Category Archives: Accredited Online Programs

Top 12 Accredited Online Colleges With Low Tuition

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Catching the online education wave can provide tremendous benefits. Studying online allows you to matriculate at top-notch colleges with diverse majors across the United States. Courses are easily accessible 24/7 through interactive online platforms while you satisfy your other work or life commitments. Online learning will also communicate to employers that you’re self-motivated and organized with requisite tech skills. Perhaps that’s why the Online Learning Consortium found that online enrollment increased by 3.9 percent to 5.82 million students in 2015. Despite popular belief, online colleges aren’t always cheaper than their traditional counterparts though. Careful degree shopping is necessary to maximize your schooling budget for good Return On Investment.

Therefore, we’ve outlined the Top 12 Accredited Online Colleges With Low Tuition below.  We used the NCES College Navigator database to narrow down four-year distance learning options with average undergraduate costs less than $10,000. Any online colleges charging considerably more for out-of-state students were nixed. We also eliminated all for-profit colleges that didn’t hold one of the six regional accreditations. Extra consideration was given for student-faculty ratio, freshman retention, published rankings, graduation rate, reputation with employers, financial aid, and online technology. Quality online colleges offering 10+ degrees were then arranged from least expensive to slightly more.

Without further introduction, here are our selections for the Top 12 Accredited Online Colleges With Low Tuition:

1. Great Basin College

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Regionally accredited by the NWCCU, Great Basin College is a public, state-funded member of the Nevada System of Higher Education serving over 3,400 students from its rural campus in Elko and beyond. Ranked America’s 116th “Best Online College” on Niche, GBC was named the #1 most affordable option by SR Education Group. For only $2,805 per year, students select from 13 associate, seven bachelor’s, and 10 Certificate of Achievement programs. Fully online offerings include the AAS in Early Childhood Education, AA in Graphic Communications, BAS in Land Surveying, and RN-BS in Nursing.

Average Tuition: $2,805

Learn more about the Great Basin College’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

2. Brigham Young University – Idaho

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Operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University-Idaho is a private, nonprofit institution adhering to an Honor Code for educating over 17,500 in Rexburg, Island Park, Victor, and online. Crowned the West’s 10th best university by the U.S. News, BYU-Idaho was deemed the #2 “Most Conservative College” nationally on Niche. Affordable online learning leads to six associate, 11 bachelor’s, and 13 certificate programs. Consider earning the AAS in Computer Programming, AAS in Family History Research, BS in Public Health, or BS in Business Management for Entrepreneurship.

Average Tuition: $3,830

Learn more about Brigham Young University – Idaho’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

3. University of Texas at Permian Basin

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Established in 1973 by oil industrialist Bill Noël, the University of Texas at Permian Basin is a public, fast-growing research institution enrolling around 6,050 Falcons on its Odessa campus and online from anywhere. According to the U.S. News, UTPB is the West’s 93rd best university and 37th top public school with the 92nd best online bachelor’s nationwide. The University of Texas Online Consortium (UTOC) presently offers 19 cheap degrees with accelerated, eight-week formats. Online students could pursue the Psychology B.A., Criminal Justice B.S., Special Education M.A., or Kinesiology M.S.

Average Tuition: $5,250

Learn more about the University of Texas at Permian Basin’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

4. Western Governors University

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Offering online competency-based learning for over 76,200 students, Western Governors University is a private, nonprofit NWCCU-accredited institution headquartered in Salt Lake City with six state-affiliated schools. Deemed America’s 33rd “Best Online College” on Niche, WGU earned the Sloan Consortium’s prized Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education. Low tuition and a 100 percent admission rate helps students pursue 58 degrees across four online colleges. Excellent options include the B.S. Marketing Management, B.S. Software Development, M.A. Teaching Science, and M.S. Nursing Education.

Average Tuition: $6,070

Learn more about Western Governors University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

5. Thomas Edison State University

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With the motto “Learning Throughout Life,” Thomas Edison State University is one of New Jersey’s 11 public, state-funded teaching institutions focused on educating over 18,500 adults on-site in Trenton and online via Course Access. Graded “A” for value on Niche, TESU was selected for the 2011 NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award. Busy working professionals can choose from 55 online degrees holding MSCHE accreditation. Some noteworthy programs are the AAS in Nuclear Engineering Technology, BS in Homeland Security, MS in Hospitality Management, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Average Tuition: $6,135

Learn more about Thomas Edison State University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

6. Chadron State College

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Positioned in one of Sports Afield magazine’s “Top 50 Outdoor Sports Towns,” Chadron State College is a public, co-educational higher learning institution founded in 1911 that’s educating over 3,000 face-to-face and online. Selected as Nebraska’s fifth top public university on Niche, CSC was ranked #5 nationally by the Guide to Online Schools. With an above-average retention rate of 67 percent, Chadron State has 20 affordable online degrees. Log-in to receive the B.S. in Geoscience, B.A. in Business Administration, B.A. in Family and Consumer Sciences, or Master of Organizational Management.

Average Tuition: $6,220

Learn more about Chadron State College’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

7. Minot State University

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Classified as a North Dakota’s third-largest public, co-educational Master’s I institution, Minot State University enrolls more than 3,400 Beavers with a 12:1 student-faculty ratio from “The Valley” and online. Chosen as the #38 “Best Online College in America” on Niche, Minot State is recognized by the U.S. News for the 191st best online bachelor’s and 78th best online graduate business degrees. Fully HLC-NCA accredited, MSU Online has 16 affordable programs on Blackboard. Online students could earn the B.S. in International Business, A.S. in Human Services, M.S. in Special Education, or M.S. in Information Systems.

Average Tuition: $6,390

Learn more about Minot State University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

8. American Public University

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Boasting open-enrollment of over 98,400 Golden Eagles, American Public University is an accredited private, for-profit distance institution based in Charles Town, West Virginia, with six academic schools. Lauded for the nation’s 58th best online bachelor’s degrees by the U.S. News, APU was ranked the Southeast’s “Best Bang for the Buck” in Washington Monthly magazine. Nearly half of APU’s students are military members using G.I. Bill benefits and low tuition to finish 100+ academic programs. Consider the A.A. Military History, B.A. Reverse Logistics Management, B.S. Electric Engineering, M.S. Space Studies, and more.

Average Tuition: $6,880

Learn more about American Public University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

9. Amridge University

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Following the Church of Christ’s tradition, Amridge University is a SACS-accredited private, nonprofit Christian institution attracting around 750 students to its Montgomery campus off Interstate 85 and online division. Distinguished as Alabama’s #2 most affordable college by BVS, Amridge was graded “B” for value on Niche. Amridge’s four colleges confer 35 online programs via Blackboard with a 10:1 student-faculty ratio. Available offerings include the Associate of Arts in Web Development, Bachelor of Science in Management, Master of Arts in Old Testament Studies, and Doctor of Ministry in Family Therapy.

Average Tuition: $6,900

Learn more about Amridge University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

10. West Texas A&M University

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Endowed for $71.79 million, West Texas A&M University is a public, co-educational research institution tracing back to 1910 that’s educating around 9,400 Buffs from the Amarillo Metro and beyond. Graded B+ for diversity on Niche, WTAMU is declared the West’s 91st best college and 35th top public university with the 11th best online bachelor’s programs nationwide by the U.S. News. With SACS accreditation, the Distance Education division confers 19 online and hybrid programs via the SREB Electronic Campus. Low tuition accompanies the BBA in Economics, B.A. in Criminal Justice, Healthcare MBA, and M.S. in Finance online.

Average Tuition: $7,041

Learn more about West Texas A&M University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

11. Bellevue University

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Based in Nebraska’s Sarpy County with satellites in West Omaha and online, Bellevue University is a private, nonprofit teaching institution established in 1966 that’s endowed for $28 million to educate over 10,300 Bruins. Given Military Friendly Gold Status by Victory Media, Bellevue is acclaimed for America’s 72nd best online bachelor’s and 141st top online MBA programs by the U.S. News. The HLC-NCA accredited university offers small, low-cost courses for 77 online degrees. Cohorts could attain the Digital Marketing B.S., IT Operations Management B.S., Clinical Counseling M.S., and Organizational Performance M.S.

Average Tuition: $7,050

Learn more about Bellevue University’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

12. University of Maine at Fort Kent

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Located just six minutes from Clair, New Brunswick, the University of Maine at Fort Kent is a public, co-educational liberal arts border institution teaching over 1,500 students in French and English. Named the 468th “Best College that Accepts the Common App in America” on Niche, UMFK is ranked the North’s 13th top public school with the 120th best online undergraduate majors nationally by the U.S. News. Through Blackboard, enrolled Bengal tigers can pursue 19 NEASC-accredited degrees online. Consider the A.A. Conservation Law Enforcement, A.S. Allied Health, B.S. Healthcare Administration, or B.S. Rural Public Safety Administration.

