There are many careers that are on the rise, learn more about the fastest growing careers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you’re looking to fast-track your own career there are many online colleges that could help get you there. In fact, there are online degrees for careers at all levels from associates on up to grad school.
Online colleges and traditional schools with online programs offer degrees at all levels. The main difference between studying on campus vs. online is that you are not in the same place as your teacher.
If you are wondering how it works, the answer depends on which online college you attend. But there are some common features and terminology to learn about that can help you weed through the mix. For example, course delivery method is usually via an online learning platform which you log into. This hub is your virtual classroom, and through it, you access courses, teachers, etc.
Regardless, the appeal of online colleges is they make it possible to attend class when it’s a good time for you and let you learn at your own pace. Hit pause, rewind or play. Study on your lunch break while you continue to work.
Not many traditional college students can say that about their schedules. But if you prefer to study in person, many online degrees have on-campus formats too. To be sure, online degrees are not “easier” because you need to motivate yourself. But you will have to meet deadlines, complete assignments and take exams.
Software developers are part creative, part tech savvy. Some develop systems (apps) that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or device. Others develop operating systems that run the devices or control networks.
There are 1,256,200 software developer jobs today with 302,500 more expected by 2026. To get started, most software developers earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science. But there is room to advance. A grad degree might help you step into an IT manager role.
Software Developers use a variety of database management, development environment, program testing, and object oriented development software. Examples include MySQL, Microsoft Visual Basic, IBM Rational PurifyPlus, and Python.
24% (Much faster than average)
The typical entry-level degree is a BS in Computer Science or Computer Programming
The main job of a Marketing Manager is to develop marketing strategies to promote a product or a service. They often manage a profit/loss budget for which they are tasked with the dual goal of maximizing company profits while ensuring customer satisfaction.
In order to do this, they do things such as define a clear value proposition for the product, estimate the demand for products, set spending budgets to promote the product and find potential customers. As such, general knowledge that a marketing manager should posses includes knowledge of sales and marketing methods, management principles, and customer service techniques.
Marketing Managers are usually proficient in areas such as negotiation, listening, critical thinking, speaking and time management.
10% (Faster than average)
The typical entry-level degree is a Bachelors in Business Management/Marketing
IT Managers help figure out how a company can use technology to meet its goals. They are always on the lookout for upgrades and often negotiate with vendors. Other tasks involve overseeing staff and weighing costs and benefits of new projects.
There are 367,500 IT Manager jobs today and 44,200 more projected for 2026. There are two main reasons for this high growth. The first is the mounting concern over cybersecurity. The second is more firms are expanding their operations to digital platforms.
Another thing about opportunity here. Usually, experience and education help an IT manager move up within an IT department. IT directors may become chief technology officers (CTOs). CTOs may advance to take a position as chief information officer (CIO). CIOs may advance into executive roles. Salaries may move up too.
12% (Faster than average)
The typical entry-level degree is a Bachelors in Computer Science or MIS
Medical and health services managers have job titles like healthcare executive or administrator. Some manage a facility (E.g. outpatient center or hospital). Others oversee a clinical department (E.g. surgery), medical practice or an area (E.g. health IT).
There are 352,200 healthcare administrator jobs today, with 72,100 on the horizons for 2026.
One reason for this positive outlook is that many services are no longer offered in hospitals. Many are shifting to offices of different health practitioners.
Plus, the use of electronic health records (EHRs) is here to stay and creating new jobs with it. In fact, those with a masters in health administration (MHA) and knowledge of healthcare IT systems may fare well in the job hunt.
20% (Much faster than average)
The typical entry-level degree is a Bachelors in Health Administration
Financial managers do more than watch a company’s cash flow and investments. Because of technology, they also analyze data and market trends.
There are many areas to prepare for if financial manager is your end goal. Some work as risk or insurance managers. Others oversee accounting and auditing (controllers). Cash and credit managers play other roles.
Today, in these areas, there are 580,400 financial manager jobs. By 2026 this will rise by 108,600 new opportunities. You can expect the market to be competitive. But those with a master’s degree and certification should have good prospects.
