Online Degrees and Certificates Can Mean Career Success


The tipping point in the world of formal education will occur sometime during the 2020’s, according to experts. That’s when the number of online college and advanced degrees awarded outnumbers traditional diplomas. The day is fast approaching. Even now, professionals in multiple fields of study can earn legitimate degrees, certificates and specialty credentials online. Some programs require in-person attendance for testing or internships, but even that requirement is beginning to disappear for standard degrees in fields like business, economics, liberal arts and engineering.

High school graduates, those already in college and full-time working adults can take advantage of this new educational trend. In most cases, online study costs much less than in-classroom courses. What’s more, online degrees are viewed just as favorably by hiring managers in major corporations. Consider the following areas of study if you decide you want to save money while studying at home.


Practically every IT course can be taught online. Whether your specialty is web design, Linux performance monitoring or cyber security, there’s an online degree that can launch your new career. This is true for undergraduates as well as working professionals who want to earn add-on master’s degrees or obtain specialty certificates.


For several years, law schools were the big holdout among educational institutions that were going online. But the dam finally broke in the last couple of years and now about a dozen law schools let students do the majority of their coursework online. Of course, internships and moot court sessions are still in-person affairs, but first-year students at many of the top-tier schools are able to attend class only for testing and special projects. Some industry insiders think that about half of all major law schools will be online-friendly by 2025.


Accounting lends itself to online study and for that reason was one of the first to make entire courses into all-online tasks. The past decade has seen the rise of the five-year CPA preparation curriculum at many major universities. Wisely, school administrators endeavored from the beginning to make the five-year programs online-friendly. On average, a person who now majors in accounting at a large university can expect to take about half of the coursework in online labs. Others who want to obtain a master’s degree in the field are even luckier. Most programs for working professionals these days are about 95 percent online, with testing and one short internship the only in-person requirements.


The field of education has gone almost entirely digital, at least for students who wish to study remotely. Except for mandatory student-teaching hours, nearly all the coursework can be accomplished in a digital setting. Even master’s degrees are now routinely offered, by default, as online programs.

Exercise Science

It seems counter-intuitive, but exercise science is one of the most online-friendly of all standard college curricula. The early years of the major are heavily technical and translate well to a digital environment. Final coursework often includes on-site internships and clinical work that must be done in person.