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Best Online Degrees and Courses in 2024

Online education has taken off in a big way over the past few years. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of online learning for many students and working professionals. In 2024, certain online degrees and courses are projected to be in high demand.

When it comes to online courses, it’s easy to feel lost with so many choices. But some paths really do stand out as booming fields. With the rise of remote and hybrid work, as well as evolving technologies, certain areas of study are poised for significant growth in the coming years. This guide outlines some of the most promising online degrees and courses to pursue in 2024 and beyond.

This article reveals the 10 most popular online degrees and courses that are expected to be in high demand in 2024. For each program, I will discuss the types of jobs or career paths it can lead to, the projected growth of those careers, salary prospects, and why it may be a desirable option for online learners. I’ve also included tips for choosing an online program and suggestions for standout schools offering each type of degree or certificate.

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1. Nursing (BSN Degree)

One of the most sought-after healthcare careers is nursing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects registered nursing jobs to grow 7% by 2030, adding over 200,000 new positions. The growth is fueled by an aging population requiring more medical care.

An online BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree is needed to become a registered nurse. While earning your RN license may still require in-person clinical training, many top nursing schools like Johns Hopkins University, Washington State University, and Emory University now offer fully online BSN completion programs for already licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and associate degree RNs seeking to advance their education.

Nurses have excellent career mobility and salary potential. The national average salary for an RN is $77,460 as of May 2021. With experience, nursing managers can earn over $100,000 per year. And for those wanting advanced education, online Master’s in Nursing degrees provide pathways to become nurse practitioners, midwives, or other specialized high-paying roles.

The BSN is projected to remain a top degree choice in 2024 thanks to the strong job growth and earning potential in nursing. An online program offers flexible study for working health professionals. Top nursing schools with reputable online options will be in high demand.

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2. Business Administration (MBA Degree)

After earning your bachelor’s degree, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most versatile graduate degrees you can pursue. An online MBA program can be completed while continuing to work, making it attractive for professionals looking to advance their career.

Business analysis, management, marketing, and operations are just a few of the functional areas an MBA can open doors to. The skills gained are extremely valuable for many in-demand positions at growing companies in various industries.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for business and financial occupations to increase 7% between 2020-2030, faster than average. An MBA prepares students for high-paying management jobs with a median salary of $125,000 nationally according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Leading online MBA programs with distinguished faculties include those hosted by the University of North Carolina, Indiana University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Georgetown University. A degree from an accredited school boosts credibility for career seekers in 2024 and beyond.

3. Information Technology (Bachelor’s Degree)

Information technology remains one of the most stable and thriving career fields. Cybersecurity, cloud computing, coding, and IT support are all projected to be in high demand in the coming years.

One of the most versatile IT Bachelor’s degrees is a general B.S. in Information Technology. An online program exposes students to a variety of tech topics from networking and programming to data analytics. It serves as a strong foundation for careers as a systems analyst, database administrator, IT project manager, cybersecurity specialist, and more.

The BLS expects a 22% increase in IT jobs nationwide by 2030, adding over 600,000 new positions. Salaries range from $55,000 for an entry-level analyst to over $120,000 for senior IT managers. Many online IT degree programs include internships and job placement assistance to help graduates tap into lucrative career opportunities.

Noteworthy schools with accredited online IT Bachelor’s degrees include University of Florida, Pennsylvania State University, Arizona State University, and Colorado Technical University. Their credentials will remain highly sought after by employers in 2024.

4. Computer Science (Bachelor’s Degree)

Closely related to an IT degree is a Bachelor’s in Computer Science. While IT focuses on the business uses of technology, Computer Science delves deeper into programming, algorithms, and software engineering principles. It’s a great pathway to careers as a programmer, coder, web developer, systems developer, and more.

Computer science jobs are booming – the BLS projects a 22% increase in computing careers by 2030. Having expertise in languages like Python, Java, and C++ will serve graduates well as web and application development continues to be in high demand. Median computer programmer salaries are over $100,000 according to the BLS.

Online CS Bachelor’s programs from respected schools like Georgia Tech, University of Arizona, Pennsylvania State University, and Purdue University teach skills attractive to employers. Their online credentials are poised to remain reputable in 2024 with dedicated faculty and career placement services for students. Computer Science will continue being a high-growth field ideal for online study.

5. Data Science (Master’s Degree)

Data science has become a ubiquitous term in recent years, referring to the collection and analysis of massive datasets to reveal patterns, trends, and insights. Organizations across all industries rely on data scientists to make strategic decisions based on data analysis.

An online Master’s in Data Science is a cutting-edge graduate degree expected to prepare individuals for thriving careers through 2024 and beyond. Students gain expertise in statistics, programming, machine learning, data visualization, and modeling large datasets. Career outlets include roles as a data analyst, research scientist, business intelligence analyst, and more.

The BLS forecasts a 27% increase in jobs for statisticians, mathematicians, and operations research analysts through 2030. Data scientists earn a median salary of $114,000 according to Glassdoor. Prestigious online Master’s programs through Georgia Tech, Northwestern University, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins are comprehensive and respected by employers seeking data talent. Their enrollments and reputation are poised to remain strong in 2024.

6. Cybersecurity (Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree)

As more and more individuals and businesses operate online, cyber threats become increasingly serious. This makes cybersecurity professionals vital for protecting valuable data, infrastructure, and digital systems. Careers in this growing field include security architect, vulnerability analyst, security engineer, and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).

The BLS expects a 31% surge in cybersecurity jobs by 2030, with the creation of over 200,000 new positions. Current median salaries for security analysts are above $100,000, showing solid opportunities in the field.

