Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degrees

Earning a bachelor's degree online can be a great way to start a new career or progress in a current one. Learn more about accredited online programs here.

June 29, 2022 • 6 Min Read

edited by Veronica Freeman

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Accredited Online Bachelor's Degrees

Recent high school graduates and working professionals can earn an accredited online bachelor's degree to access additional job opportunities. Applicants typically need a high school diploma or a GED, and some programs require transferable undergraduate credit. Bachelor's-level coursework comprises general education and major classes. Many students earning a bachelor's degree online use electives to earn a second major or minor.

Career options vary by major. Some graduates use their bachelor's to qualify for a master's or doctoral program. The following article answers questions about accredited online bachelor's degrees. The following sections examine typical tuition costs and classes for accredited bachelor's degrees. Prospective students should explore prospective schools' websites and contact an admissions advisor for detailed information.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Online Degrees

What degrees can you get totally online?

Many top schools offer fully online accredited bachelor's degrees. Some programs feature hybrid curricula, during which learners study online and complete in-person experiences.

How long does it take to get a bachelor's degree online?

Full-time students typically complete an on-campus or online bachelor's program in four years. Associate degree-holders can graduate in 1-2 years. Part-time students may need five or more years to earn their bachelor's degree.

What is an accredited bachelor's degree?

The top colleges and universities hold accreditation from agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Learners should ensure prospective schools hold institutional accreditation.

Why Get a Bachelor's Degree Online?

Many entry-level careers require a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's also qualifies learners to pursue a master's or doctorate in their field. A bachelor's degree can also increase professionals' earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2021, bachelor's degree-holders earned a median weekly salary $525 higher than that of individuals with a high school diploma.

Online learning can benefit recent high school graduates and working professionals. Students can earn a bachelor's degree online without commuting or relocating.

How Much Does an Online Bachelor's Degree Cost?

According to 2022 data from the Education Data Initiative, the average annual cost of an undergraduate education is $35,331. That figure includes tuition, books, and education-related expenses. Public schools often offer lower tuition rates than private institutions. However, the cost of college continues to rise by nearly 7% annually. In addition to tuition and fees, prospective students should consider loss of income.

Learners can save money by earning an associate degree from a community college before transferring to an online bachelor's degree-completion program. Students can also reduce the out-of-pocket expenses by applying for scholarships.

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Additional Online Student Fees

Even accredited online bachelor's degrees with affordable tuition rates may require additional fees. Distance learners often pay per-class or per-semester technology fees. Degree-seekers in hybrid programs should also budget for the cost of commuting to campus or practicum sites.

Some degree-seekers must purchase a new computer to meet their program's technology requirements. Learners in STEM programs may need specialized software. Fortunately, many hardware and software companies offer student discounts. Other typical expenses include digital or physical textbooks and a graduation fee.

How to Make Online College Affordable

Many options exist to help students make online college affordable. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers the American Opportunity Tax Credit to full-time and part-time students at accredited schools. Learners with a criminal record do not qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit but can apply for the Lifetime Learning Credit. As of April 2022, this program reimburses up to $2,000 to eligible students.

Current high school students researching accredited online bachelor's degrees should consider taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes. These rigorous classes prepare learners for college-level studies. Many institutions award college credit to incoming degree-seekers with a score of 3-5 on an AP exam. These credits can reduce the overall cost of earning a bachelor's degree.

Some institutions allow students to test out of introductory classes. Schools may provide study guides with sample questions or an exam content outline. High school students can also research dual-enrollment opportunities from local community colleges.

Prospective students on a budget can also consider out-of-state public institutions. Some schools offer in-state tuition rates to all fully online students.

Current degree-seekers can save money by dropping unnecessary classes as soon as possible. Although policies vary by school, students who drop classes early typically receive a full or majority refund the class's tuition cost. Waiting to drop the class may reduce the tuition reimbursement amount. Learners should contact their school's bursar's office for details.

