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You can earn most college degrees online, here's how

Nicole Carpenter

Not everyone has the time or money to get a traditional, college-level education. Years ago, this may have been a problem but that’s not the case anymore. Furthermore, these aren’t the online colleges of the past — the University of Phoenix isn’t your only option. Many of today’s top universities now offer online programs including Penn State, Boston University, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. Below are a few of the best options available, allowing you to spend less time browsing the blue-hued backdrop of Facebook and more time cracking down on your future career and everything it holds.

Related: Make your ongoing education a priority with one of these educational apps

Pennsylvania State University — Penn State World Campus

Penn State Thumb

Penn State’s offered distance learning courses for 125 years. It’s history dates back to 1892 with Penn State’s correspondence courses, though we’re not sure exactly how effective those could have been. What we do know is relevant courses came about in 1998 when Penn State became one of the first accredited schools to offer an online curriculum.

Courses are said to be just as “academically challenging” as courses taught on Penn State’s campus but they’re a bit more flexible in regards to scheduling. The school’s online system offers a lot of options; students have the option of utilizing chat features, video conferences, phone calls, email, social media, and forums in a digital classroom. Penn State World Campus currently offers more than 125 graduate degrees, undergrad degrees, certificate programs, and minors, most of which are taught by the same faculty as the on-campus programs. The institution also offers a wide range of areas of study including Turfgrass Science, Accounting, Nursing, and Geography.

The University of Massachusetts — UMass Online system

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The University of Massachusetts boasts five different campuses across the state but if none of those work, there’s an online option available as well. Many of UMass’ on-campus classes feature an online format, meaning classes likely feature a mixture of traditional and online students in the same internet classroom.

UMass Online consistently ranks among top online colleges and earned a distinction for Excellence in Distance Teaching Education from the United States Distance Learning Association. Degrees offered include Women’s and Gender Studies, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Engineering, and Art History.

Northeastern University — Online Degree Programs

Campus in Fall 2011

Northeastern University wants its students to succeed. To help achieve this goal, the university outfitted its website with loads of tips and tricks, including a class demo for new students. It offers detailed schedules for a variety of different students such as those who live abroad but want an American degree, as well as students returning to school after a few years off. It also caters toward working parents pursuing doctoral degrees and those taking classes both online and off.

The university provides a fairly comprehensive look at what goes into an online degree and requires a demonstration of the work. This sort of in-depth information and preparation certainly goes a long way in showing how supportive the school is of its remote students. Plus, Northeastern University offers more than 60 online programs and degrees, including those in Applied Nutrition, Education, Political Science, Human Services, Homeland Security, Data Analytics, and Psychology.

Colorado State University — CSU-Global

www.annajon.es

CSU-Global knows most of its students are working adults and it capitalizes on this fact. The university offers accelerated, eight-week courses as well as monthly starts for its classes, which allows for greater flexibility and should appeal to non-traditional students. Moreover, another bonus of the school is that out-of-state and in-state students receive the same tuition rates and as long as they stay in good academic standing, their tuition rate won’t budge.

The global campus for Colorado State University is also the first 100-percent online university to receive the maximum regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. They believe in CSU-Global and that’s a good sign.  Like with Northeastern, it also allows students the ability to check out sample coursework on the CSU-Global website. CSU-Global even offers special programs and discounted tuition for veterans or active military. It calls itself “military-friendly” and as such, it offers a dedicated internal task force to help military students succeed.

The options at CSU-Global are plenty, including Marketing, Healthcare Administration and Management, Information Technology, Emergency Management, and Computer Programming.

Savannah College of Art and Design — eLearning at SCAD

SCAD

Savannah College of Art and Design remains one of the top art schools in the country and to make it even more appealing, it offers an online learning program as well. While there, students have access to all the same experiences and connections as they would on the university’s physical campus, though the SCAD eLearning program allows them to pursue their degree without having to put a professional life on hold. After all, even artists occasionally have full-time jobs while in school.

Programs at SCAD eLearning range from Animation, Painting, Illustration, and Graphic Design to Historic Preservation, Interactive Design, Game Development, and Writing. That said, SCAD’s curriculum features a much different lineup from the other schools on this list. The eLearning program is relatively new to the online learning scene, having been around for more than 12 years but has received ample recognition for its online education services, as well as accreditation from four separate organizations.

University of Florida — Distance Learning

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SEC fans, heads up. University of Florida’s distance learning program lets anyone join Gator Nation, regardless of where they’re located. Offering more than 100 online degrees and certification programs, including Doctorate, Masters, and Bachelors degrees. It’s also a fairly good deal given the University of Florida ranks among the best values in terms of public colleges. Want to be a Doctor of Philosophy in Latin and Roman Studies? University of Florida online makes it easy to pursue just this. How about a Bachelors in Telecommunication Media and Society? It has that, too. University of Florida really shines with its Master’s options, too. There’s an incredible variety including Pest Management, Fisheries and Aquatic Science, Arts in Medicine, Aerospace Engineering, Pharmaceuticals, Veterinary Medicine, and Education, among many others.