

Online Degree #6: Graphic Design

Can you picture yourself creating a trademark design? This vision doesn't have to feel like a pipe dream. An online graphic design program may provide you the knowledge you need without putting too much stress on your daily routine.  According to the survey, it also ranks seventh among the top 15 undergraduate online degrees.
The Online Benefit:  An online program can offer a student great professional experience, says Detzel. "The students actually find themselves immersed in the material they are studying.  This assists them in building technical skills, computer literacy, and to work on a daily basis with the technology they are learning in class," he says.
Also, Detzel points out that most graphic design firms are working with people from around the globe. "This means that the vast majority of communication will be done electronically.  Learning how to effectively communicate electronically with clients, both in expressing your ideas and providing feedback, is essential to success as a graphic designer," he adds.
In a graphic design program, you could learn about the principles of good design as well as the necessary computer skills to create the look for everything from books to websites, says the College Board. Courses might include Photoshop for designers, history of graphic design, and typography.
Potential Career*:

Online Degree #7: Psychology

Are you interested in a career where you can help people by listening to their thoughts, troubles, and feelings? A psychology degree can prep you for one of many careers where you can do just that. And if you can't get to a college campus, don't worry. You can earn this degree online. In fact, psychology ranked sixth in popularity in the survey of online undergraduate degrees.
The Online Benefit: Studying psychology online makes sense in a world where humans are interacting virtually more and more, says Detzel. "Students of psychology often learn the majority of the program basics through self-guided study and reading. This importance [placed] on literature and self-study in psychology lends itself perfectly to online education."
He adds that an online program offers the opportunity to study a specialized area within the field of psychology. This could include specializations such as industrial and organizational psychology, child development, or applied behavior analysis.
As a psychology major, you could explore human and animal behavior, says the College Board. Students might have to conduct research and maybe even be a guinea pig themselves. Some courses may include neuroscience, perception and sensation, and research methods in psychology.

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