Promote beneficial change by learning how the U.S. government is operated and how to influence others and create social change. 

When mingling with some of the most influential people in Washington D.C., you’ll find out that many of these men and women have a bachelor’s in political science because this degree sets the foundation needed for navigating the U.S. government system. With one of our top 30 online bachelor’s in political science, you will learn how to operate and exert influence over the government effectively. To some, this may not be appealing, while others will find their calling in political science. 

What Will You Learn With This Degree?

Political science is the study of systems of government and the activities and behaviors that occur during the operation of a government. With this degree, you will explore politics dating back to ancient Greece all the way to modern times, all the while uncovering common themes and learning what it takes to run a government. While the political science field is considered a social science, you’ll be expected to develop analytical skills, which are necessary when analyzing past and current situations. 

You can expect to take classes similar to the ones listed below while pursuing a bachelor’s in political science. 

  • American Political System
  • Introduction to Political Science
  • Foreign Policy of the United States 
  • History of Political Thought 

What Can I Do With a Political Science Degree? 

For individuals with a political science degree, there are many career opportunities available to choose between. Many with a political science background work in government administration positions, which vary in title and job responsibilities. Other jobs popular among these graduates include budget analysts and public relations specialists. 

Budget analysts, most of which have bachelor’s degrees, earn an average annual salary of $76,220. Public relations specialists are responsible for the public image of individuals and organizations and earn around $60,000 per year on average. 

What Are the Best Online Bachelor’s in Political Science Degrees?

Online College Plan uses data from the National Center for Education Statistics to determine the best programs. We factor in how robust the school’s online education is, how well that school delivers on its promises, how affordable the program is, and how selective the school is as a whole. For more information, see our methodology page.

  1. MERIT: 100

    Penn State University offers a variety of political science programs, including a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Bachelor of Science in political science degree through their World Campus online platform. U.S. News & World Report has ranked this university’s online bachelor’s degrees in the top ten in the nation. 

    There are many draws for students into this university’s online bachelor’s in political science, including that classes are taught by some of the same faculty that teach their on-ground classes. Penn State has an online chapter of the National Political Science Honor Society, which may be an opportunity to gain access to grants, scholarships, and networking opportunities. The degree is 123 credit hours in duration, which will take most full-time students around four years to complete.

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  2. MERIT: 91.27

    The bachelor’s in political science degree through FIU is offered by Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs and consists of 120 credit hours of coursework. Throughout this major, which requires students to complete at least 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework, students will learn the four general fields of political science, including American politics, comparative politics, international politics, and political theory. 

    The program is designed to give students a broad understanding of the political science field with the ability to hone their focus on subjects of special interest with elective courses. Students are also able to participate in a study abroad semester in which they can take classes at affiliated universities in Southern France and the Netherlands.

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  3. MERIT: 89.44

    The online Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCF prepares students upon graduation to make a positive impact in the world by developing policies and laws. UCF is listed among the 2020 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. 

    From the start, you’ll work with UCF’s academic advisors to tailor the online B.A. in political science to your future goals. Internships are available to some students in which you may be able to gain real-world political experience in local, state, or national government offices. The program is 120 credit hours in duration, with some of the lowest tuition for in-state students of just under $180 per credit hour.

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  4. MERIT: 88.71

    Liberty University’s goal with their Bachelor of Science in political science is to give their students a broad understanding of political science through a biblical lens. They aim to develop Christ-centered political leaders, scholars, and policymakers. The school allows up to 75% of the total 120 credit hours of this program to be transferred from another university. 

    LU breaks down the coursework into manageable chunks for their online students with their classes offered in an eight-week format. It only takes students in the B.S. in political science program an average of 3.5 years to complete the program, which saves you around half a year from what most bachelor’s degrees take to complete. The university requires that its students take a Resilient Nations course, which teaches the importance of resiliency as it applies to the U.S.

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  5. MERIT: 82.66

    Texas Tech University offers a rigorous Bachelor of Arts in political science degree taught by instructors with experience navigating the political arena. The head of this Department of Political Science has a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University and was involved in the 2016 presidential election. 

