Earning Potential of the Most Popular Online Degree Fields and Occupations

There is a direct relationship between salary and completed degree levels. The incomes of associate, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree (professional degrees) graduates rise with their education level. The level of completed academic degrees has the same type of effect as years of experience. One should note that, with technology and innovation forcing high rates of change, the best candidate for a given job may be a recent graduate that has been immersed in the latest technologies and best practices.

Top Fields Average Salary by Degree Level

  1. Computer Information Systems is the field concerned with information technology and information security. Data and electronic systems form the core of many businesses and are an essential part of nearly every business.
  2. Chemical Engineering is the study of industrial and commercial processes for producing chemical compounds. These compounds include fuels, lubricants, fertilizers, and solvents. Chemical engineering seeks efficiency and productivity. Today, it must also contain environmental and social awareness.
  3. Medical Assistance is the field of study that consists of a wide range of support duties and functions in medical treatment settings.
  4. Medical Technology is the study of laboratory and technical processes that support medical treatment. These include laboratory testing that require attention to details, precision, and accuracy. Medical testing is necessary to support sound medical decisions and effective patient care.
  5. Electrical Engineering is the field of study that equips graduates to design, build, research, and plan electrical power systems. The field is broad and covers power generation on large scales for national and regional entities as well as tiny devices that require microscopic scale circuitry.
  6. Construction Management is the field that combines budget, finance, and construction site supervision. Construction management affects the operation and outcome of building and construction projects.
  7. Nursing involves delivering medical and practical care to patients. The study of nursing involves a wide range of specializations including pediatrics, mental health, anesthesia, and oncology.
  8. Physical Therapy is the study of physical treatments that can reduce interference with normal daily functions from the effects of illness, disease, or disability. Physical therapy applies principles of biology, physiology, and other muscle-skeletal studies.
  9. Aeronautics and Aviation Technology is the study of mechanical flight, commercial flight, and experimental flight. The range extends from the immediate airspace to orbital space.
  10. Pharmacology is the study of medical compounds, drugs, and other natural or human-made substances and their effects on the human body and its life systems. Pharmacy is the study or dispensing medications, and it is a subfield of pharmacology.

Most Popular Occupations & Careers

Salary can vary within a field of study depending on the specific occupation class selected. Technology and innovation continuously raise the need for education and training, Employers must ask for higher levels of education, and they pay higher salaries to get the necessary qualifications. Technology and innovation can create a sharp increase in demand for particular occupations and skillsets with the occupation classes. In some cases, the best-qualified workers are recent graduates with current technology backgrounds.

  1. IT Managers supervise an organization’s computer infrastructure and data management systems. They oversee critical functions like retrieval and analysis of information and management of database systems.
  2. Senior Chemical Engineers are supervisors in industrial settings like chemical plants. The senior engineer supervises other engineers. Their duties include managing engineering staff, approving technical reports, and reviewing product design and specifications. They perform administrative duties related to managing staff including staff development, budgets, and training requirements. The senior chemical engineer implements the continuous assessment and improvement of processes and designs.
  3. Medical Assistants work in teams with doctors, nurses, and specialists to deliver patient care. The work can vary with the type of organization. For example, in large hospitals, medical assistants work with a wide range of departments and specialties including mental health, emergency care, and intensive care units.
  4. Medical Technicians perform laboratory tests and other analytic procedures, such as blood tests and specimen examinations. Medical technicians play a key role in efficient and timely medical care because laboratory processes inform broader medical decisions on patient condition and patient care. Accuracy, precision, and timeliness are important to this function.
  5. Electrical engineers design and build electric powered systems. They implement components for electric powered machines and devices that use electricity. Engineers focus on the generation of power to the device or product. These items can include any electric-powered system, device, or machine. Electrical engineers also research, create, and improve products and devices.
  6. Construction Project Managers manage building or other construction projects. Most of the work is administrative including cost estimating and budgeting. Some duties are quality control, scheduling, logistics, and project milestone completions. Project managers review designs and help create bids and proposals. Those with years of experience can get markedly higher pay.
  7. Nurse Anesthetists work in medical settings including surgery to administer anesthetic compounds to patients. The role requires examination of medical histories and patient profiles to design the most effective combination of medical formulations to accomplish the goals of the procedures. The anesthetist must carefully monitor patients to balance tolerance with effective anesthesia, maintaining the proper level of anesthetics to prevent injuries and contribute to a positive patient outcome. Nurse anesthetists help educate and assist students to ensure proper training.
  8. Senior Physical Therapists work with individuals that have injuries, illnesses, or other conditions that interfere with physical movement. Physical therapists provide treatments and pain management. They treat a wide range of patient conditions. The focus can vary each day from mild ankle sprains to paralysis or ischemic strokes. Senior physical therapists design treatment programs to increase function and allow patients to have maximum ability to complete activities of daily living with as little assistance as possible.
  9. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers ensure the safe flight of aircraft from one place to another by physically piloting and landing a variety of aircraft. They must manage equipment, weather systems, GPS, and ensure passenger safety. They work with air traffic systems, electronic communications, and civil aeronautics safety systems.
  10. Pharmacists provide advice and information to patients, customers, and the general public. They can advise and perform vaccinations. Pharmacists often work for pharmacies and drugstores; they also play important roles in hospitals, care facilities, and medical clinics that employ in-house pharmacists to dispense drugs to their patients. Hospital and clinical pharmacists must analyze both in-patient and out-patient medication regimens; they must pay close attention to details, accuracy, and potential drug interactions.