19% (Much faster than average)
The typical entry-level degree is a Bachelors in Finance, Accounting, Economics, Bus Admin
34% (Much faster than average)
The typical entry-level degree is a Masters in Statistics (Business Analytics, Healthcare IT etc.)
Data scientists extract meaning from and interpret digital data. Then apply methods from statistics and machine learning to help businesses make decisions. As problem solvers their work has many uses.
Beyond the business world, data scientists help in computing, cybersecurity, medicine and science. In fact, there is so much data to collect, it is creating a high demand for data mining services.
While the field is still emerging, there are 27,900 jobs for computer and information research scientists. This is rapidly changing, and 5,400 more jobs will arise by 2026
The typical entry-level degree is a Masters in Computer Science
Teachers help students learn. They plan lessons, observe their students and manage a classroom. Many choose a focal group like special education. Or, teach a specific subject such as math or English as a Second Language (ESL).
The entry-point to be a teacher is usually a bachelor’s degree. But, as a regulated field, each state has its own laws about what level of education and licensure you need.
Many accredited schools offer online teacher education programs. But, for some, you may need to go to campus from time to time. Or, complete supervised teaching practices at an approved location.
11% (Faster than average)
This may include earning a master’s degree (E.g. MA, MAT, MS, MEd). Postsecondary teachers tend to need a PhD or Doctor of Education in the field they want to teach.
Registered nurses (RNs) provide and manage patient care. Often, they work with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Many choose a niche to work with a specific illness (cardiac care) or population (newborns).
There are 2,955,200 RN jobs today and this is going to increase by another 438,100 by 2026. While demand is high, those with a BSN degree will have better job prospects.
While an RN is an entry level position, nursing is a broad field with potential jobs at all levels of education. It is a regulated industry though, so you usually need certification or licensure apart from formal training. Many advanced programs provide the opportunity to build skills in a niche area too.
Can you earn a nursing degree online? Usually, you take some classes online through web-conferencing or pre-taped lectures and modules. Then, head to your campus for any hands-on training. If you have to complete any type of practicum, you might do this in your community.
Can you become a nurse without a degree? Licensed practical or licensed vocational nurse (LPN or LVN) need to earn a diploma (or certificate). This enables you to pursue a license with your state board. LPNs and LVNs earn an average annual salary of $46,240 and the job outlook is favorable.
To work as a nursing assistant, you must compete a state-approved education program. Then, pass a state competency exam. Nursing assistants earn an average annual salary of $28,530 and the job outlook is favorable.
15% (Much faster than average)
To be a registered nurse, you need either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Either of these enables you to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses need at least a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). But there is a move to make the entry point into the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for APRN roles.
Nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) help put patients to sleep so they don’t feel the pain of surgery. They also administer local anesthesia to numb an area of the body. This requires them to stay with patients to watch their vital signs.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) provide direct care to patients. Some states allow them to administer medication. Many will study to work with one type of patient group. Adult and geriatric health, pediatric health, women’s health or mental health are a few.
Nurse midwives (CNMs) provide care to women. They conduct gynecological exams, help with family planning services and prenatal care. Also, CNMs deliver babies, unless it is a cesarean. Then, they may assist a physician.
Many online colleges have regional or national accreditation. The accreditation process requires a school to undergo a peer review by an external board or agency.
Once ‘accredited’, a school cannot rest on its laurels as the status is good for a period of time. To renew, the school needs to show improvement. Or that they still meet criteria.
The U.S. Department of Education accredits some online colleges as a mark of quality. You can look up this information on their website. They list all the national and regional accreditors that they approve.
Nationally accredited online colleges are usually for-profit with career, technical, or vocational programs. Regional accreditors (there are six) go by geographic location.
For the top nine fastest growing careers and the online colleges that have the degree programs to get you there, you will likely look for regional accreditation. It is the most prestigious form of approval. because:
Also, often times a school with regional accreditation goes an extra step with individual programs. It may put these up for review by professional outside agencies. This agency sets standards for the types of things you learn. Ethics and practical industry skills are a few common concerns.
There are distinct program accreditors for each field.
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA)The American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation (ACNM)
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
International Assembly for Collegiate Education (IACBE)Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.