The most popular college credit courses online today are career-oriented, and tend to be taken by adults. Of course, it’s certainly possible to study French, political science, creative writing, medieval history or just about anything else that interests you in an online course – and sometimes for free. But because most e-learners at the moment are older than students in traditional brick and mortar schools, the college courses they’re taking tend to focus on real skills for real-world career advancement.
Associates degrees are generally obtained through two-years of full time study at an accredited school, and will take longer for most online students who take a reduced course load to fit their work and personal schedules. An associates degree usually teaches very job-specific skills, and is designed to help the student get hired in a given specialty immediately after graduation. Most AA (Associate of Arts) or AS (Associate of Science) degrees require about 60 credits. Some states, however, mandate more credits than that as a minimum. If you are planning to get a license in nursing or some other profession in a specific state, it’s a good idea to make sure that you take enough college credit courses online to satisfy that state’s requirements.
An undergraduate bachelor’s degree of 120 – 128 credits will generally be a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Bachelor’s degrees are designed to give students a broader background in critical thinking, communication and leadership, and are seen as a good ticket to management positions in many cases. In nursing, for example, an associates degree would give a student many of the clinical skills to be an RN, while a bachelors degree would prepare him or her to manage a team of other nurses or do some other senior administrative job. Online schools are becoming increasingly sophisticated in what they offer in their college credit courses online, which has made it possible for them to teach many artistic, medical, science and other types of subjects that once required a traditional classroom.