Guide to Online Bachelors Degree Programs

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In this article we discuss online bachelors degree programs, the advantages of getting one, how to get one, why get a bachelor’s degree, what is the difference between an online and an on-campus degree, etc. We also investigate the other aspects of getting a bachelors, like the cost of getting an undergraduate degree, the time required to get one what are the requirements of getting into a bachelor’s degree, how long does it take to get the bachelor’s degree, what are the financial aids available for bachelor’s program and how to pay for it. Apart from that, we would also discuss the career prospects post an online bachelor’s degree, look at the roles one might play post the course, and discuss the salaries post a bachelor’s degree. Getting a bachelor’s degree can open access to job opportunities, expose you to new ideas, and boost your earning potential. Per Fred‘s data, in 2020, college graduates’ weekly wages were approximately 84 percent more than those of high school graduates. Also, a bachelor’s degree would give you the ticket to get associated with professional organizations which would give you professional connections to pursue and further your career as well as continuing and furthering your education and keeping pace with the happenings of the industry. Post a bachelor’s degree in accounting one can join the American Accounting Association and five years’ experience in accounting would make professionals eligible to take the CPA examination and get a license to practice public accounting. So, if you are a student who has completed an associate degree, or you have just graduated or going to graduate school soon, this article might be of interest to you.

Guide to Online Bachelors Degree Programs

What is an Online Bachelors
Degree Program?

A bachelor’s degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by accredited colleges or universities upon completion of a course of study lasting typically four years. The two most common bachelor’s degrees are the Bachelor of Arts and the Bachelor of Science. An online bachelor’s degree is pursued online off-campus. Nearly 7 million college students enrolled in online classes in 2018. Thanks to the many benefits of an online bachelor’s degree, distance learning has only grown in popularity in recent years. An online bachelor’s degree prioritizes flexibility and convenience. Distance learners complete their graduation requirements in an accessible format, suitable for working professionals and busy students. An online bachelor’s degree is as much recognized in the industry as any on-campus bachelor’s; hence, students are very keen to pursue online bachelor’s degree programs in recent times.

Why get an Online Bachelors Degree?

Apart from getting intricate insight into the subject and exploring it from aspects that students have not seen before, an online bachelor’s degree gives a lot of exposure to students about their subjects of study making them more employable and in turn increasing their earning potential. Per Fred’s data, in 2020, college graduates’ weekly wages were approximately 84 percent more than those of high school graduates. Hence, as you can see investing time and money in education would be a very prudent investment. Also, a bachelor’s degree would be the basic degree required to join a few services, many states, and federal bodies would mandatorily require a bachelor’s degree to practice a related profession and professional organizations and bodies would require at least a bachelor in a relevant field to be members of their organizations. Hence, it should answer the question of why students should get a bachelor’s degree.

Online Bachelors Degree Programs Vs On-Campus
Bachelors Degree Programs

While both modes of study are good, it depends on the requirement of the students to decide which model will work best for them depending on the requirements they have. If you are pressed for time, then probably an online course could work for you, but if you are looking for an on-campus experience and networking then an on-campus course might work for you. Below we discuss a few advantages and disadvantages of both modes of study.

