Whereas a learning institute or trade school might offer certificates that verify your training, online education programs award students with certified degrees that aren’t any different, or less accepted, than those offered by traditional institutions. The types of degrees that can be earned through online study include:
Diploma. While most people associate the word “diploma” with high school, there are several higher education diplomas that can be earned by students enrolled in a online education programs. Typically, a higher education diploma certifies that a student has been certified with job-specific skills and/or practical training. It can be earned in a fraction of the time it takes to get a Bachelor’s degree, usually in about a year. Among the areas of study in which diplomas are awarded are biblical studies, journalism, computer science, engineering and nursing.
Associate of Arts. Although an Associate of Arts degree is traditionally awarded by two-year community colleges, one can be earned by a student receiving online education in half that time through an accelerated course of study. It differs from a Diploma in that instead of representing a course of study targeted at specific skills, it requires that three-quarters of the studies are in liberal arts and sciences. The average salary for someone with an Associate of Arts degree is $46,000 a year.
Bachelor’s degree. Certifying that a student has a basic knowledge of arts and sciences, in addition to having been trained in a specific area, a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree is commonly awarded by four-year colleges and universities and is required to proceed to any advanced degree programs. An online student can typically earn one in less time. Someone with a Bachelor of Arts degree earns an annual average of $56,102; a Bachelor of Science will earn its holder an average of $63,219 per year; and a person with a Bachelor of Science in computer science makes an average of $70,822 a year.
Master’s degree. A student enrolled in online education program can earn a Master’s degree by completing a graduate or postgraduate program, which usually takes one to three years following the completion of a Bachelor’s degree program. Offered as a Master of Arts, a Master of Science or a Master of Business Administration, a Master’s degree certifies that a student has gained a mastery of a specific field of study, demonstrating such important skills as the ability to analyze difficult situations, provide critical evaluation and solve complex problems. Among the courses of study a student can earn a Master’s in are business administration, applied science, architecture, teaching, chemistry, computer applications, criminal justice, education, engineering, human relations and physics. The average annual salary for someone with a Master’s degree is $83,000.
Doctorate. A Doctorate is a degree that represents the highest level of study in a given field. Although the time it takes to earn a Doctorate varies depending on the course of study, the general time frame is three years following the time it takes to earn a Master’s degree. Among the fields Doctorates are awarded in are medicine, law, advanced practice nursing, dentistry, optometry, chiropractic, naturopathy, pharmacy and psychology. The average annual salary for someone with a doctorate is $103,000.