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Top 3 Online Colleges & Accredited Online Degree Programs – Common Choices & Why They’re Popular

By Chris Bibey

elearning graduate computerAre you interested in going back to college, but don’t have enough time to sit in an on-campus classroom several days a week? Well, luckily for you, there is a great option: online colleges. Over the past decade, online colleges have become more common than ever before. But with enrollment increasing, as well as the number of institutions offering online courses, you need to do the necessary research before making any decisions. We’ve previously talked about some ways to get an education through free online college courses that don’t offer a degree, but in this post, I want to discuss the 3 most popular paid online colleges where you can earn a degree.

Here’s a comparison of the most popular online schools:

1. University of Phoenix

university of phoenixThis school is number one on the list for a reason. Above all else, the University of Phoenix has been offering online courses since 1989. In short, they paved the way for many other online institutions.

The University of Phoenix has accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

With a classroom size limit of 20 students, you can rest easy knowing that your instructor will have enough time for everybody. In fact, online labs and simulations are common in most classes offered online by the University of Phoenix.

The University of Phoenix also has nearly 200 campuses spread across the United States. While this may not excite you now, you never know when it will make more sense to take a class in person. Moreover, this option allows you to visit the campus for everything from library research to academic advising and financial assistance.

Finally, the school offers a variety of associate and bachelor degree programs including those in the arts and sciences, business and management, criminal justice, education, human services, nursing, psychology, and technology.

2. Capella University

capella universitySince their online launch date in 1997, Capella University has helped tens of thousands of students obtain a degree. Just like the University of Phoenix, Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

At Capella University, 100% of your coursework is completed online, which is one of the main benefits of this school. No matter which course you are taking, you are able to learn online through streaming audio and video, discussion forums, and online labs and simulation. Not only do you receive all your assignments online, but this is where you submit your completed work as well.

The majority of classes offered by Capella University are three months in length. That said, there are some that cram a lot of work into a four or six week period.

Degrees are available in a variety of fields including business management, health care, technology, education, public administration, and public safety.

3. American InterContinental University

american intercontinental universityAmerican InterContinental University Online offers Internet-based learning as well as campuses across the United States. Additionally, there are land-based campuses across the US and in the United Kingdom. They have been offering online degrees since 2001.

The American InterContinental University Online is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges.

The online learning experience offered by American InterContinental University is similar to Capella University in that the learning is completed through online streaming audio and video, discussion forums, and labs.

Degrees are available through many departments within the University including School of Design, School of Business, School of Criminal Justice, School of Education, and School of Information Technology.

How much does it cost to obtain an online degree from one of the three institutions detailed above?

The best way to answer this question is to contact the school for information on the program in which you are interested. The amount that you pay in tuition is based on how many credits you need, as well as the program that you are going to study.

These three online colleges have proven themselves to be among the best in the country. While all three offer significant benefits, there is a good chance that one is better for you than the rest. This information should point you in the right direction if you are interested in taking online courses in the near future.

Do any of you have any experience with online college courses? Do you think these offer the same education as in-person classes?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Chris Bibey
Chris Bibey is a freelance writer who over the years has honed his personal finance experience by writing more than 100 feature articles on the subject. In his spare time, Chris enjoys sports - West Virginia football in particular!

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Comments

  • Kevin Vesga

    Are they reputable colleges? I don’t quite trust University of Phoenix due to its past history.

  • http://change-is-possible.net Heather

    I have taken a few online classes, and unless they’re for a course/topic I don’t care about, I don’t enjoy them.

    I am a big fan of interacting in class, and online classes just don’t have that going for them. Even though the prof for one class did what she could to encourage interaction, “conversations” didn’t go one bit father than required. It was frustrating.

    For the most part, I’m an in-the-classroom kind of gal.

  • http://www.debt-tips.com/blog/item/3-things-you-can-learn-from-a-credit-card-debt-calculator KDB

    For my “day job” I work for a college that runs some online programs. And all 3 of these can be good choices, but there are lots of others. Make sure to shop around like you would when making any big purchase, or going to any school. If they’re right for you, great, if not keep looking. Just remember that these schools are “for profit” which doesn’t mean much to the average consumer except that they run things a little differently than the average college (not better or worse, just different.)

  • http://www.best-phd.com/ thesis writing

    Thanks for all the information’s that you have posted here.That brings my good interest to get back into college study. This seems to be the great place for me to sued for my study and with all the used of the free online college learning.

  • http://www.comparecollegecourses.com/ online college courses

    Hi, you explained the topic very well.

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