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5 of the Easiest Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Every year, more and more students are earning an online bachelor’s degree through hybrid programs with some face-to-face learning or four-year degree programs that are 100 percent online.

Adult or nontraditional students benefit from online degree programs in that you’re able to manage a family and/or career while completing a bachelor’s degree. Online courses also benefit traditional students–those of you who are fresh out of high school–because you’re able to balance a part-time job and/or internship while staying on track with your academic timeline.

In addition to keeping your job, online learning can save you money through accelerated programs and generous transfer credit policies. If you enter one of these degree completion programs, often referred to as “fast tracks,” with a military background, work experience and/or credits from prior learning, you could graduate with your bachelor’s degree within just one year (sometimes, even less). On average, though, students graduate with a bachelor’s degree within two years by taking the accelerated program route.

Purdue University Global, for example, offers an accelerated online business administration degree program in which the average bachelor’s graduate saves 44 percent on tuition via transfer credits. Luckily, most of the majors listed below are available in an accelerated format more often than not.

Speaking of the below majors…

When we describe these five career paths as the easiest bachelor’s degrees to earn, take it with a grain of salt. These online programs will be easier only if:

  • You are at least somewhat interested in the subject and its related courses
  • You are already proficient or naturally talented in the field
  • You are interested in the subject’s career options available to recent college grads
  • You are able to handle the workload required by that major
  • Your field of choice offers job opportunities that will offset any student loans you may have
  • You are choosing a college or university that’s degree program is accredited and trustworthy
  • You are self-disciplined with solid time management skills

If we haven’t scared you off, you’ll be glad to know that we chose these five degree options based on the fact that their undergrads have some of the highest average GPA among college students (AKA, they’re more accessible than other bachelor’s degrees).

Plus, online degree programs for these majors come with additional perks, including:

  • Shorter class terms (anywhere from six to 16 weeks long)
  • Global networking opportunities with fellow students logging in from around the world
  • Year-round start dates
  • Competency-based education (CBE): Self-paced courses with efficient and relevant content, including project-based assessments and real-world scenarios to help you take your book smarts to the streets. All of the course content in CBE classes is available up front so that you can move through the course at your own pace (often anywhere from two to 10 weeks). Finally, these courses are asynchronous, meaning you don’t have to log in during a set class time.
  • The option (usually) to choose however many classes you wish to take on at a time

One of our sources for this article, CollegeVine considered additional factors in its research, like the average weekly study hours required to succeed in the major and the 20-year ROI (return on investment). The 20-year ROI is the total of 20 years of median pay for a college grad within each major, minus how much the four-year degree cost. We chose to include additional information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, like projected job growth (from 2018-2028) and median annual salary for each career field.

1. Education

Average GPA: 3.6Weekly Workload: 14Median Annual Salary: $50,790
20-Year ROI: -$9,000Projected Growth: 5%Accelerated Programs: YES

Degree Types: Bachelor of Science (BS) in Education or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Education, as well as specialized programs, like Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, Sciences Education, Special Education, Educational Leadership, etc.

Education, as is the case with all five of these majors, requires its students to truly have a passion for this degree. As you can see above, that negative ROI can be a bit spirit-crushing. For those with a love for teaching and motivation for making a difference, though, the product is worth the payout.

If you want to be an educator, you should aspire to make a difference in the lives of your students, and you’ll need to have a lot of patience and resilience while doing so. Today, being an educator means much more than scratching some chalk across a board and attending parent-teacher conferences. For instance, many teachers and educational administrators in low-income school districts end up paying out of pocket for their students’ school supplies.

Educators who take the time to build real relationships with their students often end up playing roles like mediator, social worker, psychologist, correctional officer and more. If this seems like too much work, your heart may not be in the educational field. But those who aren’t discouraged tend to find that the occupation feeds their soul.

The high average GPA among students in the education major lends to the “ease” of this degree program. The course content is easily digestible, and recent college grads can find decently paying education jobs in a variety of settings.

Earning a bachelor’s in education online will give you a leg up in the rapidly advancing digital education realm by learning both in-person and online education models. Teaching students in a classroom can be similar to teaching online, but the different platforms affect more than you’d think. Being an educator in these times requires an understanding of what it’s like to learn from the other side of the screen. Plus, you can take the opportunity to log hours as an in-person (or online) teaching assistant while enjoying the flexible class times and assignment dates of an online degree program.

One tip for placing yourself ahead of your peers: Get your degree in the subject that you are most interested in teaching, rather than a generic teaching or education degree. This will provide you with a much more in-depth understanding of your subject of choice, consequently making you a better educator on the subject. Not to mention, you can still take the opportunity to minor or double major in education.

