Flexible Degrees for People on the Go


If earning a college degree seems impossible with your busy schedule, consider going online for more flexibility.

By Tony Moton

Is it your goal to earn a college degree, but not sure you can fit school into your schedule?

With an online education, that cap and gown dream could be more attainable than you think.

Online degree programs can help busy people reach their educational goals with 24-hour access, says Daisy Swan, a Los Angeles-based career coach and author of the book "Making Work Work: Secrets from a Career Coach's Office."

In fact, "You can do your assignments any time of day or night," says Connie Malamed, an online learning consultant.

Intrigued? We've highlighted six bachelor's degrees that are often offered online. Keep reading to see if one is right for you.

Online Degree #1 - Bachelor's in Psychology

If you love psychology and delving into how the human mind works, you may want to think about earning this degree online.

According to Swan, an online psychology program could provide flexible scheduling options for students who want to prepare for health care or social services fields.

"The online delivery system makes it so accessible for people if they live far away from a university," Swan says. "If you have a program with videos, you might be able to study at different times."

What you might learn: According to the College Board, an organization of colleges and universities that administers tests such as the SAT, psychology students could learn more about the ways people think and feel through courses such as perception and sensation, developmental psychology, and personality.

Click to Find the Right Online Psychology Program.

Potential careers: A bachelor's degree in psychology or a related field is typically required when pursuing social services careers like a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Social worker is another potential career option for bachelor's in psychology grads.

Online Degree #2 - Bachelor's in Accounting

Want to study accounting, but don't know if you can commit to set class schedules and commutes to campus? Consider studying online.

"[Accounting majors] can do research and learn their technical number-crunching skills at any time they want," says Swan.

Just keep in mind that you'll need to be comfortable learning independently, Swan adds.

What you might learn: Accounting majors typically learn about gathering, organizing, and reporting financial information to companies and individual clients, according to the College Board. Courses might cover such topics as cost accounting, auditing, and business law.

Click to Find the Right Online Accounting Program.

Potential careers: This online degree is a smart choice if you aspire to pursue opportunities in accounting. Most accountant and auditor candidates need at least this degree or one in a related field, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Online Degree #3 - Bachelor's in Education

Going back to school to pursue your dream of teaching others doesn't have to be so out of reach. With online learning, you could earn your bachelor's in education on your schedule.

Besides providing more convenience to students, an online bachelor's degree in education could help students get more accustomed to using technical gadgets, says Swan. And these tech tools could eventually come in handy in the classroom.

"One of the biggest things happening in education is technology in the classroom," Swan says. "The iPad is infiltrating the classroom, and teachers need to know how to make full use of new tools."

What you might learn: According to the College Board, "education majors study how people learn and how to best teach them." Classes could cover topics like philosophy of education, instructional technology, and teaching methods.

Click to Find the Right Online Education Program.

Potential careers: If you are interested in pursuing a career as a public kindergarten or elementary school teacher, know this: You'll need a bachelor's degree in elementary education - along with a state-issued license or certification, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Online Degree #4 - Bachelor's in Communications

If you want to go back to school to earn your communications degree, going the online route could provide the flexibility you need to make it happen.

In fact, studying this subject online could have more benefits than you might think.

According to Swan, because a lot of today's business communications are conducted online, becoming adept at using a computer could pay off.

"Students are increasing their comfort level and competence with computers during the program, so it compounds the benefit of studying online," Swan says. "It's also a wonderful, flexible way to study."

What you might learn: If you want to learn how to write, edit, and speak professionally, a business communications program can prepare you to properly communicate in a business setting. According to the College Board, public relations writing, public speaking, and advertising and marketing communications are among some of the commonly offered courses.

Click to Find the Right Online Communications Program.

Potential careers: Earning a bachelor's degree in communications could help you pursue a number of careers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's in communications, journalism, or English for technical writing and editing positions.

Online Degree #5 - Bachelor's in Criminal Justice

Interested in earning a degree in criminal justice, but need a more flexible class schedule to help make it happen? Consider going online.

Why? Because "as long as you have a computer, you can do the work when you have the time," says Swan. She adds that the "work" involved in a criminal justice degree often includes reading court cases.

What you might learn: Through courses in criminology, juvenile justice, and victimology, criminal justice students will delve into various aspects of the justice system, law, and criminal activity, says the College Board. In addition, you might study subjects like psychology and public administration.

Click to Find the Right Online Criminal Justice Program.

Potential careers: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a bachelor's degree in criminal justice is one common education path to preparing to pursue careers such as a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist.

Online Degree #6 - Bachelor's in Computer Science

Are time commitments keeping you from pursuing a degree in computer science? If so, an online program in computer science could provide the scheduling flexibility students need to help make their goals possible, says Swan.

Another plus is that students could use technology as they are studying it. "They can be working on their home computer and learning new programs and applications at the same time," Swan says.

What you might learn: A degree in computer science generally covers software design theories, programming languages, such as C++ and Java, as well as the interaction between computers and humans from a scientific perspective, says the College Board. Digital system design, software engineering, and mathematics for computer science are among some commonly offered courses.

Click to Find the Right Online Computer Science Program.

Potential careers: This degree could prepare you to pursue a variety of careers, including a computer programmer and software developer. Plus, it is common for a network and computer systems administrator to have a bachelor's degree in fields related to computer or information science, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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