How Distance Education Has Changed Over The Years

Distance education courses were once the stuff of late-night infomercials which were generally disregarded as holding any integrity. Today's distance degrees, however, are legitimate educational tools and proof of accomplishment. If you want to get your degree, you should consider how distance education has changed over the last decade.

Today's distance education courses come from many providers. While there are still many distance-only universities that provide online or correspondence degrees, there are an increasing number of traditional universities that offer degrees online. The reasoning is easy to understand; online courses do not have the population limitations of traditional classes which allows universities to educate more students in each class. Picking the right university from which to get a degree is somewhat harder than it may have been in the past, but the fact that students now have many options is a positive development.

It is no secret that online courses of the past have not always been of the highest quality. So-called "degree mills" have done a great deal of harm to the reputation of this type of education, and there are still those who may think that any form of distance education is necessarily part of a scheme. In reality, modern distance courses have more in common with traditional college courses than ever before. Most distance learning providers are certified by a local or national agency, allowing students a real chance to experience education at a high-quality level without having to step foot inside a classroom.

The internet has revolutionized higher education, and distance education has benefited more than most. Thanks to modern internet technology, those who take online courses now have the ability to communicate in real time with their professors and other classmates via instant messaging, email, text, and even live video on their mobile or home device. This allows those taking courses a better chance to learn material as well as a better chance to get the traditional education experience interacting with peers and the teacher. Some of the more prestigious online distance education courses offer live and tape delayed lectures for their students as well as the ability to talk to a professor or other trained consulting expert virtually anytime day or night.

Changes have also come from potential employing companies and their willingness to hire someone with a degree obtained online. While the degrees may have once been considered lesser proof of accomplishment, the modern distance degree is virtually identical to a standard degree. Given that many major universities have switched over to partial or total distance education, there is simply no way for most employers to distinguish between the degree types. This makes those with these degrees more employable and helps most students who obtain these degrees to find success within their chosen fields of work.

If you want to get an education, distance courses really are the way to go. It is virtually identical in content to any other degree, but it does not require that you spend the time to attend a class on a university campus. Whether you think that getting a degree in the traditional manner would take too long or you simply wish to learn on your own, an online degree may be the right choice for you.

Trending Online Degrees

It's no secret; education is the key to success. Employers give preference to job applicants and prospective promotion candidates that possess degrees and/or specialized training such as certificates, diplomas or continuing education credits. For most working adults, attending college full time is not an option. They must continue to work while trying simultaneously to complete an educational program. Traditional classroom learning requires students to travel to the campus and adhere to a strict schedule; both of which often become a hindrance. Many individuals are unable to conform to the requirements and instead are forced to delay their education. Online educational programs offer flexible schedules; permitting students to tailor their programs to meet their individualized time constraints. Earning a degree through online programs allows busy working individuals to continue working in their current profession or position while completing an educational program. Because of the flexibility of the programs, online education is becoming increasingly more prevalent as working adults strive to reach their education and career goals.

The decision by most working individuals to pursue a degree program is for the purpose of advancing or changing their careers or even just to make themselves more valuable to their current employer. The state of the economy in recent years has resulted in job uncertainty for some and loss for many others. The most effective solution has been to look for a job opening or attain training in a field which is hiring. And many of the fields which are hiring require specialized skills and knowledge obtained through certificate, diploma or degree programs. The most popular online degree programs are in the fields and professions which are experiencing the most job growth or offer the most job security. These fields include major areas of study within business, engineering, healthcare and education. Here are ten online degrees that are growing in popularity:

1. Graphic Design
Graphic designers convey messages through various forms of visual communication. This is accomplished utilizing a variety of techniques, specialized software programs and tools, skills and layouts in print mediums or electronic media devices. Graphic design has become an increasingly relevant skill in the job market. Many entities rely on the skills and knowledge of an individual trained in graphic design to create promotional displays, packaging, distinctive logos, marketing brochures, websites and various publications including newspapers, magazines and even reports. Due to the extensive array of industries in which graphic design skills are relevant, individuals trained in the field will have the opportunity to apply their education in nearly any employment setting and will increase their value in the workplace.