Average Tuition: $7,575

Learn more about the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Accredited Online Programs With Low Tuition here.

The Top 15 Accredited Online Colleges For 2016

2016acoOnline education has seen an enormous spike in the last decade. Approximately 13.1 percent of college students are taking exclusively online courses now. Innovative technologies have made it possible to finish a quality education with little more than a computer and Internet. Choosing an online college will provide unrivaled flexibility for fitting coursework into your busy work-life balance. Online learning platforms can wholly replace the traditional classroom to save you time and money on commutes. However, not all online colleges are created equal. Scary statistics show that nearly 200,000 fake degrees are granted by diploma mills yearly. One of the best ways to protect your investment is to look for accreditation.

In this article, we’ll outline the Top 15 Accredited Online Colleges for 2016 that are backed by regional accreditation recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Next to accreditation, our most crucial ranking factor was average retention rate. We selected only online colleges who retain more than 90 percent of students because this signals high satisfaction. Chosen universities had to offer at least 10 online programs to be deemed “online.” We consulted with several rankings from the U.S. News, Princeton Review, Forbes, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance to weigh academic reputation with value. We recorded each online college’s tuition rate from their individual website. Other important considerations were student-faculty ratio, student services, learning technology, flexibility, job placement, mobility, and financial aid.

1. University of Southern California

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Selectively admitting 16 percent of applicants, the University of Southern California is an elite private, nonprofit sea-grant and space-grant research institution for the Pacific Rim. Situated on a 308-acre urban campus in the University Park district of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California educates around 42,400 students both on-site and online. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Southern California as the 23rd Best University and 13th Most Innovative College. Within the Economist, the University of Southern California was recognized for the United States’ 64th Best New Career Opportunities. Forbes also recognized Trojans as the nation’s 31st Most Grateful Grads.

The University of Southern California grants exceptional professional education online through 55 master’s and two doctoral degrees. More than 20 graduate certificates and teaching credentials can be added for concentration. Available USC degrees include:

• Master of Science in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
• Executive Master of Health Administration
• Master of Science in Library and Information Science
• Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship
• Doctor of Education in Organizational Change and Leadership

The University of Southern California Online maintains the same all-important academic integrity standards to serve over 7,700 fully online. Before the Web existed, the dynamic university connected remote learners and pioneered the “Online Education Revolution.” Faculty maintain regular live, virtual office hours to guide students toward building online portfolios. Courses can even be accessed via mobile devices using the 2SC App for optimal flexibility.

Average Retention Rate: 97 percent
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Online Tuition: $1,666 per unit

Learn more about the University of Southern California’s Accredited Online College Degree Programs here.

2. Northeastern University

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Recognized for A+ academics by Niche, Northeastern University is an esteemed private, nonsectarian RU/VH research institution attracting over 24,900 students yearly. In addition to its 73-acre urban campus in Boston’s famed Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, NU has satellites in Dedham, Nahant, Burlington, Seattle, Toronto, and online. Northeastern was ranked America’s 47th Best University and sixth Most Innovative college by the U.S. News and World Report. Best Value Schools crowned Northeastern University the 10th Best Up-and-Coming School for Return on Investment (ROI). Employing seven NSF Career Award recipients, Northeastern is the 100th Top Research University according to Forbes.

Northeastern University offers rigorous, regionally accredited online education for earning 10 bachelor’s, 35 master’s, and two doctoral degrees. Non-degree seeking students can also choose from 34 online certificate programs. Available Northeastern University degrees include:

• Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting Management
• Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
• Master of Education in Higher Education Administration
• Master of Science in Security and Resilience Studies
• Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs of Food and Food Industries

Online Northeastern University students access multimedia lectures via Articulate Presenter and interact in a virtual Blackboard classroom. Some courses feature synchronous conferencing with Collaborate. Online programs are taught by the same world-class faculty at a 14:1 ratio for excellent education without putting life on hold. Northeastern’s online courses offer affordable discounts, financial aid, and free tutoring.

Average Retention Rate: 96 percent
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
Online Tuition: $378 (bachelor’s) or $646 (master’s) per credit

Learn more about Northeastern University’s Accredited Online College Degree Programs here.

3. University of Florida

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Endowed for $1.5 billion, the University of Florida is the country’s eighth largest public, research institution holding land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant status to educate an enthusiastic Gator Nation of over 52,500. This prestigious AAU member is located on a sprawling 2,000-acre suburban campus in Gainesville for face-to-face or online education. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Florida as the 47th Best University and 18th Most Innovative School. Kiplinger’s crowned UF the second best public value. The University of Florida also claimed the #17 spot for the Princeton Review’s “Best Alumni Network.”

The University of Florida Online provides accredited academic excellence with 15 bachelor’s completion, 65 master’s, 10 doctoral, and three specialist degrees. Belonging to the SREB Electronic Campus, the University of Florida also confers four international programs. Available UF degrees include:

• Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Services
• Bachelor of Health Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders
• Master of Science in Family, Youth and Community Science
• Master of Science in Veterinary Medical Sciences
• Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Online University of Florida students enter a highly diverse virtual classroom drawing students from 135 countries. The university is at least partially authorized in all 50 states. Most coursework is asynchronously delivered via the eLearning platform Canvas with video lectures posted on Mediasite. Learners also benefit from 24/7 access to the Help Desk and Disability Resource Center.

Average Retention Rate: 96 percent
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Online Tuition: $448 (in-state) or $690 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about the University of Florida’s Accredited Online College Degree Programs here.

4. Stevens Institute of Technology

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Established by Edwin Augustus Stevens in 1868, Stevens Institute of Technology is the oldest private, co-educational technological institution dedicated to engineering. Enrolling more than 6,500 students on-site and online, Stevens Institute of Technology has three national Centers of Excellence on its 55-acre urban campus in Hoboken, New Jersey. According to the U.S. News and World Report, Stevens Institute of Technology is the 75th Best National University and 62nd Top School for Veterans. Graded B in Forbes, Stevens Institute of Technology is America’s 114th Top Research University. The Princeton Review also placed Stevens at #6 nationwide for “Best Career Placement.”

Stevens Institute of Technology operates a WebCampus to grant 18 fully online, tech-centric degree programs for graduate students. More than 40 graduate certificates can be added for specialized online education. Available SIT degrees include:

• Master of Science in Enterprise and Cloud Computing
• Master of Science in Information and Data Engineering
• Master of Business Administration in Project Management
• Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
• Master of Science in Systems Security Engineering

Since 2010, Stevens has continually won the USDLA’s 21st Century Award for Best Distance Learning Practices Award. Through Canvas, online students access user-friendly, engaged courses anytime 24/7. Each course has a web conferencing tool embedded for live discussions. Faculty also use the state-of-the-art Podcasting Studio to pre-record guest speaker interviews. Part-time graduate students who are members of co-sponsoring organizations qualify for 10 percent tuition rebates.

Average Retention Rate: 95 percent
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Online Tuition: $1,501 per credit

Learn more about the Stevens Institute of Technology’s Accredited Online Colleges here.

5. Lehigh University

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Divided into four colleges, Lehigh University is a private, nonprofit “Hidden Ivy” institution carrying a $1.2 billion endowment to serve approximately 6,900 students. Since its founding in 1865 by Asa Packer, Lehigh has occupied over 2,350 suburban acres around South Mountain in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The U.S. News has honored Lehigh as America’s 47th best university, 36th top value, and 38th best school for military. Lehigh University placed at #8 among the Princeton Review’s “Best Science Lab Facilities.” Forbes also recognized Lehigh as the 64th top public school nationwide.

Lehigh University’s Office of Distance Education offers top-tier academics for working adults with 11 online master’s degrees and seven graduate certificates. Two learning platforms are given for asynchronous or synchronous, live sessions. Available Lehigh degrees include:

• Master of Engineering in Healthcare Systems Engineering
• Flex Master of Business Administration in Marketing
• Master of Science in Molecular Biology
• Master of Science in Polymer Science and Engineering
• Master of Education in International Counseling

Using Course Site and Blackboard, Lehigh’s online programs make the same lectures available streaming on the Web. Named a “Preferred School Partner” of Boeing, the USDLA member gives accredited STEM-centric education with flexible schedules. No distinctions are made on transcripts between traditional and online learning. Lehigh University has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio for a collaborative, enriching academic environment.

