Earning an online undergraduate degree is more than just a personal accomplishment — it’s also an investment in your future. To get the best possible return on your investment, you should choose an in-demand degree that will help you build a satisfying, stable, and lucrative career.
But with so many career paths to consider, how do you know which undergraduate degree is right for you? This guide to some of the most valuable online degrees can help you answer that question. If you want to learn which degree programs may offer you broader options for employment, need help deciding what to go to school for online, or want to know what online degrees are taken seriously by employers, start here.
Are Online Degrees Worth Pursuing?
If you’re thinking about getting your degree, you may be wondering whether it’s “worth it.” But in the constantly changing business world, there’s one thing that remains consistent: employers value college degrees.
In 2018, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) published research based on national surveys of over 1,000 hiring managers and business executives. According to the data, “A large majority of executives (82 percent) and hiring managers (75 percent) believe that it is very important or essential to complete a college education.”
The research also revealed that even higher percentages of these groups — 88 percent and 85 percent, respectively — “believe that college degrees are worth the time and effort necessary to graduate.” The same year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported an 86 percent employment rate among individuals with a bachelor’s degree or greater, compared to 79 percent for those “with some college,” and 72 percent for high school graduates.
So, is an online degree equally valuable? Research has indicated that most employers do not differentiate or discriminate based on whether a candidate earned their degree online or in a more traditional, on-campus setting. Meanwhile, NCES statistics show that nearly 7 million students are enrolled in online college courses, with over 16% of students “exclusively” taking their classes online. And with COVID-19 driving more students into virtual classrooms, online degrees are becoming more sought-after than ever before.
What Are the Top Online Degrees
Depending on the type of degree you earn, you can increase your earning potential and make it easier to support yourself and your loved ones. Your degree can also make you more attractive to employers, giving you a competitive edge — and more job opportunities — even in times of economic uncertainty.
5 Best Online Bachelor Degrees that Pay Well
If you’re looking for online bachelor degrees that lead to jobs that pay well and that may be historically considered as recession-proof, you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find five of the most popular — and most promising — online degrees, including data on potential career types, projected job growth, and average salary.
#1: Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting
- Degree Type — Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting
- Occupation — Accountant
- Job Description — Accountants work with individuals and/or companies to analyze and maintain their financial records, ensuring compliance with state and federal tax regulations while providing financial guidance.
- Average Median Income — The BLS reports the median annual wage for accountants was $77,250 in May 2021.
- Projected 10-Year Growth — Up to 6% job growth
- Other Career Options — This type of degree can also prepare you for a career as an IRS auditor, internal auditor, tax preparer, or CPA (subject to additional criteria, such as successful completion of the CPA exam).
#2: Online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
- Degree Type — Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (BSCS)
- Occupation — Software Developer
- Job Description — Software developers are responsible for installing, creating, testing, modifying, and evaluating computer software.
- Average Median Income — The BLS reports the median annual wage for software developers was $120,730 in May 2021.
- Projected 10-Year Growth — Up to 25% job growth
- Other Career Options — Database administrator, technical writer, and software quality assurance analyst
#3: Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems (BSIS)
- Degree Type — Bachelor of Science in Information Systems (BSIS)
- Occupation — Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Job Description — As a Computer and Information Systems Manager, you’ll coordinate team projects, create computer programs, and protect against IT security threats, which is also the focus of our Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity program (BSCYB).
- Average Median Income — The BLS reports the median annual wage for computer and information systems managers was $159,010 in May 2021.
- Projected 10-Year Growth — 16% job growth (38,800 new jobs)
- Other Career Options — Network/systems administrator, computer system analyst, information security analyst (also referred to as a cybersecurity analyst).
#4: Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Degree Type — Bachelor of Science in Nursing – RN Completion (RN to BSN)
- Occupation — Registered Nurse
- Job Description — Registered nurses provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.
- Average Median Income — The BLS reports The median annual wage for registered nurses was $77,600 in May 2021.
- Projected 10-Year Growth — 6% job growth
- Other Career Options — Health educator, case manager, critical care nurse, pediatric nurse
#5: Online Bachelor of Arts in Management
- Degree Type — Bachelor of Arts in Management
- Occupation — Construction Manager
- Job Description — Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.
- Average Median Income — The BLS reports The median annual wage for construction managers was $98,890 in May 2021.
- Projected 10-Year Growth — Up to 10% job growth
- Other Career Options — Project manager, construction executive, cost engineer, field engineer
Why is it Important to Choose an Accredited College
Before you think about applying to a degree program, here’s one last word of advice: when choosing an online bachelor’s degree, be sure to select a program at an accredited college or university. There are many reasons why college accreditation is important, but here are a few of the most crucial to keep in mind:
- Only colleges or universities that meet certain quality standards can receive accreditation.
- Employers generally prefer accredited schools and may treat your job application more seriously.
- You might not be able to transfer college credits if your school is not accredited.
- You may be ineligible for federal student aid if your school is not accredited.
National University is proudly accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1977. A number of our academic programs have received additional accreditation, such as our Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program, which has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
Earn More with an Online Undergraduate Degree from NU
Getting a job with an online degree can jumpstart your career. With flexible four-week courses and a wide range of 100% online programs, starting a new career has never been easier or more convenient. To learn more about getting an online bachelor’s degree from National University, talk to an enrollment advisor today.
McCluskey, M. (2020, April 7). Taking a MOOC During COVID-19: What to Know. US News. Retrieved September 11, 2022, from https://www.usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/articles/taking-a-mooc-during-coronavirus-pandemic-what-to-know
This post was updated on December 11th, 2022 to allow for the most up-to-date information.