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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA

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Finding the top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA, is no small feat; the state has one of the highest percentages of schools offering online programs. But in a state in which professionals must have a graduate degree or higher to reach the heights of their career goals, it is understandable why so many schools would want to cater to working professionals.

Boston, MA, has a high number of working professionals, most of which have dreams of completing their education. From nursing to education, technology to engineering, these professionals need access to higher education that is flexible enough to fit into their busy schedules. This ranking showcases some of the best schools with online programs to meet the needs of even the most discerning learner.

Methodology

This ranking was made possible by the information curated from the National Center for Education Statistics and its publicly available College Navigator database. Schools were chosen based on a cursory search for top colleges for online degrees in Boston, MA. They were then given points based on numerous factors, which can be found below:

Types of online degree options available (associate, bachelor, master’s, doctorate): 1 point per degree level.

Cost per credit hour:
Under $250 – 4 points
$251 – $350 – 3 points
$351 – $450 – 2 points
Over $451 per credit hour – 1 point

Regional Accreditation:
Present – 1 point

Student to faculty ratio:
10:1 or less – 3 points
11:1 to 15:1 – 2 points
Greater than 15:1 – 1 point

The final 10 schools chosen for this ranking were ranked based on point methodology, including affordability, class size, and regional accreditation. They are listed below in descending order.

10. Northeastern University

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Northeastern University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees online.

Website

Some of the best online bachelor’s programs are offered by Northeastern University. This school offers a whole host of degree programs, ranging from bachelor’s programs to doctorate and specialist programs. Students from a variety of fields, such as law, engineering, education, and the humanities, can find online degrees at this affordable university. Not only does the school offer small class sizes, but students can also find a suite of online support services aimed at ensuring they complete their degree with ease. This school also offer postgraduate certificates for professionals who are unsure if they need a full degree to meet their professional goals. Students are encouraged to speak to an advisor to learn more about accelerated, bridge, and concurrent degree programs that may fit their needs.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $1,577
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

9. Bay State College

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Bay State College offers online associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Website

Bay State College has long been known as one of the top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA. This school offers a variety of degrees at different levels of education to meet their students’ career goals. Students enrolled in this school will be able to complete degrees and certificates in a wide variety of studies, including criminal justice, management, finance, nursing, and business administration. With a class cap size of 15 students, learners will get individualized attention and access to a huge suite of online services, including technical support, advising, and tutoring. Online library and bookstore services are also available, ensuring that no student feels as though they are not a part of the Bay State College experience.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $905
Student to Faculty Ratio: 15:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

8. Lesley University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Lesley University offers of 20 different online degree programs.

Website

One of the best online programs available in Boston, MA, comes from Lesley University. This school has an incredible online portal devoted to adult and working learners. With a variety of delivery options, including fully online and hybrid degrees, students will find everything they need here to complete their degree of choice. There are over 20 different degree programs available at the undergraduate and graduate levels; certificates and endorsements are also available. Students who are not interested in full degrees also have access to online courses; the majority of these courses were created for teachers and educators in a wide variety of subjects. Students will also find that this school does its very best to ensure that the degrees conferred remain affordable; state and federal aid is available for everyone, regardless if they are part-time or full-time students. Along with small class sizes, students will enjoy professor online hours, online tutoring, and a host of other online services designed specifically for their needs.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $430
Student to Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

7. Framingham State University

Framingham, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Framingham State University offers both undergraduate and graduate online degrees.

Website

Framingham State University has long been thought of as one of the top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA. Just a bit of a drive away from Boston, this small public school offers a variety of degrees and certificates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. With the majority of the programs offered entirely online, students will find this a great school, especially if they live out-of-state. Hybrid programs are also available, including programs such as the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Science in Nursing, and teacher programs. Endorsements are also available and provide a pathway for specialized licensure for teachers. Students who are looking for professional development courses will also find programs that will help them keep licensure. The school has an incredible online portal that will be useful to students who are interested in keeping in touch with the Framingham State University family.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $430
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

6. Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Fitchburg State University offers online bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Website

Some of the best online programs available in the state come from Fitchburg State University. This school offers 100 percent online programs in a wide variety of subjects, including nursing, non-licensure education, and human resources management. Students in this school will have the option of bridging their undergraduate and graduate programs together, enabling them to earn concurrent degrees upon approval of the school. The degrees are supported by a dedicated online staff, including online tutoring services, online bookstore, online library services, and a dedicated portal that serves online students and all of their needs.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $423
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

5. Fisher College

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Fisher College offers online orientation and advising to all of their distance education students.

