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Below is a list of the top, accredited schools from around the nation offering online degree programs. You can search additional schools by using our search widget to the left or further down. To get free information from each college, fill out the “Request Information” form with the links provided. It is recommended to request info from at least 4 schools with similar degrees to better compare your options and other considerations.

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Best Online School is the only unbiased resource designed to help students answer the question, “What is the Best Online School for Me?”. At Best Online School you’ll find information relating to online school rankings, online school accreditation, and other information.

1) Where Can I Find the Best Online Schools?

If looking to begin or continue an education while working, caring for children, or other need for flexible curriculum, an online school may be the choice for you. Many factors should be considered when choosing an online school, such as accreditation, transfer credits, cost, and much more. Below is a list of just some of the best online schools to choose from.

  1. Nova Southeastern University Located in Florida, this online school has loads of degrees from undergraduate to graduate to choose from including options in business administration, computer information systems, education, nursing, and psychology.
  2. Liberty University The world’s largest Christian university, they offer over 140 degree programs both in the home state of Virginia and globally online.
  3. Regent University Another Christian themed campus, you also don’t have to be of faith to take advantage of this online schools but it doesn’t hurt. Fully accredited degrees are available in many areas and they even offer special military incentives.
  4. Upper Iowa University Over 4,400 students take courses at this online school on everything from certificates to doctorate degrees.
  5. LeTourneau University This private, nondenominational Christian university is based in Longview, Texas where it provides undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education. Click on Future Students to see how they can accommodate anyone from the homeschooled to transfers to international students.
  6. Grand Canyon This private online school is located in Arizona and offers degrees in business, education, nursing, liberal arts, and more.
  7. Ashford University Both low costs and advanced pace degrees are standout features of this online school.
  8. Walden University Course demos of actual online classes are available at this college. A graduate school in social and behavioral sciences also distinguishes the school.
  9. Dickinson State University The enrollment services option allows prospective schools to get a close up look at this school. Although current online degrees are only in eight areas, the school still ranks as one of the top by in other ranking systems.
  10. Post University This school was ranked as one of the best schools to get an online bachelor’s degree. Learn more with a visit.

And the above are by no means the only best online schools available. Take an online tour of a school that is far away or visit one in person nearby to get a true feel for the top schools.

2) Where Can I Find Online School Rankings?

The first step to making sure any online school is legitimate is accreditation. To see if the school you are interested in is accredited, visit the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Run by the U.S. Department of Education, it can tell you if a school is accredited, as well as which agency or agencies it is accredited by. You can also use it to find schools in your state.

If looking for a more formal review on colleges, U.S. News & World Report is always a popular choice. They come out with a list of top universities on a yearly basis and also allow specialty categories such as on acceptance rates, most transfer students, best merit aid, etc. There is even a special section for ranking online programs by degree level, certificates, and more.

Another quick way to find the best online school is through the Online Education Database. It is one of the few sites to rank schools that offer online degrees. Colleges are ranked by acceptance rate, financial aid, graduation rate, peer Web citations, retention rate, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio, and years accredited.

Although the above ways to find online school rankings are useful, they should by no means be the deciding factor when choosing a school. Type of program, degree interested in, financial aid available, and many other factors have different importance to different students and are the ultimate deciding factor when choosing an online school.

3) Can I Transfer Online School Credits?

If you have already completed one or more courses during your collegiate studies, you may qualify for transfer credits. These will allow you to bypass many courses, with most of them being core classes. The best part of transfer credits is the ability to significantly cut down on time spent studying and tuition costs.

However, just because courses have been completed does not necessarily mean they will transfer. Courses generally have to be taken at accredited institutions in order to be transferred and the agency doing the accrediting also takes an important part. Schools accredited by different agencies, such as national vs. regional, may not allow transfer between courses. Because transfer credits are so valuable, it is important to find out which will transfer to what school as early as possible by contacting the guidance office.

If transfer credits are allowed, there are also limitations on which classes can transfer and even how much can be transferred. Most schools allow about half of the time it takes to get a degree to be transferred, for example 60 hours transferred to earn a 120 hour bachelor’s degree. Specialty courses in the degree may also be required to be taken entirely or mostly at the online school awarding the degree. Courses may be denied transfer credits on whether or not the student has completed them with a satisfactory grade, which is usually a 3.0 (C).

However, if a student already has a degree from an accredited institution, getting another is far easier. For example, an associate’s degree can cut the time spent earning a bachelor’s in half. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, many programs involving a master’s are given at a quicker pace and can be earned as fast as 18 months.

4) What are the Most Common Degrees in the Best Online Schools?

Degrees from online schools can be given in a number of areas and in a number of degree levels. Below, we have detailed just a few.

