Many things are changing, and education is no exception. There is a multitude of courses available online and it’s never been easier to get a degree than it is today with so many accredited online colleges offering degree programs. There is something to be said for the flexibility of setting your own schedule and still being able to hold down a job while you complete your course work. Of course with so many available school choices, which ones offer the best education? Which is best for which degree? The top online schools here are based on ranking in terms of academics, accreditation, and affordability.

1. Walden University

Walden University has close to 47,000 students in its online education program. Of that number, 80 percent of the students are either self-employed or work full-time. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees online as well as many individual courses and certificate programs.

The University offers more than 75 degree programs and range from social work and business to communication and nursing. And, 97 percent of employers who recruit from this pool report that they would hire another student from the Walden online program.

2. Post University

Post University delivers quality online education, offering degree programs in business administration, management, early childhood education, human services, and criminal justice.

The student ratio is 23 to 1. This smaller online class size is beneficial to students just as it would in an in-person setting since the one-on-one assistance with professors is greater. They use a highly interactive online format. Students receive all the same advantages as their in-person New England college student piers, without the need to commute.

Post University’s online program utilizes a convenient eight-week module offered six times a year. This is ideal for working adults with families. It also means that students can earn a bachelor’s degree in as few as 18 months, and a master’s degree in few as 14.

Post University is recognized for its outstanding educational programs and discounted tuition rates for those in the military and their families.

3. Maryville University

Maryville University created its online Nurse Practitioner Program in response to the great demand for talented RNs in the medical world today. Its goal is to educate students with the necessary skills and confidence to manage patient care needs autonomously.

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Maryville nursing school’s online degree programs focus on healthcare practice, research, policy and the preparation needed for licensure as a nurse practitioner. There are three Nursing Degree Programs offered:

• Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (AGNP)

• Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

• Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The Maryville University Online Nursing Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

4. Independence University

Independence University has provided long distance and online education programs for working adults for more than three decades. It was first established as the California College for Health Sciences, but has since broadened its scope to include more diverse degree programs. They now offer programs in business administration, web design, graphic arts, health information management, and information systems.

Independence University is accredited by the Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Its goal is to go beyond the barriers imposed by traditional con-campus education models to provide educational independence to students at home and abroad.

5. Western Governors University

The Western Governors University is the only private, non-profit online university to simultaneously receive accreditation by four regional accrediting commissions. That assures the students enrolled in the many online degree programs that they are receiving a high-quality education with authentic degree credentials, and that their credits are all transferable to other accredited institutions if necessary.

In 2008 and in 2111, the Western Governors University reinforced its reputation for academic excellence when it received the 21st school bases its degrees on real-world competencies instead of credit hours. What’s more, the tuition is generally half of what other conventional and online universities charge.

Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning. The There are many great institutions offering quality education using the current technology. In fact, there are so many that it has become necessary to find those which offer the best programs at the best price that fits your individual goals and aspirations.