Website

Fisher College holds the distinction of being one of the top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA. This school is known for being a great place for working professionals; with flexible schedules, the ability to choose between online and on-campus programs, and an affordable price tag, this is the place in Boston to earn a degree in everything from business to education. Students are offered online orientation, online advising, the chance to visit campus if they wish, webinars, and a whole suite of online services to ensure they are always connected to the school. Additionally, the school provides career services for professionals who live near campus and wish to work in the Boston, MA, area.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $359
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

4. Middlesex Community College

Bedford, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Middlesex Community College specializes in hybrid and low-residency programs.

Website

Boston, MA, is home to Middlesex Community College, a school that has one of the most diverse and expansive lists of online degrees, programs and certificates available in the state. Both noncredit and degree-seeking students will find what they are looking for when it comes to associate’s degrees and certificates. While some degrees can be earned entirely online, this school specializes in hybrid and low-residency programs. Students can study everything from fashion merchandising to computer forensics to psychology. And, because the school is accredited by the state, the associate’s degree earned at this school can transfer to a four-year college, providing students with an accelerated program that will help them meet their needs faster than an on-campus program.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s
Cost per credit hour: $215
Student to Faculty Ratio: 23:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

3. Bunker Hill Community College

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Bunker Hill Community College offers online associate’s degrees. Bunker Hill Community College offers online associate’s degrees.

Website

Bunker Hill Community College is known to be one of the top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA, for students interested in completing an associate’s degree. This school offers students the chance to complete a humanities degree that can transfer to a four-year college or complete certificates in a wide variety of subjects, including computed tomography, mammography, and magnetic resonance. Students at this school have access to all of the school’s virtual resources, including advising, tutoring, the library, and the bookstore. This is a great start for pre-service professionals who need access to a degree that takes a year to complete and can be done without ever stepping foot on campus.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s
Cost per credit hour: $196
Student to Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 7

2. Endicott College

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Endicott College offers both bridge and dual degree programs.

Website

Students who enroll at Endicott College for an online degree will find all of their needs housed at the Van Loan School. This school is dedicated to adult and working learners, making it a great place for those who are ready to begin or change their career goals. Students will find there are a variety of degree programs available to them, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. These degrees are available mostly or wholly online, ensuring that students are able to complete their degrees in a timeline that makes sense to them. This school offers bridge and dual degree programs, which makes it possible for dedicated professionals to earn degrees that will see them reach the heights of their professional goals.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $370
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 8

1. Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MATop 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA
Boston University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online.v

 

Website

Boston University tops this list of top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA. This should come as no surprise; the school has made it one of their missions to expand and advance their online degrees since the online department was established in 2oo2. Students will find a variety of degrees available at all levels of education conferred by the school, including health communication, management, education, and social work. Postgraduate certificates and endorsements are also available, ensuring that whatever a student needs is provided for online. The school has a full-service online portal that includes technical support, online tutoring, online office hours, advising, an online library, and a bookstore. More is in store for this university; the school has stated they have a plan to bring in more than 10 degrees online in the next five years.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $450
Student to Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
Total Points: 9

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options For an Online Degree?

Online degrees do not hold any barriers for professionals; an online degree will give working students the chance to earn a position in nearly every industry available in the United States. Because online programs are becoming more mainstream, professionals and their potential employers understand that it does not matter how a degree is earned, so long as it is accredited and is held to a high standard.

There are exceptions, of course. Professionals who wish to be licensed medical professionals or lawyers will need to attend on-campus specialist programs. This is because as of right now, online education cannot match the on-campus, hands-on training that is provided for these professionals. It is imperative at this stage that these professionals attend an on-campus program that offers them intensives, labs and other experiential learning opportunities that are not available elsewhere.

For other industries, including business, education, nursing, social work, and others, an online education is not only accepted but encouraged. While field experiences are required for these fields, they take place in a student’s community and will not hinder the educational experience in any way. In this sense, online education makes sense for the majority of working professionals.

Do Online Degrees Come With Limitations for Employment Opportunities?

With the exception of the law and medical professions, no, an online degree does not hold any limitations. The professions spoken of previously require more in-depth and hands-on instruction, which is why they are the exception to the rule. All other professions can be learned through online coursework and field experiences.

Online degrees are becoming mainstream, so much so that most programs will not distinguish whether a degree was earned online or on-campus. This is because the majority of programs are taught by the same faculty and staff that teach the program on-campus; since it is the same coursework, the same exams, there is no need to distinguish the method in which a degree was earned.

Most professionals will find that once they get to the graduate level of education, their employers would prefer online education. Online degrees offer a great deal of flexibility, ensuring that a working professional can continue in their current career while earning a degree that may send them to a higher level in their profession. In fact, many schools offer an employer-endorsement program that enables employers to subsidize a working professional’s education.

Apart from the employer-endorsement program, most employers on the open market will not care where or how a degree was earned. What matters most is that a working professional met, at the very least, the lowest standard for graduation. Other factors include extracurricular activities, endorsements, certifications, and recommendations.

