top online collegesThe advent of online education has opened the door for many individuals to earn a college degree, where once it may have been out of reach.

An online degree promises flexibility to study from anywhere an Internet connection is available and anytime that is suitable and convenient to the learner. While online degrees appeal to busy working adults, college-age individuals are also taking advantage of online opportunities to earn or supplement their degree. Virtually any degree offered by conventional campus-based institutions can now be obtained online.

There are several differences between online colleges and traditional colleges, but features of top online colleges include the following.

1) They are accredited by major accrediting organizations.
2) The value of the degree is highly regarded by the institution’s peers and others in the marketplace.
3) The quality, variety, and rigor of coursework offered within each degree program rival that of comparable brick-and-mortar institutions.
4) The college uses state-of-the-art user-friendly technology to deliver the courses.

About Our Reviews

Our mission is to provide the prospective online learner with the information he or she needs in order to make a smart decision about where to purse a degree. When we review online degree offerings, we consider both conventional brick-and-mortar colleges offering online degrees as well institutions that primarily or exclusively offer innovative degrees online.

Resource: 20 High Patent-Awarded Universities Where You Can Get a Degree Online 2014

We also focus exclusively on institutions that are accredited by major accrediting bodies. Our sources of information include college websites, major college rankings such as U.S. News and World Report, and other reputable third-party sources. We invite you to contact us should you find issue with the validity of our reviews.

Caveats

Those seeking an online degree should be aware of the potential challenges and negatives. Online learning demands that individuals be self-disciplined and self-motivated. In addition, some businesses are still skeptical about the validity of an online degree and may favor job candidates who have a degree from a campus-based institution. In fact, many in academia itself remain skeptical about the relative value of an online degree. For this reason, it’s important to seek out accredited institutions and fully research the college you plan to attend in order to make sure you’re aware of the level of quality you’ll be receiving in your education.

Popular Areas of Study at the Top Online Colleges

Criminal Justice

An online degree in criminal justice can lead to careers in law enforcement, homeland security, crime scene investigation, and corrections. Coursework includes communications, management, criminology, and basic law, depending on the level of the degree. More advanced degrees, master’s level and above, provide specializations in such fields as forensic science, law enforcement, criminology, corrections, and homeland security. Online colleges offering criminal justice programs include Ottawa University, Fisher College, and Saint Leo University. As governments will always need to invest in continued national and local security, criminal justice degrees will remain in high demand. In addition, due to the highly technological and intellectual nature of criminal justice work, an online degree is a logical step toward building a career in this field.

Psychology

An online degree in psychology from one of the top online colleges can lead to a wide variety of career paths. While advanced degrees are needed for individuals wishing to become psychologists, consultants, or business leaders in the field, a bachelor’s degree is useful for anyone wishing to enter or advance a career that requires an understanding of the human mind. Such careers include that of mental health technician, human resource administrators, and teachers, to name a few. An undergraduate degree in psychology provides a broad foundation in human development, cognitive functions, and abnormal psychology, while the advanced degrees provide a deeper understanding of the human mind, how it thinks and functions, and effective methods for treating or training the mind. Online schools offering psychology degrees include Ottawa University, Fisher College, and Liberty University. Resource: Top Online Colleges for Psychology

Nursing

An online degree in nursing can also open the door to a rewarding career in the medical field. Nursing degrees range from associate level to graduate degrees. Highly regarded online colleges for Nursing are those that include hands-on clinical experience and partner with hospitals for internship opportunities. While entry-level nursing positions can be attained with an associate’s degree, the most opportunities for advancement require a bachelor’s degree to become an RN. Beyond that, graduate degrees can take the candidate into administration, research, or professorial positions. Top online colleges offering nursing programs include Liberty University, Salem International University, and Walden University.

Education

Online education degrees can vary widely depending upon the level a candidate wishes to teach and the subject matter concentration desired, although all education degrees tend to focus on the foundations of education and current educational theory. In addition, requirements for teaching vary from state to state, with some states requiring a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to enter the field, while other states require a master’s degree in particular education fields. It is important for the student of education to research the requirements within the state that he or she wishes to teach in order to meet those requirements. An education degree provides students with training and skills for managing a classroom, analyzing material, developing curriculum, and giving information in ways that students can understand and learn. Popular online colleges for education include Walden University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Liberty University.

Top Online Colleges for Active Military and Veterans

Online college degrees can offer benefits for active-duty military and veterans as well. The most obvious benefits are flexibility and convenience of studying online anywhere with an internet connection and anytime that is convenient to the student rather than dictated by a class schedule. When considering an online program, military members should opt for schools offering greater leniency in areas of unpredictable absences, homework delays and unexpected withdrawals. Strayer University will freeze courses for military personnel who are unexpectedly deployed or transferred, and then allow the student to resume coursework when convenient without having to begin at the beginning again. In addition, online colleges that offer 24/7 access and the related ability to view lectures and add to online discussions whenever convenient are better options for active duty military personnel. For veterans, many of whom are returning to school after years away from academia, the top online college choices will include those that allow transfer of credits earned during previous coursework or military training, that offer resources such as tutoring, online advisory support, peer assistance, and writing support, and that offer scholarships specifically to members of the military or veterans. Some of the top choices of degree programs for military members and veterans include nursing, engineering, criminal justice, education, business administration, and the information technologies and computer science fields. These degrees often build on areas of military training that the student has already experienced. Online colleges for military include Arizona State University, Norwich University, AIU online, and Saint Leo University.

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