FlexibleTraditional on-campus courses are subject to strict timelines. Though it has its benefits like it’s very interactive and students can learn from discussions in the classroom, they are not very flexible per the student’s requirements.Online courses can be asynchronous- meaning you can “attend” class at any time by watching recorded lectures at your convenience and hence more flexible. This works great for working professionals and working parents whose time is at a premium and they can work according to their available time.
Discussion ForumsOn-campus courses would be a bit biding to the class and its student teacher’s forum as these are general classes of just full-time students.Students have an online forum of online degrees, which can pull in information across the globe and can cut across working professionals’ full-time students etc., which in turn brings in a lot of different perspectives.
TimeYou could live on-campus or outside, and it takes time for you to commute and attend classes.Online classes cut that commute time to zero. If mobility or transportation is a challenge for you, going to school online completely removes this obstacle—plus it significantly increases your choices for where to go to school.
CostOn-campus courses have a lot of cost components like lodging in dorms, parking, gym subscription (even if you don’t use them), etc. These are significant costs as much if not more than tuition. This shoots up the cost of your degree.In online courses, you just pay for tuition, which keeps the cost significantly lower.
Lab FacilitiesIt would have the state-of-the-art lab facilitiesThis mode of study will lack lab facilities and hence a lot of STEM courses cannot be run using this mode of study.
College libraryPhysical libraries have a few big benefits you won’t get from the comfort of your computer:
1. People who can direct you to the exact resources you need.
2. Books and resources that only exist in print.
3. The ability to borrow textbooks you need for class instead of buying them.
4. Quiet places to study.
Digital libraries are helpful when you need peer-reviewed articles for your research paper. But libraries can get complicated too—there’s an entire field of library science dedicated to organizing massive amounts of information. If you get stuck online and have trouble finding something, it is difficult to navigate if you do not have technical support, which is rare for schools to have.
Course selectionThe courses available will always be more than the ones available online. The primary reason being all online courses need to be filmed and put up online. There is a huge cost component to it. The second reason is, some STEM courses need lab time, which is not available online hence that is one hindrance as well.To make a fair point for online courses, nowadays, more and more courses are available online. And the only hindrance would be to get them accredited by authorities.
Teaching StaffYou get the best of the faculties on-campus. They are at your disposal physically in the classes as well as online like in class chat rooms and emails. So, the accessibility of teaching staff is great.In online courses, students don’t have direct physical access to teachers. Also, online courses might have different instructors than the same on-campus course.
Group ProjectsThe on-campus course has the advantage where you can take up student group projects, wherein students form a group, and they have a teacher who guides them till the completion of the project. This gives a lot of exposure to teamwork coordination and networking skills.Online courses lack the facility of group projects. Students have their own time to work on their course and they work on projects on their own as well.
NetworkingOn-campus courses allow students to network with the subject community and make the contacts and links which helps beyond one imagination.Online courses have subjects’ forums, but they lack the networking community required to connect for jobs and opportunities.

How long are the Online Bachelors
Degree Programs?

Generally, bachelors are 4-year degree courses, wherein students would have to choose their major subjects and electives and they must complete one hundred and twenty credit hours. But in the case of online bachelors, the hundred twenty credit hours must be completed mandatorily, but the time taken can vary depending on the type of online degree course taken up. Some courses are accelerated programs wherein students can complete the course at a faster pace. Some online courses are asynchronous wherein students can complete their courses at their own will and time. But whatever mode of completion, the one hundred and twenty credit hours need to be completed for being awarded the bachelor’s degree.

There are some integrated master’s programs wherein students will earn both a bachelor’s as well as a master’s in a consolidated way which can be completed in five years. Hence, depending on the path taken a bachelor’s can take anywhere between four to five years to complete. Below we give examples of accelerated bachelors and master’s degree programs:

How to choose an Online
Bachelors Degree?

Choosing a bachelor’s degree strictly depends on a mix of the student’s love for a particular subject and his/her aptitude towards the same, the universities offering the course, etc. Below we have listed a few key points that students need to consider before picking up an online bachelor’s degree.

  • Deciding on your major: Depending on the affinity and a student’s aptitude for a subject, select your major.
  • Be aware that not every university offers all majors and not all are available online.
  • Choose the institution of your choice and check admission requirements to see if you qualify for the same. Also, check to see if previous college credits will transfer.
  • Compare tuition, fees, and financial aid. Investing in education is like investing in your future. Ask the right questions. What does tuition cost? Do I have to pay out-of-state tuition? What financial aid is available?
  • Ask about the faculty credentials. Who is teaching the online courses? Are the same faculty who teach on-campus teaching online?
  • Find online student services. Online students can’t walk into a campus office and ask for help. Make sure the institution has services and resources available specifically for online students.
  • Research accredited colleges and universities, as not all institutions are created equal. Learn more about accreditation on the U.S. Department of Education website

How to apply for Online Bachelors
Degree Programs?

