According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 5.4 million students took at least one online class in 2012. That’s one in four students who were attending college. That number continues to grow, as more colleges are making their classes available online. For working adults, this is great news, as it means they can take classes around their work schedules, and without having to leave home.
Choosing an Online Degree Program
There are countless online degree programs available. In order to choose the right one, you’ll need to factor in salary, job security, and whether or not you’re continuing your education. For example, if you were in the military in the past, you might want to find a veteran-friendly online college.
According to Leah K. Matthews, the executive director of the Accrediting Commission of the nonprofit Distance Education and Training Council, “Online learning can do two things: It can lead to the advancement in an existing profession, or it can lead to a completely new profession…It spans almost every field now.”
The Highest Paying Online Degrees with Steady Employment and Job Security
If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to consider the availability of jobs in your chosen field, and what they pay entry-level workers. Is it more than you’re making now? If not, you may want to consider another degree program. The following online degree programs require minimal education, but result in high-paying jobs with long-term job security.
Electrical or Electric Engineering Technician: According to MilitaryBenefits.info, the median pay for an engineering technician is $56,040 (or $26.94 per hour). It’s estimated this professional will see a 2 percent growth between now and 2020 for a total of 2,900 new jobs.
Health Care Administrator: Health care administration pays a great deal, and it doesn’t take long to earn this degree. Accelerated programs, such as GMercyU accelerated degree programs, are earned in under two years. According to GMercyU, accelerated programs “provide a superior education solution for working adults who are looking to achieve their long-term professional goals.” They also state that “with small class sizes and attentive care from faculty and staff, working adult students benefit from practical guidance in a supportive, ethics-based learning environment.”
According to Chron.com, a health care administrator makes an annual income of $96,030. “The lowest paid 10 percent earned $52,730 per year or less, and the lowest paid 25 percent reported annual earnings of $67,450 per year.” It can be assumed that the lowest paid workers were entry-level workers.
Top Online Continuing Education Programs
Continuing your education almost always guarantees a higher salary and increased job security. Certain online degree programs guarantee long-term, steady income. The following continuing education degree programs are proven to be well-paying, as well as provide long-term job security and a fair work-life balance. They require that you begin classes with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Computer Systems Analyst: According to US News, the median salary for a computer systems analyst is $79,680. This degree program requires a relevant bachelor’s degree, such as a degree in computer information technology.
Market Research Analyst: At the very least you’ll need a bachelor’s degree to enter this field where the median salary is $60,300. For creative people, who understand both math and business, this is a greatly rewarding field.
Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners make a median salary of $89,960, and can expect long-term job security. A recent Medical Care study reported an “estimated employment growth of 94 percent,” so job prospects are aplenty.
Overall, healthcare and technology are the fields that pay the most, and offer degrees that can be earned completely online. The most important thing is that you’re able to balance your coursework around your family and current job responsibilities. Online degrees allow you to achieve this balance without neglecting your other priorities.