Online School Degree Programs

Find online degrees at online schools and learn more about the benefits of a distance learning program.

What Is an Online School and Distance Learning?

Online schools are academic institutions in which all or the majority of the coursework is completed through a distance learning program. Online schools offer a range of online degrees like online certificate programs, online career training, online bachelors degrees,and even online masters degrees. An online school may refer to the online branch of a college or university that has a physical campus. It can also refer to schools that strictly offer online degree programs and online courses without a college campus or campuses.

See All Online Schools Offering Online Degree Programs

Time Requirements for Online Schools

Course requirements and time commitments for online schools and distance learning programs vary depending in part on the type of online degree you're getting, whether you choose to go full-time or part-time, and if you include summer classes in your schedule.

If you want to complete your online degree program as quickly as possible, you may find more flexibility at an online school than at a campus school. Because distance learning programs like online colleges cater to students with busy or inflexible schedules, some online colleges will allow students to accelerate their studies to complete their degree in less time than it would typically take at a campus school.

Is an online degree program right for you?

Students are increasingly turning to online schools and distance learning over campus schools for many reasons; chief among them are flexibility and affordability. Here are some of the main reasons students seek out online programs for their degrees:

  • Increased flexibility in scheduling classes.
    Many online schools offer more online courses in the evening and on weekends than campus schools do, because these schools tend to cater to working students and students with other obligations outside the classroom.
  • Saving tuition money.
    Enrolling at an online school means you don't have to pay travel, relocation or room and board cost at a college campus. Also, tuition at online schools may be less than campus schools, partly because schools with a campus need more money to fund items such as classrooms, which aren't necessary with online courses.
  • Independent study.
    Distance learning programs allow you to work on your own without the distractions you can find in school settings. You will still be able to interact with professors and other students, but most of this communication will take place online rather than in person.
  • Studying from home.
    Online degrees can be completed mostly or completely via home computer, which is especially helpful for students without transportation or who are caring for kids or other family members.
  • To study on the go.
    Enrolling in an online college requires access to a working computer with Internet access. If you have a laptop computer, you will be able to stay connected to your online classes and teachers anywhere you can connect to the Web.

What types of students pursue online degrees?

Because you can pursue an online degree in everything from certificate programs to masters degrees, a broad variety of students enroll in online programs. Some are recent high school graduates looking for career training or for a more convenient, affordable alternative to a campus college. Others are professionals above the traditional college age who want to expand their skills or develop knowledge in a new area, and some are parents or caregivers who are seeking a degree for future employment or personal enrichment.

Online degrees and online colleges are becoming more prevalent and popular with students' increased access to the Internet. A growing number of students enroll in at least some online courses while studying for their degree.

How do you narrow down your search of online schools?

When choosing an online college, make sure it offers the type of certificate or degree you're seeking, as well as the areas of study you're interested in. You'll then want to review each school's accreditation and reputation, as well as the accreditation and reputation of the certificate or degree you're pursuing.

While location tends to be less of a factor when selecting an online college than a campus school, find out if the programs you're considering require any in-person training or tests as part of their degree requirements. Certain programs require hands-on training as part of the degree program, so if that is required by the schools you're considering, be sure you have the time and financial means to travel to the required campus to complete the coursework.