Applying for a distance learning bachelor’s degree is not that much different from applying for an on-campus program. Students need to follow the same steps and provide similar documents. However, a big plus for online degrees is that you can apply anytime, so you won’t be constrained by a deadline. Also, application requirements for an online program are generally more flexible compared to on-campus degrees. Below would be the typical steps required to apply for an online bachelor’s degree program:

1.Select the universities and programs you want to apply to

 As any smart student, you know better than to put all your eggs in the same basket. Make a list of at least three universities and online programs you want to apply to so that you increase your chances of getting accepted.

2.Check admission deadlines

While for a traditional bachelor’s program, for example, there are usually two admission sessions per year (if not only one!), for an online bachelor’s program there may be four or five submission deadlines per academic year. For some programs, you may even enroll all year round! This, of course, increases your chances of admission and makes the application procedure more flexible. But just to make sure, you should always check the exact deadlines on the program website!

3.Complete the online application

Complete an online application form, which will probably require you to set up an account that includes some personal information. This will also involve uploading the electronic versions of the following documents:

  • Application form
  • SAT scores
  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Copies of your previous qualifications and transcript of records
  • Letters of recommendation

4.Prepare for the admission interview

Certain universities or programs may require an interview, which can be conducted over the phone or online, on Skype or Zoom. An online interview is pretty much the same as a traditional one. Make sure your laptop/computer camera works well and you have a good internet connection. Set up a clear and plain background as much as possible, and dress formally, like you would for a normal interview.

Cost of Online Bachelors
Degree Programs

An online bachelor’s degree offers students many benefits – convenience, the ability to maintain a full-time job outside of school, flexible hours, and a unique learning environment – but is cost one of them? Let us find out in this section.

Per the National Center for Education Statistics, In the academic year 2018–19, the average net price of attendance (total cost minus grant and scholarship aid) for first-time, full-time undergraduate students attending 4-year institutions was $13,900 at public institutions, compared with $27,200 at private nonprofit institutions and $23,800 at private for-profit institutions (in constant 2019–20 dollars). Online degrees would cost at least 40 percent cheaper if students are not renting accommodation separately for their studies. So, if you are living with your family or with your parent’s online degrees would be much cheaper than on-campus degrees.

Students can look at the costs depending on universities and then decide on the program they would want to get into. Students can also check and see if they can fund their education with a scholarship. Online bachelors have the same opportunities of getting scholarships as any on-campus degree. For further reference, students can refer to this link here for scholarships.

It might happen that someone does not qualify for a scholarship, for such candidates if they are working professionals, they can check with their employers to reimburse the tuition fee. The other way of funding your associate in accountancy is to apply for a student loan. Students can also check if they are eligible for federal student aid. Here is a link to the application for FAFSA Application

Financial Aid for Online Bachelors
Degree Programs

For prospective students considering online college programs, the cost may be a concern. An old but lingering misconception is that financial aid for online degree programs is limited compared with aid for in-person programs. But in fact, colleges structure the financial aid process for distance students identically to that of their in-person peers. Experts say, when researching online programs, students must choose one that is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education to take advantage of federal financial aid.

Eligibility for federal financial aid is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. Some colleges and states also use information from the FAFSA to award their aid. Students enrolled in online courses must be careful to meet other requirements for federal financial aid such as being a citizen or an eligible noncitizen and maintaining satisfactory academic progress. To receive most financial aid, experts say, students must be degree-seeking or certificate-seeking and meet the institution’s minimum enrollment requirements.

Careers and Pay for Online Bachelors
Degree Program Graduates

An online bachelor’s degree would open a host of opportunities irrespective of the chosen degree. A college degree graduate would earn substantially more than a school graduate. Also, post a bachelor’s degree the careers would be more specialized depending on your chosen field of study and it also gives students great insight into the industry they are getting into. A bachelor’s degree is a stepping stone to their chosen profession and a pedestal for getting into more advanced degrees and hence brings in the opportunity for far advanced and greater roles to play. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with just a high school degree earn $746 per week on average while college graduates earn closer to 1,248 per week, which is a 160% increase. Hence, one can see that investing in education pays off well. It would not be wrong to say that a student’s career and pay post a bachelor’s degree would increase manyfold. For example, post a bachelor’s degree in accounting, students can take up the role of an accountant and auditor, which per the Bureau of Labor Statistics pays around $73,560 per annum, whereas without an accounting degree one might work under an accountant as a bookkeeping clerk who might earn a salary of around $42,410 per annum. 