Online graphic design degrees are offered at a substantial number of highly regarded educational institutions. Individuals have the opportunity to pursue a range of degree options with varying specializations. Associate and bachelor degree programs are regularly offered as well as master degree programs. Diploma and certificate programs are offered online to individuals interested in pursuing continuing education courses augmenting their skills, knowledge and abilities. Students acquire skills in internet applications, e-commerce design applications multimedia, design development, web development and visual communication design architecture.

2. Accounting
All entities are in need of employees trained in accounting to ensure its finances are properly handled. Private businesses and governmental entities must keep accurate records, ensure employees are paid and all applicable taxes are filed and paid properly and timely, and that the business is in compliance with all fiscal laws and regulations. Accounting professionals perform a range of essential functions within a business or organization. Budget analysis, financial planning, analysis of financial documents and the preparation of financial documents and statements are just a few of the tasks performed by accounting professionals. Qualified individuals educated in the accounting field are highly sought by every organization. Regardless of the position for which an employee is hired, an education in accounting will ensure job security and likely job advancement.

Programs offered online in accounting include associate and bachelor degree programs, certificate programs, continuing education programs and master degree programs. Accounting degree programs offered through online courses provide comprehensive curriculum which equips graduates with the extensive knowledge and skills required to successfully perform the functions of any job. Students complete coursework in federal and state tax laws and regulations, investments, financial planning, bookkeeping, payroll and many fundamental business subjects. Some of the programs adhere to the regulations necessary to permit graduates to sit for the Certified Public Accountant Examination. The opportunities provided by obtaining a degree in accounting are making this program a popular choice of many students.

3. Information Systems Management
Information Systems managers are responsible for the implementation and administration of computer technology. It is the responsibility of information systems managers to determine the technological needs of the organization and implement the most effective tools for the purposes of serving those needs. Additionally, information system managers are responsible for the maintenance and security of all computer technology and internet operations. Installations, upgrades and the creation of job relevant internet sites are also part of the functions attributable to the information systems manager. These individuals must oversee the work of other IT professionals and ensure their quality of work.

The online degree programs offered in information Systems and management have become popular due to the relevance of the education. Information systems are used in every field, every business, in governments, non profit organizations and home businesses. Technology has become essential in our current global society. Management skills are also in high demand. Employing capable and skilled managerial professionals ensures the success of any business. A management position usually requires the completion of a bachelor degree program. Most institutions offer programs in business, management and information technology.

4. Marketing
The competition for services and products is immense. Not only must businesses and contractors compete with comparable local businesses, but due to the globalization of the business world credited to the advent of the internet, they often compete with businesses across the state, nation and sometimes even the globe. Marketing professionals are necessary to help businesses and professionals attract customers and clients. Individuals with a degree in marketing are able to create effective marketing brochures, attractive displays and to direct them at target audiences based on statistics and research. Marketing professionals utilize a range of mediums to create interest in their products and services; from traditional print to more contemporary multimedia devices.

Marketing degrees offered online are generally at the bachelor and master degree level. Some online institutions offer associate degree programs and even doctorate programs in the marketing field. The curriculum includes courses in advertising, marketing, ecommerce, research, statistics and a multitude of business areas. Students learn product management, pricing, distribution, sales techniques and promotional skills. Fundamental areas of business and social sciences are also included in the degree programs. Marketing degrees include a range of areas of specialization; permitting students to develop an area of expertise in the field or to just tailor their education to meet their specific career goals and needs.

5. Web Design and Development
Web sites are as common as business cards. The majority of businesses have opted to create a web site advertising their products and/or services. It is a quick and easy way to attract new customers and to provide information about what the business has to offer. Businesses can offer visual examples of their completed work, references, biographical information about the business and its employees and special discounts and offers to entice customers. In order to create an effective, user friendly web design, a trained professional is required who is knowledgeable in the many facets of web design and development. Web design and development professionals are able to assess the needs of the business and determine what it wants to accomplish and what needs to be included on the website and how to accomplish it.