Average Retention Rate: 95 percent
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Online Tuition: $925 to $1,420 per credit hour

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6. University of Georgia

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Named among Newsweek’s “Amazing but Overlooked Colleges,” the University of Georgia is public, state-chartered RU/VH research institution holding the unique sun-grant status. Among the rolling hills on UGA’s historic 762-acre campus in Athens and online, more than 35,100 students are enrolled across 17 schools. According to the U.S. News, UGA is the country’s 61st best university and 21st top public college. The University of Georgia took the #24 spot for the Princeton Review’s “Top Internship Opportunities.” The AAMC recognized UGA for producing the ninth highest percentage of medical school applicants.

The University of Georgia offers respected, accredited online programs taught by some of higher education’s brightest minds. Online learners select from two bachelor’s, one specialist, and 15 master’s programs. Available University of Georgia degrees include:

• Bachelor of Science in Special Education
• Master of Avian Health and Medicine
• Master of Fine Arts in Narrative Media Writing
• Master of Science in Financial Planning
• Specialist of Education in Educational Psychology

Online University of Georgia students can access course content anytime, anywhere with the e-Learning Commons platform. The average class size is 15 for engaged education that’s worth academic value. The University of Georgia is currently authorized across the United States. Online learners benefit from academic advising, disability accommodations, and free tutoring. The Career Services Center helps graduates reach a 94 percent placement rate too.

Average Retention Rate: 94 percent
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Online Tuition: $354 (in-state) or $1,045 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about the University of Georgia’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

7. Villanova University

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Rooted in the values of “Truth, Unity, and Charity,” Villanova University is a private, nonprofit Roman Catholic research institution founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine. With a $564 million endowment, Villanova enlightens over 10,400 students from its 254-acre suburban campus outside Philadelphia in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania, and online. Listed as “more selective,” Villanova is ranked the North’s Best College and second Top Value by the U.S. News and World Report. Bloomberg BusinessWeek picked Villanova as America’s 24th Best School with an A+ teaching quality. Forbes also recognized Nova for the 53rd Best Private University nationally.

Villanova University confers accredited, industry-recognized education with four bachelor’s, 18 graduate, and 26 certificate programs 100 percent online. The College of Professional Studies also provides the nation’s broadest selection of non-credit online courses. Available Nova degrees include:

• Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
• RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
• Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering
• Master of Business Administration in Analytics
• Master of Science in Church Management

Across six academic divisions, professionals can further their education conveniently through Blackboard and the University Alliance. Villanova is authorized in most states, excluding Alaska, Oregon, and Texas. Most programs will require being at least 22 years old and carrying 15+ accredited college credits. Nearly two-thirds of online Wildcats attend part-time while working.

Average Retention Rate: 94 percent
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Online Tuition: $590 (bachelor’s) or $925 (master’s) per credit

Learn more about Villanova University’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

8. University of Washington

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Established in 1861 by territorial governor Isaac Stevens, the University of Washington is a preeminent public, flagship RU/VH institution with a $1 billion research budget. Noted for employing 15 MacArthur Fellows, the University of Washington teaches over 45,200 students from its main 703-acre urban campus in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city of Seattle and online. The U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Washington the 52nd Best University and 16th Top Public School nationally. Washington Monthly recognized the University of Washington-Seattle as America’s seventh Best College for Civic Engagement. The University of Washington also has the sixth Best Salary Returns according to SmartMoney.

The University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education Division offers the same respected, accredited credentials for two bachelor’s and 19 master’s degrees online. Students can also pursue in-depth subject exploration with 50+ online certificates. Available UW degrees include:

• Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood & Family Studies
• Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences
• Master of Geographic Information Systems
• Master of Science in Applied Mathematics
• Master of Science in Computational Linguistics

Online programs the University of Washington can be delivered asynchronously online or with one synchronous evening session per week. For-credit online courses are hosted by the Canvas Network, but free MOOCs are accessible via Coursera too. Since 2001, UW has catered to career changers and the forever curious via the Internet with an 11:1 student-faculty ratio.

Average Retention Rate: 93 percent
Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Online Tuition: $1,135 (in-state) or $3,540 (out-of-state) per course

Learn more about the University of Washington’s Accredited Online College Degree Programs here.

9. George Washington University

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Classified for “very high research activity,” George Washington University is the District of Columbia’s largest private, nonsectarian R1 institution with over 26,200 students. Based on a 43-acre urban campus in Foggy Bottom, George Washington University operates satellite divisions in Mount Vernon, Virginia’s Loudoun County, and online from anywhere. For 2016, George Washington University was the 57th Best College and 46th Best School for Veterans according to the U.S. News and World Report. The Princeton Review ranked George Washington University the #1 “Most Politically Active” university. The Times Higher Education included George Washington University within the top 250 global universities.

George Washington University marries prestige with convenience by conferring two associate, eight bachelor’s, 47 master’s, and three doctoral degrees online. The Office of Online Learning also offers five open MOOCs for an international audience. Available online degrees at George Washington University include:

• Associate of Science in Health Sciences in Laboratory Technology
• Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in Clinical Research Administration
• Master of Arts in Secondary Special Education & Transition Services
• Master of Professional Studies in Political Communication and Governance
• Doctor of Philosophy of Systems Engineering Management

Online programs at GWU are creatively produced by the eDesign Shop for optimal learning pedagogies. Through 2U, the digital classroom offers real-time video seminars, discussion boards, and customized projects. Online courses are offered every Fall, Summer, and Spring for rigorous, year-round experiences that ranked 27th nationally.

Average Retention Rate: 93 percent
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Online Tuition: $685 (bachelor’s) or $1,600 (master’s) per credit

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10. Union University

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Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Union University is private, evangelical Christian liberal arts institution tracing its history back to 1823 as Jackson Male Academy. Now enrolling over 4,200 co-educational students, Union is nestled on a 290-acre urban campus in Madison County’s largest city with other Tennessee locations in Germantown and Hendersonville. The U.S. News ranked Union as the 14th best college and 12th top pick for veterans in the South. As one of Templeton’s “Colleges That Encourage Character Development,” Union University was named the 68th best private value in Kiplinger’s.

Union University holds SACS accreditation to provide Christ-centered academics with nine fully online and four hybrid programs. The SREB Electronic Campus allows reciprocal agreements for students living in 16 Southern states. Available Union degrees include:

• Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing for RNs
• Master of Education in Teaching & Learning
• Master of Business Administration in HR Management
• Master of Christian Studies in Ministry Leadership

Online Union University students never sacrifice close interaction for flexibility and accelerated learning with the 10:1 student-faculty ratio. Relevant coursework is presented from a Christian worldview at an affordable tuition. Bachelor’s degree completion programs can be finished in just 18 months. Course materials are easily purchased through the Online Textbook Store. Union University offers online programs the same access to Library Services.

Average Retention Rate: 92 percent
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Online Tuition: $975 per hour or $14,660 per semester

Learn more about Union University’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

11. Pennsylvania State University

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Consistently winning the “Big Ten Challenge,” Pennsylvania State University is a multi-campus system endowed for $3.64 billion to operate public, land-grant research institutions. Along with its 5,448-acre main campus in Happy Valley and 24 locations across the Keystone State, Pennsylvania State University has an award-winning World Campus. According to the U.S. News and World Report, this Public Ivy is ranked America’s 47th Best University and 38th Top College for Veterans. Forbes magazine lauded Penn State as the 77th Top Research Iniversity nationwide. The Wall Street Journal recognized Pennsylvania State University as the #1 choice of corporate recruiters.

Pennsylvania State University offers flexible, career-focused online learning leading to six associate, 29 bachelor’s, and 46 graduate degrees. There are also 48 accredited online post-baccalaureate certificates for advancement. Available Pennsylvania State University degrees include:

• Associate of Science in Labor and Employment Relations
• Bachelor of Arts in Energy and Sustainability Policy
• Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management
• Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security
• Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

In 1998, PSU was one of the first major universities providing online education. Online students now hail from 60+ countries on six continents to learn from world-renowned faculty. Penn Staters enroll in online courses for 12 to 15 weeks and connect via Blackboard Collaborate. Each credit is academically equal to campus-based counterparts. The Sloan Consortium gave PSU the Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education Award.

Average Retention Rate: 92 percent
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Online Tuition: $542 (bachelor’s) or $930 (master’s) per credit

Learn more about Pennsylvania State University’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

12. University of Delaware

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Opened in 1743 by Presbyterian minister Francis Alison, the University of Delaware is the Diamond State’s largest public, nonsectarian land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research institution. Enrolling over 22,800 diverse pupils, UD is headquartered on 2,311 suburban acres outside Newark with campuses in Dover, Wilmington, Lewes, Georgetown, and online. Delaware is ranked America’s 75th Best University, 62nd Top School for Veterans, and 29th Best Public College by the U.S. News and World Report. Niche graded the University of Delaware with an A for academics and value. Forbes noted UD as the 137th overall Best University Nationwide.

