Highest Paying Online Degree Programs

Having a college degree is a good first step toward a high-paying career. Let's take a look at some of the degrees and career options for associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree graduates.

Highest Paying Online Degree Programs

Potential salary might not be the only consideration when choosing an online program but it's certainly up there. To help you decide, we've compiled a list of some of the highest-paying online degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's levels.

Associate Degree Programs Leading to High Paying Careers

There are generally four kinds of associate's degrees: Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), Associate of Applied Science (AAS), or Associate of General Studies (AGS). Associate's degrees typically take around 2 years and 60 credits to complete. There are numerous majors or specializations from which students may choose, and while not all programs are offered 100% online, individuals pursuing associate degrees and hoping to enter high-paying professions might look into the following online programs:

Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Sciences

Associate of applied science degrees are typically designed for those individuals planning to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. Keep in mind that some of these programs might have practical requirements. Here are a few of the careers you may be able to pursue with an associate of applied science degree in radiologic sciences:

  • Radiation Therapist - These medical professionals are the ones who provide radiation therapy for cancer patients and others in need of radiation treatment. They have typically taken courses in math, psychology, anatomy, and core courses in radiation therapy, and it is common for radiation therapists to be certified or licensed in their state and be required to pass a national examination. The median reported income for radiation therapists in 2018 was $82,330, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist - If you have ever had a CT scan or MRI and been given a shot of radioactive dye, it was given to you by a nuclear medicine technologist who may also operate the scanning and imaging equipment. In addition to general studies courses in English and math, some of the core courses in nuclear medicine technology programs include nuclear physics, radiobiology, and anatomy. In 2018, the BLS reported that nuclear medicine technologists earned a median income of $75,820.
  • Radiologic and MRI Technologist - Radiologic technologists are health professionals who perform x-rays. Like the nuclear medicine technologist, MRI technologists prepare patients for their tests and operate the imaging equipment, and it is common for these technologists to have additional certifications or licensure. In 2018, their median income was reported as $61,240, and the job outlook from 2018 to 2028 is expected to increase by 9%.

Associate of Applied Science in Occupational, Physical, or Respiratory Therapy Assistant

To break into any of these three healthcare areas, an associate of applied science degree is usually the first step. Let's look at what each of these occupations entails.

  • Occupational Therapy Assistant - For anyone who is disabled by illness, disease, or injury, an occupational therapy assistant is one member of a team of healthcare workers who focus on helping that individual regain the skills necessary to be independent. Some of the common courses in these programs include psychology and biology. There is a great need for these professionals from 2018 to 2028 since it is expected that there will be a 31% increase in occupational therapy assistant positions, and the median salary in 2018 was $57,620.
  • Physical Therapy Assistant - Physical therapy assistants work with physical therapists to help patients manage pain and regain mobility. Some of their common courses include anatomy and physiology in addition to the general studies requirements of their program, and licensure is required in all 50 states in the U.S. Physical therapy assistants earned a median salary of $48,090 and, like occupational therapy assistant positions, there is an expected increase of 26% from 2018 to 2028.
  • Respiratory Therapy Assistant - In 2018, the median salary for respiratory therapy assistants was reported as $60,280. Again, the increase in the number of these positions through 2028 is high at 21%. Respiratory therapy assistants are licensed to work with patients who have trouble breathing by conducting tests, working within a healthcare team to develop a treatment plan for each individual, and tracking each patient's progress among various other responsibilities.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Technology

There are many career options for individuals with an associate of applied science degree in computer technology. Students are often able to specialize in a particular area of interest, as seen in the positions listed below.

  • Web Developer - Web developers are responsible for designing and creating web sites. Having coursework or experience in graphic design and computer programming is helpful when pursuing an associate degree in this area. The 2018 median income for web developers was $69,430, and the job outlook for this profession from 2018 to 2028 is better than average.
  • Computer Network Support Specialist - Earning a median salary of $62,770, computer network support specialists help network users stay productive by monitoring network effectiveness, troubleshooting network problems, and performing network maintenance. Some of the courses they study in addition to general studies courses may include spreadsheets, databases, and computer hardware.
  • Desktop Publisher - Whether it's information designed for online use or in print, desktop publishers use computer software to create page layouts. The median salary for desktop publishers in 2018 was $42,190. Often, in addition to their degrees, desktop publishers have a background in graphic design or communication and can expect to receive some on-the-job training.

Associate of Science in Engineering Technology

AS degrees are typically designed to transfer to a 4-year university. However, with an associate of science degree in engineering technology, graduates can pursue careers in civil engineering, aerospace engineering, electronics, and many other fields.

  • Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technician - These professionals use and maintain the equipment needed during the lifecycle of aircraft and spacecraft to keep them flying. Because of advancements in computer technology and the impact on aerospace engineering, many of these technicians study programming, robotics, or other computer-related subjects. The median salary for aerospace engineering and operations technicians was $67,010.
  • Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technician - These technicians work with electrical and electronics engineers to design equipment that use electrical components. It's common for them to test equipment, diagnose problems, and recommend and implement solutions. These technicians can be found working in technology, healthcare, communications and other fields that use electrical or electronic equipment, and they enjoy a median salary of $64,330.
  • Environmental Engineering Technician - Environmental engineering technicians carry out the plans developed by environmental engineers, including conducting environmental tests for pollution, collecting samples of water and air for analysis, and working to improve or remedy environmental pollution. According to the BLS's 2018 numbers, they earned a median salary of $50,560. Like other engineering students, having studied mathematics or chemistry can be helpful.

Associate of Arts in Business

There are many career options for individuals with an associate's degree in business. Getting there starts with an AA in Business. These degree programs often offer specializations like general business, business administration or business management.

  • Account Manager - Account managers work with their company's existing clients to ensure good relationships and continued sales while also seeking out new clients. In March 2020, the median salary for entry-level account managers was $43,711, according to the site Payscale.com. Individuals interested in becoming account managers may want to focus their associate's degrees in general business.
  • Executive Assistant - Executive assistants have many duties in support of their company's executives. They typically handle all clerical duties, scheduling, and correspondence in addition to being the gateway to their executives. In March 2020, the median salary for entry-level executive assistants was $42,838, per Payscale.com.
  • Office Manager - Entry-level office managers had median earnings of $40,608 in March 2020. While some have bachelor's degrees, many with associate's degrees in business management can fill this position. Office managers typically report to company executives and are sometimes a liaison between workers and management.

High-Paying Bachelor's Degree Programs

There are many types of bachelor's degrees, but the most common ones are the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science, which take around four years and 120 credits to complete. All bachelor's degree programs offer students the opportunity to select a major and that major can have a great impact on your future salary. Here are a few of the degrees that lead to high-paying positions.

Bachelor of Science in Computer Technology

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in a computer technology field can look forward to many career opportunities with high pay and growth potential. Many computer-related degrees can be completed 100% online.

  • Computer and Information Systems Manager - Someone with a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems can, with professional experience, become a computer and information systems manager. Individuals in this position oversee the entire life cycle of a company's computer-related activities from initial planning, through design and development, into implementation, monitoring, and evaluating, during which they work with vendors, and other IT professionals, such as systems analysts and support specialists to ensure efficient operation of all computer systems. The BLS reported in 2018 that the median income for computer and information systems managers was $142,530.
  • Computer Network Architect - Computer network architects plan, design, develop, and assist in the implementation and maintenance of computer networks. These professionals enjoy a median salary of $109,020, per the BLS. Typically, computer network architects have professional experience along with bachelor's degrees in information technology, computer science, or a related area where they have studied programming, network architecture, and other program-specific topics.
  • Software Developer - With a median salary of $105,590, becoming a software developer could be a good career option for someone with a bachelor's degree in computer science or programming. Software developers create the applications used on computers, phones, and other electronic devices. This occupation is expected to see an increase in jobs of 21% between 2018 and 2028.
  • Database Administrator - A database administrator is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the data stored in a database. They make sure users can get the information they need without jeopardizing security, and they optimize the database to make sure it's operating at peak efficiency. Database administrators earned a median salary of $90,070, as of 2018.

Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration

Concentrations in business marketing, human resources, finance and other areas are good choices for those hoping to pursue careers in business.

  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Manager - With a median salary of $132,620, earning a bachelor's degree in advertising, marketing, or communications could be the first step in becoming an advertising, promotions, or marketing manager. While managers have different responsibilities, they often work together to create interest in goods or companies. In addition to general studies courses, students studying marketing, communications, or advertising can expect to take business-specific courses, such as accounting or finance.
  • Compensation and Benefits Manager - The BLS's numbers in 2018 show that compensation and benefits managers earned a median salary of $121,010. Typically, individuals in this position have a bachelor's degree in human resources, finance, business administration, or another business specialization along with professional experience. They are responsible for developing, implementing, overseeing, and evaluating all benefits and compensation packages offered to employees of their companies.
  • Human Resources Manager - Human resource managers earn a median salary of $113,300. With a bachelor's degree in human resources, education, business management, or another related field and professional experience, a human resources manager is prepared to oversee many administrative aspects in a company, including hiring, onboarding, negotiating contracts, and other essential activities. Some programs also offer the opportunity to study conflict resolution or organizational/industrial psychology for students planning to become human resource managers.
  • Training and Development Manager - A bachelor's degree in business, education, human resources, or a related area, along with professional experience, is usually required to become a training and development manager. These managers conduct needs assessments and evaluations of training programs in addition to planning, developing, and launching new learning initiatives within the company while staying within the training budget. Training and development managers earn a median income of $111,340.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Many bachelor of science in nursing programs are called RN-BSN programs because they are essentially degree completion programs. Registered nurses with associate's degrees are able to use those degrees as a launching point toward a bachelor's degree. It's important to note that these programs may include many online classes but often require on-site training as well.