General Courses in an Online Bachelor's Degree

Graduation requirements vary by school and major. However, accredited online bachelor's degrees typically require general education classes in the humanities and sciences. These classes help students develop transferable communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills. Learners also strengthen their reading and writing abilities.

General education requirements often include the following classes. This sample general education curriculum includes course overviews. However, exact class requirements vary by school. Prospective students should review each school's curriculum outlines. Applicants can contact an enrollment counselor or professors for course requirements.

  • Air and Space

    Non-engineering majors interested in air and space travel take this class to learn about the field's fundamentals. Degree-seekers analyze the history of human-powered flight, aerodynamic principles, and flight control systems. Coursework covers how historical events propelled aircraft and spacecraft development. Learners examine relevant federal regulations and traffic controllers' roles.
  • Computing for All

    Students not majoring in computer science take this class to learn about computational thinking. Learners examine the computer science field's ethical and social responsibilities. Degree-seekers research how computer systems gather data and use algebra to make conclusions. This class may satisfy a math or science general education requirement.
  • Introduction to the Solar System

    Designed for students not majoring in STEM fields, this class explores Earth's relationship to other plans and the sun. Class topics include the solar system's formation. Participants often complete nighttime telescope observations at a school observatory. Online students can use a personal telescope or visit a local observatory.
  • People, Pests, and Plagues

    Students in this anthropology class analyze the positive and negative effects of human beings' interactions with nature. Class topics include various insects' biology, environments, and ecological impact. Learners study beneficial insect species and explore how farmers use insects to increase plant yields. This class is designed for degree-seekers not majoring in viticulture or a similar subject.
  • Writing and Rhetoric

    This first-year class helps students improve their writing skills. Degree-seekers learn to craft strong arguments and write concisely and coherently. To stay in good academic standing, students must typically earn a minimum C- grade on all assignments. Some schools offer multiple writing and rhetoric classes, each with a different focus.

Degree Options for an Online Bachelor's

The top colleges and universities offer accredited online bachelor's degrees in many subjects. Accredited schools provide the same educational experience to online and on-campus students. This ensures online degree-seekers graduate with the in-demand skills that employers and graduate programs require.

This section introduces a few of the most common fully online degrees. Available online majors vary by school. Institutions may change online majors and online electives annually.

  • Accounting

    Aspiring certified public accountants typically earn a bachelor's in accounting. Required classes generally cover taxation, business law for accountants, and management principles. Students master software suites used to track data. Graduates can pursue a master's in accounting to qualify for the certified public accountant credential.
  • Elementary Education

    Elementary education majors take classes in inclusive classrooms, elementary science methods, and elementary disciplinary literacy. Program requirements include in-person student teaching experiences. A bachelor's in elementary education may qualify graduates for an initial teaching license. Online degree-seekers should research state reciprocity agreements.
  • Information Technology

    Many well-paying careers require a bachelor's in information technology. Degree-seekers take classes in IT fundamentals, network security, and data management. Students improve their technical writing and business skills. A capstone project requires degree-seekers to write an in-depth business proposal. Some IT degrees qualify graduates to pursue professional certifications.
  • RN-to-BSN

    Licensed RNs with an associate degree can enroll in a two-year online RN-to-BSN program. Degree-seekers take core classes in information technology in nursing practice, global and population health, and emerging professional practice. Students synthesize their knowledge during a final-semester capstone. Graduates may qualify for a raise or promotion.
  • Software Development

    Students earning an online software development degree master programming languages such as C#. Degree-seekers explore advanced data management, scripting and programming, and web development. A capstone requires learners to create a software application that solves a problem. Many graduates earn the CompTIA A+ certification.

Accredited Online Bachelor's Degrees 2021

  1. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, Florida

    Tuition

    $27335

    A large public research university, UF enrolls over 56,000 students across its online division, Gainesville campus, and offsite programs. Ranked among the nation's top accredited online universities, the school offers over 20 online bachelor's degrees. UF charges online learners a reduced tuition rate, and may waive out-of-state fees for military students.

