As the business world increasingly embraces online credentials, more options are emerging when it comes to non-traditional degrees and certificates. From the obvious to the unexpected, we’ve rounded up several popular online studies degree options. If you’re thinking of continuing your education outside of the classroom, one of these seven programs may be an optimal fit.
1. Most Obvious: Big Data
It’s hardly a surprise that big data earns the top spot on this list. Says Forbes, “Businesses in all industries are beginning to capitalize on the vast increase in data and the new big data technologies becoming available for analyzing and gaining value from it.” As demand for talent continues to rise, more programs are emerging aimed at helping people acquire the skills necessary to work as data scientists. Online programs constitute an ideal opportunity for students looking for convenience and flexibility with no sacrifice of quality.
2. Most Popular: Coding and Programming
Coding is another red-hot field, and would-be programmers and coders can learn everything they need to know without stepping foot in a classroom. They have plenty of reasons to do so, too -- starting with a median annual salary of just under $80,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3. Most Surprising: Sports & Fitness
Think you need to attend a bricks-and-mortar program to work in the sports and fitness industry? Think again. There are many online options for aspiring sports and fitness professionals on topics ranging from sports nutrition to understanding sports injuries. Even for jobs which may eventually require practical training and hands-on experience, online studies offer a giant step in the right direction and can help you hit the ground running sooner in your chosen career.
4. Best for Career Development: Marketing
No matter what field you’re in, marketing skills can help you do your job better. However, not everyone is able to step off the career track to pursue full-time, on-campus marketing degrees. The good news? You don’t have to. Online marketing degree and certificate programs can be done on your own time and in the location of your choice. In other words, going back to school doesn’t have to mean giving up your day job or spending time away from your family or other personal commitments. In some cases, your employer may even foot the bill for marketing classes if you’ll be putting your newfound skills to immediate use in your current position.
5. Most Practical: Time Management
In LinkedIn’s ranking of the 25 Most Popular Online Classes for 2017, “Managing Your Time” claimed a top 10 spot. Think of it this way: Who do you know who isn't eager to get more out of the average day? While traveling to and from campus, dealing with traffic and parking, and dealing with the constraints of the rigid schedules of on-campus classes can end up costing you even more time, online classes in time management are the ultimate in efficiency.
6. Best for Landing Your Dream Job: Career Development
From acing your interview to negotiating your salary, many factors go into your career progression. Whether you’re currently on the job market or planning ahead for the future, the more you know about how to present yourself as a desirable candidate, the more leverage you’ll ultimately have during your job search.
7. Most Unexpected: Healthcare
The healthcare industry is booming and experts predict no slow-down anytime soon. While careers like medical billing and coding may be the most common contenders when it comes to online healthcare studies, there are other options, as well. For example, an online degree in healthcare administration will prepare you for a career path as a medical or health services manager.
Another option? Nursing. Not only did U.S. News & World report rank nurse practitioners among its list of Six Great Jobs You Can Get With an Online Degree, but it also awarded the profession an impressive fourth-place finish on its ranking of the 100 best jobs.
Worried that an online degree won’t make the same impression on employers as a bricks and mortar degree? Set those fears aside. Not only are employers more receptive than ever to online degrees and certificates, but some of the world’s top colleges and universities offer online and distance learning programs -- meaning you’ll be in good company.
The overall takeaway? The rapid growth of online programs combined with the abundance of options across multiple disciplines means there’s truly something for everyone when it comes to online studies. So what are you waiting for?
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