10 Popular Online Degrees of 2017

best-majors

For many working adults, attending college full time is not an option because they must continue to work while simultaneously pursuing a degree. With more and more individuals unable to conform to the requirements of a traditional program on campus, many schools now offer online programs with more flexible schedules and customization options. This is making online study an increasingly popular alternative for working adults striving to reach their academic and professional goals.

Most working adults choose to pursue a degree program to advance or change their career, or even just to increase their value in their current workplace. And as the economy and job environment continues to recover from the last decade’s recession, the most effective solution for job security is to look for a job opening or pursue training in a field with the most continued demand. Today, the most popular and best online degree programs are within business, healthcare, education, and engineering. These are the 10 most popular degrees for 2017.

Note: All academic major information is from Georgetown University’s The Economic Value of College Majors report. All job growth and salary information is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

1. Business Management and Administration

management
Graduates of a business management and administration program are skilled in directing a broad range of support services for a business or organization. The development of relevant skills make business management one of the best online degree programs for students today. Depending on a candidate’s particular skill set and career goals, they may seek employment in a broad range of positions, from administration manager to management consultant, and in a wide array of fields, including both public and private management firms and corporations, financial institutions, local government, and more.

  • Number of majors: 814 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in business management and administration
  • Projected job growth rate: 8%
  • Average salary: $86,110
  • Acquired skills: Scheduling, recordkeeping, budgeting, staff coordination, and supervision

2. General Business

general-business
Earning a general business degree can provide the skills and training for a variety of careers, from administration manager to senior management. Online business degrees typically incorporate broad clerical, management, and financial competencies that are required in today’s workplace, be it at a small startup company or a large global corporation.

  • Number of majors: 539 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in general business
  • Projected job growth rate: 7%
  • Average salary: $175,110
  • Acquired skills: Supervision and leadership, accounting, operations management, budget management

3. Accounting

accounting
All businesses and organizations are in need of employees trained in accounting to ensure finances are properly handled, making accounting one of the best online degrees students can earn for job options upon graduation. Private businesses, non-profit organizations, and government organizations all must keep accurate records, make certain employees are paid, and ensure that all applicable taxes are filed and paid properly and timely. Accounting graduates help businesses remain in compliance with all fiscal laws and regulations.

  • Number of majors: 463 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in accounting
  • Projected job growth rate: 11%
  • Average salary: $67,740
  • Acquired skills: Budget analysis, financial planning, analysis of financial documents, preparation of financial documents and statements

4. Nursing

nursing
Nursing is growing increasingly popular as a major, as jobs in healthcare are always in demand and are applicable across a range of work environments, including in schools and hospitals. Nursing is also one of the best online degrees because it is often offered at all levels. In fact, an ADN is one of the best online associates degree for those new to the nursing field. Many programs also incorporate accelerated RN to BSN curricula. In addition, a number of nursing programs lead to licensure in the student’s state of residence after graduates complete and pass the relevant NCLEX examinations.

  • Number of majors: 448 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in nursing
  • Projected job growth rate: 31%
  • Average salary: $104,740
  • Acquired skills: Patient recordkeeping, diagnostics, administering exams and medications, consulting, research

5. Psychology

psychologist
Psychologists are responsible for evaluating and treating social, emotional, and behavioral disorders through psychoanalysis and psychotherapy; in most states, they are required to hold an advanced degree and be licensed to practice professionally in their state of residence. Psychologists often perform tests and conduct extensive research to diagnose patients and establish an appropriate course of treatment. Psychology is one of the best online degrees to get for those interested in cognitive health, as students typically select a concentration within this major, such as child psychology, neuropsychology, or forensic psychology.

  • Number of majors: 404 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in psychology
  • Projected job growth rate: 19%
  • Average salary: $72,580
  • Acquired skills: Communication and observation skills, analytical and research abilities, problem-solving skills

6. Communications and Mass Media

communications
Communications and mass media professionals, also called public relations executives, are responsible for maintaining a positive image of their clients in the press and and to the public. Communications is one of the best online degrees for college students interested in combining creative business, marketing, journalism, and people skills in a variety of media-driven positions for diverse clients nationwide.

  • Number of majors: students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in communications and mass media
  • Projected job growth rate: 7%
  • Average salary: $56,770
  • Acquired skills: Writing, public speaking, interpersonal skills, research

7. Marketing and Marketing Research

marketing
Among the most competitive majors, marketing and market research professionals utilize a range of mediums to create interest in their products and services, from traditional print to more contemporary multimedia devices. With the advent of social media, marketing is quickly becoming known as one of the best online degree programs for the increasingly global market of branding and advertising possibilities. Marketing degrees include a range of areas of specialization, in areas such as sports marketing, retail, real estate and more.

  • Number of majors: 315 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in marketing and market research
  • Projected job growth rate: 9%
  • Average salary: $128,750
  • Acquired skills: Communications, journalism, finance, design, sales, computer and internet skills

8. General Education

general-education
While many students pursuing a degree in education will go on to become teachers, the major is also one of the best degrees to get online for preparing candidates for related service occupations, including as community leaders and education advocates. All educators in the public school system must have licensure; students are typically also required to gain extensive field experience while earning their degree. Education majors will likely choose a specialization in a particular type of education, academic subject, or age group.

  • Number of majors: 287 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in general education
  • Projected job growth rate: 7%
  • Average salary: $57,200
  • Acquired skills: Communication skills, curriculum development, problem-solving, counseling

9. Elementary Education

elementary-education
A common concentration under the umbrella of general education, elementary educators are charged with teaching basic academics, such as math and reading, to kindergarten age to eight-year-old students in elementary classrooms. Elementary education is one of the best online bachelor’s degree programs for those interested in teaching young children, but practical in-classroom training is also typically required, as well as state licensure. This allows graduates to practice in most public institutions; private schools and learning facilities uphold their own individual requirements for employment.

  • Number of majors: 279 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in elementary education
  • Projected job growth rate: 7%
  • Average salary: $54,890
  • Acquired skills: Communication skills, early-childhood development, lesson planning, problem-solving, knowledge of basic academic subjects

10. English Language and Literature

english-literature
English language and literature is one of the best online degrees for students interested in a major that could lead to many diverse career options. English has broad applications spanning the fields of communications, advertising, and education. With an in-depth degree in English language and literature, graduates may choose to pursue a career as an author or writer for books, films, or blogs; they are also qualified to become English teachers, and can also pursue a particular concentration, such as professional/media writing, creative writing, or cultural studies.

  • Number of majors: 251 students out of every 10,000 college students are majoring in English language and literature
  • Projected job growth rate: 7%
  • Average salary: $60,250
  • Acquired skills: English writing and speaking, linguistics, knowledge of early to contemporary English literature, computer and internet skills

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