12 Online Bachelor’s Degrees That Will Make You More Than $45,000

A woman sees her earnings potential after earning a bachelor's degree from an accredited college

A woman sees her earnings potential after earning a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. | iStock.com/AntonioGuillem

It’s something your parents and grandparents likely never dreamed of: earning a college degree from the comfort of your own home. While generations past had to physically move to a college to earn a bachelor’s degree, students today can do so online. Online degrees are a good choice for many reasons. But they’re not without their downfalls, too.

You save money on commuting or dorm room expenses, for example. But you lose out on making strong in-person connections with your classmates. And those classmates might go on to do big things. All told, however, online degrees make education available to many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend college. And the more educated our workforce is, the better off we are as a society.

The key, of course, is picking the right degree. You don’t want to sink tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into a degree that won’t open any doors. You need to choose a path that provides opportunity and a stable living. College is an investment, after all. So, how do you choose? A new report from OnlineDegrees.com can give you head start. The report ranks the best online degrees using a range of data.

“To help prospective students choose the online degrees that can help benefit them most, we grabbed the latest employment, salary and education data from PayScale, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET),” the report stated. “We analyzed 175 bachelor’s degrees to find out which distance learning programs offer the best combination of an affordable and accessible education, strong job prospects and earning potential.”

From the report, here are the top 12 online bachelor’s degrees for 2017.

12. Accounting/business science

The Accountant

The Accountant | Warner Bros.

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $46,950
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 75,670
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 74

If numbers strike your fancy, accounting can be a lucrative and secure field in which to establish a career track. The issue is it can be tedious, and a lot of people really don’t like math. If you can stick it out, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business science is a solid plan. It also offers you a way to get into numerous industries, as businesses all across the spectrum need number crunchers.

11. Marketing

Phil Schiller discusses Siri

Phil Schiller discusses Siri during an Apple marketing event. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $45,300
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 36,330
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 134

If numbers aren’t your thing and you’d rather flex your creative muscles, marketing (though more competitive) is a good path. As far as this particular report goes, a bachelor’s degree in marketing will fetch you a median salary on the lower-end of the spectrum. But there are opportunities out there and lots of schools that offer students the chance to earn an online degree.

10. Management studies

manager in a warehouse

Manager in a warehouse | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $57,200
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 81,940
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 9

What’s better than being the boss — or at least one of the bosses? You can earn an online degree in management, which can help you land a promotion or at least end up somewhere in the management strata. As you can see from the numbers, there is obviously a demand for people with this degree. The only issue? A relatively small number of schools offer it — only nine, per the report.

9. Physician’s assistant studies

A medical professional offers up some pills

A medical professional offers some pills. | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $85,200
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 12,720
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 2

There are myriad ways to establish a career in the health care industry. And if becoming a doctor or nurse doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, you can try an increasingly popular route: become a physician’s assistant. A look at the early career median earnings above shows this is one of those online degrees that pays off. But like some others, it can be competitive. Only two schools offer the degree online.

8. Computer programming

A programmer at his computer

A programmer, with one of those hot online degrees, bangs out some code. | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $50,500
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 53,390
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 47

If there’s one industry that’s taken the world by storm in recent years, it’s tech. Cushy jobs at companies, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, are competitive. And recruiters won’t even sniff at your resume unless you have a programming degree. Luckily, more schools are offering this track online, making it easier than ever to pursue a career in programming.

7. Dental hygiene

Dentist using UV healing lamp on patient

Dentist using a UV healing lamp on a patient. | iStock.com/bekisha

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $65,400
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 14,750
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 24

Almost everybody hates going to the dentist. But it would be a whole lot more pleasurable if you were getting paid to go. And according to this report, the earnings aren’t too shabby. A bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene can set you up for a solid, secure career. Dozens of schools now offer this degree online, though you should probably expect that some hands-on training will be needed, as well.

6. Computer information systems

Hacker using laptop

Hacker using laptop | iStock.com/scyther5

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $54,300
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 49,170
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 59

If programming or IT isn’t your thing, a degree in computer information systems might be worthwhile. What is it, exactly? According to the OnlineDegrees.com analysis, “Students pursuing CIS degrees mix in concepts of business administration like project management, business process design and implementation, management of information services, IT quality assurance, and risk management as it relates to enterprise technology projects.”

5. Information security

Two people working on laptops

Two people work on laptops. | iStock.com/BernardaSv

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $57,700
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 30,730
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 75

There’s a lot of talk these days about hacking, leaks, and security breaches. It’s a serious problem and one that’s only going to get more serious as the world further digitizes. Smart, capable people are needed to ward off cyber threats, and this is a career track that requires at least a bachelor’s degree. You can earn one online, and the report says as many as 75 schools offer it.

4. Computer science

RAM trims in computer

RAM trims in computer | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $65,300
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 69,790
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 25

We’re not finished with tech degrees yet. One of the more popular and sought-after degrees, as it relates to tech, is a bachelor’s degree in computer science. This particular track can open up tons of doors. And it provides relatively high salaries to those who get a job. There are lots of openings, too, and you shouldn’t expect hiring to slow down anytime soon.

3. Finance

finance forms with pen and calculator

Financial forms | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $53,300
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 131,850
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 90

Want to work on Wall Street or at least try to find a way to get in on all that sweet action? A degree in finance would be the first step. This is an area in which there are a lot of opportunities. Per the OnlineDegrees.com report, as many as 90 schools offer the degree to online students. And a look at the average number of job openings shows hundreds of thousands of spots are available.

2. IT

Information and data form a human face

Information and data form a human face | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $53,000
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 69,530
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 109

If you haven’t realized yet, tech degrees are valuable and you can get many of them online. When it comes to information technology specifically, as many as 109 schools across the country offer this track to online students. In terms of careers, there are nearly 70,000 annual job openings for those with the credentials, and the earnings, on average, land at $53,000.

1. Nursing

nurse testing patient's pulse

Nurse takes pulse. | iStock.com

  • Early career median salary, 2016: $57,500
  • Average annual job openings, 2014 to 2024: 111,380
  • Number of schools offering this degree online, 2015 to 2016: 394

The absolute best online bachelor’s degree you can get, according to OnlineDegrees.com, is one in nursing. Nursing is a field that is absolutely exploding, and the combination of job prospects and high earnings land it the top spot. Also, nearly 400 schools across the country offer it to online students, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a spot to study.

See the complete report from OnlineDegrees.com.

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