The University of Delaware promotes discovery-based, flexible online learning through its two undergraduate and seven graduate degrees. For professional development, there are also 16 leading-edge certificate programs online. Available UD degrees include:

• Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing for RNs
• Master of Business Administration in Finance
• Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering
• Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practitioner

The University of Delaware’s online faculty includes active practitioners who’ve designed curriculum on the forefront of their field. With a student-faculty ratio of 15:1, online programs blend on-demand video lectures with case studies and interactive assignments. Technical support is available 24/7 with essential digital resources. Students could also join the Delaware Innovation Fellows Program for entrepreneurial projects.

Average Retention Rate: 92 percent
Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Online Tuition: $481 (bachelor’s) or $780 (master’s) per credit

Learn more about the University of Delaware’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

13. Purdue University

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Endowed for $2.3 billion, Purdue University is a flagship public, co-educational RU/VH research institution founded in 1869 under the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. Around 22 percent of Purdue’s 39,400 students are international, the fourth highest percentage in America. Purdue is located on a sprawling 2,600-acre urban campus in West Lafayette, Indiana, around 65 miles from Indianapolis. The U.S. News noted Purdue University as the 61st best college and 21st most innovative school nationally. Money magazine crowned Purdue the 51st top value with above-average starting salaries. QS World University Rankings placed Purdue at #89 too.

Purdue University captures top-quality, flexible education in an asynchronous online format with one undergraduate and 17 graduate programs. Five online graduate certificates can be completed in just 24 weeks too. Available Purdue degrees include:

• Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology
• Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics
• Master of Science in Construction Management
• Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
• Master of Science in Electrical Computer Engineering

Online students master career-specific, marketable skills with cloud-based education. Through Pearson LearningStudio, students join a supportive community with world-class faculty for 15 to 20 hours weekly. The accredited, “Military Friendly” university holds a Virtual Open House to learn more. The Purdue NEXT program also offers corporate development programs from venture capital to pharmaceutical services.

Average Retention Rate: 92 percent
Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)
Online Tuition: $347 to $1,108 per credit hour

Learn more about Purdue University’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

14. University of Miami

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Attracting $346 in research funding annually, the University of Miami is a premier private, nonprofit RU/VH institution separated into 12 schools for over 16,800 students. Based on 239 suburban acres, the University of Miami is located in Coral Gables, Florida, within Miami-Dade County for on-campus, online, and hybrid education. The U.S. News and World Report named the University of Miami the 51st Best National University and 41st Top School for Military and Veterans. According to the Princeton Review, Miami is America’s fourth best college for “Lots of Race/Class Interaction.” Globally, the Times Higher Education places the University of Miami among the world’s top 170 universities.

The University of Miami is regionally accredited to grant professional recognition with two bachelor’s and 11 master’s programs online. There are also 35+ certificate options and the free Entrepreneurship for Musicians MOOC. Available UM degrees include:

• Bachelor of General Studies
• Master’s in Sport Administration
• Master’s in Health Informatics
• Master of Business Administration
• L.L.M. in Real Property Development

Online students in the University of Miami’s Division of Continuing & International Education engage through the mobile-optimized UOnline learning platform. Thanks to the 12:1 student-faculty ratio, learners get a direct line to world-class professors. Among the “Best in the Southeast,” Miami offers flexible start dates without established class schedules for flexibility. Graduates of the outcome-based programs gain connections with its over 180,000 passionate alumni worldwide.

Average Retention Rate: 92 percent
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Online Tuition: $1,900 per credit hour

Learn more about the University of Miami’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

15. Texas A&M University

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Formerly named the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas until 1891, Texas A&M University is a public, co-educational state research institution enrolling more than 64,300 students. As Texas’ largest school, TAMU stands proudly on a 5,500-acre urban campus in College Station in the Brazos Valley with extensions in Galveston, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Commerce, and online. According to the U.S. News, Texas A&M is the 70th best national university and 26th top public college. Offering a $628,000 20-year net Return on Investment (ROI), Washington Monthly crowned Texas A&M University third in America for social mobility.

Texas A&M University participates in the SREB Electronic Campus to deliver reliable, yet flexible online education with 46 graduate degrees. Another 15 graduate-level certificates are delivered online for one to two in-depth semesters. Available TAMU degrees include:

• Master of Science in Agricultural Systems Management
• Master of Education in Cognition and Creativity
• Master of Engineering in Petroleum Engineering
• Executive Master of Public Service and Administration
• Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Online students receive institutionally issued accounts for Blackboard to access Web-based weekly class sessions. Joining the Aggie Network allows students to receive lectures, discussions, and assignments anytime with like-minded peers. Texas A&M requires learners sign an Honor Code for good “Netiquette.” Graduate students will access 24/7 Help Desk services, remote library literature, and TTVN WebMeeting for conferencing.

Average Retention Rate: 91 percent
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Online Tuition: $394 (in-state) or $799 (out-of-state) per credit

Learn more about Texas A&M’s Accredited Online College Programs here.

Top 15 Accredited Online Colleges Offering Associate Degrees for 2016

associatedeDon’t fret if you lack time or finances to attain a bachelor’s degree. Two-year associate programs provide post-secondary credentials employers seek but at a much lower cost. Associate degrees can unlock many high-paying jobs like nuclear technician, registered nurse, and web developer with little to no debt. In fact, one study found that 28 percent of associate degree holders out-earn bachelor’s grads. Online colleges make it even more convenient for high school graduates to further education from the home or office. Credits obtained in accredited online associate degree programs can also transfer later for advancement.

To help you achieve your career aspirations, we’ve recognized the following Top 15 Accredited Online Colleges Offering Associate Degrees for 2016. We began by searching for online schools with regional accreditation accepted by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Next, we used the NCES College Navigator’s Advanced Search to determine which online colleges offered associate degrees. Average annual undergraduate tuition was noted for each. We only selected accredited online colleges with at least two associate degrees. Extra points were given to universities boasting national rankings and awards. Other factors considered were financial aid, ROI, enrollment size, online learning technology, scheduling flexibility, and curriculum quality.

Here are the Top 15 Accredited Online Associate Degrees for 2016:

1. Pennsylvania State University

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Educating around 97,400 students, Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus was the nation’s first accredited public, land-grant institution to provide online education. With an 87 percent graduation rate, Pennsylvania State University has the #1 Best Online Undergraduate Programs according to the U.S. News and World Report. Asynchronous online courses are available for six associate degrees, including the A.S. in Business Administration, A.S. in Turfgrass Science, and A.S. in Human Development and Family Studies.

Tuition: $13,516

Learn more about Pennslvania State University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

2. Florida Institute of Technology

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Located in Melbourne just 50 miles from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit research institution serving over 6,300 students. The U.S. News and World Report ranked Florida Tech the 161st best national university with the 92nd best online undergraduate programs. Associate students can choose 10 online degrees, such as an A.A. Criminal Justice, A.A. Aviation Management, or A.S. Computer Information Systems.

Tuition: $12,240

Learn more about the Florida Institute of Technology’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

3. American InterContinental University

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Backed by Higher Learning Commission – North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA) accreditation, American InterContinental University is a for-profit, distance learning institution located in Schaumburg, Illinois, to educate over 15,500 students virtually. Ranked second nationally in awarding associate degrees to minorities, American InterContinental University is lauded for the 30th Best Online Undergraduate Programs nationally by the U.S. News and World Report. Through the M.U.S.E. platform, AIU Online provides an A.A. in Business Administration and A.S. in Criminal Justice.

Tuition: $11,004

Learnmore about American InterContinental University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

4. Ashland University

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Rooted in Judeo-Christian values, Ashland University is a private, non-profit Brethren institution educating approximately 6,000 students from its campus in north-central Ohio. Declared the 156th Best Value in the ETC College Rankings Index, Ashland is the 199th top national university in the U.S. News and World Report survey. With Higher Learning Commission – North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA) accreditation, Ashland provides an online Associate in Business, Associate in Criminal Justice, and Associate in General Studies.

Tuition: $20,242

Learn more about Ashland University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

5. American Public University System

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Established in 1991 by Major James P. Etter, American Public University System is a regionally accredited for-profit, distance institution in Charles Town, West Virginia. Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for America’s 58th Best Online Undergraduate Programs, American Public University Sysytem is a “Military Friendly” school with over 98,400 students. The Online Learning Consortium offers 22 affordable associate degrees, including an A.A. in Counterterrorism Studies, A.S. in Web Publishing, and A.S. in Paralegal Studies.