Course Examples:

  • Educating Exceptional Students
  • Intro to Instructional Technology
  • Classroom Management
  • Human Growth & Development

Careers in this field you can get with a bachelor’s degree:

  • Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teacher
  • Career and Technical Education Teacher
  • Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher
  • Middle School Teachers
  • High School Teachers
  • Librarians
  • Special Education Teachers

2. Social Work

Average GPA: 3.4Weekly Workload: 12Median Annual Salary: $50,470
20-Year ROI: $139,000Projected Growth: 11%Accelerated Programs: YES

Degree Types: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Social Work or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Social Work

Before you get it in your mind that social work is easy, please understand that this career field requires its employees to:

  • Complete 400 hours* of supervised field experience as an undergraduate (900 as a graduate student)
  • Pass an exam to obtain a license
  • Work full-time, even through evenings, weekdays and holidays
  • Solve problems and help others cope with often traumatic experiences
  • Remain highly resilient, mentally and emotionally speaking (AKA keep your cool when things are definitely not cool)
  • Practice consistent self-care
  • Do all of this for the lowest median annual salary on this list

*The Council for Social Work Education (CSWE), a respected degree program accrediting agency, set this requirement. Programs without accreditation are not worth your time and money.

The easiness of a bachelor’s degree in social work online comes from the comfortable GPA that’s doable with a smaller workload, compared to other majors. From a more technical point of view, the course content within social work degree programs is not difficult to grasp. Plus, as an undergrad, you’re not focusing on the Pandora’s Box that is the academic research realm of social work.

Instead, social workers holding a bachelor’s degree focus on the practice, providing immediate and direct care to clients. Social work is special in that the field experience side of the career is the most difficult but rewarding part. In-the-field social work, especially in large metropolitan areas, can be incredibly taxing. However as a social worker, you get to have face-to-face experiences of making a real difference in your clients’ lives. Plus, the bachelor’s degree program and career in social work will greatly heighten your emotional intelligence.

Another “easy” thing about earning a bachelor’s degree in social work is the high demand for employees across various settings, like schools, hospitals, detention centers and more. Earning your bachelor’s degree online means having the flexibility to intern or volunteer in social work settings in step with your classes. It also means tapping into the field of online social work as a professional. Finally, most online social work degree programs allow you to tailor the coursework to your interests through specializations like criminal justice, addiction studies, healthcare, etc.

Still, because social work is full of devil’s advocates, taking a career in social work seriously means going after a Master of Social Work (MSW).

Course Examples:

  • Diversity and Multiculturalism
  • Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • Crisis Communications
  • Juvenile Delinquency and Justice

Careers in this field you can get with a bachelor’s degree:

  • Social Worker*
  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselor
  • Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist

*From BLS.gov: “Although some social workers only need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.”

3. Business Administration

Average GPA: 3.2Weekly Workload: 13.5Median Annual Salary: $105,660
20-Year ROI: $563,000Projected Growth: 7%Accelerated Programs: YES

Degree Types: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration/Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA)

According to most sources, a bachelor’s in business administration is the most commonly sought-after college degree among all majors. CollegeVine ranked it as their No. 1 easiest college major because the average GPA and ROI are high while the weekly workload is low. However, business degrees are “easier” in that they come with a wide variety of specialization options and provide ample access to well-paying jobs without having to go to grad school. The degree program may require less weekly study time on average, but the courses can still be difficult.

If you’re considering entering the world of business, you want to be a problem-solving people person with a love for numbers and the ability to think fast on your feet. You should also prepare yourself for long working hours and a lot of desk time.

The benefits of earning this degree online include the networking opportunities you’ll have with both students and teachers from around the world. Plus, it’s a major where putting theory to practice is incredibly important, and online education allows you to hold a job and/or an internship as you learn.

With the right amount of transfer credits, you can graduate from some online accelerated business degree programs within a year. For instance, Purdue Global’s online BS in Business Administration is an accelerated, competency-based program that requires 180 credit hours. However, if you have the credits and/or prior work experience, you can transfer in as much as 75 percent of the degree’s total required credits. As a result, the average student in Purdue’s online degree program earns their bachelor’s in business within fewer than two years.