Both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Cybersecurity are forecast to remain highly sought after over the next few years. Undergraduate programs set a foundation in networking, coding, and security practices while graduate degrees delve into advanced security strategies, policies, and specializations like forensics or systems engineering.

Esteemed online cybersecurity programs are offered by the University of Maryland Global Campus, University of California Davis, Utica College, and the SANS Technology Institute. Their credentials carry industry-recognized status and provide students with tangible skills applicable to the high-paying, high-growth cyber job market.

As cyber threats become only more advanced, the demand for security analysts and related personnel will steadily increase through 2024. An online cybersecurity degree from a top-ranked program will remain an attractive educational option for professionals to help guard against these evolving risks.

7. Healthcare Administration (Master’s Degree)

As the U.S. population ages and gains more access to healthcare services under the Affordable Care Act, the industry is experiencing rapid growth and transformation. This creates demand for managers, executives, and administrators to help coordinate increasingly complex systems.

A Master’s in Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree can lead to roles managing hospitals, clinics, health insurance companies, assisted living homes and more. The BLS expects a 15% jump in medical and health service manager positions by 2030. MHA graduates earn a median salary of $103,000 per year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Top-ranking MHA programs such as those hosted by The Ohio State University, Baylor University, and University of Minnesota offer fully online options through virtual classrooms and data-driven curriculum. By earning an MHA online through a respected healthcare administration program, graduates gain advanced analytical, financial, and leadership expertise for decision-making roles in this expanding field.

Through 2024 and beyond, the innovative programs and transferable skills attained from reputable online MHA degrees will remain in demand amongst healthcare employers seeking new management talent.

8. Psychology (Master’s Degree)

A graduate degree in psychology like a Master of Arts or Master of Science opens doors to careers in counseling, research, teaching, and more. With an estimated 18% increase in clinical, counseling, and school psychology jobs predicted by 2030 according to the BLS, this remains a vibrant career area.

Top-ranked online Master’s in Psychology programs are offered through New York University, University of Southern California, Northwest Missouri State University, and Capella University. Their curricula help prepare graduates to be competitive for jobs in areas like human services, mental health treatment, academia, and organizational leadership.

With a median salary of $50,000 and opportunities for licensure as professional counselors in many states, psychology careers provide fulfilling work and stable income potential. As societal demand for behavioral healthcare professionals continues its projected growth, online psychology Master’s degrees will maintain sought-after credentials through 2024.

9. Graphic Design (Bachelor’s Degree)

In the digital era, visual communication has never been more crucial. Careers are readily available for graphic designers, UX/UI designers, motion designers, and other visual media experts. The BLS predicts 10% employment growth for multimedia artists and animators by 2030 across advertising, publishing, tech, and other industries.

An online Bachelor’s in Graphic Design teaches principles of visual composition, web and software skills, concept development, and more through interactive studio courses. Respected programs are available online through schools like California State University-Chico, Rochester Institute of Technology, Southern New Hampshire University, and Savannah College of Art & Design.

Median graphic designer salaries range between $50,000 to $90,000 based on experience and specialty. The flexibility of online study makes graphic design accessible for visual thinkers seeking to develop an engaging portfolio for high-growth creative careers like this. Reputable online graphic design degrees remain worthwhile options in 2024 and beyond.

10. Education (Elementary or Secondary Credential)

While the nationwide teacher shortage persists, online educator preparation programs are helping address demand. For those wanting to teach preschool through 8th grade, an elementary education degree or certification can be earned fully online from distinguished schools. Secondary teachers may pursue online degrees aligned with state requirements in individual content areas such as English, math, science, history, or special education.

According to BLS projections, K-12 teacher jobs are expected to grow 7% over the next decade. Median salaries range from $60,000 to $80,000 based on experience and location. Teaching rewards individuals who want to shape lives through imparting knowledge and developing young minds.

Noteworthy online elementary and secondary credential programs are available through Western Governors University, Grand Canyon University, University of Florida, and Northern Arizona University. Their credentials are projected to maintain reputable status in 2024 and help address ongoing teacher demand through distance learning formats.

Common Questions People Ask About Online Degrees

Before getting into the specific programs, here are answers to some common questions about online degrees:

Are online degrees respected as much as traditional on-campus degrees?

Online degrees from reputable schools are now widely accepted by employers. In many fields, an online degree from an accredited university holds equal weight to an on-campus degree. The quality and reputation of the school matters most.

How long does an online degree program typically take?

Most online bachelor’s degree programs are designed to be completed full-time in 4 years, just like a traditional on-campus program. Accelerated programs that allow you to finish more quickly are also available. Master’s degrees usually take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete online.

What are some tips for choosing an online degree program?

When selecting an online degree program, consider the school’s accreditation, reputation, costs, format/pace of courses, flexibility, and career outcomes. Ask about class sizes, online student support services, and graduation/employment rates. Research in-demand job prospects and salary ranges for that field. An online program from a reputable college will serve you best.

Are there any online undergraduate degrees I should avoid?

In general, most undergraduate degrees can be earned fully online now with quality. However, some programs requiring hands-on lab work or clinical placements, such as engineering, nursing, or education, may have some on-campus requirements that are hard to complete remotely. Make sure any online Bachelors option you consider has the necessary hands-on training for your desired career.

Conclusion

In closing, there is no shortage of high-quality online degree and certificate programs expected to be in high demand through 2024 and beyond. Proper research on careers, salaries, and reputable schools offering each program will help individuals choose an online learning path aligned with their goals. Flexible, accessible education can help launch careers or advance professionals in some of the most promising fields. By selecting one of the top options discussed here, online learners prepare themselves for lifelong success.