Flexible Degrees That Busy Adults Can Earn


Ready to prep for a mid-career change? Consider the flexibility of an online education.

By Tony Moton

Are you unhappy in your current career, but feel like it's too late to make a change?

According to Joan Mitchell, director of public relations for Western Governors University, an online college based in Salt Lake City, earning an online degree gives mid-career changers an opportunity to go back to school while maintaining current work and family responsibilities.

In fact, compared to a traditional college program, an online education offers a busy professional the flexibility to earn a degree when and where it's most convenient.

"Going to a traditional brick-and-mortar school isn't always feasible for students with a lot of obligations," says Mitchell.

Think online education might be a good option for you? Check out these five flexible degree programs.

Online Degree #1: Health Care Administration

Are you considering a mid-career change and hope to one day manage a health care facility? By earning an online bachelor's degree in health care administration, you could prepare to pursue your goals around your current responsibilities.

Mid-Career Flexibility: For health care professionals who are aiming for management positions, an online degree in health care administration can be particularly convenient, says Mitchell.

"There might be someone who is working in a hospital as a nurse or, coincidently, a doctor who wants to get a master's degree in health administration," Mitchell says. "For them, doing this work online gives them the flexibility and access to complete the program on their own time."

Click to Find the Right Online Health Care Administration Program.

What You Might Learn: According to the College Board, an educational organization that administers tests like the SAT, "students of health services administration learn all aspects of overseeing health care facilities and the services they provide." Common courses in a bachelor's program include health care policy, human resources management, and economics of health care.

Online Degree #2: Business Administration

Interested in moving up the corporate business ladder, but don't have time to study what it takes to make the climb? Look into earning an online master's in business administration (MBA) to help you move into a new career.

Mid-Career Flexibility: With an online MBA, working adults could get a chance to build on their professional experiences, while also getting the chance to pursue their interests in the business world.

"I think people in business fields or those running their own company or trying to move up in a company find a great value in finishing an online MBA," Mitchell says. "It allows them to keep working while they finish their master's degree."

Click to Find the Right Online MBA Program.

What You Might Learn: MBA students are typically given an overview of the main areas of business, according to the Princeton Review. As for what you'll study, programs generally cover courses like finance, management, accounting, and economics.

Online Degree #3: Accounting

Are you looking to sharpen your number-crunching skills to prep for a mid-career change? Consider the flexibility of earning a bachelor's in accounting online.

Mid-Career Flexibility: If you want to expand on your accounting experience, an online bachelor's in accounting could be a time-efficient way to reach your goals, according to Mitchell.

"If you have been working in an accounting department or role for years, you are going to know a lot of the principles, but you might not have completed the degree," Mitchell says. "An online degree program will allow you to use your knowledge and experience and move through the program at a faster rate."

Of course, time to completion for this program will vary depending on your schedule and workload, among other things.

Click to Find the Right Online Accounting Program.

What You Might Learn: As an accounting major, you'll learn "how to gather, record, analyze, interpret, and communicate information about an individual's or organization's financial performance and risks," according to the College Board. Business law, auditing, and cost accounting are among some of the commonly offered courses.

Online Degree #4: Education

Interested in making a mid-career change to help educate young minds? Look into earning your bachelor's in education online.

Mid-Career Flexibility: Why an online degree? It provides students with the flexibility to keep their current job while prepping to pursue a career in education.

"A lot of students who have worked for years at an oil company or aerospace company have always wanted to teach," Mitchell says. "Now they can earn a bachelor's or master's degree and keep their job until they have to do their student teaching."

Click to Find the Right Online Education Program.

What You Might Learn: During a bachelor's in education program, you could develop classroom skills and techniques through coursework and student teaching, according to the College Board. Common courses cover topics like educational psychology, instructional technology, and teaching methods.

Online Degree #5: Network and System Administration

Want to make a mid-career switch into the computer industry? Consider earning an online bachelor's degree in network and system administration.

Mid-Career Flexibility: For working professionals who are already in the information technology (IT) industry, an online degree in network and system administration could be earned during their "off hours" and improve their chances of career advancement, according to Mitchell.

"In the IT industry, there are a lot of people who start out their careers and move along without [any kind of] degree," Mitchell says. "But to move into some positions, they will need a [bachelor's] degree."

On the other hand, if you're looking to enter the IT field for the first time, this online program could also prepare students to pursue entry-level positions, adds Mitchell.

Click to Find the Right Online Network and System Administration Program.

What You Might Learn: As a network and system administration major, you can expect to learn the intricacies of computer systems and their networks of hardware, software, programmers, users, and data, according to the College Board. Classes may cover topics such as database management, network security, and desktop support.

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