A: When looking for a school to complete an online bachelors degree in communications, several factors should be considered. The quality of the program, its flexibility, how much credit hours cost, accreditation, the format of its delivery, the program’s connections or prestige are a few of the most important.

Also important to consider is what you specifically want to do with the degree. If you’re looking to use your communications degree to begin a career in journalism, film and television, public relations, human resources, government, education, healthcare, advertising, media psychology, research, persuasive writing, lobbying, social media, among the many other applications the degree prepares you for, make sure to look at programs that offer classes, specializations or focus areas that address these goals. Many of the top online bachelors degrees in Communications are geared towards helping graduates begin their careers through targeted classes, internships and demanded content creation.

For example, if you were interested in using your communications degree to help organizational cohesion, you might want to consider the University of Minnesota. UMN offers students asynchronous formatted communication bachelor degrees, and allows students to further customize their education by offering specializations in Communications General Studies, Organizational Communication and Public Relations or a Writing Communications focus. This program also places a premium on helping students create a portfolio of their content to better transition into their careers once they’ve graduated.

If you’re looking for an incredibly affordable, high value option, you might want to consider the online Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications program at the University of North Dakota. This program only costs approximately $339 per credit hour, no matter where you’re located. That affordable rate gets you access to fully accredited, asynchronous formatted communications program with focuses in interpersonal communication, organizational communication, public relations, advertising, print journalism or media studies. UND was ranked 10th out of 50 schools in Super Scholar’s 2016 Smart Choice Best Online Bachelor’s Communication Degrees.

A great program that blends affordability with widely recognized academic excellence is through Arizona State University. Its estimated cost per credit hour is $490. The program is completely online, asynchronous and highly accredited. ASU offers compelling classes like Communication, Conflict and Negotiation, Gender and Communication, Persuasion and Social Influence and Communications in Profession.

Some programs boast connections to employers to better prepare students and curriculum for real world demands, and hopefully help forge relationships for students earning degrees and the people who will look to hire them once they graduate. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications available at the University of Maryland costs approximately $499 per credit hour. It’s entirely online, asynchronous and accredited, and its content was created in conjunction with local employers to reflect theory and practical, comprehensive communication skills. Covered topics include speech communication, mass communication, journalism, public relations, business writing, technical writing and much more.

Make sure that before you choose an online communications program that you carefully consider your needs (economically, logistically, temporally), what you hope to accomplish with the degree, and how the program’s specific classes, professors and connections can help meet these.