Busy Schedules Are No Match For These Flexible Degrees


If you can fit online shopping into your busy day, you can earn one of these degrees online.

By Andrea Argueta

Videoconferencing, online banking, and robot vacuums. Technology has definitely made our lives easier and a little less hectic. And for those trying to fit school into their busy days of meetings, kids, and household responsibilities, technology has a solution for that, too.

Online education is becoming more and more popular for busy people. In fact, "millions of postsecondary students have turned to online education because it enables them to fit education around their work and family responsibilities," according to the study "Online College Students 2012: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences," a joint project of The Learning House and Aslanian Market Research.

So if you're ready to do homework on your lunch hour, late at night - or whenever you have pockets of free time - keep reading to learn which online degrees might fit perfectly with your life on the go.

Online Degree #1: Bachelor's in Business Administration

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Has your nine to five job kept you from pursuing the business administration degree you've always wanted? Consider studying online.

Today, many business students work and need a program that will allow them to keep their full-time job, says Dani Babb, online education expert and author of "The Adult Student: An Insider's Guide to Going Back to School." "An online program allows for such time flexibility even if students have to travel on business," Says Babb.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Online Business Administration Program.

What You Might Learn: As a business administration and management student you could learn about planning an organization's activities, sharpen your writing and speaking skills, and work with numbers, says the College Board, an organization that promotes higher education. You may also explore different management philosophies and discuss case studies about the challenges real companies face today.

Related Career Paths*:

Online Degree #2: Associate's in Dental Hygiene

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If you thought the only way to study dental hygiene was by driving to and from school every day, think again! An online associate's degree in dental hygiene might allow you to do at least some of the coursework remotely, which is great if you have a full schedule.

"Online degrees in dental hygiene are often focused around degree completion or earning the bookwork portion of the credentials online," says Babb. This means you could telecommute to class and use the time you would spend driving to tend to other activities. Babb adds that some online programs partner with an on-campus dental school in your area so that you can complete the lab portions.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Online Dental Hygiene Program.

What You Might Learn: In a dental hygiene program you could learn to teach patients to take care of their teeth, as well as to treat any diseases they may have, says the College Board. You may also learn how mouth diseases affect the rest of the body and the relationship between nutrition and overall health.

Related Career Path*:

Online Degree #3: Bachelor's in Fashion Design

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Do you wish you could get your design skills Fashion Week-ready without letting go of your current responsibilities? Good news: study fashion design online, and you can.

Sure, "when we think of fashion design we often think collaboration and lots of sewing machines, fashion shows, presentations, and hands-on instruction," says Babb. But thanks to online education, you can actually make your home, office, or laptop your own design studio.

"Since computer-aided design technology has become a major player in the design elements, students are able to learn this and work on their creative side remotely in an online format," adds Babb.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Online Fashion Design Program.

What You Might Learn: In a fashion design program, you learn the ins and outs of designing and making clothes and accessories, says the College Board. You may also learn to sew garments, construct patterns, study textiles, and use computer-aided design programs.

Related Career Paths*:

Online Degree #4: Associate's in Nursing

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If you want to earn your nursing degree but think there's no way you have the time, think online. While it might seem unlikely that you can earn such a hands-on degree online, it's not impossible.

Advances in technology have allowed online nursing students to learn the basics while using virtual labs and patient-based scenarios to get the practice they need to earn their degree, says Babb.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Online Nursing Program.

What You Might Learn: As a nursing student, you could learn how to examine patients, arrive at a diagnosis, and design a plan of care, says the College Board. You may also learn to care for disabled patients, study the art of taking a health history, and touch on ethical issues related to terminal illness.

Related Career Path*:

Online Degree #5: Bachelor's in Education

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If you have a lot on your plate but still want to learn about different teaching styles, an online bachelor's in education could help you do it - without all the long hours spent commuting back and forth to class.

Without having to travel to multiple regions, an online program in education allows students to be exposed to teaching styles from a diverse group of students living in different places, says Babb.

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Online Education Program.

What You Might Learn: Program focus will depend on the type of education program you attend. In an early childhood education program, you could create and manage a classroom for infants to third graders, says the College Board. However, if you choose to pursue in special education, you could learn to teach adults or children with special learning needs.

In a general education program, on the other hand, you might learn to teach students of different ages, learning styles or background, adds the College Board.

Related career path*:

Online Degree #6: Associate's in Interior Design

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Love watching HGTV's "Design Star" at the end of a long day? Why not parlay that interest into studying interior design yourself. An online associate's degree in interior design could help you build your design skills when it's best for you.

In fact, you could do your assignments wherever there's a space for creativity in your schedule and submit with just a click. Many assignments will be focused on hands-on work, as they would be in a traditional program, just submitted differently, says Babb. "For instance, an on-ground interior designer working on a degree will have to go design and then report. The same thing happens online - we just click upload instead of print on our homework."

Next Step: Click to Find the Right Online Interior Design Program.

What You Might Learn: Interior design majors learn how to improve people's lives at home by creating practical and healthy environments for them, says the College Board. You may spend time building up your drawing skills, collecting fabric swatches, and using computers to create floor plans.

Related career path*:

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* All related career path picks are based on information from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook. The degrees are named by the Department of Labor as being either required or preferred by employers, or common among job applicants. In some instances, the degree may not be the only educational or professional requirement for a career.

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