    This degree is designed for a wide variety of individuals, from those wishing to be journalists, to teachers, politicians, and more. The school continues to further develop this program with the recent addition of three new courses, which include Constitutional Law–Powers, International Organizations, and a course on International Negotiation. Students are also able to minor by taking 18 credit hours of coursework in the political sciences.

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  6. MERIT: 80.74

    The top-notch education offered by the University of Iowa is now available anywhere in the world, and their Bachelor of Arts in political science degree can get you in the career you’ve always wanted. The degree consists of 120 credit hours of study, of which 15 credit hours are political science foundation courses geared at giving students a broad understanding of the topic. 

    Once the foundational political science courses are completed, students are required to take 21 credit hours of advanced political science coursework to earn their degree. Students are also able to earn one of two certificates in either political risk analysis or social science analytics. The school has a departmental honors program that accepts students who maintain at least a 3.5 GPA in the political science major, among other requirements.

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  7. MERIT: 79.66

    You may want to consider the online Bachelor of Science in political science from ASU, ranked one of the nation’s most innovative schools by U.S. News & World Report. The program aims to combine political theories to solve real-world problems. Classes are held in 7.5-week blocks requiring a total of 40 classes or 120 credit hours to earn this degree. 

    You will be immersed in political science courses, starting your second term of classes at ASU. Students are expected to earn at least a C in each political science course to earn credits toward the completion of the degree. There are a few courses required to complete the political science major, which include Empirical Political Inquiry and Political Statistics, among other foundation and elective courses.

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  8. MERIT: 79.01

    Indiana University offers a Bachelor of Science in political science that is both rigorous and affordable. The degree can be completed entirely online without the need for in-person residencies. The political science core curriculum consists of five courses, which include American Politics, Comparative Politics/International Relations, Political Theory, Analyzing Politics, and a senior seminar, which, when taken together, add up to 15 credit hours of coursework. 

    The entire degree is composed of 120 credit hours, and students are allowed to transfer up to 64 credit hours from a community college or up to 90 credit hours from a four-year university. To complete the degree, students must take 21 credit hours in advanced political science coursework. This university tuition is extremely reasonable with in-state tuition costing students $229.84 per credit hour and out-of-state tuition costing $330.99 per credit hour.

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  9. MERIT: 78.25

    College Choice has named Oregon State University the number one online liberal arts college in the nation in 2018, so you can expect a quality political science education if you decide to attend this university. The aim of the B.A. or B.S. in political science degree is to educate students on how to understand politics, write clearly, and speak persuasively about political issues affecting the United States. 

    Classes are held in a quarter system, and this degree is composed of 180 credit hours of coursework, which is significantly more than many other programs reviewed. Since classes are held in a quarter system, students can start their studies with this university four times during the year. The school allows you the ability to transfer the majority of the credits required for this degree, but at least 45 of the last 75 credit hours must be completed at OSU.

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  10. MERIT: 78.16

    Kennesaw State University offers a B.S. in political science that will prepare students for a career in law or to pursue graduate education. This degree requires students to take 15 credit hours in the political science core curriculum that spans five subfields including American Government and Politics, Global Studies, Political Theory, Public Law and Administration, and Research Methods. Students are required to choose one class in four of the five subfields. 

    Students in the B.S. in political science program at KSU are encouraged to complete a supervised internship, which can help students understand how politics works in everyday life and may lead to future employment. The school also offers a variety of certificate programs related to the political science field, which require students to take 18 credit hours of coursework.

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  11. MERIT: 74.69

    The Bachelor of Science in political science provides a well-rounded education in both politics and the general education that is required for success in almost every field. The school allows its students to customize their degree by focusing on particular fields of political science. 

    The fields in which students can focus their political science education include American national political institutions and processes, international relations, Comparative Politics, Political Theory, American State and Local Government, and Public Administration and Policy. 

    This degree is 120 credit hours in duration, with each credit hour costing students between $417 and $434 per credit. CMU allows students in this major to engage in up to six credit hours of independent study in which students independently explore a problem within political science. Students can earn one of three certificates while earning their degree.