Web design degrees are offered at a substantial number of accredited institutions through online learning programs. Students can pursue an associate, bachelor or master degree in the program. Certificate programs and continuing education programs are also offered at many institutions. The curriculum for the degree programs includes coursework and studies in social sciences, life sciences, the humanities and communications. Students learn the creative aspect of web design also; completing course in design, marketing, visual communications and a variety of major specific courses. Students are also trained in utilizing popular software programs and tools to create interactive and unique web sites for their clients and employers.

6. Medical Assistant
The medical assistant field is an entry level position in the health care industry. Professionals employed as medical assistants provide both administrative and clinical assistance to their employers. Medical assistants are essential to the success of every health care agency. They take patient histories, prepare patients for examinations and routine laboratory procedures, perform simple procedures and manage and maintain patient records. The fundamental functions assigned to medical assistants allow physicians to concentrate their efforts on the more advanced skills and tasks without being delayed or set back by having to perform all of these essential tasks themselves.

Online medical assisting programs are offered at a number of online career schools and traditional online institutions. Students have the option of pursuing diploma and certificate programs in medical assisting which can be completed in a very short time frame; permitting graduates to begin working relatively quickly. The accredited online programs enable students to sit for the certification exams, lending increased status to their educational accomplishment. The curriculum provides training in all relevant clinical and administrative areas including venipuncture, administering injections, adhering to privacy laws and regulations as well as sanitary and infection control guidelines. The majority of the programs include the externship requirement to ensure students receive the hands on training necessary prior to beginning their career in the field.

7. Health Care Administration
The health care field is consistently in need of qualified and skilled professionals. Billing, insurance coding, office assistants and managers are all required in order to ensure the success of each health care agency. The intensified scrutiny by insurance companies has resulted in an increased need for knowledgeable individuals who know the proper billing codes as required by the companies and appropriate methods of submitting the bills. An understanding of the preferred procedures are beneficial to patients and the medical offices treating them, with shorter delays in claims processing. Managing patient files and records, setting appointments and maintaining order in the office and examination rooms are vital to the success of any health care facility.

Degree programs in the health care administration field are offered in the majority of institutions offering online degree programs. The curriculum provides training in all the essential areas of the field. Diplomas and certificate programs permit students to complete short term programs which get them started in the industry. Associate degrees and bachelor degrees in the field provide advanced training and academic coursework to ensure students are equipped with the skills necessary to become leaders in their positions. Some schools offer online master degree programs for students interested in pursuing management positions in larger facilities. The career opportunities are limitless and the job opportunities are expected to continue to increase substantially over the next decade and will likely continue far into the future.

8. Engineering
The engineering fields are becoming increasingly more popular. Individuals attaining degrees in engineering have the opportunity to select from a substantial number of specialty areas including civil, electrical, industrial, chemical and a general construction field. Engineers solve technical problems, create effective and functional designs and devices and adhere to safe environmental and economic practices which benefit the employers for whom they work and the communities where their work is utilized. Engineers are generally high paid professionals with substantial opportunities for advancement with experience and additional education.

Online engineering degrees are offered at many highly regarded institutions. Students interested in pursuing engineering degrees can enroll in associate, bachelor or master level programs. Some institutions offer online continuing education programs and course, such as executive graduate certificates, to augment and update the individuals existing knowledge. Degree programs can be completed in as little as 12 months depending on the schedule developed by the student and the pace at which they complete their coursework. Many renowned traditional institutions offer online degree programs in the engineering field to respond to the increasing need and popularity in and of the field.

9. Paralegal
Paralegals provide an invaluable service to the public, companies and to the lawyers and law firms employing them. Paralegals compose legal documents, research laws and legal statutes, interview witnesses and clients and provide an extensive array of other essential services. Individuals seeking a career in a field with substantial employment opportunities and advancement will find the paralegal field offers both. Paralegals are employed by government entities, independent consulting firms, private law firms and are even often independently employed. There are practically no geographical limitations for individuals employed in the profession, permitting paralegals to find employment in nearly any area they may prefer.

