Thanks to evolving technology, online degree programs are taking off. Today, parents as well as those who are already working, are able to complete the work required for the degree at times convenient to them, but does this convenience come with a cost? Are online degrees as respected as traditional college degrees? (For related reading, see Online Or Campus Study: What's The Better Option?)
Although some hiring managers still prefer a traditional degree over an online degree, those rules are rapidly changing. If you attend a college or university that has a large traditional student body, it's impossible for hiring managers to know if you have satisfied the requirements for the degree by completing online or traditional work.

SEE: Student Loans

Because of the increasing popularity of online studying, the majority of colleges and universities either offer online programs or intend to offer virtual study options in the near future. If you're planning to pursue an online degree, what degree programs will be in demand in coming years? Here are a few options. (To learn more about degrees in high demand, read The 3 Best Degrees In 2012.)

Registered Nurse
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses will remain in high demand and as the baby boomer generation continues to age, the demand will be even greater. Online nursing degree programs are among the most popular programs, and many colleges and universities offer these in various specialties within the nursing field.

Through 2018, the amount of accountants needed should increase by 22%, according to the BLS. As the economy recovers and financial regulation continues to be a priority among lawmakers, this should spur growth in the accounting job market. Because of this increasing demand, online offerings have increased as well. Not only can students earn an accounting degree, but other online programs assist with preparing for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.

The teaching profession is expected to grow by 13% through 2018. Teaching has always been a popular degree program for colleges and universities, not just for recent high school graduates but also mid-career people looking to enter the teaching field. In addition, the popularity of advanced degree programs as well as continuing education requirements have made online programs popular in the education field. (For more information, see Best States For Teachers.)

Although any accredited program has to meet high standards, consider enrolling in an online degree program at a well-respected college or university. Just like a traditional degree, hiring managers may respond more favorably to a degree from a school that has a long history of quality education, and you may qualify for lower tuition costs if you live in the state where the school is located.

Second, because online degrees cost nearly the same as a traditional degree, choose the path that fits your lifestyle and personality. Along with a high degree of comfort with modern technology, online degrees require large amounts of uninterrupted time, self-discipline and motivation. For some people, traditional classroom settings may fit their personality and technology skillset better.

The Bottom Line
Online degrees are becoming increasingly popular as evolving technology makes the online classroom just as, or even more, effective as traditional settings. As with any degree, choose a program in a field that you enjoy but also have a future demand. (For more information, read Online MBA Programs: Study From Home And Succeed!)

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Insider's Guide To The Top U.S. Business Schools

    The best business school for you depends on your skills, career goals and interests. We help future MBA's make a more informed choice.
  2. Professionals

    Who Needs to Take the Series 65?

    Most states require individuals to pass the Series 65 exam in order to act as investment advisors.
  3. Professionals

    Career Advice: Accounting Vs. Law

    Identify the key differences between working in accounting and working in law. Understand which specific skills make you better-suited for each career.
  4. Professionals

    Want to Be High-Earner? Avoid these College Majors

    Why these college majors might offer a poor chance of paying off those student loans sooner rather than later.
  5. Budgeting

    Off-Campus vs Campus Housing, Which One To Choose

    With U.S. college tuition ranging from free to over $30,000 a year, there are a lot of decisions to make in the months leading up to September. One of the decisions that falls by the wayside ...
  6. Personal Finance

    Does It Make Sense to Go to College in Europe?

    If you're deciding whether to get a degree abroad, first do your research and talk to alumni who have completed the same program.
  7. Credit & Loans

    Four Ways to Improve Education In America

    U.S. students place 27th in math and 20th in science out of 34 countries. The United States must reform its education system or harm future economic productivity and global trade competitiveness.
  8. Personal Finance

    8 Profitable Majors For The College-Bound In 2015

    Choose your college major wisely to justify the rising cost of higher education. Here are 8 majors that lead to good jobs and high salaries.
  9. Personal Finance

    8 Reasons Why Valued Employees Quit

    Salaries are important, but retaining top employees requires more than just providing competitive pay.
  10. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Minimize Their Own Risks

    Risk management is important in any enterprise. But when it comes to the financial advisory business, the stakes are higher.
  1. Student loans, federal and private: what's the difference?

    The cost of a college education now rivals many home prices, making student loans a huge debt that many young people face ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Opinions vary based on which publications you consult, but the best MBA programs for a career in corporate finance are at ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What does passing the Series 6 enable me to do?

    The Series 6, or the Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative, exam is administered by the Financial ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  2. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  4. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  5. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  6. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!