Below we give a few occupations post a bachelors and their corresponding job description.

DegreeOccupation Job Description Median Annual SalaryJob Growth (2018-2028)
Bachelors in Occupational TherapyPhysical TherapistsPhysical therapists help injured or ill people improve movement and manage pain. They are often an important part of preventive care, rehabilitation, and treatment for patients with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries.Physical therapists use a variety of techniques to care for their patients. These techniques include exercises; training in functional movement, which may include the use of equipment such as canes, crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers; and special movements of joints, muscles, and other soft tissue to improve mobility and decrease pain.$91,01021%
Bachelors in AccountancyAccountants and AuditorsAccountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records, identify potential areas of opportunity and risk, and provide solutions for businesses and individuals. They ensure that financial records are accurate, that financial and data risks are evaluated, and that taxes are paid properly. They also assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently. Many accountants and auditors specialize, depending on their employer. Some work for organizations that specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decision makers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documents). Other organizations specialize in specific industries, such as finance, insurance, or healthcare.$73,5607%
Bachelors in Criminal JusticePolice and DetectivesPolice officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who are sometimes called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of crimes. Job duties differ by employer and function, but police and detectives are required by law to write detailed reports and keep meticulous records. Most carry law enforcement equipment such as radios, handcuffs, and guns.$67,290700%
Bachelors in MarketingMarket Research AnalystsMarket research analysts study market conditions to examine potential sales of a product or service. They help companies understand what products people want, who will buy them, and at what price. Market research analysts research and gather data to help a company market its products or services. They gather data on consumer demographics, preferences, needs, and buying habits. They collect data and information using a variety of methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, market analysis surveys, public opinion polls, and literature reviews.$65,81022%
Bachelor of Arts, in PsychologyPsychologistsPsychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and to their environments. They use their findings to help improve processes and behaviors. Psychologists seek to understand and explain thoughts, emotions, feelings, and behavior. They use techniques such as observation, assessment, and experimentation to develop theories about the beliefs and feelings that influence individuals.$82,1808%

FAQs about Online Bachelors
Degree Programs

Are online bachelor’s degrees recognized?

Many employers accept online degrees, experts say, though some still favor the traditional graduate. Most employers today accept online degrees. As many well-respected universities now offer online programs, employers accept them to a greater extent than in the past, experts say.

Are online degrees as good as regular degrees?

Do employers care if your degree is online?

Do employers know if your degree is online?

Do jobs ask to see your online degree?

Will my diploma say that I earned my degree online?

Is online learning right for me?

How long does it take to graduate?

Additional Resources for Online Bachelors
Degree Program Students

Post an online bachelor’s degree, students can further their careers with alliance and accreditation through professional organizations in their chosen field of profession.

These organizations help students in the below ways:

Professional Learning

Professional organizations provide evidence-based learning, virtual coaching, and year-round academies to support professionals in their chosen field of learning.


Professional organization membership connects educators, leaders, and experts of their chosen field. Members can build skills, connect, create with peers, and participate as content creators.


Professional organizations host industry-leading events to support professionals to connect and form groups for joint projects as well as organize intra-professional brainstorming sessions etc.


Professional organizations help professionals to connect with knowledgeable peers to share best practices, solve problems, and collaborate in their field of practice.

Take, for example, The American Statistical Association, which is the world’s biggest community of statisticians. It is the second oldest, continuously running professional association in the US and was created in Boston in 1839. Its members work in corporate, government, and academia in more than 90 countries, advancing research and developing quality data and statistical work to inform public policy. Hence, if a student does his bachelor’s in statistics, then this would be the right kind of professional body to join to further knowledge in the field and advance his/her career with connections and continuing education. Similarly depending on the student’s area of study that can join professional bodies to further their cause professionally.