Tuition: $6,880

Learn more about American Public University System’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

6. Saint Leo University

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Affiliated with the Holy Name Monastery, Saint Leo University is a private, Catholic liberal arts institution enlightening over 16,200 students from its rural Florida campus and online. Ranked 71st regionally, Saint Leo is noted for the 43rd Best Online Undergraduate Education Nationwide by the U.S. News and World Report. With eight-week terms, online students can pursue the A.A. Business Administration, A.A. Criminal Justice, A.A. Information Technology, or A.A. Liberal Arts.

Tuition: $20,830

Learn more about Saint Leo University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

7. Colorado Technical University

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Owned by Career Education Corporation, Colorado Technical University is an accredited private, for-profit higher learning in Colorado Springs educating over 25,700 campus and online students. Granted the 2015 NUTN Distance Education Innovation Award, CTU has America’s 63rd Best Online Undergraduate programs. At the associate level, online learners can earn the A.S. in Health Administration Services, A.S. in Accounting, A.S. in Business Administration, and A.S. in Management.

Tuition: $11,656

Learn more about Colorado Technical University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

8. Eastern Kentucky University

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Regionally accredited by the SACS, Eastern Kentucky University enrolls 16,500+ students in Richmond, Kentucky, and beyond as a public, co-educational research institution. Ranked #2 in Military Times’ “Best for Vets” schools, Eastern Kentucky University ties for the 63rd Best Online Undergraduate degrees according to the U.S. News and World Report. Available online associate programs include the A.A.S. Paralegal Science, A.A.S. Paramedicine, and A.A. Police Studies.

Tuition: $8,150 (in-state) or $17,640 (out-of-state)

Learn more about Eastern Kentucky University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

9. Liberty University

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Following the motto “Knowledge Aflame,” Liberty University is a private, non-profit Baptist institution educating 100,000+ online students from its suburban headquarters in Lynchburg, Virginia. Given a Forbes financial grade of B, Liberty is distinguished for America’s 100th Best Online Undergraduate Degrees by the U.S. News and World Report. Currently, 12 associate degrees like the A.A. in Psychology, A.A. in Religion, and A.A. in Education are available 100 percent online.

Tuition: $20,109

Learn more about Liberty University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

10. Columbia College

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Chartered by the Missouri Legislature in 1851, Columbia College is a private, non-profit liberal arts institution nestled in the Ozark Mountains to enroll over 2,100 co-ed students. Crowned a GetEducated.com “Best Buy,” Columbia is recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for the 106th Top Online Undergraduate Degrees. Online students can choose from eight associate programs like the Associate in Arts, A.S. in Human Services, and A.S. in Environmental Studies.

Tuition: $8,240

Learn more about Columbia College’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

11. California University of Pennsylvania

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In the PASSHE system, California University of Pennsylvania is a public, state-funded teaching institution enrolling over 9,400 students on campuses in California, Canonsburg, and online. Named among the Princeton Review’s “Best Northeastern” schools, California University of Pennslyvania has the country’s 111th Best Online Undergraduate Degrees. Online students can attain the Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies or Associate of Science in Technical Studies.

Tuition: $9,936 (in-state) or $14,069 (out-of-state)

Learn more about the California University of Pennsylvania’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

12. Southern New Hampshire University

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Endowed for $16.7 million, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, non-sectarian institution educating around 64,000 campus and online students from Manchester. Named Fast Company’s 12th Most Innovative Business with Apple and Google, Southern New Hampshire Uniniversity is the North’s 131st Best Regional University. Online learners can pursue eight associate degrees, such as the A.S. Fashion Merchandising, A.A. Digital Photography, and A.S. Information Technologies.

Tuition: $30,386

Learn more about Southern New Hampshire University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

13. Keiser University

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Since 2011, Keiser University has been an Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited private, non-profit Level VI institution in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, serving upwards of 18,500 students. Conferring the nation’s 2nd most healthcare associate degrees, Keiser is ranked the 36th Best College in the South by the U.S. News and World Report. The Online Division grants 10 associate degrees, including an A.A. Health Services Administration, A.A. Homeland Security, and A.S. Medical Assisting.

Tuition: $17,664

Learn more about Keiser University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

14. Post University

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Featuring an A+ BBB rating, Post University is a regionally accredited private, for-profit institution offering career-driven evening and online education to over 7,300. Based in Waterbury, Post won the 2015 Connecticut Quality Improvement Award and was ranked #7 nationally for return on investment by PayScale. Online learners can select from six associate degrees, including the A.S. in Marketing, A.S. in Early Childhood Education, and A.S. in Accounting.

Tuition: $16,510

Learn more about Post University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

15. Kaplan University

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With enrollment over 37,000, Kaplan University is a regionally accredited for-profit, non-competitive online institution headquartered in Davenport, Iowa, since 1937. Boasting a student-faculty ratio of 17:1, Kaplan offers the 137th Best Online Undergraduate Programs according to the U.S. News and World Report. Among its 13 online associate degrees is an A.A.S. in Fire Science, A.A.S. in Nursing, A.A.S. in Legal Support and Services, and A.A.S. in Public Safety and Security.

Tuition: $14,241

Learn more about Kaplan University’s Accredited Online Associate Degrees here.

How to Know If an Online Program Is Offered by a Reputable School

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The market for online college courses has grown to the point where students have more choices than ever. For the most part, this is great news for degree-seekers looking to find a convenient online program that’s on par with a traditional campus education. However, not all institutions may be as reputable as they seem. The online education marketplace is rife with “diploma mills” that misrepresent their accreditations and academic standards. To avoid investing in a trivial degree from a poor institution, students should do a bit of homework before enrolling in any classes.

Early Clues

Right off the bat, there are some easy ways to tell if the program you’re interested in is legit. If the university has a traditional campus and offers an established “brand” of education, then you can trust its online degrees. For example, most state schools and renown private institutions like Northwestern or the University of Southern California all offer reputable online programs. Lesser-known schools and for-profit colleges may require a little more investigation. Red flags include strong marketing tactics, easy course loads and offers that seem too good to be true. The best way to verify such schools is to research their accreditations.

Accreditation is Key

By getting accredited, colleges and universities can say they offer reputable degrees and a quality education. Accreditation is a voluntary process that should be handled by a legitimate outside authority that evaluates quality. Unfortunately, bogus schools manage to find weak accreditation bodies that will put their stamp of approval on almost anything. These groups could have misleading names that sound more authoritative than they really are.

The best way to find out if an accreditation body is legitimate is to see if it’s featured on the Council of Higher Education’s list of Recognized Accrediting Organizations. Any program that has been accredited by one of the six recognized regional bodies will be in good standing. Colleges can also get national accreditation from faith-based or career-related organizations; however, the council recognizes less than a dozen of these bodies. Prospective students should beware of schools that boast of “international” accreditation, which is often an indication of a sham. The council does not recognize international accrediting bodies.

In addition, there are many recognized programmatic organizations that provide accreditation for individual programs. Students should check their specific program to see if it has been accredited by a recognized association.

Most colleges will list their accreditations online. If you can’t find a list, call the school and ask for its credentials.

The Importance of Attending a Reputable School

Enrolling in higher education is a major investment. Not only will you be paying tuition, you’ll be investing a lot of time and effort toward graduating. A student’s worse nightmare is to receive a diploma that isn’t taken seriously. Sadly, many online college graduates have gone through this scenario. A degree from an unaccredited school won’t do much for a resume or during a job interview.

Non-reputable institutions pose other problems as well. Tuition costs could be hazy and most colleges won’t take transfer credits from schools that aren’t regionally accredited. In addition, your state education agency may not offer financial aid if you attend an unaccredited school.

There are plenty of excellent online programs available from both non- and for-profit institutions. With a little bit of research, you’ll be able to weed out the bad schools and save yourself from potential heartache.

Accredited Online Bible College Programs

biblecollegesHow Online Bible Colleges are Accredited
Reputable Bible colleges or organizations of religious study maintain high educational standards to achieve accreditation from nationally recognized educational entities. Agencies, organizations, and other authorities which accredit schools must be recognized as legitimate institutions themselves. The two main approving bodies that recognize accrediting agencies are the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Accreditation awarded to schools is validated when it comes from agencies that are approved by either of these groups since these national accrediting agencies oversee all aspects of accreditation. Special purpose institutions, including those offering religious or theological programs, are no exception.

