Popular Online College Programs: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

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By DeVry University

February 21, 2022
6 min read

With online college programs becoming more widely available, it's no surprise that people have questions about them. At DeVry, we've spent more than 20 years providing students with access to high-quality online college programs, and in that time, we've heard just about every question.

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the frequently asked questions about online college degree programs and explore some of the reasons why an online education might be right for you.

Why are Online College Programs Popular Now?

According to a recent Forbes article, online education has grown over the past decade, with a notable spike in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for this growth are many, but a few are easy to pinpoint.

The first and perhaps most notable reason that online college programs are popular now has to do with the proliferation of the internet across the globe. While the internet has been around in some capacity for nearly 40 years, it wasn't until the ‘90s that people gained access to the internet in ways that we might recognize today.

Even then, early internet service provider speeds made using the internet a slow and tedious task. But with faster internet connections becoming the norm in many areas, the ability to access online education has expanded.

Beyond increased internet access, the popularity of online education has also been aided by younger, more digitally adept generations like Millennials and Gen Z. These generations are more likely to recognize the unique value of an online education, such as increased control and flexibility.

Their comfort level with technology combined with the desire to learn in ways that are convenient for them has made online college education a popular choice for younger generations.

What are Some Popular Online College Programs?

How we define “popular” can be very subjective – and somewhat difficult to determine. What might interest one group or individual may not be the best choice for another.

A better way to evaluate potential programs would be to consider fields or topics that are trending in today’s business world or that you have a passion for. Here are a few examples you may be interested in:

  • Cyber Security: Cyber security degree programs teach students about the various skills that are required for pursuing careers in cyber security. Cyber security can be a great choice for people who want to enter this growing career field1 and are interested in protecting data and keeping it secure from cybercriminals.

  • Medical Billing and Coding: Medical billing and coding is an important part of the healthcare system. These professionals help to keep the billing and treatment process running smoothly by accurately tracking patient and treatment information. A medical billing and coding certificate program can teach students the basics of this field, to help them prepare to pursue a career or to earn additional professional credentials.

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA): MBAs are a great option for those who work in the business world. MBA programs teach high-level business concepts and can help students prepare for management roles. Online MBA programs can help both younger generations and seasoned professionals return to school and earn their MBA online, helping them add another credential to their resume.

How Can Choosing a Popular Online College Program Help Me?

When searching for an online college program to enroll in, you don't necessarily need to choose the most popular one. What may help you the most is finding the program that you feel most interested in and that will help you reach your goals, because that is the program that you'll be more likely to dedicate time and effort to. Ultimately, a good program should result in a more fulfilling and enriching education experience for you on an individual level.

Enrolling in an online college program can help you pursue your career goals. Whether you're looking for an undergraduate certificate, a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree, adding another credential to your resume is never a bad idea.

Is the Most Popular Online Program Always the Best Choice?

It depends on your interests. What’s best for someone else may not be the most interesting or lucrative for you. We recommend researching a variety of degree programs in order to find the one that lines up with your goals and aspirations.

What Makes a Degree Program Popular?

The popularity of a program can be evaluated on many factors – and it’s important to note that not all criteria may be considered equal. What makes a program most appealing to you may be less appealing to someone else.

Here are a few questions you might ask when trying to determine which degree programs are the most popular and why:

  • Is the field growing? When a new career field emerges or a field starts to grow, programs in that area may become popular as more students pursue careers in that industry.

  • Does the program have good reviews from students? If a program is well-regarded by students, it can increase the chance that other students may choose that degree program.

  • Does the field cover a variety of interests? Certain fields such as business or liberal arts contain several subjects within them, which can make them a popular choice for people who are interested in developing a broad skillset.

  • Has the program has produced any notable graduates? When someone graduates from a specific degree program and becomes successful enough to attract attention, it can reflect positively on their degree program and may generate interest amongst others.

If you’re looking to gauge overall interest in a career field, consider the potential for job growth. When an industry is growing, it can be a good sign that interest in the industry is also trending.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the fields that are expected to see substantial job growth on a national level2 from 2020-2030:

  • Software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers (409,500 new jobs expected)
  • General and operations managers (226,300 new jobs expected)
  • Market research analysts and marketing specialists (163,600 new jobs expected)
  • Medical and health services managers (139,600 new jobs expected)

Start Working Toward Your Career

Explore our online degree programs to find the one that’s for you. At DeVry, we offer classes 100% online in a variety of fields, from business and accounting to healthcare and more. Whether you’re going back to school or enrolling for the first time, our admissions team is here to answer any questions you have. Classes begin every 8 weeks, so you can start your education on your schedule.

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Related Information

1 Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
2 Growth projected on a national level. Local growth will vary by location. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/most-new-jobs.htm