The online paralegal degree programs offer the opportunity to begin a career in this challenging and lucrative field or to advance an existing career as a paralegal. Online programs offered in the field include certificate programs, associate and bachelor degree programs, master degree programs and even post graduate certificate and continuing education programs. Paralegals often earn salaries based on the level of higher education completed and earn promotions and salary increases in correlation to the advancement of their experience and education levels.

10. Electronic and Computer Technology (Engineering)
The prevalence of computer technology, electronics and multimedia devices in the workplace has created a substantial demand for qualified and trained individuals in the field. Individuals are needed who are capable of troubleshooting and problem solving issues related to electronics and computer technology are essential in any organization which relies on both within their business. Most businesses utilize these devices for every type of communication, from marketing and advertising to offering services through the internet, record keeping and to perform the tasks essential to the functioning of their business. Without electronic and computer technology specialist on hand to resolve issues, a business could be forced to delay work or may even lose valuable information.

Degrees in electronic and computer technology range from the associate to master levels. Diploma and certificate programs are offered. Post graduate programs are available and some institutions even offer doctorate programs in the major. The online programs provide a comprehensive and challenging curriculum which prepares graduates for the complex responsibilities associated with this profession. Students are able to choose programs with areas of specialization tailored to meet their particular needs and interests. Areas of interest may include software engineering, software engineer management, systems engineering, property management, organizational management engineering studies. The range of academic and career related possibilities are extensive and the online programs offered encompass most of them.

Selecting The Best Online Colleges To Receive The Most Valued Degrees Online

Online education is extremely flexible and allows working adults to acquire knowledge and academic experience required for professional growth. Thousands of online colleges invite ambitious adult professionals to earn their college degrees online. Higher education and degrees earned from accredited online colleges can give your career curve an extra edge. One must consider all the pros and cons of college degrees online before opting for one. To get the maximum benefit you must choose the online colleges providing online education programs best suited for attaining your career goal.

To find out the best online colleges for your desired degree you must evaluate the online colleges on the basis of certain points:

  • You must search for the online colleges that offer the courses most suitable for you. Prestigious universities and colleges offer a huge variety of online courses and invite the students to earn college degrees online.
  • Accreditation of the online university or college is a major issue. There are several online colleges offering thousands of attractive online courses. Before you finalize your decision picking a college for earning your degree online, you must confirm that your college has the proper regional or state accreditation. The degree obtained from the online colleges that are accredited to the popular universities will get you better career opportunities. You can visit the official website of the U.S. Department of Education for the list of accredited online colleges. There are some reliable websites as well who provide the names and detailed info of the approved online universities and colleges.
  • Determine the learning style and technical requirements of the online college and check how far you can fulfill these. Most of the online colleges and their courses require internet access and specific software for audio/video streaming and chat room facilities.Many online colleges offer courses which require a few classroom sessions as well along with the online ones. For more flexibility you should look for the online institutes offering entire courses online. By choosing the right college working adults can easily earn their desired college degrees online.
  • Look for online colleges that have highly qualified professors for their online courses. Ask your college whether the students can easily reach the professors through e-mail, phone, text, instant message, Skype or the like.
  • Compare the tuition fees and costs of the online colleges and also find out about the financial aid and grants available for the particular course or school.
  • To earn the best college degrees online you should first research the tuition and registration policies of as many reputable online colleges as you can. If you have to discontinue your online course or want to join an on campus program, check whether the college will return some percentage of your tuition fees and will transfer your online credits as well.
  • While choosing the right online college for gaining your degree online, you must confirm the credibility of your online education and credits.

With several if not all of these tips in mind, you should be able to narrow down your vast choice of online colleges for earning a degree online to just a few in a matter of minutes. From then on it's really just your personal preference combined with school credibility, courses offered that interest you and your major, and schedule. Good luck in securing your future by earning a degree online!