In recent years, many online courses in the field of religious studies have appeared; unfortunately, not all of them are accredited. For those students and adult learners seeking to attend a Bible college, accreditation is an important consideration when choosing a program. Prospective students should always verify a potential online Bible college’s accreditation status. To help in that process, we’ve created the following list of reputable organizations well recognized for their accrediting authority in the field of Bible Colleges:

Accrediting Associations for Online Bible Colleges

The following associations are recognized by the USDE and CHEA as being legitimate agencies for accrediting Bible colleges and their online programs:

  • The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), formerly The Accreditating Association of Bible Colleges (AABC): Founded in 1947, the ABHE has been in the forefront of accrediting Bible colleges. ABHE accredits approximately 200 seminaries, theological schools and Biblical/ministerial programs offering undergraduate and graduate programs throughout the US and Canada. It also endorses select online distance learning programs. For a list of institutions that offer distance learning programs accredited by ABHE, you can email them at info@abhe.org. For more information visit their FAQ section. ABHE FAQ
  • The Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS): This faith based organization provides educational standards for religious schools of the Jewish faith granting post-secondary degrees. It also offers accreditation to a few online school distance learning programs. AARTS provides no website and asks to be contacted via phone (212-363-1991) or email Keith Sharfman, Director at k.sharfman.aarts@gmail.com.
  • The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS): ATS is an accrediting agency for over 270 Christian (including non-denominational)and Jewish graduate schools offering post-baccalaureate programs in ministry and other theological disciplines, including qualifying online distance learning programs. A list of online programs accredited by ATS can be accessed here. ATS Online Distance Education List
  • Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS): This is a national organizing agency that accredits post-secondary Christian institutions offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in religious education. It also approves online distance learning programs that meet its criteria. To see a list of the programs TRACS accredits, see the information at the following link. TRACS Members
  • The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC): Accredits online programs including those from religious institutions and colleges.

Remember, reputable online college websites will always specify their accreditation credentials from one or more of the aforementioned agencies.

Online Bible College Programs

Online distance religious programs are outgrowths of traditional Bible colleges or religious institutions. They allow the learner to experience more flexibility to earn a religious studies degree while working around personal, family and job schedules. Coursework will cover the history, surrounding culture, development, theology and impact of the religion being studied.

For those concerned about the cost of college programs, Bible college students are eligible for the same financial aid opportunities as other post-secondary students. Students should check with financial aid advisors at prospective schools about available grants and scholarships. Overall, an online degree can cost much less than one obtained through traditional college programs. Following is a sampling of available accredited programs offered at Bible colleges and religious institutions:

  • Catholic Distance University, based in Virginia. Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees offered in Theology or Catholic Studies. Catholic Distance University
  • Grace Bible College, based in Michigan. Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees may be earned in business, leadership or ministry. Grace Bible College Online
  • Hebrew College, based in Massachusetts. Master of Arts degrees offered in Jewish Studies or Jewish Liberal Studies. Hebrew College Online
  • Hope International University, based in southern California and Seattle, Washington. A variety of degree programs are offered, including those in Christian ministry or Biblical studies. Hope International University
  • Johnson University Online, associated with Johnson University in Florida and Tennessee. Online programs offer various degrees in Biblical studies or ministry. Johnson University Online

Interested students should check out the links provided for more information.

Top 15 Accredited Schools Offering Online Masters Degrees

accredited-masters-programsIn pursuit of advanced education, many students elect to embark on master’s degree programs despite the obstacles that often stand in the way.  While many people are able to take four years to focus solely on their undergraduate degrees, by the time they are ready to obtain their master’s degrees, they are often very busy with work and family responsibilities that make getting an advanced education difficult.  Additional factors like time and financial restraints, make not only pursuing a degree difficult but also selecting a program tricky.  Finding a reputable, accredited masters program which maximizes time and money investments without sacrificing academic quality while minimizing risk and expense is a tough job.  Finding one online which often best suits today’s masters degree candidates’ busy lives was more than tough. But someone had to do it.

So, that’s what we did.  We have gathered a list of some of the most innovative, affordable masters degree programs available online and then ensured they were offered from some of the most excellent colleges and universities in the nation. The programs on the following list have received several awards and top honors from multiple reputable sources such as US News & World Report, Forbes and Affordablecollegesonline.org. Their tuition rates are reasonable, and the various degrees they offer are well worth the money students spend on them. Furthermore, these schools maintain a tradition of excellence and expect the same from their students. These colleges are proud of their rich heritages, and they should be. Each University is unique in its particular bragging points, but each University has several.

The Universities on this list have excellent and knowledgeable faculty members who are experts in their career fields and who use their expertise to prepare graduate students for advancement in their current fields, as well as to prepare students to transition into new career fields they may be interested in. The faculty at these schools also caters to a wide variety of careers as the Universities offer several degree programs. The following schools are the best in the nation according to their academic quality, general affordability and excellent reputation. They meet or supersede rigorous academic standards that prepare students to become knowledgeable leaders in their chosen fields. They do not just teach students basic principles that they could learn from reading a textbook; the professors help the students gain valuable knowledge that can only be given by someone with real-world experience.

Here are the Top 15 Accredited Schools Offering Online Masters Degrees:

1. St. John’s University Online

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St John’s University Online is a private Roman Catholic university with online graduate degree programs including: Master of Arts in Global Development and Social Justice, Master of Arts in Accounting, Master of Science in Management and Risk and Master of Science in School Building Leadership. It’s top ranking Best Online Graduate Education Programs are listed on the U.S. News and World Report as Number 1 in the nation. St. John’s online master’s degree students are required to log on to Black Board every day to participate in discussions with classmates and professors by posting a certain number of responses. St. John’s University is accredited at the regional level by Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education as well as at the state level by the State Education Department of New York. Online graduate tuition costs between $1,100 and $1,325 per semester.

For more about St. John’s University’s online Programs, go here.

2. Penn State Online

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Penn State became a pioneer in distance learning in 1892 when it began offering one of the first correspondence courses in the nation. Penn State Online still offers academic leadership and excellence today. Its world-class graduate faculty offers a superior academic education to career-focused students from a variety of backgrounds plus each program is designated within the top 50 rankings of the U.S. World & News.  Penn State Online offers a variety of master’s degrees in areas including: adult education, applied statistics, earth sciences, geographic information systems, homeland security, and renewable energy and sustainability systems. Penn State is accredited at the regional level by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and many of Penn State’s individual degree programs have additional accreditations specific to their career fields as well. Tuition is $736 to $1,100 per credit and $7,414 to $13,200 per semester for graduate-level courses.

For more about Pennsylvania State University’s Online Programs, go here.

3. Virginia Tech University Online

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Virginia Tech University Online is unique in that it offers several useful resources to online students including academic success seminars, proctoring services and “Ask a Librarian” live chat services. Virginia Tech Online offers 37 graduate-level degrees in fields such as instructional technology, ocean engineering, agricultural and life sciences, integrated STEM education, computer engineering and aerospace engineering.   It’s graduate programs are highly ranking and consistently list among the U.S. World & News “Best of” Lists. Virginia Tech has received regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. At the graduate level, tuition is $621.50 per credit hour for residents of Virginia and $1,230.25 per credit hour for nonresidents.

For more about Virginia Tech University’s Online Programs, go here.

4. University of Southern California Online

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The University of Southern California began as a secular institution in 1952 before eventually affiliating itself with the Methodist Church. Today, the University of Southern California has the largest number of international students of any university in the United States. The University of Southern California Online offers master’s degrees in geographic information science and technology, business taxation – working professional, communication management, school leadership, gerontology and academic medicine. The university is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and listed by the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Education Programs, Best Graduate Engineering Programs, and Best Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs. Tuition rates are $43,722 for two semesters of 15 to 18 credits each.

For more about University of Southern California’s Online Programs, go here.

5. Arizona State University Online

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Top ranked by US News & World Report, the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards and Forbes, Arizona State University Online is an excellent choice for students who want a master’s degree they can be proud of. Arizona State University Online offers unique degrees including: Master of Advanced Study in American Media and Popular Culture, Master of Engineering in Embedded Systems, Master of Science in Clinical Research Management, Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction: Applied Behavior Analysis and Master of Science in Information Management. Arizona State University is accredited at the regional level by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. Arizona State University’s tuition rates are between $482 and $852 per credit hour for graduate degree programs, though this number does not include program fees.

For more about Arizona State University’s Online Programs, go here.

