As technology grows more and more accessible, many things that used to be restricted to brick-and-mortar settings are migrating online. Thousands of people are making their living through the internet, and many are starting to get their education online, too. A wonderful thing about the internet is the advent of adult education classes; now education opportunities are more accessible and flexible than ever.
Benefits of Online Adult Education Classes
If you have been thinking about going back to school but have had a difficult time figuring out how to make it work around your schedule, online adult education classes are for you. Since most of them require no in-person meetings, it’s possible to get a bachelor’s, master’s or even doctoral degree entirely online without ever setting foot in a physical classroom.
Online education particularly benefits those who may have started their undergraduate studies right after graduating from high school, but life happened and they were unable to finish their degrees in a straight four-year time period. An online education can let you take advantage of any credits you may have already accumulated and help you finish your education on your own schedule. Online education is also great for those who may have gone a nontraditional route for their primary schooling and ended up with a GED, either while young or at a later date.
Even better, many programs offer education by virtue of prerecorded lessons so you can make study fit around your schedule. This is perfect for an executive with a busy work schedule or a parent with a busy kid schedule. It also helps people who may work nontraditional shifts, as the video recordings are just as available at 4 a.m. as they are at 4 p.m. They are also great for people who may find themselves traveling often and unable to attend a lecture at a specific location.
Online adult education classes can also help adults feel more comfortable. While the majority of bachelor’s students are between the ages of 18 and 25, in the virtual world nobody is going to stick out due to their age. No matter how old or how young you are, online classes are accessible to you.
Plus, many traditional universities offer online educational opportunities (like Harvard and others), and you can access them from wherever you are. That means you don’t need to be in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to take Harvard classes.
The 10 Best Online Adult Education Classes
If you are considering pursuing online adult education, we have compiled a list of the 10 best options that we’ve found from around the internet. These are listed in no particular order, since what one program offers may suit a certain adult student better than another. We encourage you to do your own research and take control of your education. There are also many worthy options that are not listed here; again, online education is highly personalized and a lot depends on your own needs.
Michigan State University has around 50,000 students, which makes it one of the largest public schools in the country. While the majority of these students attend classes at the campus, it also has plentiful offerings in degrees which are fully online or a hybrid that requires attending occasional classes on campus. The campus itself is located in Lansing, Michigan. The online degrees include nursing, social work and teaching. With a total of 45 online or hybrid degree offerings, Michigan State University is a great place to check out for adult online education. They have many options and some of the degrees are asynchronous, meaning that you can complete coursework at your own pace.
This university is located both in Minneapolis and St. Paul and is the main campus of the University of Minnesota brand. This university offers a variety of degrees that are either entirely online, mostly online or a hybrid. Even better, the majority of students who attend the University of Minnesota online will pay in-state tuition, even if you do not live in Minnesota. The exception is for those who are attending a hybrid class: if you are attending at least one class on the campus, out-of-state tuition is applied if you are not a Minnesota resident.
There are 17 specific online programs that are earmarked by the Workplace Innovation and Opportunity Act, which means that persons enrolled in any of these programs will be eligible for additional financial support. These programs include health management, business management and accounting.
The flagship campus of the University of North Carolina offers a wonderfully robust online presence for your adult education endeavors. The William and Ida Friday Center of Distance Education provides a plethora of options for the online student. Some of the degree programs are self-paced; others are synchronized so you can have a tailored online education experience. Plus, the program offers both degrees and professional certificates so you can customize your level of education according to practical need.
If you are simply looking to enjoy a class and not work toward a certificate or degree, this is also possible through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Courses Online.
You are probably most familiar with this university due to the beloved Crimson Tide football team, but the University of Alabama also offers great opportunities for adults who want to finish their educations via the internet. This program is called Bama by Distance and involves both live-streaming and telecommunicative classroom setups.
What is particularly intriguing about the University of Alabama is that the cost per credit unit for online study is actually very similar to that of a brick-and-mortar traditional student who pays in-state tuition, even if the nontraditional student is out of state. There are a whopping 42 different master’s degrees on offer through Bama by Distance, many of which are in education.
