Online College Degrees

Advance your career through professional development opportunities such as online degrees.

How Does an Online College Degree Work?

What it's all about and why it matters.

Technology has shrunk the world and everything is at your fingertips today, including education. Online college degrees are growing in popularity for the obvious reason that it allows you to learn and earn a degree from the comfort of your home. While some people are skeptical about online degrees, many have enrolled and successfully earned a degree online.

There are numerous online undergraduate and postgraduate degrees accredited by reputed colleges/universities across the globe. These online degree programs are either fully online or are a hybrid, i.e., they are a mix of online learning and classroom-based learning. Some online degree courses require you to attend video classes at a scheduled time and send completed projects and assignments within a stipulated time period. Others are self-paced, i.e., they allow students to learn at their own pace and time. 

Going to college for your degree is often an expensive affair, and most students need financial aid. Online degrees are more economical. Students attend online lectures and interact with professors and other peers through emails, messaging, video chat, audio calls, etc. Since most of the video classes are recorded, they are available to the students for easy access in case someone has missed a lecture or wants to revise the lesson. To enroll in an online degree program, one needs to have a computer with a good operating system, high-speed Internet, a webcam, a microphone, and a speaker/headphone. Online degrees from accredited institutions are widely accepted in job markets.  

The real cost of online college degrees?

Online learning started as an alternative option for students to complete their college degrees but has gained popularity over the last decade. This is due to the lower costs involved in getting an online degree over a traditional one.

Are online college degrees cheaper?

A study conducted in 2015 on online college students released a report that states that college costs and tuition fees were the most important factors for students to making a decision. 

College costs are calculated in terms of the credit hours that students need to complete as part of their program. The numbers given below may vary according to university policies.

Credit hours

Undergraduate degree: 120-130 

Master’s degree: 30-55 

Fees range

By studying data from the top 25 online university programs in the USA, we found that the cost of an undergraduate degree ranges between $150-$458 per credit hour and $257-$539 per credit hour for the master's degree.

Broadly, the individual components of college costs for a bachelor’s degree are categorized as follows:

Traditional college
Online learning
Tuition & Fees
Boarding & Food
Books & Supplies
Other personal

(Given above is the actual cost structure of an undergrad program in Florida.)

You can see that an online college degree is comparatively cheaper as students can save on certain expenses that they don’t have to incur in an online environment.

The 6 Most Popular Online Degrees

#1 Bachelor's Degree in Psychology

Online bachelor's degree in psychology is the most popular online degree according to the 2015 eLearners Index. Job possibilities include, work in fields of social services, human services, community relations and etc.

#2 Information Technology Degrees

With the demand for hi-tech jobs is expected to outstrip demand, Princeton Review ranks Computer and Information Sciences as one of the top 10 most popular online majors. 

#3 Online Criminal Justice Degrees

According to Eduventures reports, criminal justice is the 3rd most popular online degree. Job possibilities include, law enforcement, security officer, criminal investigator, sheriff's deputy, corrections case manager and probation officer.

#4 Online Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

According to the most recent eLearners index, an online bachelor's degree in business administration is the 4th most popular online degree. Job possibilities include, human resources, business analysis, banking, manufacturing and finance.

#5 Online Education Degrees

Eduventures rank education degree as the 5th most popular online degree. Job possibilities include, teaching jobs in both public and private schools.

#6 Online Degree in Early Childhood Education

According to the most recent eLearners Index, an online associate's degree in early childhood education ranks as the 6th most popular online degree. Job possibilities include, preschools daycare and home-based childcare facilities.

Are Online College Degrees Worth It?

"...90% of public four-year colleges and universities and 60% of private universities offer courses online."

While online education has its benefits, many question whether an online degree is really worth it. The knowledge the degree offers you and whether it is accredited by a reputed university are two of the prime parameters in deciding the value of an online college degree. 

For most students today, a college degree is about improving the odds of landing a good job and rising in their careers. It is, therefore, all the more essential to have a recognized college degree. An online degree from a reputed college accredited by recognized agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation is definitely worth your time and money. An online degree must be accredited not only for better job prospects but also to avail financial aid for education and employer reimbursement.  

Another factor to consider is the presence or absence of bias against online degrees in the industry that you are working or wish to work in. Though online education has seen greater acceptance in recent years, a slight bias favoring degrees earned from physical campuses over online degrees still exists in some career fields. It’s only a matter of time before these changes, thanks to prestigious colleges like Harvard, MIT, Yale, etc., offering online programs. 

With the flexibility that online degrees offer, and with their growing popularity, it looks like online degree programs are definitely worth it. 


College costs have been increasing at an average of 2.4% every academic year during the last decade as reported in the ‘Trends in College Pricing’ annual report’ released by College Board.

The rapidly rising college costs and not so rapidly rising financial aids have pushed students into looking for comparatively inexpensive options to earn that college degree. Before making a decision, check out the university website to compare the cost structures and select the most feasible option. 

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What other students are saying about online degrees

My online degree was such a pleasant experience, that upon graduation of earning my AS in Criminal Justice, I decided to continue my education towards earning my BS degree. I recommend an online college degree for anyone who's looking for a no-hassle, flexible learning environment

Christina McEwan