Compare Online Degrees

Choosing your field of study is the first step in your online education, a process that takes time, commitment, and energy. The online degree program you decide to pursue will affect your career path, income potential, and level of employment. Online colleges offer a number of diverse options, and your area of interest may cross over several different degree programs. To help you find the online degree program that matches your interests and gives you best chance of financial success, explore our online degree comparison tool for information about earning potential, degree costs, and time commitments.

Explore Online Degrees in Top Fields

Programs Degree Levels Degree Cost Salary Unemployment Rate Loan Default Rate
AccountingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$13k - $20k$34k - $93k3.1% - 8.2%9% - 15.8%
ArchitectureAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$10k - $25k$0k - $83k5.1% - 10.3%6.2% - 15.1%
BiologyAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$9k - $18k$0k - $104k2.3% - 7.4%5.3% - 15.9%
Business ManagementAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$13k - $19k$41k - $92k3.9% - 7%8.5% - 15.7%
Civil EngineeringAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$6k - $19k$0k - $104k3% - 7.2%5.6% - 22%
CommunicationsAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$11k - $20k$0k - $75k4.5% - 8.2%6.7% - 15.9%
Computer ProgrammingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$12k - $19k$0k - $107k2.9% - 8.3%8.6% - 17.1%
Computer ScienceAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$13k - $20k$40k - $123k3.4% - 10.3%7.7% - 16.3%
Construction ManagementAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$10k - $20k$0k - $88k0% - 4.1%5.9% - 17.4%
CounselingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$14k - $17k$33k - $66k0% - 7.2%8.8% - 17.7%
Criminal JusticeAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$13k - $18k$31k - $63k3.9% - 8.9%10.4% - 15.8%
Data ScienceAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$0k - $18k$0k - $104k2.9% - 8.3%8.5% - 12.4%
Database ManagementAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$10k - $21k$0k - $104k2.9% - 8.3%6.3% - 16.6%
Early Childhood EducationAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$11k - $17k$0k - $62k2.4% - 5.1%8.6% - 13.1%
Electrical EngineeringAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$16k - $21k$0k - $122k2.4% - 6.5%6% - 9.8%
Elementary EducationAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$8k - $17k$0k - $59k0% - 5.4%9.8% - 15.9%
EngineeringAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$12k - $17k$42k - $119k2.6% - 6.2%6.6% - 16.6%
EnglishAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$8k - $17k$23k - $73k3.4% - 8.8%8.8% - 19.9%
Environmental ScienceAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$9k - $18k$40k - $85k0% - 4%7.9% - 14.3%
FinanceAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$12k - $19k$41k - $107k3.5% - 6.9%7.8% - 13.8%
Forensic PsychologyBachelor's, Master's$19k - $20k$0k - $82k0% - 0%7.4% - 8.7%
Forensic ScienceAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$9k - $24k$0k - $78k0% - 5.2%6.1% - 19.7%
Graphic DesignAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$19k - $28k$32k - $74k6.4% - 9.9%13% - 17.5%
Healthcare AdministrationAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$15k - $20k$28k - $73k0% - 4.8%7.3% - 17.3%
HistoryAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$9k - $16k$0k - $73k3.6% - 8.4%8.7% - 17.4%
Human ResourcesAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$12k - $21k$33k - $83k0% - 6.8%7.3% - 14.7%
Information TechnologyAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$15k - $20k$0k - $92k3.2% - 8.3%8.1% - 15.2%
Interior DesignAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$20k - $31k$0k - $57k0% - 3.7%7.9% - 22.6%
JournalismAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$7k - $21k$34k - $58k4% - 7.7%5.7% - 18.6%
LawMaster's$20k - $20k$64k - $90k6.2% - 6.2%6.5% - 6.5%
MarketingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$14k - $19k$36k - $77k4.3% - 5.6%9.7% - 14.3%
MBAMaster's$19k - $19k$57k - $77k5.1% - 5.1%8.6% - 8.6%
Mechanical EngineeringAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$9k - $19k$50k - $84k3.8% - 8.6%5.9% - 15.3%
Medical AssistantAssociate$17k - $17k$30k - $34k4% - 4%16.2% - 16.2%
Medical Billing and CodingAssociate$19k - $19k$29k - $34k1.7% - 1.7%18.1% - 18.1%
Mental Health CounselingMaster's$19k - $19k$39k - $51k0% - 0%9.6% - 9.6%
MusicAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$12k - $19k$33k - $88k2.9% - 8.8%9.2% - 15.2%
NursingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$12k - $17k$52k - $89k1.8% - 4.8%7.6% - 17.8%
NutritionAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$11k - $17k$31k - $70k0% - 6.4%4.4% - 15.3%
ParalegalAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$16k - $19k$0k - $72k0% - 7.6%11.5% - 17.1%
Petroleum EngineeringBachelor's, Master's$16k - $17k$82k - $115k0% - 5.8%6.5% - 7.3%
PhotographyAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$18k - $37k$0k - $49k0% - 9.1%9.9% - 23.3%
Physical TherapyAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$0k - $23k$0k - $78k0% - 1.8%0% - 6.6%
Political ScienceAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$8k - $16k$23k - $75k5.1% - 9.1%9.6% - 17.1%
Project ManagementBachelor's, Master's$16k - $21k$50k - $107k4.8% - 5.1%6.1% - 8.8%
PsychologyAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$10k - $18k$29k - $70k3.7% - 9%8.2% - 17.6%
Public AdministrationAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$10k - $19k$30k - $77k0% - 6.1%8.4% - 19%
Public HealthAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$13k - $18k$33k - $76k0% - 4.1%6.6% - 14.5%
RN to BSNBachelor's$16k - $16k$58k - $71k2.2% - 2.2%9.4% - 9.4%
School CounselingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$0k - $17k$0k - $66k0% - 3.1%0% - 9.7%
Social WorkAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$6k - $20k$25k - $58k4% - 9%6.9% - 22.8%
Software EngineeringAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$18k - $27k$49k - $80k0% - 5.8%5.6% - 9.4%
Special EducationAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$6k - $16k$0k - $48k0% - 4.5%9.4% - 14.2%
Sports ManagementAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$14k - $20k$0k - $94k4.3% - 5.6%7.2% - 17%
Substance Abuse CounselingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$15k - $18k$0k - $48k0% - 3.3%9.4% - 19.4%
Supply Chain ManagementAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$9k - $22k$44k - $81k0% - 5.5%6.1% - 16.6%
TeachingAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$10k - $17k$28k - $67k2.3% - 5.3%8.4% - 15.6%
TheologyAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$17k - $19k$36k - $55k0% - 4.5%6.3% - 9.6%
Web DevelopmentAssociate, Bachelor's, Master's$14k - $21k$42k - $119k2.9% - 8.3%8.4% - 17.6%

