From X-ray technician programs, interior design programs to more traditional programs like business and education, online colleges have continued to expand their offerings. Over the past few years, online colleges have added diverse majors and unique courses to cater to students who want to learn from home, while pursuing a challenging online education. While many subjects, like dentistry or law cannot be taught solely online, other majors are making headway as popular online degree programs.
A 2008 study by The Sloan Consortium, titled Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States, 2008, investigated the most popular disciplines in online education and disclosed their results. After analyzing the responses from more than 2,500 colleges and universities, the researchers found that an increase in online enrollments over the past five years has caused a growth in all disciplines of online education. There is not a concentrated growth in any one area. The study examines the pattern of online offerings based on online penetration rates by discipline. This data was calculated for each of the eight areas with the greatest number of degrees awarded, according to the Profile of Undergraduates in U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions – National Center for Education Statistics. The eight programs were: business; liberal arts and sciences, general studies, humanities; health professions and related sciences; education; computer and information sciences; social sciences and history; psychology and engineering. The report states that there was equal penetration for seven of the eight major discipline areas that were examined. Engineering at public online colleges was the only discipline area in which online representation was much lower overall. Associate institutions had the most positive view of online education, and showed a wide lead in online penetration for psychology, social sciences and liberal arts.
The most popular online degrees are typically the ones that are more broad, like liberal arts and business. These majors allow graduates to pursue more occupations and career paths than something that is very specific such as web design. If you have a special talent in one area or have always dreamt of being something unique, go for it! Just like traditional colleges, online education requires its students to complete core classes and general studies that let you dabble in a number of subjects that may lead you to your chosen major. You can also take accelerated courses to speed up your online degree plan.