6. Washington State University Online

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Washington State University was founded in 1890 as Washington’s original land-grand university. Their mission was the same then as it is now: to improve peoples’ quality of life. Today, Washington State University Online offers students an exceptional education along with additional perks including an academic advisor, round-the-clock tech support and various off-campus activities where students can connect. The degrees offered at Washington State University Online include: Master’s in Agriculture, Master’s in Special Education, Master’s in Engineering and Technology Management and Master’s in Strategic Communication. Washington State University has received its accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, plus many of its graduate degree programs have achieved their own accreditations as well. Graduation tuition for Washington State University Online is $587 per credit or $5,868 for a full-time semester of 10 to 18 credit hours.

For more about Washington State University’s Online Programs, go here.

7. University of South Carolina Online

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The University of South Carolina was founded in 1801 as an attempt to unite Southern Carolina residents after the American Revolution. Today, the University of South Carolina Online is a great way for students to further their education around their busy schedules. The University of South Carolina is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and many of its programs are individually professionally accredited or endorsed as well. Available degrees include: the highly ranked Master of Education Programs (#5 by the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Education List), Master of Health Information Technology, Master of Science in Engineering Management and Master of Public Health. Tuition is $15,110 to $28,940 per year for full-time tuition and $436.50 to $625 per credit hour for part-time tuition.

For more about the University of South Carolina’s Online Programs, go here.

8. University of Michigan at Flint Online

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The University of Michigan at Flint seeks to provide “an uncommon education for the common man.” The university offers both fully online degrees and mixed mode degrees, which require campus visits every four to six weeks. Available degrees include: Master of Arts in Education Technology, Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration. The University of Michigan at Flint has received regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and many of its individual programs have received their own individual accreditations as well. Graduate tuition is $499 per credit hour for Michigan residents or $748 per credit hour for nonresidents. The full-time tuition rate is $3,992 per semester for Michigan residents or $5,984 per semester for nonresidents. There is also a $43 online course fee per credit hour.

For more about the University of Michigan’s Online Programs, go here.

9. Auburn University Online

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Auburn University offers some graduate degrees entirely online as well as some graduate degrees that are achieved through a mix of online and off-line coursework. This allows students to receive some of the benefits of an online education without completely losing touch with on-campus life. Available online degrees offered by Auburn are all listed among the U.S. World and News’ Top 10 Graduate programs.  Programs include: Master of Science/Master of Agriculture in Agronomy & Soils, Master of Business Administration, Master of Early Childhood in Special Education and Master of Materials Engineering. Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Full-time tuition, nine credit hours, is $9,858 for in-state graduate students and $26,382 for out-of-state graduate students.

For more about Auburn University’s Online Programs, go here.

10. Sam Houston State University Online

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Sam Houston State University has received top rankings from US News & World Report and Affordablecollegesonline.org. It has also been named a military friendly school. The university’s available online degrees include: Master of Arts in Communication Studies, Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Master of Science in Digital Forensics and Master of Science in Family and Consumer Science. Sam Houston State University has received regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, plus its various degree programs have received individual professional accreditations as well. Tuition and fees for a 12 hour graduate semester are $5,048, plus an additional online course fee of $101 per credit hour.

For more about Sam Houston State University’s Online Programs, go here.

11. Robert Morris University Online

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Robert Morris University seeks to change students’ lives to they can change others’ lives as well. Robert Morris University Online offers graduate degrees in business administration, engineering management, IT project management, information systems and communications, nonprofit management, nursing and organizational studies. The university’s online classes are unique in that they are all only eight weeks long. Robert Morris University is accredited at the regional level by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and many of the university’s individual programs have additional accreditations as well. Online courses are $680 per credit.

For more about Robert Morris University’s Online Programs, go here.

12. University of Florida Online

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The University of Florida began as a small seminary school in 1853. Today, the University of Florida is Florida’s leading university and one the best online graduate schools in the nation. It is also one of the most academically diverse universities in the United States. The University of Florida offers graduate degrees in agriculture and life sciences, business administration, education, engineering, fine arts, journalism, nursing and veterinary medicine. The University of Florida Online is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Graduate off-campus tuition is $12,640 plus fees.

For more about the University of Florida’s Online Programs, go here.

13. Clarkson College Online

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Clarkson College is Nebraska’s first health care education institution. It is built on the Episcopal Church, and an impressive 90 percent of its students enroll in at least one online class each semester. Clarkson College Online offers online graduate degrees including Master of Health Care Administration and Master of Science in Nursing with specialty areas in nursing education, nurse anesthesia and family nurse practitioner. Clarkson College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and its degree programs have their own professional accreditations as well. Graduate tuition is $497 per credit hour, plus a $40 online class fee.

For more about Clarkson College’s Online Programs, go here.

14. Ferris State University Online

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Ferris State University was founded in 1884 as a way for people to escape jobs as lumberjacks and farm laborers and create more opportunities for themselves. Ferris State University makes transferring from a two-year to a four-year degree easy, and they have the highest transfer rate of any Michigan University to show for it. The university offers students degrees such as Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing with a hands-on and practical approach to learning. Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and many of its graduate degree programs have individual professional accreditations as well. Tuition is $507 per credit hour for graduate classes.

For more about Ferris State University’s Online Programs, go here.

15. Graceland University Online

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Graceland College is a liberal arts college dedicated to providing for the higher education needs of today’s college student. Graceland University has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and the nursing and education programs have received their own additional accreditations well. Graceland College is unique in its financial options for students. Tuition is $450 per semester hour, but the college offers group rates for groups of three students or more. Plus, Graceland offers students interest-free payment plans that allow them to pay their tuition over the course of a few months, instead of owing the entire balance by the first day of classes.

For more about Graceland University’s Online Programs, go here.

The Difference Between Regional and National Accreditation

accreditationA regional accreditation is not the same as a national accreditation for an important reason: the difference is that credits earned at a regionally accredited institution are more widely accepted. Credits earned in college are like money in the bank, and students who make enough regular deposits by taking courses compile sufficient credits to earn a degree. At graduation time, students do the equivalent of cashing them in for a diploma. Online college students need to consider the impact that accreditation has on their degree.

Understanding the Differences

As the name implies, regional accrediting organizations operate in specific areas of the country. They grant accreditation for all of a college’s instructional sites, including online programs and distance learning options. Regional accreditation bodies accredit a diverse range of schools that offer any or all of these degrees:

• Associate
• Baccalaureate
• Masters
• Doctoral

National accreditation organizations usually accredit schools that focus on career or religious education.

Planning Ahead to Transfer Credits

Changes in plans or circumstances often make it impossible for students to graduate from the same school where they started. Transferring earned credits to another institution is easier if they were granted by a regional accreditation organization. Thinking of the credit transfer process in terms of money helps to understand the difference between the negotiability of the two kinds of accreditation. Regionally accredited colleges usually accept credits from other schools that hold similar credentials. Schools that have a national accreditation usually accept credits only from other institutions in their network.

The money illustration is helpful, because some types of currency are not as negotiable as others. In America, the dollar is the standard form of currency for trade, and it is accepted everywhere. To spend Chinese yen or Indian rupees in the United States, a person has to go to stores that accept them. Credits from a regionally accredited institution are acceptable by many more colleges than those from a nationally accredited school. Online students are often dismayed to learn that credits are not transferable and that repeating some courses is necessary when changing schools.

Examining a School’s Accreditation

Qualifying for regional accreditation is a rigorous process that schools work hard to earn. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes seven regional accrediting bodies that uphold the standards of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation:

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Schools in New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are accredited by MSCHE.

New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Commission on Institution of Higher Education (NEASC-CHE)
Schools in Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts are accredited by NEASC-CHE.

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
The Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC)
Schools in Wyoming, Arizona, North Dakota, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Michigan and Kansas are accredited by NCA-HLC.

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Commission on Colleges
Schools in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, Mississippi and South Carolina are accredited by SACS.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC-WASC)
Schools in California and Hawaii in addition to those in American Samoa, the Territories of Guam, the Republic of Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia are accredited by ACCJC-WASC.

To avoid disappointment later, students planning to attend an online college need to inquire about its accreditation prior to making a decision about enrollment.

The Importance of Online College Accreditation

importanceThe cost of a college education has skyrocketed in the past 20 years and there is no end in sight. The increasing cost to earn a degree has placed a higher education out of the reach for many. Additionally, today’s students often find themselves struggling with the busy pace of life as they manage work responsibilities and family obligations in addition to their pursuit of a degree. This has led thousands of students to turn to online options to earn a degree. These classes are more affordable and offer the convenience of learning from home.

But with this new wave of earning a degree come problems. Not every online degree is equal and it is imperative that a student understand the importance of earning an online degree from an accredited institution.