    Online degree offerings span a multitude of disciplines. Students interested in social sciences can study psychology, sociology, or anthropology. Several programs, including an RN-to-BSN program, cater to those pursuing careers in healthcare. Science-oriented students can pursue majors such as biology, geology, or environmental management.

    Other majors prepare graduates for careers in fields such as business, hospitality, criminology, sports, and emergency services. A variety of minor options allow students to tailor their degrees to their interests and goals.

    University of Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. John Brown University
    Location

    Siloam Springs, Arkansas

    Tuition

    $13440

    An interdenominational Christian university located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, JBU welcomes students of all religious backgrounds. Undergraduate students looking for faith-centered universities online can enroll in one of four online bachelor's programs. Asynchronous course delivery and six annual start dates provide flexibility. Online degree candidates pay a lower tuition rate than on-campus students.

    All four bachelor's programs comprise 120 credits and encompass JBU's 49-credit core curriculum. Required core courses include instruction in biblical studies, theology, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts.

    Students can major in management, liberal arts, organizational leadership, or psychology. They can minor in business, communication, leadership, psychology, or politics and ethics. The school's Graduate School Pathways program allows students to earn their bachelor's and master's degrees concurrently in as little as five years.

    John Brown University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Western Carolina University
    Location

    Cullowhee, North Carolina

    Tuition

    $14842

    Based in Cullowhee, North Carolina, WCU offers over 115 undergraduate majors. Among these majors, the accredited online university provides several bachelor of science (BS) and bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) programs.

    WCU's online degrees train graduates for careers in a variety of industries. Designed for students with associate degrees, the BS program in birth-kindergarten education may fulfill educational requirements for North Carolina teaching licensure. Students planning to apply to law school or pursue a career in business can earn a BSBA in entrepreneurship or a BS or BSBA in business and law. A BS program in emergency medical care admits certified paramedics, and offers pre-med or health management concentrations.

    Additional bachelor's programs develop the necessary skills for positions in construction management, criminal justice, emergency management, and engineering technology.

    Western Carolina University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, Florida

    Tuition

    $25759

    A member of the State University System of Florida, UCF enrolls the state's largest student body. The Orlando-based school's online programs earned it national recognition as one of the best accredited online universities for both civilian and military students. Distance learners enjoy access to academic support resources, electronic journals and databases, and advisors. Other resources include student success coaches and writing tutors.

    Designed for transfer students, UCF's online bachelor's degree offerings include over two dozen majors. Several programs allow students to craft their own interdisciplinary degree paths. UCF offers liberal arts programs in areas including anthropology, English, and history. Learners planning to attend law school can earn a bachelor's degree in legal studies. Other programs train students for careers in criminal justice, healthcare, and hospitality. Online students pay the same tuition regardless of residency.

    University of Central Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. LeTourneau University
    Location

    Longview, Texas

    Tuition

    $19170

    LETU provides a Christian polytechnic education to students online and at its campuses in Longview and Plano, Texas. One of the best and most affordable regional universities in the western United States, the private school features diverse programs in applied sciences and career preparation.

    LETU's online bachelor's programs integrate professional skills with Christian ethics. The school offers business programs in areas including accounting, business management, and healthcare management. Other options include a bachelor of business administration program with multiple concentrations. Prospective teachers can work toward Texas state licensure through an interdisciplinary studies program.

    Other online bachelor's programs include psychology, cybersecurity, criminal justice, and aviation. Bachelor's programs in theology, biblical studies, and ministry reflect the school's religious focus. Online students pay a substantially lower tuition rate than on-campus students. Enrollees may also qualify for scholarships reserved for distance learners.