  • Nurse Manager - Nursing managers oversee a team of nurses. Like many managers, they hire staff, implement training, and ensure compliance with local, state, and federal guidelines and standards; however, they have limited contact with patients. The median salary for entry-level nurse managers in March 2020 was $77,289, according to Payscale.com.
  • Director of Nursing - This high-level management position usually requires professional experience in addition to formal education. As the unit or department supervisor, the director of nursing makes sure that nurses have the supplies and equipment they need, assigns tasks, and evaluates performance. In March 2020, directors of nursing in entry-level positions earned a median salary of $75,221.
  • Assistant Director of Nursing - In addition to working closely with the director of nursing to provide department or unit supervision, the assistant director of nursing has patient contact and acts as a liaison between the patient and nursing staff. Developing and maintaining an efficient and smoothly operating department is one of the most important responsibilities of this healthcare professional. Per Payscale.com, the median earnings for this position in March 2020 was $66,764.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Having a bachelor of science degree in an engineering field, along with professional experience, can open the door to many career opportunities. Here are a few of the best-paying ones.

  • Architectural and Engineering Managers - As managers, these individuals use their education and professional experience to hire staff, coordinate with internal and external clients, make budget recommendations, develop projects, and solve problems. It's important to understand that these managers usually have at least five years of professional experience as engineers or architects. Architectural and engineering managers earn a median salary of $140,760.
  • Nuclear Engineer - A bachelor of science degree in nuclear engineering or a related field is the minimum requirement to become a nuclear engineer. In 2018, $107,600 was the median income for these engineers. Their responsibilities include ensuring safe operation of nuclear plants in addition to finding ways to utilize nuclear energy in responsible ways.
  • Sales Engineer - Sales engineers sell technical and scientific goods and services. Since engineering programs usually offer a broad range of concentrations in areas such as electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering, there are many potential career opportunities for individuals with bachelor's degrees in engineering who want to enter sales. The median salary for sales engineers is $101,420.

Bachelor of Science in Finance

A bachelor's degree in finance helps prepare individuals for the leadership and management challenges they will face in the financial world.

  • Financial Manager - Financial managers earned a median income of $127,990 in 2018 and can expect a positive job outlook through 2028 with an expected increase of 16%. These managers usually have at least five years of increasingly responsible experience in addition to their degree in finance. Their primary duty is to ensure the financial stability and success of their organization.
  • Financial Analyst - Statistics, economics, and accounting are a few of the courses a financial analyst will take while studying for a bachelor's degree in finance. Most financial analysts who intend to sell securities or other financial products must be licensed. In 2018, the median income for financial analysts was $85,660.
  • Financial Examiner - Being a financial examiner means getting long-term on-the-job training in addition to having a bachelor's degree. The 2018 median salary for financial examiners was $80,180. These individuals are responsible for scrutinizing the financial health of financial institutions by studying balance sheets, reviewing accounts, and confirming an institution's assets prior to approving loans.

Online Master's Degrees with High-Paying Career Opportunities

Master's degrees come in all shapes and sizes, but some of the more common ones are the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts (MA), and Master of Science (MS). Their length can vary greatly from school to school. Most take around 2 years to complete but some can be knocked out in around a year of intense study. The highest-paying master's degrees tend to fall into the areas of business, healthcare, and education, many of which are offered online and listed below.

Master of Science in Healthcare

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying career areas for both entry-level and experienced healthcare workers.

  • Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner - Whether it's nurse anesthetist, nurse-midwife, or nurse practitioner, a master's degree is needed for entry into these positions. These positions also require significant hands-on experience, and licensure or certification may also be required. The median salary for these positions was $113,930 when reported by the BLS in 2018.
  • Physician Assistant - Physician assistants commonly have a master's degree and professional experience, usually as a nurse or other medical professional, and licensure is required in all states in the U.S. Physician assistants work with patients one-on-one to evaluate the patient's health, take medical histories, order tests, write prescriptions, and perform other common tasks as part of a medical team that includes doctors, nurses, surgeons, and individuals in other healthcare-related positions. Physician assistants earn a median salary of $108,610.
  • Occupational Therapist - This fast-growing field (18% from 2018 to 2028) boasted a median salary of $84,270 in the BLS's 2018 report. The online programs in occupational therapy tend to be hybrid programs, meaning that there are both online and on-ground requirements. Occupational therapists help individuals with disabilities, injuries, or illnesses regain their abilities to perform every-day tasks at home and at work.

Master of Arts in Education

A master's degree in education can be used in many careers, but let's take a look at some of the high-paying opportunities in primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools.

  • College Presidents and School Superintendents - These top executives in education have the responsibility for overseeing everything that happens in their school or district, from facilities to accreditation, and holding a master's degree is the minimum requirement for these positions. Through 2028, the job growth for these executives is 6%, which is about average. In 2018, their median salary was $104,980.
  • Elementary, Middle and High School Principals - As of 2018's numbers, primary and secondary school principals earned a median salary of $95,310. A master's degree is typically required, and some positions may require additional certification or licensure. These education professionals are responsible for everything that happens in their schools, which includes curriculum, staffing, discipline, facilities, and other aspects of primary and secondary education.
  • Post-Secondary Education Administrators - These post-secondary administrators oversee the operations in various departments, such as student services, academic affairs, career services, or financial aid. Their median salary was reported at $94,340 in 2018. Typically, their master's degrees will focus on the departments in which they work; therefore, their degrees can cover a broad range of specializations.

Master of Science in Mathematics, Statistics, or Applied Mathematics

Individuals with a master of science degree in mathematics are typically problem-solvers. This is why their education is a good foundation for finding a career in a variety of highly coveted, well-paid fields.

  • Mathematician or Statistician - In the BLS's 2018 data, mathematicians and statisticians earned a median salary of $88,190. Between 2018 and 2028, the increase in the number of positions is expected to be 30%. These professionals develop mathematical or statistical models, analyze data, design surveys and experiments, and use their knowledge of mathematical theories to solve real and theoretical problems in their organizations.
  • Data Scientist - Data scientists study 'big data,' which is datasets so large they cannot be analyzed using traditional statistical methods. They can put their skills to use in numerous fields, such as healthcare, education, business, and engineering. The median salary in March 2020 was $85,816, according to Payscale.com.
  • Analytics Manager - Analytics managers design and develop methods for collecting and analyzing data. They also conduct research and evaluate the financial risks for their companies. The median salary for analytics managers is $72,931.

Master of Science in Public Administration

Public administration and criminal justice are a couple of the master's-level degrees that can lead to well-paid positions.

  • Political Scientist - A master's degree in public administration is helpful for someone hoping to become a political scientist. These professionals study political systems, in which public services play a significant role. In 2018, the BLS reported that political scientists earned a median salary of $117,570.
  • Detective and Criminal Investigator - Detectives and criminal investigators are fact-finders and evidence-analyzers when it comes to uncovering potential crimes. They are part of a much larger team of criminal justice professionals. These public safety officers earn a median salary of $81,920.
  • Urban Planner - Urban planners come from a variety of backgrounds, and public administration can be one. They help create and build communities by developing land use and population distribution plans. In 2018, the median salary for urban planners was reported to be $73,050.

Master of Business Administration

The master of business administration degree is perhaps one of the most common and recognizable of all master's degrees. It's also one of the most versatile and can lead to a variety of high-paying roles. Let's look at a few of the careers where having an MBA is an important prerequisite.

  • C-level Executive - These executives are the chiefs: chief financial officer, chief information officer, and chief executive officer, for example. In addition to their degrees, they usually have many years of professional experience in business. The median salary for these high-level executives was $104,980, per the BLS.
  • General and Operations Manager - General and operations managers pull down $100,930. They coordinate business activities, plan how staff and other resources are assigned, and assist in formulating company policies. Because their responsibilities may span many areas, these positions are generally not classified by a single department.
  • Management Consultant or Analyst - The job of a management consultant or analyst is to study a company's operations and suggest ways to be more efficient, often by cutting costs to improve revenues. Individuals interested in becoming management consultants or analysts may want to pursue certification after completing their degrees. In the BLS's 2018 report, these individuals earned a median salary of $83,610.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Central Christian College of Kansas

    Central Christian College of Kansas responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Central Christian College of Kansas:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
      • DBA in Management
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
      • BS in Business Administration
      • BS in Accounting

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next »