Online Education FAQ

How important has distance education become? Since 2000 internet education has grown tremendously. Today it is the answer for many students out there. Here are ten frequently asked questions about online schools, the answers to which may surprise you.

10. How many students are enrolled in online education courses?

Over 8 MILLION students are registered in distance education courses. This number continues to grow every year.

9. Why are students so interested in internet schools?

Because of the economy more and more students are enrolling in schools. Both distance ed. colleges and traditional colleges have seen increased enrollment since the economy went kaput. People are trying to find better jobs and education is what it takes to get those jobs.

8. Who offers these courses?

There are online colleges and universities that offer only distance education courses. You can also take courses on the internet offered by traditional colleges and universities like Harvard and Yale. All forms of education are taking advantage of the online education popularity.

7. How are traditional colleges adapting?

Many traditional colleges have created "web facilitated" courses that allow students to study on the internet but in a face to face setting. A lot of colleges use hybrid courses that are both in class discussion with online elements.

6. What's in the future?

In 2010 63% of all traditional colleges agreed that these internet courses were vital to their future. Education online is the way of the future and traditional colleges are taking advantage of that.

5. How many students are learning this way?

Distance Education schools experience a growth in enrollment every year of about 20%. That's about 1 million NEW students a year. Everybody's doing it...really.

4. Will the hype ever end?

Not likely. Most traditional colleges have implemented online programs into their curriculum's and don't plan to change. These college courses can help a lot of students so it seems these programs are here to stay.

3. What does this mean for students?

With the continued growth of online colleges and use of these programs in traditional Universities, this means that if you are a traditional student you may be taking some courses online or using some programs through your school. If you are already an online student you can expect to see more and more of your friends joining in.

2. What are the opinions of earning your degree through the internet?

When online education was still a new concept many were skeptical as to the quality of education that students were earning through distance education courses. Since then there has been a long standing debate of the credibility of online schools. Earning your degree through these schools is the same quality as if you were to earn it from a traditional college. More and more people and employers are accepting this form of education as the norm.

1. Is online education here to stay?

Yes. The only thing that may change the attendance rates for online schools is if there is a change in financial aid. This can go both ways. If the government decides to allow more funding for online schools then, attendance may go up even further. If the government decides to reduce the funding for online schools the numbers may decrease.

Online schools are here to stay. So many students benefit from online schools and are earning their degrees through them, that it is not likely they will ever go away. If anything you should expect to see online schools and online degree courses continue to grow.

Online Colleges Have Never Been Better

Online education has come of age today. There are several good online colleges that impart the best of education online at an affordable price. These colleges also offer many options to the student. The options relate to the large variety of subjects and the levels of the degree that one may acquire. Due to the volume of information, it may become difficult for one to make a selection of the correct course, level of degree and the college from where one can obtain the degree. For this reason, there are good sites that provide accurate information on the various accredited online education providers, the courses that they offer and the degree that you can acquire. These sites also have a number of well-written articles that will help you in making your selection process simpler. There are tips on preparation for the test and sample essays. There are FAQs and their answers that help you in making up your mind regarding the course that you should select and the institution from where you have to acquire the degree.

With the advent of online education, it is no longer necessary for you to chuck your job so that you can improve your career prospects. You can go through the entire list of subjects that are on offer in various online colleges and decide on the option that is in line with your career path. Since the list is very large, you can always find a subject that suits your career progression needs. There are online degrees on offer in veterinary sciences and fashion design, in business, MBA, accounting, marketing and finance as well as IT and HR or hotel management, nursing, photography and video production. There are several levels in the degree that you wish to acquire, as well. You can acquire an Associate Degree or Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral Degree (PhD). The main necessity is that you must be enthusiastic, passionate, motivated and focused in getting your online degree. This is the only way for overcoming the challenge that an online school offers.

Online education gives you the option of studying in your own time and at your own pace. You can access your course at any time of the day or night throughout the year. You are free to read course discussions or visit your instructor during online office hours. You can also watch videos and review assignments. Online colleges will award degrees that will add validity to your resume besides updating your skills. Attending an online course does not imply that you are estranged from fellow pupils or instructors. You can have online group discussion sessions that will give you the feel of a classroom. Finally, online education will keep you abreast with the latest in world technology and this is perhaps one of the greatest advantages that online colleges offer.

