2021 Best Online Bachelor's Degrees
Online Colleges with the Highest Return on Investment
Our top online colleges rankings list is the first to highlight the online bachelor’s degrees with the best return on investment (ROI) using student salary and debt data from the government. To rank these schools, we first calculated a 10-year ROI for each online bachelor’s degree program, then calculated the percentile by comparing the ROI against the average for comparable programs. Schools were then ranked by their average ROI percentile. We also required that each school offer online bachelor’s degrees in at least three different subject areas. The fields that are most commonly represented on this list are business, psychology, nursing, and computer and information science.
Those interested in earning an online bachelor's degree will find many options on our best colleges list. We also offer the following comprehensive list of accredited online bachelor’s degrees, which covers 463 schools and 5,184 programs. Prospective students will find information about their desired field and other popular areas of study, including the number of online schools and programs in each field.
|a||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Art & Design||20||59||$50,509||NASAD|
|Art History||4||5||Not reported||Institutional|
|b||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Business||369||1,937||$73,654||AACSB ACBSP IACBE|
|c||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Construction Management||11||11||$72,883||ACCE ATMAE|
|Counseling Psychology||21||25||Not reported||Institutional|
|Creative Writing||17||28||Not reported||Institutional|
|d||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Data Science||29||46||Not reported||Institutional|
|Dental Hygiene||22||22||Not reported||Institutional|
|e||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Early Childhood Education||79||133||$37,088||CAEP MACTE NAEYC NCATE|
|Education||165||497||$49,528||CAEP CEA MACTE NCATE|
|Educational Leadership||9||10||Not reported||NCATE|
|Elementary Education||50||84||$38,177||CAEP MACTE NCATE TEAC|
|Emergency Management||61||123||Not reported||Institutional|
|Engineering Management||5||5||Not reported||Institutional|
|Exercise Science||11||20||Not reported||Institutional|
|f||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Forensic Accounting||10||15||Not reported||Institutional|
|g||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Geographic Information Systems||14||30||$61,628||Institutional|
|h||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Health Education||23||31||Not reported||Institutional|
|Healthcare Informatics||58||89||$50,611||CAHIIM CAHME|
|Healthcare Management||136||244||Not reported||CAHME|
|Holistic Medicine||3||4||$57,180||ACAOM CNME|
|Human Resources||125||184||$62,050||AACSB ACBSP|
|i||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Information Technology||149||493||Not reported||ABET|
|Interior Design||1||1||$46,425||CIDA NASAD|
|j||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|l||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Landscape Design||1||1||Not reported||LAAB|
|Library Science||5||6||Not reported||ALA|
|m||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Marriage & Family Therapy||19||23||$46,115||AAMFT COAMFTE|
|MBA||10||26||Not reported||AACSB ACBSP IACBE|
|Medical Billing & Coding||1||1||$55,588||ABHES|
|Medical Office Administration||1||1||$55,588||ABHES|
|n||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Nursing||324||405||$60,973||AANA ACEN ACEN ACME CCNE|
|o||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Occupational Safety||10||23||Not reported||ABET|
|Occupational Therapy||1||1||Not reported||Institutional|
|p||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Personal Training||1||1||Not reported||Institutional|
|Project Management||42||74||$71,577||AACSB PMI-GAC|
|Public Relations||44||53||Not reported||Institutional|
|r||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Radiology||25||39||Not reported||JRCERT JRCNMT|
|RN to BSN||275||298||Not reported||ACEN|
|RN to MSN||2||4||Not reported||Institutional|
|s||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Secondary Education||20||64||$44,242||CAEP NCATE TEAC|
|Special Education||31||45||$40,516||CAA CAEP|
|Speech Pathology||3||3||Not reported||CAA|
|Substance Abuse Counseling||25||34||$46,115||CACREP|
|Supply Chain Management||59||99||Not reported||Institutional|
|t||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Teaching||48||98||$44,654||CAEP MACTE NCATE TEAC|
|v||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
|Veterinary Technician||2||4||$50,611||AVMA COE|
|Video Game Design||15||21||Not reported||Institutional|
|w||Online Schools||Programs||Annual Salary||Accreditation|
Best Online Colleges Highlights
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Bachelor's Degrees
What are the benefits of earning an online bachelor's degree?
Online bachelor's programs are more accessible and flexible than on-campus programs. Online students can access their classrooms from anywhere with an internet connection and complete assignments on any device. Additionally, online schools offer flexible learning formats that allow students to complete assignments when it’s convenient for them.
Students can also save time and money by pursuing an online bachelor’s degree instead of attending on-campus programs. Online learners aren’t required to pay additional campus-based fees, and they save on transportation costs by eliminating the commute. Many online programs also offer credit for previous schooling, professional experience, or military training. Choosing a school with a generous transfer credit policy often translates into greater cost and time savings as students can complete their degree earlier.
How long does it take to earn an online bachelor's degree?
An online bachelor’s degree will typically take three to four years to complete if the student is enrolled full-time. However, many online colleges offer several ways for students to fast-track their bachelor’s degree. Accelerated programs allow students to take additional courses each quarter or semester to reduce the overall time it takes to earn their degree.
Students should also check a school’s credit transfer policy. Several schools offer credit for prior learning assessments that award academic credit to students with previous professional or military experience. Additionally, students can often demonstrate mastery in a subject by completing a portfolio or taking CLEP exams for credit that can be applied toward their degree.
Will I be able to work while earning my online bachelor's degree?
Flexibility is one of the main draws of completing your education online. According to a 2019 report on online college students, 51% of undergraduate students worked full time and 21% worked part-time. Online bachelor’s degree programs are available in either synchronous or asynchronous formats to accommodate a student’s busy schedules. Asynchronous courses offer the most flexibility since students can view pre-recorded lectures and complete online coursework when it’s convenient for them. In contrast, synchronous classes require students to log in at set times during the week.
What qualifications do I need to be accepted into an online bachelor's program?
The application requirements for an online bachelor’s program are usually identical to the requirements for an on-campus program. In general, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent with at least a 2.0 GPA. However, some online schools provide accommodations to students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements, including offering probationary admission or requiring that students provide supplemental information.
Online degree completion programs are designed for adult students who have started a four-year degree but did not finish it. These programs offer a faster and less expensive way for students to complete their bachelor’s degree without starting over again. Applicants are required to have a minimum number of academic credits from previous institutions, usually between 50 and 60 credits, or substantial career or military experience.
How do I know if my program is accredited?
Students can determine if their online program is accredited by going directly to the school’s website. Another option is to search for the school in the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP) offered by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) database. Both of these websites provide a list of each school’s institutional and programmatic accreditations.