Course Examples:

  • Corporate Finance
  • Marketing Research
  • Operations Management
  • Management of Information Systems

Careers in this field you can get with a bachelor’s degree:

  • Top Executive
  • Administrative Services Manager
  • Preschool and Childcare Center Directors
  • Advertising, Promotions and Marketing Manager (known as one of the “easiest” business specializations to learn online)
  • Social and Community Service Manager
  • Training and Development Manager
  • Medical and Health Services Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Emergency Management Director

4. English

Average GPA: 3.2Weekly Workload: 16Median Annual Salary**: $59,230
20-Year ROI: $240,000Projected Growth: 0-11%*Accelerated Programs: YES
*Projected Growth expressed in a range because of the wide variety of industries an English major may enter
**The Median Annual Salary is specific to “Media and Communications Occupations” from BLS.gov

Degree Types: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Liberal Studies with a Concentration in English

Two of the most common aspects of any online degree program are reading and writing. English majors, however, take that to a whole new level, consuming and creating everything from poetry and song lyrics to nonfiction and technical writing. The main foundations of a bachelor’s degree in English include:

  • reading and researching analytically
  • communicating clearly and effectively
  • and understanding quality writing

If you’re planning to become an English major, you’ll want to be a critical thinker with an open-minded worldview in addition to having a real passion for reading and writing.

In reality, you should really want this degree before going after it because graduates with a bachelor’s degree in English do not often find easily accessible, well-paying jobs. To combat this, we suggest tacking on a second major or marketable minor that falls in line with your career goals. If your plan is to stick with the literary end of this major, expect to put in work outside of school to get your name out there in publications or collect experiences through internships.

Regardless of the path you take, an English degree program will provide you with priceless written and oral communication skills, directly applicable to the workplace within a multitude of industries. Because of its versatility, the English major remains one of the most popular bachelor’s degrees in North America.

Earning your bachelor’s degree in English online is particularly beneficial, seeing as we’re in the digitally-driven Information Age. You’ll learn the content in the same platform you’ll use to show off what you’ve learned.

Course Examples:

  • Critical Reading and Writing About Literature
  • Global Awareness
  • English in its Social Setting
  • Business Writing

Careers in this field you can get with a bachelor’s degree:

  • English Teacher
  • Literary Arts Teacher
  • Writer, Technical Writer, Grant Writer or Author
  • Editor or Content Manager
  • Librarian
  • Paralegal
  • Public Relations Manager or Specialist
  • Human Resources Manager or Specialist
  • Interpreter or Translator (if you know another language)

5. Computer Science

Average GPA: 3.1Weekly Workload: 15Median Annual Salary: $88,240
20-Year ROI: $851,000Projected Growth: 12%Accelerated Programs: YES

Degree Types: Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Computer Science, Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Computer Science, Bachelor of Science (BSc or BS) in Computer Science or similar (but not the same) degrees like Bachelor of Science (BS) in Information Technology

If your baccalaureate plan is to take a deep dive into the world of computing, you might as well do so on the computer. Even the students of on-campus computer science courses work through the semester’s curriculum online and in front of their laptop screens. This, combined with the stunningly large paychecks that even fresh college grads will collect, make computer science programs easier online bachelor’s degrees than others.

Majoring in computer science requires not just a love for math, but a love for calculus. You should also expect to be on a computer for almost every aspect of your occupation. It’s because of this schools describe their online computer science bachelor’s degree programs as being “hands-on.” Additional personality traits that will make this online bachelor’s degree easier include enjoying problem solving in the real world and staying on top of this constantly changing and updating field.

A misconception about computer science majors is that they’re quiet introverts and unhealthy shut-ins, but those with computer science personalities or an eye for IT come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to lock yourself away in a dark room full of screens to enjoy a comfortable and exciting career in tech.

Computer science and IT jobs are lucrative and easy to find across multiple industries, even more so than the other four easy online bachelor’s degrees. Plus, new concentrations to tack onto computer science majors are cropping up regularly. Finally, this field makes it easy for you to move up into management position mid-career without having to go back for a graduate degree.

With the way things are headed, these technological career fields will continue to multiply and unfold in more ways than we can imagine. Essentially, well-paying computer science jobs will reign as the easiest to acquire with a lower-level degree until humanity’s evolution comes to an end.

Course Examples:

  • Numerical Analysis: a Computational Approach
  • Website Development
  • Engineering Statistics
  • IT Consulting Skills

Careers in this field you can get with a bachelor’s degree:

  • Software Developer
  • Computer Programmer
  • Web Developer
  • Computer Network Architect
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Database Administrator
  • Information Security Analyst
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Finally, we wanted to give a shout-out to some of the other easiest online bachelor’s degree programs:

  • Public Health
  • Language
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • Criminal Justice
  • Religion
  • Music
  • and History

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