Should All Professionals Choose an Online Degree?

This depends on the professional. As stated above, if a professional wishes to become a licensed medical professional or lawyer, they will need to earn an on-campus degree. As of now, medical doctors and lawyers in the United States are required to complete an on-campus degree in order to be certified; there are exceptions, but they are very rare.

Professionals should also consider how much time they have in their schedule for an online degree. Because these degrees are self-motivated, some professionals who are not as dedicated may find it more difficult to complete a degree in their profession. It is usually easier to complete an on-campus degree because there are participation requirements; if a professional cannot meet those requirements, they tend to drop out faster.

For professionals in the business, nursing, STEM and education fields, an online degree would be beneficial. They would be able to continue in their career and focus on their obligations while completing their degree in their own time. Most professionals in online degrees understand that it may take time for them to complete their requirements and therefore choose a part-time program of study.

It is important to remember that not all professionals will find an online degree useful; some individuals prefer the structure that comes with an on-campus program. It is up to the student to decide whether a program is good for them. Fortunately, most schools offer an “is online study right for me?” test free of charge on their website. It is recommended students take the test before committing to an online degree.

Is it Difficult to Complete an Online Degree?

This depends on the student and how dedicated they are to earning the degree. There are a lot of advantages to earning a degree on-campus that do not necessarily correspond to an online program. These are covered below.

On-campus programs provide a structure in a student’s routine that is not available online. On-campus students have set schedules, set assignment dates, and set exam dates. Online students must be able to complete their assignments during an open period, remember to view lectures, and may have open exam dates that can last a month. While this may seem like a great deal of freedom, these open dates were created to ensure that students have the flexibility to complete assignments and exams prior to the grading sessions, which determines their grade for the full course.

On-campus students have more support; they have access to the campus, tutors, and advisors. Online students are far away from campus and must rely on emails and video calls to ensure that they are on the right track. This responsibility may weigh too heavily on some professionals, which may cause them to quit their degree program early.

In the end, only self-motivated and determined learners will succeed in an online program. Because there are no physical attendance requirements and everything is completed online, online students are responsible for completing their work and their degree on time. Because of this, it is recommended that only the determined choose an online path.

How Important is Accreditation in an Online Degree?

Regional accreditation, which is the type of accreditation that states that a school meets minimal requirements set forth by the United States Department of Health, is critical but not required for online degrees. This is for several reasons, but the most important will be discussed down below.

Regional accreditation is integral for students pursuing a profession that requires state or federal licensure. While specialized accreditation does exist, no school in the United States can earn that accreditation without first holding regional accreditation. Once that has been earned, students will be able to find online programs that lead to licensure in everything from education and nursing to business and psychology.

Regional accreditation is the set standard across the region. In Boston, MA, the accreditation agency is known as the New England Commission of Higher Education or NECHE. This lets professional accrediting agencies know that this school meets, at the very least, the minimal educational standard for the region.

It will be difficult for any online student to find a pathway to licensure in their field without first finding a degree with regional accreditation. There is some truth to the fact that accredited degrees cost more; there is a level of an academic level that must be upheld, regardless of the degree is completed online or on-campus. However, it is worth the extra effort for professionals to find an accredited degree where possible.

There are, of course, programs that are not accredited. This is not to say that the program is not of value, but it may prove difficult for professionals to move into an accredited graduate degree when their undergraduate online degree is not regionally accredited.

Is an Online Degree Worth the Extra Effort for Working Professionals?

Yes, an online degree is more than worth the extra effort for working professionals, particularly if the degree leads to licensure. Many professions in America require licensure to practice; this can be conferred nationally or at the state level. Some professions, such as teaching or nursing, require that a student pass a state licensing exam in order to practice in the state.

Online programs offer working professionals just more than a pathway towards licensure. Students will be able to complete an online degree faster and with lower costs than they would on campus. Additionally, online programs were created to be flexible, working around a professional’s schedule in order to provide them with an education that does not harm their ability to earn money for their lifestyle.

However, for working professionals who are happy with their career, earning an extra degree may not be a requirement or dream. This is understandable, as the extra degree may not change their professional goals. For these professionals, it may be fine to just complete noncredit courses as they see fit, enabling them to learn more about their career without having to commit to a full program.

Finding an online degree that meets all of the criteria for a working professional can be a difficult task, especially as online degrees continue to advance. However, with more encouragement from employers, online degrees are becoming common for working professionals, eliminating the stigma that has been otherwise attributed to seeking a non-campus alternative. This list of the top colleges for an online degree in Boston, MA, will serve as a starting point for Boston-based professionals ready to take on the next step of their educational journey.

GVC Staff
February 2019
This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Boston, MA, for 2019