The sixth-largest state university in the country with over 50,000 students, Arizona State University in Tempe should also be given your consideration when looking for excellent distance education. Roughly 30,000 students are enrolled through Arizona State’s online branch, and over 40 percent of them are age 31 or older. The most popular distance master’s degrees are those in education, social work, homeland security and emergency management. The most popular distance bachelor’s degrees are in information technology, electrical engineering, psychology and organizational leadership.
There are an incredible 140 different online educational pathways available from Arizona State University. Even better, the online students are assigned to an enrollment coach so that they can get adequate guidance through the enrollment and online learning processes. If the idea of going it alone is intimidating to you, this is a wonderful option to consider.
Affectionately known as Penn State, this university introduced its online learning branch, Penn State World Campus, all the way back in 1998. It has had plenty of time to hone its offerings to perfection. In fact, it has over 120 different distance learning programs, and there are nearly 30,000 students enrolled in Penn State World Campus. That makes the world campus one of the largest branches of the entire Penn State system.
Most of the online courses through Penn State World Campus are asynchronous, which means that you can go through them at your own pace. They are also held to the same rigorous academic standards as at the brick-and-mortar Penn State campuses. This is a particularly strong choice if you are looking for a master’s degree in engineering or environmental studies. If you’re looking for a bachelor’s degree, the selection is very wide and you’re sure to find something that fits your needs and interests.
The online branch of the University of Utah describes itself as convenient, and it’s easy to see why. A very interesting and unique option for online learners is BlockU, which has a theme of global citizenship and is an unusual component to the bachelor’s degree program. It’s aimed toward those who are just starting their degrees and want their general education requirements to have a global theme, or those who are finishing up and need a few extra classes to complete their studies. It is, of course, a virtual program.
For those who want something more traditional (or as traditional as online education can get), there is a plethora of regular bachelor’s and master’s degree programs to choose from. Undergraduate degrees include education, accounting, hospitality management, social work and many others. Master’s programs include information systems, business management, teaching and more.
The majority of online University of Utah students actually pay less than $9,000 a year in tuition, which makes this a very competitively priced option for getting a degree. Most of the online courses are assessed an in-state tuition, even if you are not a resident of Utah.
The University of South Florida is especially great if you are of an advanced age. The online component of the university, called Innovation Education, is actually targeting those who are 50 and older and who are looking to further their educations. So no matter how old you are (or how young at heart), the University of South Florida is prepared to support you in your educational endeavors.
As an undergraduate student, you can choose from both partially and fully online classes. As a graduate student, you will find 27 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees that are entirely online. These graduate degrees involve medicine, education and public health.
If you are not looking for a degree, the University of South Florida also offers a variety of engaging individual classes that can be enjoyed online.
North Dakota State University is located in Fargo, North Dakota, but thanks to its innovative online offerings you can attend it from anywhere in the world. Today it offers 35 programs that are either fully online or a hybrid. Those who are looking for a bachelor’s degree will find online offerings that include pre-communication, human development, family science and sociology. If you are looking for a master’s degree, you can choose from 11 options that are entirely online (including engineering, construction management and urban systems) and some that are blended (including education and public health).
Even better, North Dakota State University is part of a large consortium called Great Plains IDEA, so students have the ability to take classes at partner institutions and seamlessly transfer credits toward their degree. This is a great way to pick and choose your own educational path without dealing with the hassle of transfer.
Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University offers the Northeastern University Global Network, which is a consortium comprising nearly 150 different educational institutions around the world. The course offerings here are very strong and varied, and are sure to fit the needs of adult online learners. The wide variety of offerings allows you to structure your course composition to serve your needs best, whether that’s with a hybrid or an entirely online program. There are over a dozen online master’s degrees offered through Northeastern University, and some of the hybrid options may be intriguing: a 16-month long blended nursing course can help aspiring RNs get their requirements down quickly and easily.
The Journey Into Online Adult Education Classes
Let us be the first ones to congratulate you on seeking out online adult education. Not having a bachelor’s degree can be a major hindrance in today’s job market. In some respects, the lack of a master’s degree may be an even greater obstacle. We hope you find that online adult education classes can help you get the degree you seek and allow you to maintain your current lifestyle. Many nontraditional students also have bills to pay and children to care for, so an online education is the right choice.
Even for those who simply want to study something new, earning a bachelor’s degree can be rife with meaning whether you’re 24 or 74. The joys of education are unfolding to more and more people in the modern age, in no small part due to fantastic online offerings.