Should You Get an Online Degree? 5 Valuable Online College Programs

Though people choose to take online courses for a variety of reasons, the convenience and cost-savings these programs offer are second to none. Online degree programs may be particularly attractive for those who want to earn another degree but who are already working a job or running a business.

The choice of which college to attend can be a huge decision, so it should not be taken lightly. Create a list of 5-10 traits you want in your school. Accreditation, course offerings, price and proximity to a physical campus might be a few of the criteria you value most. Prospective students should look into "matchmaking" services that pair you with a school that fits your criteria. The College Board, a non-profit institution whose mission is to connect students with universities, offers this service for free through their site.

Below are a few of the best programs for some of the most valuable degrees:

Marketing – UmassOnline. When, a firm dedicated to finding the best education for the best values ranked the best online universities, UMassOnline received the top spot. The school's marketing degree is a Bachelor's of Business Administration from the Amherst Isenberg School of Business, which has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students who complete the program will receive the same degree as those who attend UMass, Amherst, a tier-one institution as ranked by US News and World Report.

Risk Management – Kaplan University. The Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Kaplan allows students to customize their experience by choosing a specific career focus. The Risk Management program focus would include emphasis in communications, economics and management. Kaplan also offers very flexible discounted plans for active duty members of the military. Active duty service members can get up to 55 percent off each credit hour.

Computer Software Engineering – University of Phoenix. The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) from the University of Phoenix offers the same coursework as most other BSIT programs at on campus schools. The program focuses on software application development from the ground up and provides a practice-based experience for those looking to break into software engineering. University of Phoenix is one of the biggest online universities in the world and if you graduate from one of its programs, you will be a fellow alumnus of former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.

Accounting – Virginia College. Virginia College offers a Bachelor's of Business Administration and allows students to learn a variety of business operation skills in a small classroom. The small class size allows students to take advantage of more one-on-one time with professors. This is one of Virginia College's greatest assets. The school also allows you to apply previously earned credit toward Business degrees. The job placement rate for students within the program sits at an impressive 89 percent.

Network Systems and Data Communication Analyst – DeVry University.  As the world moves more and more toward digitalization, this field is expected to grow extremely rapidly. The U.S. economy is expected to add 200,000 jobs in this field by 2018 and, as of 2012, the average annual income in this field is $81,000. DeVry University offers a highly customizable degree that allows you to choose from a multitude of course options, ensuring that you will stay interested in what you're studying. The course focuses on applications within the business world, such as information security and solving networking problems.

The Online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program from Our Lady Lake University Online is a great option for people that want to get managerial positions in their field of work.