Bachelor's degrees were once the mainstay of traditional college life at a brick and mortar school for students fresh out of high school, but now this degree can be completed online from colleges and universities across the nation or the globe. Students generally finish the 120 to 128 credit hours needed for a bachelor's degree in anywhere from 4 to 6 years. The extended timeframe can be beneficial to students attending online college part -time while working full time jobs and caring for families.
Bachelor's degrees consist of concentrated work in a major, such as psychology, business or biology. Many degrees offer a broad range of courses designed to give the students a solid foundation of knowledge outside their majors, in English, history, math and social sciences, while other degrees consist of intensive study in a particular field without the liberal arts curriculum. The most popular four - year bachelor's degrees are the Bachelor of Arts (B.A) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Students getting a B.A. have fields of study coming from the liberal arts or fine arts areas, while those earning a B.S. master the fields of the sciences, math, agriculture and engineering.
Students studying online come from all walks of life and all age groups. While the traditional online student used to be in their 30's, working full time with a family, the age of many students is dropping as e-learning increases in popularity. Approximately 57 percent of undergraduate online bachelor degrees students from 1999-2000 were 23 years old or younger, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, Education Statistics Quarterly, 2004.
As an adult, returning to school can be problematic in many ways. Work commitments, financial responsibilities, and family time needs, can all impact an adult's ability to go back and finish the degree they started or go to post secondary schools for the first time at a traditional university or college. Distance learning, online education or e-learning makes earning a bachelors degree easy. Online colleges often teach using "asynchronous" learning, meaning the student sets the schedule, pace and learning place, leaving them open to learn when it's convenient, free from set classrooms and meeting times and dates.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, online enrollment is growing at over 10 times the projected growth rate for the general post-secondary student population. The overall online enrollment grew to 2.35 million in 2004, up 18.2% from the 1.98 million enrolled in 2003.
Why get a Bachelor's degree?
According to the US Census Bureau, over an adult's lifetime, high school graduates will earn on average $1.2 million; Associate's degree holders $1.6 million and those holding bachelor's degrees will earn about $2.1 million! Earning a bachelor's degree will almost double the money you would make if you only held a high school diploma!
Advantages to Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree Online
Types of Online Universities and Colleges
There are a variety of types of schools that offer bachelors degree programs online.
These schools are financed privately and run independent of government agencies. They offer many degree options. Tuition at private schools is more than public universities because they receive no public funding toward costs. However, students with financial need who attend accredited private schools are typically eligible for federal and other public grants and loans. Programs may offer smaller class sizes and more individual education counseling then public schools. Verify that the school is properly accredited to make sure your degree will be accepted by employers or for transfer of credits to another college or university. Top online private schools are University of Phoenix, Walden University, and Kaplan University.
These schools are governed by the state governments the college resides in and are funded by public monies. They are also called state colleges or state universities and have the word state in their name, such as The State University of New York at Buffalo. Tuition is typically much lower than private schools for student residents of the state the school is in. Public universities offer bachelors and often masters and doctoral degrees as well. Out of state students and international students generally pay a higher tuition rate.
Liberal arts colleges that offer bachelor degree programs
Bachelor degrees from a liberal arts school are broad-based rather than highly focused education programs.
Institutes of technology that offer bachelor degree programs
Institute of technology bachelor's degree programs and courses are found primarily in the engineering and science fields. They offer coursework focused in the major instead of the broad-based learning experience found in liberal arts schools. Institutes of technology are known for their graduate programs.
Religiously affiliated universities
Religious institutions of learning were founded primarily by Christian organizations. Most religious institutions will admit students from all faiths, with only some requiring attendance at religious services. Education programs are liberal arts based and privately funded.
Specialized vocational schools
Specialized vocational school have bachelor's degree in vocational fields such as fashion, acting or art. One example of a school with specialized vocational programs is Capella University, which offers programs in the ever-changing information technology industry, with in demand degrees in graphic design or multimedia. DeVry University also offers specialized degrees, with a bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering Technology (EET) that students can earn in just 3 years!
Factors to consider when choosing your online university and college
The following accrediting associations are recognized by the USDE and CHEA and accredit entire institutions (as opposed to individual programs) in the United States.