Easiest Degrees to Get Online

Find out why it can be better to earn your degree online, and what makes online programs easier than their on-campus counterparts. Explore the easiest and most popular online programs, as well as careers that they can lead to.

Reasons to Earn Your Degree Online

With hundreds of different fields of study available as on-campus and online degree programs, there are several reasons that earning your degree online can be a better fit than earning it on campus. Here are just a few of them.

No Travel Requirements

Many programs can be completed entirely online, meaning you don't have to attend any on-campus seminars, residencies or orientations. This saves you both time and money for travel expenses. Instead of that time for commuting, you can use that time for distance study, family, work or leisure.

Affordability

While not applicable to all schools and programs, many online degree options have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts or at least have fewer associated fees. Because you aren't utilizing on-campus resources, you typically won't be responsible for on-campus fees such as recreation, facilities or student services fees.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is not only available to on-campus students; online students can qualify for the same financial aid as on-campus students in most situations. While aid can depend on factors such as field of study, academic performance (such as GPA) and student demographics, it can help you decrease the cost of your online program, or cover it entirely.

Online Options

Due to the increased number of students obtaining their degrees online, institutions of higher education are offering more hybrid and online options. Depending on the schools you are interested in, you may be able to pursue almost the same number of programs online as you can on-campus, with some exceptions including practice-intensive programs that require clinical practice components (such as those in healthcare).

Programs Available

Online programs are available for students of all backgrounds, including programs leading to associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctoral degrees. You can select online programs in dozens of fields, including computer science, education, business, mathematics, psychology and more.

Flexibility

Many online programs offer significant flexibility, allowing you to take as few or as many courses as you want. While some programs are offered in specific structures or schedules, a significant number of programs allow you to determine how quickly you want to progress through your program.

Convenience

While there are some classes in online programs that require you to log in at specific times for class components (such as live lectures or exams), most courses in online programs offer asynchronous learning. This means that you can log in and complete coursework at your convenience, whether it's at 2 a.m. or lunchtime.

Faculty

In on-campus courses, you can speak with your faculty directly, but you may not be able to get answers to questions in detail until you are in class. In online courses, faculty are accustomed to answering questions via email or video discussion. You may be able to get responses to questions within a day or two rather than waiting until your scheduled class.

Support

Students have access to a variety of support resources, even though they are not necessarily able to utilize campus resources. Colleges with online programs typically have resources catered to online students, such as real-time assistance via chat or phone, that exist to ensure online students have the support they need to succeed.

Learning from Anywhere

In addition to the benefit of saving time and expenses on commuting to a campus, earning your degree allows you to study and work on assignments from anywhere in the world. You can study at home in your pajamas, take your laptop to the library for quiet, and even complete some of your work via wifi at your local coffee shop while enjoying a latte.

How Easy is Earning an Online Degree?

It's important to note that the coursework in online programs is not easier than coursework in on-campus programs. What makes online programs easy for many students is the flexibility and other characteristics involved with distance learning.

Concentrating on Your Work

Because you are able to access and work on items for online classes at your convenience, it can be easier to concentrate on the material. In a traditional classroom, there can be distractions or discussions that aren't the best use of class time. When you're learning from the comfort of your home, however, you can often make better use of your time and focus more on what you're doing.

Staying Ahead

If you're a proactive student and like to complete your assignments earlier in the week, you can often get your assignments done early on. Doing so enables you to enjoy the rest of your week without necessarily worrying about your coursework. Online classes typically provide you with the flexibility to complete your work early or even wait until the last day of the week.

Getting Help

In traditional classes, you may not have regular email or phone communication with your instructors; instructors may wait until class sessions to answer questions so that all students can benefit from the explanation. In online courses, you can usually email or call your instructors and receive answers or explanations within a few hours, or a few days (depending on the instructor).

Time Management

Once you've become familiar with the format of online courses, you learn how to best use your time in and outside of your coursework. Having a predictable, regular schedule for your coursework provides you with an overall easier schedule for things outside of school (such as work, family and other activities).

Easiest Degrees For Online Learning

There are countless degree options available to online students, but some degrees are easier to find and earn than others. Several types of online degrees that are easy to earn online are discussed in the sections below as well as career options for graduates of each type of program. All salary and outlook data is provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Business Degrees

Business degrees are one of the most common types of degrees that's offered online, and they're available from the associate's degree level all the way up to the doctoral level. Degrees in business are easy to earn online because they are available through most schools with online programs and usually allow students to take courses at their convenience. In addition, online business degree programs usually offer several different concentration options to students, such as:

  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Leadership
  • International Business
  • General Business Administration

While the courses required for online business degree programs vary by concentration, many programs share fundamental courses. To provide students with a broad understanding of business, these programs usually include courses in topics such as accounting, financial statement analysis, professional communication, organizational behavior, economics and leadership.

Careers in Business

Depending on which program students graduate from (degree level and concentration), they may qualify for a variety of careers in business and other industries. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that all financial, business and management careers will grow an average of 7% from 2018 to 2028. Several careers that are available to graduates of online business degree programs are summarized in the table below.

Job Title Typical Education Required Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)Median Annual Salary (2018)
Advertising and Promotions Managers Bachelor's degree 3% $117,130
General and Operations Managers Bachelor's degree 7% $100,930
Marketing and Sales Managers Bachelor's degree 6% $128,100
Financial Managers Bachelor's degree 16% $127,990
Administrative Services Managers Bachelor's degree 7% $96,180
Cost Estimators Bachelor's degree 9% $64,040
Management Analysts Bachelor's degree 14% $83,610
Logisticians Bachelor's degree 5% $74,600
Financial Specialists Bachelor's degree 6% $70,770
Human Resource Workers Bachelor's degree (most positions) 4% $61,400
Financial Examiners Bachelor's degree 7% $80,180

Technology

Technology programs are widely available in an online format, and they can be obtained at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Like online programs in business, online technology degree programs are easy because they often offer flexible schedules and don't require on-campus visits. Depending on the school, technology programs can be offered in various subtopics and concentrations, such as those listed below.