Online Degrees vs. Campus Degrees

With the recent boom of online degree programs, many people are considering an online education for the first time. The number one concern new online students often face is whether or not their online degree will stack up against a campus degree. We can tell you with absolute certainty that once you have graduated, there is no difference between an online degree and a campus degree to prospective employers. That being said, there are a number of differences between earning an online degree vs earning a campus-based degree. See how they stack up below.

Delivery Method

Online Degree

Online degrees are completed in what is known as a ‘virtual classroom.’ The virtual classroom refers to an online space created by a learning management system, in which students can access lectures, assignments, tests, and quizzes.

Courses may be synchronous or asynchronous, meaning that you either have to view a live-streaming lecture at a specific time or you can watch a prerecorded lecture at your convenience.

Coursework is usually due weekly at a specific time, allowing you to balance your schedule as you see fit.

Do not expect to go through your education completely alone. Constant communication is required in an online learning environment. Many online students report feeling closer to their peers, because the distance between them requires more intensive contact. Communication typically takes place through video chats, instant messages, emails, and phone calls.

Campus Degree

Campus classes take place in large lecture halls or small classrooms. They can consist of anywhere from a handful of students to hundreds of individuals. Students generally complete lectures, tests, and quizzes in these rooms.

Campus-based courses are almost always synchronous. Classes occur at the same time every week, often multiple days per week. Attendance is usually considered mandatory.

Coursework is due according to the professor’s syllabus. Most commonly, assignment are due each class meeting.

Large lecture based courses offer the opportunity to participate either a little or a lot. Often times, you can opt to just hide in the back and complete your assignments on time, finishes the tests, and get your grade. Smaller classroom courses often times require a high level of interaction, and classroom based discussion. Communication will take place both in-person and online.

Academics

Online Degree

Online education presents unique challenges that can make it more difficult for those who are unprepared.

To excel in an online degree program you must be self-motivated with good time management skills. Students enrolled in online classes do not have the opportunity to hide at the back of the classroom; they need to remain in steady contact with professors in order to be successful.

Campus Degree

The academic rigor of campus based courses is generally equal to that of online courses. Schools are required to maintain the same level of challenge across all their course formats.

Because campus based programs require students to physically attend classes at specified times, it can be easier to stay on track with the pace and the learning material.

Exams and Projects

Online Degree

Every school handles examinations for their online students differently. Tests may be timed, open-book, or they may be proctored through your local community college, local campus, or a professional testing services.

Though testing methods may differ from the traditional in-class exam, students should expect the same level of difficulty and academic integrity.

