A bearded man with a video camera created a film. This represents a film degree that pays well.

College Success

21 of the Highest Paying Online Degrees [2022]

11.14.2022 • 9 min read

Jennifer Rivera

Subject Matter Expert

Learn about online degrees that pay well and the pros and cons of online learning. Included is an updated list of the highest paying associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

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In This Article

  1. Pros and Cons of Online Degrees

  2. 7 of the Highest Paying Online Associate Degrees

  3. 7 of the Highest Paying Online Bachelor’s Degrees

  4. 7 of the Highest Paying Online Master’s Degrees

  5. Online Degree Programs FAQs

Choosing to go to college means taking action to increase the number of high-paying jobs you qualify for. By choosing to educate yourself, you’re also on the path to increasing your average lifetime earning potential, whether you are considering college after high school or going to college in your 30s.

While going to college is a wise move for most people, the way people access their education is changing.

Online degrees have been growing in popularity for years and especially since 2020. As with any degree path, it all depends on the individual.

By exploring the benefits of online education and the degree paths that are out there, you can make the best decision for you.

Pros and Cons of Online Degrees

3 Pros of Online Degrees

1. Flexibility

Since most online courses are asynchronous, you can “go to class” whenever works best for you and your learning style.

If something important comes up, you can adjust your schedule without having to see if it’s ok with the instructor.

2. No Commute

If you live in an area that has long periods of snow and ice, no more scraping your vehicle or hoping it starts in freezing weather. If you live in an area that is congested, no more sitting and waiting, checking the clock constantly to see if you will be late for class.

Being an online learner means saving a substantial amount of money on gas and you don’t have to drive in circles looking for a parking spot.

3. Prepare for the Working World After 2020

More and more organizations are moving partly—if not fully—online. Even if you do physically go to work, many meetings will be online.

Remote working often means setting your own schedule and figuring out when you will work on different tasks on your own.

This skill can be learned by going to an online college. By figuring out what works for you in online learning, you will be better prepared for future work in the virtual world.

3 Cons of Online Degrees

1. The Routine Is All On You

For in-person classes, the instructor sets the daily schedule, and you have to accept it.

Not the case with online learning.

You have to be able to manage your time—there isn’t usually a set class time.

2. Technology

Technology can be a challenge if you live in an area that doesn’t have easy access to high-speed internet or if you share the internet with several people.

For regular online learning, you should have access to reliable technology and good internet access. If your computer breaks, you still have to figure out a way to “go to class.”

3. Lack of In-Person Interaction

We learn important skills by interacting with other people. These skills are helpful in all areas of our lives, especially in the world of work.

By choosing to go to school online, you will have less access to interacting with others face-to-face. This can be a detriment to your future career ambitions.

7 of the Highest Paying Online Associate Degrees

You can earn an associate degree in an average of two years and do it completely online. There are a number of degree options that students can pursue to get them into a new career quickly.

The Golden Gate University Degrees+ program, powered by Outlier, offers students a completely online experience from a top university. Students can earn an associate degree from their own homes for the low cost of $149 per credit—a 66% savings compared to the average US tuition cost.

Each of the following occupations requiring an associate degree have both employment outlook and the return on education information listed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These occupational paths have been selected due to their combined positive employment outlook and high median annual salary.

While most of the following programs are online, some require an in-person internship or professional experience to learn hands-on skills. This is especially true in healthcare career paths, which have many associate degree plans to choose from.

Accounting

With an associate degree in accounting, you can do things like maintain payroll records for companies, create financial reports, and manage tax reimbursements.

In any field from the nonprofit world to the corporate world, you can find employees who have an accounting degree. This gives you tons of career flexibility.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$45,7606%

Paralegal Studies

This degree gets you into a career path as a paralegal. This job helps lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and other legal meetings while making a great entry-level salary.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$56,23014%

Computer Science

An associate degree in computer science or information technology prepares you to be a computer systems support specialist and assist with computer programming. Because you are getting a strong foundation in computers, you can also assist web developers with web design.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$57,9106%
Applied Computing, Associate of Science

Applied Computing, Associate of Science

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Mortuary Science

This degree can prepare you for a career as a funeral home manager. The main responsibilities of this job involve coordinating services, accessing resources, and managing operations.

This job actually focuses on caring for families more than anything else, so it’s important to have good interpersonal skills as well.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$58,9108%

Drafting

An associate degree in drafting will help you learn how to convert designs into technical drawings. Drafters assist engineers and architects working on a variety of projects that can range from designing microchips to skyscrapers.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$60,2903%

Environmental Engineering Technology

This college degree prepares you to implement and test the plans developed by environmental engineers. Depending on the position, some of your work may be outside as well.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$48,3904%

Electrical Engineering Technologist

An associate degree in electrical engineering will prepare you to be an engineering technician or technologist. In these careers, you assist electrical engineers in creating electrical equipment.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$63,6400%

7 of the Highest Paying Online Bachelor’s Degrees

A bachelor’s degree is the typical degree people think of when they consider going to college. Usually, these degrees take about four years to complete and can be done either fully or partially online depending on preference and the program.

Bachelor’s degrees are more of a well-rounded degree, where students take a variety of coursework that can apply to many jobs. Students pick a major, but do not have to do so right away.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the employment outlook and return on education for each of the occupations requiring a bachelor’s degree.

Cybersecurity

This degree leads you to a fast-growing career protecting the computer network and information systems for a wide variety of businesses.

