Save Time: Earn Your Degree Online


See how online programs help you fit education into your busy life.

By Chris Kyle   
Last updated on 8/5/2014

Trying to find time to get your degree? You may be able to control the clock by going to school online.

At Penn State, the typical online student is an adult-learner who leads a busy and full life, according to Karen Pollack, director of academic affairs at Penn State World Campus, the school's online program.

"They are working full time," Pollack says. "They have families. They may be taking care of young children at the same time they are helping to support aging parents."

By going to school online, students of all ages may not have to worry about pesky commutes at rush hour or fret about getting to a particular classroom at an assigned time on a particular day of the week.

They might use flexible tools, such as streaming lectures, activity simulations, and online quizzes, to complete coursework instead.

In other words, students may try to earn the degree they want without giving up their lives.

Keep reading for five online degrees that might help advance your career goals and save time while doing so.

#1 Online Degree - Master's in Business Administration

Think you're too busy to pursue a degree in business administration online? Think again. Online MBA students at Arizona State University, to name one example, have included everyone from a logistics representative for the U.S. Air Force to NFL Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff, who graduated while playing for the Baltimore Ravens.

However, keep in mind that business schools might require you to take the GMAT exam first., a comprehensive research and rating site for students interested in studying online, suggests enrolling in a prep course and taking the essay portion seriously.

Find the Right Online Business Administration Program.

Potential career path: Many top executives with large corporations often have an MBA, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which adds that general and operations managers, a type of top executive, have a median annual salary of $96,430.

#2 Online Degree - Bachelor's in IT & Information Systems

Studying IT and information systems is one way to stay up-to-date on the new technology that is transforming the way we work and live... and studying online allows you to do it on your own time.

Whether you're excited about social media or want to increase the speed in which businesses gather and sort info, an online bachelor's degree in IT and information systems may interest you, regardless of your zip code.

Find the Right Online IT & Information Systems Program.

Potential career path: Businesses of all types rely upon technology - whether it's computer servers, database technology, or simply the ability to send and receive email. One tech-related career path example is computer and information systems managers, which typically requires a degree in information science or computer science, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These professionals have a median annual salary of $123,950.

#3 Online Degree - Master's in Health Care Administration

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 10 of the 20 fastest growing jobs in the U.S. are in health care. If that makes the idea of studying health care administration online attractive to you, read on.

For busy professionals who already have a bachelor's degree, you may want to consider an online master's degree program, which may be found at a variety of schools. New Jersey-based Seton Hall University, for example, offers an online master's of health care administration.

Find the Right Online Health Care Administration Program.

Potential career path: According to the Department of Labor, master's degrees are common among medical and health services managers. And a master's degree in health services is one of them. The median annual salary of those in this position according to the Department is $90,940.

#4 Online Degree - Associate's in Paralegal Studies

Interested in a paralegal career but don't want to commit to several years of commuting to school? Studying paralegal studies online could help you earn an associate's degree or certificate - the most common credentials that paralegals have these days, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

"Students appreciate the flexibility that the program offers in terms of balancing a full-time job, family obligations and their education," says Jondavid DeLong, who teaches legal studies online at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton.

Find the Right Online Paralegal Studies Program.

Potential career path: Most legal assistants and paralegals have either an associate's degree in paralegal studies, or a certificate in paralegal studies with a bachelor's degree in another field, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. These professionals have a median annual salary of $47,570.

#5 Online Degree - Bachelor's in Psychology

Psychology is the most popular online bachelor's degree program at Penn State, says Wayne Smutz, dean of continuing education and the UCLA Extension at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"It's a degree that can be used in a variety of different ways because it's a very flexible subject matter," he explains. "Students may choose to go into areas like health care, business, and human resources."

Find the Right Online Psychology Program.

Potential career path: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, most management analysts have a bachelor's degree, and psychology is one common field of study. These professionals have a median annual salary of $79,870.

Nikki Gaskins also contributed to this article by updating the information on 07/27/2014

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