Most online degree programs also require you to collaborate with other online students in discussion groups and on projects. Virtual collaboration develops communication skills, reinforces course material, and builds peer relationships.

Online students often find that they communicate more with their classmates than they would in an on campus course.

Campus Degree

Exams for campus based programs typically occur in the classroom where you attend lectures. You are required to take the test in that location, at a specified time, unless you have an official reason to do otherwise.

Classroom based exams are proctored by the professor and teaching assistant to ensure academic integrity.

Campus based programs commonly require group projects. Collaboration between classmates occurs both in-person and online.

Campus based students often find that they can engage as little or as much as they like with their peers.

Costs

Online Degree

A recent U.S. News survey found that the average cost of an online bachelor’s degree was $277 per credit.

While travel and boarding are typically not factors that affect the cost of online education, some programs require residential symposiums – a three-to-four day period during which you attend the university’s physical campus for meetings and networking – for which you are financially responsible.

Campus Degree

According to U.S. News, the average cost of a traditional bachelor’s degree is around $244 per credit.

Many factors determine the cost of education, such as per credit tuition, registration fees, boarding and/or the cost of transportation, and the university itself.

Quality

Online Degree

There is no difference between the quality of online degrees and campus degrees. The results you receive from your education depend on your learning style and personal preferences.

Many schools actually hold their online programs to more rigorous standards because of their independent nature.

As long as you’re enrolled in an accredited online degree program, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality education.

Campus Degree

The results of your education are highly dependent on your learning style. If you require face-to-face interaction, a campus program is probably your best option.

All of a school’s programs must meet standards set forth by nationally recognized accrediting agencies. Online and campus based degrees must meet these minimum standards.

As long as you’re enrolled in an accredited campus degree program, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality education.

Support

Online Degree

Many students fear that if they enroll in an online degree, they will be on their own. While this concern is understandable, online degree programs generally offer the same level of support that is offered on campus.

Online students have access to counseling services, tutoring, writing assistance, office hours, and financial assistance, all through the internet. In addition, if you live within travelling distance to the campus, you should be granted access to campus based facilities.

Campus Degree

College campuses have extensive support systems in place for their students. However, many students forget to take advantage of them. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all the resources your campus has to offer.

College campuses are one-of-a-kind research hubs where you will find technology and resources that exist nowhere else. Many campuses have the latest lab equipment, advanced technologies, globally recognized thought leaders, and rare books and documents.

Accreditation

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p class=”centered”>The most important consideration across all online degree programs is accreditation. The accreditation process ensures that academic institutions are offering a minimum standard of quality and academic rigor. Institutions that are not accredited are often referred to as diploma mills; schools designed to take your money in exchange for a degree that will not be recognized by employers or other schools. The majority of online degrees are offered by accredited online colleges, but before you apply to a program, you should still be sure to verify its accreditation status.

Check out these top 6 indicators that your school may not be accredited – and then see our accreditation guide for more information.

Top Signs a School is not Accredited

  • The school’s accrediting agency is not recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  • The school is based outside of the United States, but is targeted towards US students.
  • The name of the school has changed often.
  • The school offers diplomas based on life experience for a flat fee.
  • Numerous complaints regarding the school can be found through Google.
  • You can’t find your school when filling out the FAFSA for federal financial aid.

What technology do you need to earn an online degree?

If you’re thinking about getting an online degree, you need to make sure that you have the proper technology. While it’s possible to earn your degree online solely using the technology resources available at public libraries, your education will be markedly easier if you have the following:

  • A reliable computer:

    While you don’t need to have the latest and greatest laptop, you should have a computer that can readily browse the internet and run several applications at the same time. Your computer should also have a decent battery life that will allow you to work for several hours without plugging in. Screen size is another important consideration. Your screen should be big enough that you can comfortably work in multiple windows, while not being so big that it is difficult to carry around with you. Computer companies providing student discounts include Apple, Dell, and Lenovo.

  • Broadband Internet:

    A high speed internet connection is necessary to access streaming video and participate in real-time online communication. You’ll also be doing the majority of your research online, meaning fast page load times will be necessary to make the most efficient use of your time. Without reliable access to a high speed internet connection, you may not be able to complete an online degree.

  • Word processing and presentation software:

    Most of your online education will consist of writing papers and creating presentations. The most common software for this purpose is Microsoft Office. However, there are a number of free options that are quickly becoming popular, such as Google Docs and Google Slides. Whatever option you go with, you need to make sure that your school will accept files in those formats.

  • Communication tools:

    Most modern computers come equipped with a webcam and microphone built-in. However, if your computer lacks these features, you will likely need to purchase a headset and USB webcam. Video chat is an integral part of many online programs, and being able to work with your professors and peers “face-to-face” will make your online collaboration much easier.