Accreditation ensures that the course of study and the degree a student earns will be recognized as an achievement that is bestowed on the student from a quality institution. Accreditation is used to maintain standards of online colleges and universities. Accreditation standards give a student peace of mind that the education they are paying for will result in the best opportunity to find a job upon graduation. Most employers look to see if the job applicant has earned a degree from an accredited online college or program. Many employers will not even consider an applicant who has a degree from a nonaccredited college.

National (Department of Education, for instance) and regional agencies oversee accreditation of online colleges and universities. These agencies implement criteria that evaluate the quality of courses and the institution itself. Accreditation validates your degree.

The Differences of Non-Accredited Courses, Programs, and Degrees

An online college or university might not be accredited for a number of reasons. A new institution might not yet have attained accreditation. Other nonaccredited institutions might have financial difficulties, which have cost them the all-important accreditation designation. Institutions that base course work on religious teachings often choose not to be accredited as they see the accreditation process as government intervention. Online colleges and universities are not recognized by most accrediting entities and organizations generally offer course work and degrees are not based on proper academic assessment. Courses taken and degrees earned from nonaccredited schools often are not valid. If your degree is earned at an online school that does not have accreditation, chances of landing that dream job could be endangered.

Another important factor students need to consider when taking courses from a nonaccredited online school is the potential to earn and receive scholarships and government grants. Students who enroll in online classes from nonaccredited colleges will not be able to obtain federal or state financial aid. These types of classes also can prevent the student from being eligible from receiving some scholarships and grants.

Students considering taking online classes from a nonaccredited college need to be aware of diploma mills. These are online businesses that build a website to give the appearance that they are legitimate institutions, offering legitimate courses and degrees. Some of these diploma mills might claim to be accredited and model their websites on actual accrediting agencies to convince potential students that they are earning a degree that has value.

With all the negativity surrounding nonaccredited online colleges and universities, one might wonder why anyone would enroll in such classes. For some jobs that do not require a college degree or high-school diploma, a degree from a nonaccredited institution might be sufficient to be hired. But actual experience might be more desirable than this type of degree.

Students should consider taking online courses from an accredited institution. Chances of earning a useful education are better, which in turn results in a higher probability of landing a job afterward.

Accredited Online Doctoral Degrees – Overview

onlinephdSince selecting the right online or traditional doctoral program is critical to career success, one of the highest priorities is finding an online doctoral program that best suits your individual educational and professional needs while maximizing the efficiency of your time and monetary investments. Selecting a program accredited by proper governing bodies is one of the best ways to do just that since ensures that the degree will be valid in the eyes of the academic world and future employers. Though the reasons why doctoral students pursue an advanced degree vary, most are seeking the degree to work in academia – a field which candidates job prospects hinge on having a degree from an accredited source.

Online learning has become more widely accepted over the recent years due to the increasing demand by students for alternatives to the time and financial investments required to complete traditional degrees. Earning a degree online can open up lots of different doors, including career advancement opportunities, employment in a new career, and so much more. Knowing exactly what an online associate degree is and in which ways it is different from a traditional degree can help you as you select the best school to meet your personal, financial, educational, and professional needs.

What an Online Doctoral Degree is

A doctoral degree, also known as a doctorate or PhD, is the highest professional degree that is granted by academic institutions in a variety of fields. Doctoral online degrees allow students to complete this same advanced level degree conveniently in an online format over the Internet. Doctoral degrees are among the most rapid growing sectors of online programs being offered today, mostly because they provide the flexibility to complete coursework and work fill-time. Online doctoral degrees are offered through programs that are exclusively online, as well as through hybrid extensions with conventional school programs.

Some of the most popular doctoral degrees are in education, law, pharmacy, physical therapy, psychology, criminal justice, and engineering. Depending on the subject area of study, an online doctoral degree can require anywhere from four to seven years to fully complete. Most require years of coursework and materials, before completing a research dissertation individually. Degrees in science fields generally take the longest, while those in the arts and humanities may only take four or five years. Once a student completes the doctoral degree online, they have the widest selection of job opportunities in the academic world, either as a professor or faculty researcher.

The Difference Between Online Doctoral Degrees and Traditional Degrees

An online doctoral program is only different from its traditional counterpart for about the first two years, since this is when the majority of the course materials are completed. Of course, this is traditionally completed in the classroom, but in online programs it is conducted through the Internet from anywhere in the world. Therefore, students have the ability to complete the assignments at their own pace and on their own time. Online classes still follow a syllabus that designates when assignments are due and when exams need to be taken. During the second part of the online doctoral program, it does not differ much from the traditional program because the student still works independently on a dissertation.

Professors usually are available to consult with students one-on-one via email, phone, or live chat on messengers. If it is an extensive of a program taught at a brick and mortar program or the student’s location allows, there may also be established office hours where professors will meet with students in person. Students also engage with other students in the class, through interactive message boards, discussions, and virtual classroom chat rooms. Most students decide to work full-time while going to school part-time because online courses provide the convenience of completing the work at any hour of the day. However, it is important to note that online doctoral degree programs are just as rigorous as conventional programs. The only major difference is that students are gifted with the flexibility of carrying on other commitments and completing the courses in their own time.

As when choosing any degree program, it is tremendously important for doctoral students to make sure the program has existed for at least three years. Doing so will be increase the likelihood that the instructors are experienced and knowledgeable about the online learning format. Beyond this, students need to find a program that fits their schedule, provides resources that suit individual goals, and offers the refined skills necessary to advance to employment as a highly qualified professional.

Accredited Online Masters Degree Programs – Overview

onlinemasterStudents enter graduate studies for a diverse number of reasons. Many want to earn a master’s degree as a way to continue learning, and others choose to continue their education for job advancement or a change in career. No matter what the reason, most graduate candidate hopefuls feel that online degree programs are best suited to meet their educational and professional goals. Since most students must manage work and family responsibilities in addition to academics, many find that participating in accredited online master degree programs is the best way to maximize the efficiency of their time and financial investments. Plus completing a master degree leads to a number of possibilities both while attending courses and after graduation.

What A Master’s Degree Is

Most people respect the importance of education, and earning an undergraduate degree is an investment that often opens doors of opportunity. The master’s degree is the next step up the ladder of academic credentials after a bachelor’s degree. An online master degree is the same as one earned on campus, except that students do not sit in a campus classroom and have a virtual learning experience compliments of technology and the internet. A master’s degree may increase opportunities, but experts recommend that students consider the cost of spending at least another year in study in addition to the price of enrollment. The U.S. News and World Report asked business executives for opinions about the value of getting a master’s degree as a way to achieve success in the business world. Responses reflected mixed opinions, with some favoring it while others valued experience more highly. Earning a master’s degree usually requires at least one year of study after graduation from undergraduate school. Students in graduate school focus on a special area of interest, usually the major field in which they earned an undergraduate degree.

Many graduate programs combine studying with work experiences as an option that some executives recommend as a practical approach. Combining a master’s degree with on the job experience is a potential way to impress future employers, according to an executive recruiter who was interviewed by the magazine. An advanced degree that is enhanced by work experience or internships may show that a job candidate has practical as well as theoretical knowledge.

Availability of Online Master Degree Programs

Nearly one thousand schools offer online master’s degree programs, and many of them provide hundreds of fields of interest. Millions of students are currently enrolled in online master’s degree programs, allowing them the opportunity to continue working while studying on evenings and weekends. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that master’s degrees in these fields are the most popular:

Business Administration
Courses offer instruction in marketing, finance, business law and statistics for aspiring administrators, supervisors and managers.

Education
Teachers who want to advance can take courses in assessment, evaluation, curriculum development and leadership skills.

Public Health
Advanced training is available for public health workers that include program coordinators, administrators and consultants.

Public Administration
Offering instruction in urban planning, finance, strategic planning, quantitative math, budgeting and personnel management, the degree is a choice of many in the public sector.

Engineering
Many sub-fields in engineering are featured in online master’s programs, including civil engineering that focuses on viability and environmental aspects of capital projects.

Psychology
Advancement in the mental health field includes knowledge of psychological assessment methods, cognitive influences, ethical issues and behavioral studies.

Criminal Justice
A career in crime investigation and prevention is aided with courses in forensic science, law enforcement, terrorism and administration.

Information Technology
The study of information technology includes software and hardware development, networking, security requirements and business information processes.

Nursing
Advancing in the nursing field requires coursework that includes ethics and policy matters, finance and research in healthcare.

Social Work
Careers in community health require training in developing welfare policy as well as learning about clinical operations.

Opportunities to earn a master’s degree online are readily available to college graduates who have access to a computer. In combination with work experience, the degree may open doors to advancement for aspiring job applicants since courses provide the refined skills and educational background necessary to propel personal, educational, and professional goals.