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  12. MERIT: 74.55

    Southern New Hampshire University takes a unique approach to teach their students in their B.A. in political science degree by analyzing real-time political events. This is a practical approach to politics that helps students translate political theories into solutions to real situations. The program is 120 credit hours long, which can be completed in four years of study. 

    The school allows students to transfer from another university and utilize up to 90 credit hours of previously taken coursework toward their 120 credit hour program. This is one of the few schools on this list that allows students to earn credit toward their degrees through specific work and life experiences. The school doesn’t indicate how many credits you can earn through work or life experiences, but any credits earned means more money in your pocket.

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  13. MERIT: 74.26

    The Bachelor of Arts in political science from FHSU gives the students the ability to concentrate their studies in either pre-law or public administration. Students looking to get into a law school will find this school’s pre-law concentration exactly what they need to prepare for the LSAT, the exam law schools use to determine if applicants are a good match for their program. This program provides the foundation necessary for success during your first year of law school. 

    The public administration concentration provides a solid understanding of policy analysis, and managing budgets and personnel, among other public administration duties. Both of these programs are composed of 120 credit hours, 34 of which are in the political science field. To graduate with the B.A. in political science, you’ll be required to take at least 12 credit hours in the concentration you choose.

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  14. MERIT: 72.28

    The Bachelor of Arts from IUPUI focuses on the power aspect of political science. The curriculum studies presidents, prime ministers, and other powerful people and then ties that into political theories to explain the actions and political behaviors of these individuals in particular situations. The degree is 120 credit hours in duration, and students must maintain at least a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to graduate successfully from the program. 

    For those looking to earn a second bachelor’s degree, the school offers an accelerated second-degree option for those that have already completed a bachelor’s degree from another university. Students who wish to take advantage of this opportunity are only required to take the major’s core classes to earn their degrees.

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  15. MERIT: 71.71

    The exact same information that is taught to the University of Illinois online students of political science is taught to their brick-and-mortar students. The online Bachelor of Arts in political science program has strict admission requirements, including a minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA in previous coursework, and students must live more than 50 miles from their Springfield Illinois campus. 

    UIS strongly encourages political science undergraduate students to participate in one of their internship programs. The program promotes its student’s academic and career prospects by encouraging students to present their work in public forums and conferences. Students who have completed at least 15 credit hours of political sciences and have maintained at least a 3.5 GPA can apply for the honors program in political sciences.

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  16. MERIT: 69.98

    The University of Nebraska – Omaha’s political science program gives you the choice of what you want to focus on with five concentrations in its B.A. and B.S. in political science degree. Choose a concentration in government affairs & civic engagement; foreign & national security affairs; law & the courts; political theory; or race, ethnicity & gender politics. The political science program through UNO was created to teach cross-disciplinary thinking because complex political problems are seldom isolated to one discipline. 

    Students considering a political science major are required to take at least 36 credit hours in political sciences, and students in this major are also required to take 16 hours of a foreign language. The entire degree consists of 120 credit hours of coursework typically completed in four years. Students in the B.S. degree option can take up to 11 hours of electives.

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  17. MERIT: 69.76

    National University allows students to zip through classes with their four-week class format. After graduating from National University, you will be joining an alumni network of more than 170,000 strong, which could come in handy with a political sciences degree. The program requires 180 credit hours of coursework, 45 of which must be completed at National University to be awarded one of their degrees. 

    National University also offers its students a transition program from a B.A. in political science to a Master of Public Administration in which students nearing the end of their bachelor’s degree are able to take two MPA electives that count toward both degrees. This program may save you a few bucks if you are planning to pursue a master’s degree after your undergraduate education. To be eligible for this program, students must be accepted into the MPA program within six months of graduating with their B.A. degree.

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  18. MERIT: 69.47

    The University of Memphis offers a comprehensive online Bachelor of Arts in political science degree complete with the ability to engage in mock trials, perform research, and study abroad. The program is 120 to 122 credit hours in duration, with 36 hours accounting for the political science major. Students are limited in the number of credit hours that can be earned through internships to nine hours. 