  • Programming
  • Game Design
  • Networking
  • Information Security
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Analytics
  • Information Technology Management
  • Cybersecurity
  • Web Development

Depending on the degree level, students may focus around half of their curriculum on topics that are specifically applicable to their chosen concentration. The core courses required in online technology degree programs can include classes such as operating systems, networking, database design, information technology, data management and information security.

Careers in Technology

Graduates of online technology programs can pursue careers of varying types, including those in programming, research and management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2018 that the median salary for all computer and information technology careers was $86,320, and the field is expected to see a 12% growth between 2018 and 2028. Some of the careers available to graduates of online technology degree programs are summarized in the table below.

Job Title Typical Education Required Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)Median Annual Salary (2018)
Computer and Information Systems Managers Bachelor's degree 11% $142,530
Computer Systems Analysts Bachelor's degree 9% $88,740
Software Developers, Applications Bachelor's degree 26% $103,620
Information Security Analysts Bachelor's degree 32% $98,350
Software Developers, Systems Software Bachelor's degree 10% $110,000
Computer and Information Research Scientists Master's degree 17% $118,370
Web Developers Associate's degree 13% $69,430
Database Administrators Bachelor's degree 9% $90,070
Computer Network Architects Bachelor's degree 5% $109,020
Network and Computer Systems Administrators Bachelor's degree 5% $82,050

Mathematics

Online degree programs in mathematics are not as common as the programs discussed above, but they are easy because of their ability to be completed online. Online mathematics programs are available at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and typically have no concentration or a concentration in applied mathematics (this excludes mathematics education programs; see below for education). Students of online mathematics programs usually take courses in calculus, algebra, differential equations, statistics and mathematical modeling.

Careers in Mathematics

Careers in mathematics are expected to grow 26% between 2018 and 2028 and had a median annual salary of $86,700 in 2018. The field of mathematics is growing at an unprecedented rate, and online mathematics graduates have a greater chance of finding a job after graduation. Some of the careers that are available to online mathematics degree program graduates are shown below.

Job Title Typical Education Required Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)Median Annual Salary (2018)
Operations Research Analysts Bachelor's degree 26% $83,390
Mathematicians Master's degree 26% $101,900
Actuaries Bachelor's degree 20% $102,880
Statisticians Master's degree 31% $87,780

Education

Online education degree programs often require some hands-on practice because of the nature of the field. Many schools that offer these programs online can work with students so that they are able to complete any required practice hours at locations near them. Education programs are easier for students who learn better by doing, because they are able to practice what they're learning when completing any required practicum hours. Education programs are available at all levels, from associate's to doctoral, and often allow students to choose concentration areas such as those listed below.

  • Special Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary/Middle Education
  • Mathematics Education
  • Education Administration
  • Curriculum & Instruction

Some programs prepare students for teaching licensure, while other programs are meant to expand the knowledge of teachers and other individuals without a direct certification path; students should review program information and license requirements for their states. The courses included in online education degree programs vary greatly with the area of study but typically include appropriate courses in child psychology, teaching practices, subject courses (such as basic reading and mathematics for elementary education), instructional design and classroom diversity.

Careers in Education

Education, training and library occupations are expected to see a 5% growth between 2018 and 2028 and had a median annual salary of $49,700. Graduates of online education degree programs can pursue roles in teaching, school administration and other areas of education. Some of the positions available to online education program graduates are listed below.

Job Title Typical Education Required Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)Median Annual Salary (2018)
Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program Bachelor's degree 7% $47,940
Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School Master's degree 4% $95,310
Education Administrators, Postsecondary Master's degree 7% 94,340
Preschool Teachers (except special education) Associate's degree 7% $29,780
Secondary School Teachers Bachelor's degree 4% $60,320
Kindergarten Teachers (except special education) Bachelor's degree 4% $55,470
Special Education Teachers Bachelor's degree 4% $59,610
Instructional Coordinators Master's degree 6% $64,450

Healthcare

Like education programs, online healthcare programs often require hands-on practicum hours. Because students are able to practice learned topics and skills, and ask questions as they practice, completing healthcare degree programs can be easier than those that are entirely online or entirely on-campus. Some of the specific fields of study available for online healthcare degree programs are:

  • Public Health
  • Nursing
    • Registered Nurse
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Educator
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Community Health

Depending on the area of interest, students may be able to pursue different levels of degrees. For example, there are online programs in nursing available at the undergraduate, master's degree and doctoral levels. While the required classes vary by area of concentration/study, many online healthcare programs include courses in anatomy, biology, patient privacy, healthcare quality and population health.

Careers in Healthcare

The careers available to graduates of online healthcare programs are somewhat determined by the area that was studied. For example, a graduate of a bachelor's program in nursing is typically only qualified to work as a registered nurse. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects all healthcare careers to increase by 14% between 2018 and 2028. Some of the careers available to graduates of online healthcare degree programs are shown below.

Job Title Typical Education Required Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)Median Annual Salary (2018)
Medical and Health Services Managers Bachelor's degree 18% $99,730
Registered Nurses Bachelor's degree 12% $71,730
Nurse Practitioners Master's degree 28% $107,030
Health Educators Bachelor's degree 10% $54,220
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Certificate
Associate's degree
11% $40,350

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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