Masters Degree Programs Taken Online Are As Good As Traditional Ones

Yes! Masters Degree programs on the internet are as similar as attending Master Of Business Administration classes on campus. With advancements in technology, there is noteworthy improvement in the quality of online education. Once you gain admission to one, you will find that the syllabus is quite the same in nature and you should not miss any of the crucial topics.

Before you apply for an accredited online master course, you must attain a bachelors degree or its equivalent in the same field of study. If your first degree qualification is different from your desired post or masters degree, then you must first, do a post graduate degree program in the same field or a pre-masters degree to qualify you for what is required to study for a degree you want.

With raising popularity, certain online degrees have become extremely competitive to conventional colleges and universities. Online courses are increasing in numbers every year. You can study your masters degree program online while at work or at home with slight or no changes to your own schedule and family needs.

A plethora of reputable, accredited universities can be found online, providing numerous types of programs and areas for further study in future. universities and colleges may supplement their traditional campus programs with online courses, or exist as online schools only. Today, most conventional institutions of higher learning also provide certain online learning options to stay competitive. Either way, you can obtain advanced degrees in business, nursing, health care management, education, information technology, liberal arts, or numerous other fields.

Ultimately, you must work really hard to get your accredited masters degree. The fact is success does not for all time come quickly; sometimes it takes a few years to generate the result you want. Online education is now generating a strong demand as many universities and colleges see success with the programs. It is very important you do research to know if the course is accredited or the institution is approved to offer and award the degree or post graduate degree on the internet.

There are many types of such programs you can consider. You can go for an online masters accounting degree, public administration, psychology, nursing, special education, public health, engineering or many more from any of the institutions or universities available online today.

Top 10 Most Popular Online College Majors

So you're still not sure what you want to major in? Don't worry, you're not alone. Selecting a major that is perfect and will give you career stability can be a difficult task. Listed below are 10 of the most popular online college majors based on the job market and what will always be in demand.


A bachelor of business in administration offers a variety of career paths. Many people are pursuing their online degree in business including business communications, information technology, e-business, accounting business management and much more, making it the single most popular undergraduate program in the nation.

Culinary Artist

If you have a love for food, then a culinary degree can lead to an exciting and fulfilling career.


A bachelors of science in Computer Science and Information Systems are both offered online and are usually flexible, offering students comprehensive education in computers in areas such as web development, databases and security among others.

Visual Communications

If you like working with graphics design, animation, illustration and drawing is truly passionate about communicating your ideas and concept through visual media, then this could be a career path for you.

Arts & Liberal Studies

Online Arts and Liberal studies degree programs will give you a wide ranging education covering everything from science to history to human nature, among others. An online major in liberal studies provides you with a wide range of knowledge of the broader world.


Nurses (RN to BSN) are in high demand and is expected to grow at a fast pace due to the current shortage of nurses across the country. There are also medical-related programs such as: medical assisting, health administration, medical transcription, psychology, health care management to choose from.


If you are already in the teaching profession an advanced degree from an accredited online institution can also increase your job opportunities, earnings and career advancements. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, education is now one of the second largest industries in the United States, employing over 2.7 million.

Interior Design

Thinking of a career in Interior design? Interior designers work with clients and other design professionals to plan develop and design functional and attractive plans that will meet the needs of their clients.


Most of the top online colleges and universities offer associate and bachelor degrees in criminal justice, homeland security, criminal justice, forensic and much more. Criminal Justice is one of the most popular online undergraduate degree programs for students.


Some of the most popular fields in engineering are: computer information systems, software development, game and simulation programming and networking. Engineers are always in demand.

I hope the top 10 most popular online college majors will give you an idea about what to major in. These are subject to change with the demand of the market but overall should serve as good reference. If your pick is not listed, don't be discouraged. Remember, it's your education, choose a major that best suits you.