    LeTourneau University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Clemson University
    Location

    Clemson, South Carolina

    Tuition

    $19776

    Based in its namesake city of Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson is a large public research university. The school's online offerings primarily comprise graduate degrees and certificates. However, students looking for accredited online colleges and universities that offer RN-to-BSN programs can complete a bachelor's degree in nursing at Clemson. Full-time students can complete the program in one year.

    The 125-credit program enhances students' clinical knowledge, cultivates leadership and management skills, and deepens understanding of ethical and professional issues. Entering students must attend a daylong, on-campus orientation. Afterwards, they take classes online. The curriculum covers subjects such as scientific writing and communication, research methods, genetics, pathophysiology, and community and family nursing. The program enrolls associate-trained nurses with a 2.75 minimum GPA. Applicants must be licensed registered nurses in their home state.

    Clemson University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. California State University-Sacramento
    Location

    Sacramento, California

    Tuition

    $16680

    Based in California's capital city, Sacramento State serves one of the most diverse student populations in the western United States. The public university delivers online degrees through Cal State Online, a consortium of accredited online universities in the California State University System.

    Sacramento State offers a variety of bachelor's degree-completion programs tailored to working students. The fully online bachelor of science (BS) program in career and technical studies enrolls applicants with at least three years of full-time work experience. This program helps students advance their careers in business, education, and industry.

    Additional fully online programs include a BS in criminal justice and an accelerated bachelor of arts (BA) in psychology. The school also offers hybrid programs in child development and nursing. The hybrid, interdisciplinary BA in arts and letters caters to students who previously attended Sacramento State but did not complete their degree.

    California State University, Sacramento is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  8. DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, Illinois

    Tuition

    $19032

    As the nation's largest Catholic university, DePaul enrolls over 21,000 students annually. The Chicago-based school offers a variety of online bachelor's programs. Students can enroll in many of DePaul's distance-learning programs at a discounted tuition rate.

    The school's online bachelor's programs prepare graduates for careers in fields such as business, media, technology, and the nonprofit sector. Transfer students can typically complete their degrees online. Some programs include hybrid elements or on-campus, lower-division requirements.

    A bachelor's in professional studies offers concentrations in computing or business administration and allows students to earn credit for prior professional experience. Students interested in business or technology can also major in computer science, decision analytics, information technology, or leadership studies. Additional online majors include communication and media, applied behavioral sciences, and psychology.

    DePaul University if regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Wesleyan College
    Location

    Macon, Georgia

    Tuition

    $27250

    Founded in 1836 and located in Macon, Georgia, Wesleyan is one of the nation's oldest women's colleges. As one of the few accredited online colleges catering specifically to women, the private, Methodist-affiliated liberal arts college enrolls about 700 students annually.

    With year-round admission dates and accelerated eight-week terms, Wesleyan's three fully online bachelor's programs provide flexible options for working students. Transfer students can apply up to 90 credits toward their degree, and may receive credit for professional experience. Distance learners can major in business administration, accounting, or applied psychology.

    Learners enjoy remote access to advising, tutoring, career guidance, and networking opportunities. Wesleyan's affordable per-credit tuition rate for online classes includes all fees and textbooks.

    Wesleyan College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  10. Ohio University-Main Campus
    Location

    Athens, Ohio

    Tuition

    $17436

    Ohio offers 11 bachelor's and degree-completion programs. As one of the state's best accredited online colleges and universities, the Athens-based school delivers career-relevant training to over 7,900 students. Asynchronous course delivery helps distance learners balance their education with work and family schedules. Online students pay lower tuition than on-campus students. Distance learners may also qualify for institutional scholarships, including awards reserved for transfer students.

    Ohio's online bachelor's degree-completion programs admit students with associate degrees or equivalent transfer credit. These programs comprise majors in applied management, criminal justice, and customer service leadership. Other majors include integrated healthcare studies, technical and applied studies, and technical operations management. An RN-to-BSN program enrolls associate-educated nurses. Programs in communication, hospitality management, human services, interior architecture, and psychology do not require applicants to have an associate degree.

    Ohio University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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