The Good, the Bad and the Moneymakers: The Best and Worst Online Fields of Study

Advertisement is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

BestWorstShare this infographic on your site!

The Good, the Bad and the Moneymakers: The Best and Worst Online Fields of Study

Online schools and degree programs are rapidly rising in popularity. But what programs will give you the biggest bang for your buck? The best represent those with good returns on your investment, while the worst represent those with declining career numbers or low average incomes for graduates.

Why Online?

Increasingly, students are choosing online schools and degree programs. What’s so great about them?

Costs per credit can be as low as $75. That’s 2 to 3 times cheaper than the average, traditional university.


Percentage of online degree recipients who say it was worth the financial investment, according to a Learning House survey.


Recent growth rate in online enrollment

Best Online Programs

Business administration

Median salary: $43,879 (for MBA, $90,000)

Jobs: Business manager, administrator, business analyst


Median salary: $75,650 (MBA)

Jobs: Portfolio manager, financial analyst, investment specialist

Hotel and hospitality management

Median salary: $47,450

Jobs: Event planner, cruise line director, lodging managers

Human resources

Median salary: $54,310 (for master’s, $98,130)

Jobs: Human resource manager, labor relations expert


Median salary: $52,200 (for master’s, $116,010)

Jobs: Marketing specialist, product development

Information systems

Median salary: $48,873 to $113,368

Jobs: Information technology manager, data analyst, IT developer

Computer science and engineering

Median salary: $95,600

Jobs: Software developer, computer programmer

Graphics and multimedia

Median salary: $44,010

Jobs: Graphic designer, advertising specialist

Web development

Median salary: $60,900

Jobs: Web developer

Health administration

Median salary: $69,000

Jobs: Operations manager, nursing home administrator

Paralegal studies

Median salary: $46,730

Jobs: Paralegal

Worst Online Programs

Art & Design

Median salary: $43,000 to $75,660

Jobs: Artist, designer


Median salary: $41,500

Jobs: Family counselor, personal therapist

Dental assistant

Median salary: $34,500

Jobs: Dental assistant

Early childhood education

Median salary: $27,130

Jobs: Kindergarten/preschool teacher, teacher aide

Medical billing and coding

Median salary: $34,160

Jobs: Hospital billing expert/coder

Pharmacy technician

Median salary: $29,320

Jobs: Pharmacy technician


Median salary: $29,730

Jobs: Phlebotomist

Public health

Median salary: $41,830

Jobs: Public policy expert, medical director, health center administrator

Social work

Median salary: $44,200

Jobs: Social worker, family counselor/advocate



Online College Resources

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

October 15, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Earning a law degree opens professional doors. However, law school graduates owe an average of over . Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can help law school students obtain...

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist

October 19, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Preparing for college before the first day sets up new students for success. Beginning college can be overwhelming, even for learners who have taken college-level classes in the past. Knowing...