Annual Salary by Occupation

Occupations Entry Level Mid-Career Late Career
IT Manager $63,800 $79,700 $100,400
Chemical Engineer $67,400 $87,500 $123,900
Medical Assistant $30,800 $34,800 $39,500
Medical Technician
Electrical Engineer $66,800 $84,500 $110,500
Project Manager $56,000 $77,700 $90,800
Nurse Anesthetist $139,600 $160,100 $177,600
Sr. Physical Therapist $75,500 $79,700 $89,000
Flight engineer $61,000 $71,200 $90,000
Pharmacist $102,500 $119,800 $121,600

Choosing an Accredited College

Selecting an accredited college is an essential step in finding and completing an online or on-campus degree. At all levels of education, accreditation adds to the value and usefulness of the degree and it guarantees wide acceptance for the credit hours earned in pursuit of a degree. The school can have national, regional, or programmatic accreditation. Regional institutional accreditation and regional programmatic accreditation is the ideal combination for most students at two or four-year schools.

However, you need to be aware that some fields can have special program accreditation from agencies dedicated to high-quality education in that particular field. If your field of study has one accrediting agency that is the gold standard for accreditation in the field, you should do your best to find a program accredited by that agency.

Online vs. On-Campus vs. Hybrid

Students should choose online, on-campus, or hybrid types of attendance based upon their situations. Online education is ideal for students that wish to continue working while pursuing a degree. The advantages of online education include lower costs and flexible class attendance. Students have a wide range of freedom to choose when to access course content.

Online vs. On-Campus vs. Hybrid

Students should choose online, on-campus, or hybrid types of attendance based upon their situations. Online education is ideal for students that wish to continue working while pursuing a degree. The advantages of online education include lower costs and flexible class attendance. Students have a wide range of freedom to choose when to access course content.

Additional Questions

Students should look for post-graduate job placement and career counseling when selecting a school. You first job can boost the early stages of a career. It is not too early to plan for life after the degree program completes. The inquiry should go in depth on this subject. Students should know whether there is a department dedicated to job placement and counseling. They should ask about the size of the program and the types of counseling, coaching, and interview preparation assistance it offers.

A school, college, or university is more than a collection of classrooms and teachers. A school is a community of alumni, supporters, corporate partners, and sponsors. It should be an engine for networking and referrals for graduates.

The best school for any student is the one that best meets his or her needs and preferences. Rankings are only one way of examining the right school. Rankings can make a difference in the way employers and other educational institutions you’re your academic achievement. They can work for or against graduates when seeking jobs to start careers. Schools with high rankings can support interview and positive hiring decisions that may yield higher salaries than lower ranked schools.

No matter how you feel about it, rankings are a factor, and they can affect salary ranges and job offers. When examining school rankings, employers value high graduation rates, low rates of drop-outs, and high indicators on graduates finding high-paying jobs. Employers can use rankings to help predict the level of performance from graduates of a particular school or type of school. However, ranking is not more important than selecting a school that meets your needs and complements your objectives. When all things seem nearly equal, then rankings can be an excellent factor to add to the equation.