An information security analyst basically has to be a detective—testing for weaknesses in a system and working with database administrators to ward off threats.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$102,60035%

Film and Media Studies

A college degree in this area can open the door to a career path as a film and video editor. With this job, you can work the cameras or do digital editing on the film itself.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$60,36012%

Public Relations

This degree can set you up for a career in advertising, public relations, or even event planning. You can tap into the creative side of marketing, looking at how to share messages about a company with the public.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$62,8008%

Languages

A degree in a different language can be beneficial once you’ve reached a high level of fluency. In our global world, the need for translators and interpreters is rapidly growing, and there are also opportunities in business and finance.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$49,11020%

Finance

This bachelor’s degree program can lead you into a career in banking, financial management, or financial advising, as well as several other business functions. A finance degree will have you crunching the numbers, but it will also teach you to understand markets and personal finance.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$131,71017%

Graphic Design

This creative degree allows you to create everything from corporate logos to special effects and animation. The creation of social media content has become more and more in demand.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$50,7103%

Software Development

Becoming a software developer means having a career designing computer applications and programs. Software developers can work in many job settings and are in great demand. In fact, software development is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. right now with a high median salary.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$109,02025%

7 of the Highest Paying Online Master’s Degrees

Master’s degrees are specific to a certain professional career. You can enroll in the degree programs after the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Often, a master’s degree is the highest level of training in a specific field outside of earning a doctoral degree. There are doctorate programs that also combine the coursework for a graduate-level degree, allowing students to enroll in one program after getting their bachelor’s degree.

Each field of study below shows the employment outlook and the return on education, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These rankings are not in any certain order, but rather a collection of diverse career options to consider.

Mathematics or Statistics

Numbers help people and companies solve problems. With this graduate degree, you can work with an organization to not only crunch the numbers but also figure out what those numbers mean for the company.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$96,28031%

Business Administration

A degree in business administration will help you not just pay attention to business, but also finance, the markets, and the global economy. This degree can give you a birds-eye view of the finance world as a marketing manager, or even a chief executive.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$99,2907%
Business Administration, Associate of Arts

Business Administration, Associate of Arts

Explore degree

Counseling

A degree in counseling can prepare you for a position as a counselor at a school or at a practice. It can also prepare you for careers such as college advisors. This degree is all about learning how people talk about themselves and others, then being able to help them work through a variety of personal and/or career situations.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$49,88014%

Educational Leadership

Educational leadership isn’t just about being a principal. There are also many job opportunities working in higher education, such as heading up areas like Student Affairs or being a Dean of Students on a college campus.

This degree helps you understand how educational systems work and how to manage a team with the ultimate goal of helping students.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$96,9107%

Psychology

Master’s degree programs in psychology can prepare you for a surprising number of career options—human resources management, project management, and market research among them.

This degree will help you understand how people understand themselves, others, and their environments. It will also help you understand how people might interact in a variety of circumstances. You can also learn to do market research, looking at how people view products and services.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$81,0406%

Supply Chain Management

This fast-growing area is in high demand. With this management degree, you will learn to orchestrate how production happens on a variety of levels. Either in a factory or perhaps in the process of getting parts from one place to where they are needed.

As a supply chain manager, you become the conductor, guiding the factory or the shipping so that it runs smoothly.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$77,0306%

Engineering

No matter the specialization (software engineering, environmental engineering, or structural engineering), a master's in engineering can set you up to manage teams of engineers to bring projects to life or to improve projects and processes.

With this degree, you will refine your engineering skills and learn management skills to better lead your team to success.

Median Salary (U.S.)Expected Job Growth 2021-31
$109,02025%

Online Degree Programs FAQs

Some of these degrees might sound fabulous to you! But you may be hesitant about the fact that the degree is online. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about getting an online education.

Is an online degree a real degree?

Absolutely. You will want to make sure the degree is accredited—meaning it meets specific educational standards—and has good reviews.

You also want to make sure the coursework is challenging for you. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask professionals in the field about their experience to see if this program is a good fit for you!

Are online degrees respected?

More than ever. The pandemic has helped shift employers' perceptions of online schools, and many employers are now moving to remote working. So in that sense, an online degree is preparation for the working world in a way face-to-face degrees may not be.

Will I still get the same support from student services that I would in a face-to-face degree?

Yes! Any accredited institution is going to have a robust platform of services such as tutoring, library services, and even counseling that online students can access.

If your institution doesn’t have this, dig a little deeper to make sure it’s a credible degree and it would be a good fit for you.

Are online degrees more expensive?

It depends on what you are comparing it to. Colleges charge online fees for their classes, but these are often less expensive than the fees paid by in-person students. Make sure you know what those are ahead of time.

It’s important to remember that by choosing to go to college online, you will not have to drive, find college housing, purchase a meal plan, or pay any other added costs that come with campus life. This means you can create a college budget that helps you manage your expenses.

Degrees+ provides students the opportunity to take college coursework completely online for less than average college costs. The cost per credit is 68% less than the national average for 4-year state schools and 20% less than the national community college average.

Is online college worth it?

If you are considering going back to school, it is definitely worth your time to look into online college programs. Online college can offer you the chance to have a flexible schedule, manage a college job schedule while in school, and take the time you need to finish your degree.

Most online programs also qualify for financial aid, including federal grants and scholarships that can save you money on tuition.

Keep in mind that many online college programs are just as respected as in-person programs and give you the training you need to start a new career and make more money.

Degrees+: Discover Online College Unlike Anything You’ve Experienced

Outlier (winner of TIME Best Inventions 2020) and Golden Gate University (#1 school for working professionals) have redesigned the experience of earning a college degree to minimize cost and maximize outcomes. Explore a revolutionary way to earn your college degree:

Business Administration, Associate of Arts

Business Administration, Associate of Arts

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Applied Computing, Associate of Science

Applied Computing, Associate of Science

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Liberal Studies, Associate of Arts

Liberal Studies, Associate of Arts

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