    Political ccience majors utilizing the UM Online platform are required to earn at least 15 credit hours in residence, so you may need to plan accordingly to earn your degree through this institution. Students admitted into this school’s honors program can complete a senior thesis and it will be noted during the graduation ceremony and through their transcripts that they graduated with honors.

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  19. MERIT: 69.27

    Military veterans may find Eastern Kentucky University of particular interest as this school has been named in the top five schools in the nation for veterans by Military Times. Courses are offered in an accelerated eight-week format that allows students enough time to learn the information without becoming bored with the subject. You’ll take 36 credit hours of core political science curriculum throughout the 120 credit hour B.A. in political science program. 

    This university may be the ideal choice for students who know they will be attending a graduate school in the future as the program has a strong foundation of political science that transverses a variety of subjects such as business, public administration, and state and federal government. The school accepts up to 90 credit hours of previously earned coursework for those wanting to transfer from another university.

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  20. MERIT: 68.90

    The bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater may be the ideal degree for those looking to pursue law school after graduating. The program allows students to concentrate in legal studies as well as offering a major in public policy and administration jointly with the school’s department of management. 

    Students can pursue undergraduate political science research through this university in the form of a supervised in-depth research project on a political science topic that the student finds interesting. There are multiple scholarship and award opportunities offered to undergraduates majoring in political science, and online students are also able to take advantage of these opportunities. Students majoring in political science are also able to participate in local, state, and federal internships.

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  21. MERIT: 68.88

    The online Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts – Lowell has been ranked as the best in the nation by Affordable Colleges. The Bachelor of Liberal Arts allows students to concentrate their studies on political science. Students pursuing a B.L.A are required to choose concentration areas, and besides the political science concentration, these may include art history, economics, English, gender studies, history, legal studies, philosophy, or psychology. 

    The B.L.A degree consists of 120 to 122 credit hours of coursework, with 18 credit hours required for each concentration area. The six courses in each concentration area are designed to give learners a well rounded and broad knowledge base of the subject. The school’s online rate per credit hour is $380, which is $40 more than the school’s face-to-face tuition rate. This is a little strange as you would think that offering online education would be more cost-effective than offering classes at a physical location.

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  22. MERIT: 68.18

    The Bachelor of Arts in social science from Southeast Missouri State University was created to truly prepare students for their future careers. This is why more than 90% of the students in this program participate in internships, student teaching, or other career-enhancing personal experiences. And don’t worry, you don’t have to figure out your path after graduation because there are career counselors ready to help guide you toward your future. 

    This degree allows students to select one of its six available concentrations, one of which is in political science. To complete your degree with the political science concentration, you’ll take 21 credit hours of political science courses. The school offers classes in a traditional semester format, along with shorter duration classes. This means that you can work with your academic advisor to schedule classes that can ultimately shave off the time it takes to complete your degree.

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  23. MERIT: 68.03

    Don’t confuse our number 19 ranked best online bachelor’s in political science offered by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with this degree offered by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The degree offered through this college is the Bachelor of Science in political science, composed of 120 credit hours of coursework. To graduate with this degree, students are required to maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA throughout the program. 

    During the program, students will be exposed to research and statistic courses necessary to complete some of the upper-division political science courses that are necessary for this degree’s completion. On average, students are able to complete this degree in as little as four years. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1, which means that if you encounter difficult political science concepts, you’ll get the individualized attention you need to master the subject.

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  24. MERIT: 67.07

    The B.A. in political science from Rutgers University is a program suited for those who already have an associates degree or who are in their junior year of college. This degree will give you the necessary foundation for work in law, government, business, and more. Students can transfer up to 60 credit hours of previous coursework into this program. 

    To be a competitive applicant for admission into this program, students are encouraged to have taken the following courses along with an intro to psychology and sociology course and a liberal arts math class: 

    • Intro to Political Science
    • State, County, & Local Government
    • International Relations
    • Comparative Politics

    It should be noted that the Introduction to Political Science course is the only mandatory requirement for admission into the B.A. in political science program.