  1. Associate of Arts in Accounting (A.A. Acc.) Learn more about the world of accounting and bookkeeping with this two year online degree.
  2. Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting (A.A.S. Med. Ass.) This degree prepares students to work in doctor’s offices in a supportive, non-medical position.
  3. Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice (B.A. C.J.) Enter the world of law enforcement, the legal profession, corrections, and more with the help of this four year degree.
  4. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S. Bus. Adm.) This degree is a popular choice for undergraduate business studies. Several concentrations such as accounting, banking, and marketing are also available.
  5. Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) Because of the prestige and high entry level salaries associated with it, the M.B.A. has become a popular choice for online schools. There are also sub-specialties such as finance, healthcare, accounting, and others.
  6. Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) This is one of the more popular choices for nurses who wish to have a degree at the graduate level.
  7. Master of Science in Accounting (M.S. Acc.) In order to be an official accountant, a license is required and many states ask for a master’s degree in order to take the licensing exam.
  8. Doctor of Management (Ph.D. in Man.) This degree is one of the choices of students at the doctoral level who want to take a leadership role in business.
  9. Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) Anyone looking to become a licensed pharmacist is required to have this degree from an accredited university and pass a licensing exam.
  10. Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Those looking to become teachers at higher levels of education will be interested in this degree. It also offers concentrations such as special education, early childhood, and many others.

The above is just a sampling. There are literally hundreds of online degrees to choose from offered by tons of different schools. A good tip when picking a school or degree, is to pick something you love. Just because a degree is popular today does not mean it will be by the time of graduation.

5) How do I Get a Degree From an Online School?

Online schools operate much like traditional colleges. An application must be obtained – most online schools let you do this over the web – and filled out. Each school has different requirements for applicants, but may ask about information such as a criminal background or a personal essay. It is also important to apply to several online schools to see which will accept you and the terms of enrollment.

Once you have decided on an online school, studying begins. Students can take as a few as one course per semester to several at a time, depending on their preferences. Lectures, readings, assignments, and even labs can be given exclusively through online means. Exams are usually given at approved testing sites and must be attended in person.

Level of degree chosen also affects getting a degree from an online school. If a student has no completed college credits, it generally takes two years to get an associate’s degree, four for a bachelor’s degree, six for a master’s, and eight for a doctorate. Time spent studying can be reduced by utilizing transfer credits, summer semesters, and advanced pace courses.

6) What is the Average Salary for Someone with an Online Degree?

Salary increase from an online degree depends on many factors. For example, someone with no college education is far more likely to earn more over a lifetime after earning an online degree. Other careers are less affected by a degree. For example, a registered nurse who already has a license may be hesitant to go back for an online degree if there is no guarantee or requirement from their employer that their average annual salary will be affected. However, there are employers who are willing to shoulder the cost of an online degree if it helps one of their employees move up.

However, there are many areas of employment where average annual pay is noticeably affected by level of degree. Online Degree Talk has an interesting list of salaries in regards to those who choose to pursue an online degree in psychology. An online associate’s degree in psychology earns a salary in the range of $29,000 to $34,040 for many entry level positions. A bachelor’s degree in the same field has average annual pay at $33,400 to $65,000. Those with an online master’s degree in psychology went on to earn $64,000 to $130,000 per year.

To look at the numbers for how education can pay off, have a look at the graph on Salary.com. It shows an average of $26,000 in average annual pay for those with a high school diploma. Those who earn just a two year degree at the associate level have a yearly median pay of $33,000. Students who earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree have an average annual salary of $43,000 and $53,000, respectively. If able to get a Ph.D. degree, average yearly pay is $81,000.

To get the average annual pay for other specialties, a good place to look is eLearners. They have individualized sections for pay for everyone from nurses to teachers to M.B.A.’s. They also offer many other tools for those looking for an online school.

7) Where Can I Find Online School Scholarships and Grants?

Much like traditional, in person campuses, online schools also come with tuition. Below are just a few of the ways you can help subsidize your education.

  1. FAFSA One of the most standard forms, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a must have for anyone looking to pay for school.
  2. College.gov Run by the U.S. Department of Education, both current and future students can visit to get information on why to go, what to do, and of course, how to pay.
  3. Students.gov Another government sponsored site, they have a special section for online education. You can also find tools to help pay for education, develop a career, and even get study help.
  4. Fast Web Sign up for a free account at this site to be connected to billions of dollars in scholarship opportunities. Everyone from high school students to graduate is encouraged to visit.
  5. FinAid This site prides themselves on being the “smart student guide to financial aid.” With tools to help navigate scholarships, loans, calculators, and other types of aid, they might just be right.
  6. Scholarships.com A free scholarship search for college students is offered here. Simply register for an account to begin.
  7. CollegeNET A weekly scholarship contest is offered at this site. You can also use the site to meet other students searching for scholarships.
  8. Go College This site also helps students navigate financial aid. The difference between student loans, scholarships, and grants are also discussed.
  9. Broke Scholar Millions of dollars in scholarships, grants, and fellowships are featured on this site.
  10. Financial Aid Office This is a must utilize for any college student. The financial aid office of any online school is tasked specifically with helping students pay for school. Speak to them before accepting enrollment to see how much financial aid they can offer. The answer can come in handy if accepted by several schools, all with different financial aid outlooks.

Remember that the main difference between scholarships and grants is that scholarships are awarded on an academic or needs basis. Grants generally come from the federal, state, or local government and are often needs based. Applying for a scholarship or grant should not come with any fees, and anyone who charges a fee for either should be avoided.

If wondering about a student loan, be aware that unlike a scholarship or grant, loans do have to be paid back. A good student loan should have a low interest rate with payments not beginning until graduation, and payments after graduation should be reasonable.

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