Flexible Degrees For Inflexible Schedules

1903

Does your busy life keep you on a tight schedule? Online education could help you find an opening for your studies.

By Jennifer Berry

Wondering how you're ever going to fit going back to school into your already packed life? You might have the answer at your fingertips. With a computer and a good Internet connection, you could earn your degree online. And you certainly won't be alone.

"There's a fever sweeping the country over online education," says Michael P. Lambert, executive director of the Distance Education and Training Council, a nonprofit agency in the United States specializing in the accreditation of distance education institutions. "One reason for the popularity is the convenience of being able to study at home on your own time and still hold down a full-time job, raise a family, or travel."

Convenience is certainly a significant benefit of online education, but keep in mind that it's not a synonym for easy. Online education requires a high degree of commitment and dedication, so it's not for everyone.

But if you think online education is the right path for you, read on to learn about some degrees you can earn that are especially excellent in an online format.

Online Degree #1 - Bachelor's in Finance

Think you might want to learn the ABCs of financial analysis, but just don't have the time to devote to a traditional brick-and-mortar degree program? An online bachelor's degree in finance might solve your dilemma.

Why Earn This Degree Online: "Finance is one of the easiest topics to teach by distance," Lambert says. "All instruction revolves around case studies and analyzing a company's financial position." Lambert also explains that if you're studying finance online, you might be assigned recently published articles as part of your curriculum. "That keeps the curriculum very fresh," he says.

Click to Find the Right Online Finance Program.

According to the College Board - a nonprofit organization that advocates for higher education - as a finance major, you'll learn how to understand the economy and stock market, practice making investment decisions, and work with complex computer programs. Some typical courses include accounting and statistics for financial analysis, investments, and financial management.

Online Degree #2 - Associate's in Paralegal Studies

Have you dreamed of joining the legal field, but don't have the time for at least three years of law school after the four years it would take to earn your bachelor's degree? Consider earning your associate's in paralegal studies online: You could tackle your class work on your own time, and prepare to pursue a career in law.

Why Earn This Degree Online: "[P]aralegal studies requires heavy reading, which is very compatible with an online education format," Lambert says. "In fact, paralegal studies has been a popular distance learning program for decades - since before online programs, through correspondence courses - because much of the coursework is reading or case studies."

Click to Find the Right Online Paralegal Program.

In a paralegal program, you might sharpen your research and writing skills, use computers, and develop your organizational skills, says the College Board. As for courses in this program, they typically include civil procedure, criminal law and procedure, and legal research and writing.

Online Degree #3 - Master's in Business Administration

There are all sorts of reasons you might be considering getting your MBA. Whether you're gunning for a promotion at work, or you're hoping to start your own business, this degree could provide you with the much-needed skills to succeed. And by earning it online, you'll be able to prepare for the next level in your career when - and where - it's most convenient for you.

Why Earn This Degree Online: "This is a great program to study online," Lambert says. "It's very case-study oriented and there's a lot of writing. MBAs are fundamentally analysts - you're brought in to look at a problem and solve it. Online learning is ideal for these people."

Click to Find the Right Online MBA Program.

According to the Princeton Review, some of the subjects you might cover in your MBA program include finance, management and accounting, organizational behavior, and economics. And the better schools will help you apply the academic theories you're learning to real-world problems, notes the Princeton Review.

Online Degree #4 - Associate's in Health Information Systems and Technology

Are you interested in learning about the role technology plays in health care, but think you're too busy for school? If you enroll in an online degree program, you could earn your associate's in health information systems and technology and save time by not commuting to campus.

Why Earn This Degree Online: "This is a red hot area for online learning," says Lambert. "Part of that comes from the fact that the students who study this at home can sometimes translate that into income - they can work from home as medical transcriptionists or coders." In other words, because the career can often be done remotely, it makes sense for people to prepare for it by also studying online.

Click to Find the Right Online Health Information Systems and Technology Program.

What might you expect to study in this type of program? The College Board says that you'll learn to speak the language of medicine, master the latest medical records software, and get up to speed on medical coding. Some typical classes for this major include medical terminology, health care statistics, introduction to coding, and computers in health care, according to the College Board.

Online Degree #5 - Bachelor's in International Business

Are you fascinated by how business works in other countries and cultures, but don't have any time to fit college classes into your jam-packed schedule? Consider earning your bachelor's in international business online - and learn global tricks of the trade whenever it works for you.

Why Earn This Degree Online: "Business subjects are easily taught online," says Lambert. And, he adds, there's a benefit to studying international business online that you might not have considered. "You'll likely get an international student body because the Internet doesn't have geographic boundaries. So you might be taking classes with students from Singapore, Japan, Norway, England, or Germany," Lambert says.

And, he notes, if you're studying international business, what better way to learn than with people from all over the world?

Click to Find the Right Online International Business Program.

In an international business program, the College Board says you'll learn how to sell products around the world, write business plans, and even speak another language. You might study courses like international finance, marketing, and operations, according to the College Board.

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