Best Online Degrees for Working Adults. Getting a college degree can open up new job options and increase how much money you can make. However, adults with jobs might struggle to juggle school and work.
Online classes help busy students finish school. They have flexible schedules, low tuition, and accept transfer credits. Our ranking rates the best online colleges for working adults.
The Best Online Colleges for Working Adults
Which online colleges are great for adults with jobs? Find out which schools excel in graduation rates, academic quality, and career assistance.
Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global, situated in West Lafayette, IN, provides 4-year programs both online and on campus. With a wide range of over 200 online degree options, adults can find a program aligning with their career goals and utilizing transfer credits. The majority of online learners at Purdue University Global are aged 25 or older, based on NCES data.
For undergraduate programs, the credit cost is $315-$371, but U.S. military service members pay a reduced rate of $165 per credit.
- Eastern New Mexico University
Eastern New Mexico University, situated in Portales, NM, offers a 4-year education through a combination of online and on-campus courses. With over 30 online programs, you can select from diverse fields such as nursing, business, education, and information systems. Additionally, unique majors like aviation science, communicative disorders, and personal financial planning are available.
Whether you prefer a fully online degree or a hybrid format with on-campus classes, the majority of online courses are asynchronous, allowing flexibility in completing coursework based on your schedule. Residents of New Mexico enjoy a low tuition rate of $175 per credit, while non-residents pay $257 per credit.
- The University of Florida-Online
The University of Florida-Online, located in Gainesville, FL, offers 4-year online degree programs. It’s a budget-friendly choice for working adults, providing over 20 online bachelor’s degrees. The in-state tuition is $112 per credit, while out-of-state students pay $500 per credit. You can major in areas like advertising, business administration, environmental management, or health education. Earn credits for work experience through UF’s credit-by-exam program, which also recognizes military experience.
- Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado State University-Global Campus is situated in Aurora, CO, and offers a four-year online program. As a public institution, it hasn’t increased tuition for over a decade. The cost is $350 per credit, with no additional fees. They provide a tuition guarantee, allowing you to plan your budget without concerns about rising tuition.
CSU Global caters to working adults, offering flexible classes with no fixed schedules or locations. A significant 87% of learners are 25 or older. Students also receive personalized support, including one-on-one tutoring, career coaching, and guidance from student success counselors.
- Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University is a private institution situated in Manchester, NH, offering a variety of 4-year programs both online and on-campus. With 200+ career-focused options like business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, and tech, SNHU incorporates real-world experience into its online courses. They have a $330 per credit tuition rate for undergraduates, no application fee, and the flexibility to transfer up to 90 credits toward a bachelor’s degree. You can receive credit for work experience, industry certifications, and workplace training through credit for prior learning.
- Oregon State University
Oregon State University, situated in Corvallis, Oregon, provides a variety of 46 online bachelor’s programs that can be completed in four years. Whether you prefer online or on-campus learning, the university offers flexibility in scheduling. The majority of programs are fully online, allowing students to study without any in-person commitments or live sessions. Some programs may involve local fieldwork or internships. Additionally, credit can be earned through examination or military experience.
Distance learners at OSU receive support through success coaching, academic advising, and free tutoring services. The university charges $350 per credit for most undergraduate courses, and it also strives to keep course materials affordable.
- Western Governors University
Western Governors University, based in Salt Lake City, UT, provides 4-year online degrees. It caters to working individuals, offering programs in business, healthcare, technology, and more. About 88% of students are 25 or older.
WGU stands out with its flexible approach—no deadlines or fixed exam schedules. This setup allows working adults to advance at their own pace. The university’s competency-based system is attractive to those with practical experience. Additionally, the flat tuition rate lets you take more courses without incurring extra costs.
SUNY, based in Albany, NY, has 64 institutions with SUNY Online providing over 850 online degrees. The programs, covering various fields, are flexible for busy working adults. Residents pay $295 per credit, while non-residents pay $353. Earn credits for work experience to save more on tuition.
- Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University, situated in Hays, Kansas, provides a variety of online programs for a 4-year duration. With both online and on-campus options, this public institution offers more than 200 programs, including majors like general studies, organizational leadership, sociology, and management information systems. The affordable tuition of $243 per credit applies to all online learners, and transfer credits, military experience, and prior learning can contribute to cost savings or academic credit.
- Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University, located in Trenton, NJ, focuses on helping adults finish their degrees in 4 years through online courses. With flexible options, students can balance school and work. 89% of students are 25 or older at this public university.
Select from 100+ study areas or create a personalized degree. Gain credits through exams or independent study.
For NJ residents, the cost is $419 per credit (for under nine credits) or a flat rate of $3,319 per term (for nine or more credits). The discounted full-time rate is a cost-saving option.
Tips on How to Cut College Costs for Working Adults
College can get pricey, but there are ways to make it more affordable while juggling work. Consider choosing a budget-friendly program, making the most of transfer credits, and working during your studies to cover expenses.
- Check Tuition Rates
Save money with online courses. Research and pick an affordable program, regardless of where it’s located. Public colleges in your state often have the cheapest tuition. Don’t forget to include fees, textbooks, and other costs in your calculations.
- Get the Most from Transfer Credits
Completing a bachelor’s degree usually takes 120 credits, but many online colleges accept up to 90 transfer credits. This can speed up your degree completion to around one year. Inquire about transfer credit evaluations at different colleges.
- Gain Credit for Previous Experience
Your work, military service, and volunteer work could earn you college credit. Industry certifications and workplace training might also count. Learn about prior learning credit policies at potential online colleges, some may require tests or portfolio reviews.
- Work While Studying
Balancing a job and studies can help you financially. Your paycheck can contribute to covering college costs, and working prevents employment gaps. Many adults use savings or income to fund their education.
- Apply for Financial Support
Online students, including working adults, can seek financial aid. Accredited institutions offer federal grants, loans, and scholarships. Some colleges provide financial aid specifically to make education more affordable.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Degrees for Working Adults
What are the best online degree programs for working adults?
Flexible programs are attractive to adults who work. For instance, having the freedom to learn at your own pace or asynchronously allows individuals to finish their coursework while managing other commitments. Working adults also find advantages in colleges that offer ample transfer credits and affordable tuition fees.
Are there accelerated degree programs for working adults?
Yes, adults with jobs can join fast-track programs, like online degrees with a quick pace. If you’ve attended college before, look into programs that let you use most of your previous credits. You could complete a bachelor’s degree in just a year.
How much do online colleges cost?
Online college expenses differ between schools. Certain institutions price online bachelor’s programs at less than $200 per credit. For a budget-friendly choice, explore public universities in your state. Usually, local students enjoy the cheapest tuition.
How do working adults pay for college?
Adults who work use savings, earnings, and financial help to pay for college. If you have a job while in school, you can use your salary to handle some costs. Many working adults prefer online programs due to their flexibility. Accredited online colleges allow you to utilize scholarships, grants, and loans to meet expenses.