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  25. MERIT: 66.73

    The B.A. or B.S. in political science degree from the University of North Alabama was created specifically for non-traditional students with busy lives and family commitments. The program allows you to have control over your schedule and can be completed in as little as four years of study. Students also have the ability to minor in political science if their interests are split between two or more subjects. 

    The political science major consists of 36 credit hours with a total of six classes including: 

    • United States Government and Politics
    • Public Policy and Administration
    • Political Science Scope and Research
    • Comparative Politics
    • World Politics
    • Political Theory

    The courses are taught by highly skilled faculty with graduate degrees in political science, and the small class sizes allow for individualized attention when you need it.

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  26. MERIT: 66.35

    At the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, you’ll be trained by nationally recognized political science teaching faculty while working toward your B.A. in political science. This university also has master’s and Ph.D.’s available for those that want to pursue higher education and become a political scientist. Schools often give preference to students who have attended their undergraduate programs when looking at graduate student candidates. 

    This program is also ideal for students wishing to pursue a career as a lawyer after graduating with their bachelor’s, as the school hosts mock trials, moot courts, and mediation programs to give students a taste of what’s to come after law school. Internships are available to students locally and in Washington, D.C., for those that want to be closer to the political action.

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  27. MERIT: 66.09

    The Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of West Georgia is the school’s most popular degree program and for good reason. Students gain a broad, but deep understanding of political science by completing ten courses, including:

    • American Government
    • Comparative Politics
    • International Relations
    • Political Theory

    Students in this B.S. degree select between concentrations in public or nonprofit organizations, state and local government, international organizations, or foreign service. The university also offers a pre-professional track for pre-law students, which is a defined course of study to prepare students for their upcoming law journey. This 120 credit hour program can be completed entirely online from orientation to the senior seminar capstone course required for graduation.

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  28. MERIT: 66.00

    The Bachelor of Arts in political science from Wichita State University is focused on applying the knowledge that is taught in their program. This is why every student that graduates with a B.A. in political science from this school has to perform an applied learning or research project to graduate. This major consists of 33 credit hours of political science coursework. Eighteen credit hours are predetermined required courses while the remaining 15 are electives in which you take classes in political science that spark your interest. 

    This degree is perfect for those individuals who want to double major in their bachelor’s degree; in fact, the program was designed specifically for this purpose. WSU has an extensive network of alumni around the world that may help you land that first job after graduating with your political science degree.

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  29. MERIT: 65.23

    The political science major from Troy University gives students the versatility to choose an area of political science that they find genuinely interesting. The major consists of 36 credit hours, but students also can minor in the subject. The political science minor is 18 credit hours with two required courses: 

    • Foundations of Political Science 
    • Introduction to Political Theory 

    The school offers an international relations specialization for those that wish to be ambassadors to foreign countries someday. The international relations minor requires students to take nine credit hours of mandatory course work and another nine credit hours of electives. The mandatory coursework for this minor includes: 

    • International Relations
    • International Political Economy
    • Comparative Government
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  30. MERIT: 64.75

    The Bachelor of Arts in political science and government from Ashford University systematically breaks down each aspect of government and how politics shapes current events. Classes are held in five-week modules, so those with short attention spans may find this school is exactly what they need to succeed. You’ll also only take one course at a time so you can fully dedicate your focus and brainpower to learning the topic thoroughly. 

    The degree is 120 credits, and the school allows up to 90 credits to be transferred into the program from another university. To complete the political science major, students are required to take the courses listed below: 

    • Introduction to Political Science
    • American National Government
    • Introduction to International Relations
    • The American Constitution
    • Environmental Policies
    • Comparative Politics
    • Introduction to Political Analysis
    • Methodology in Political Science
    • Political Science Capstone
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Is an Online Degree Right for Me? 

The answer to this question depends primarily on the type of learner you are and the other obligations in your life. Online learning can be more difficult than on-ground learning because of the self-discipline and time management skills required to complete the coursework. With online classes, there will not be anyone around to help hold you responsible for attending class and knowing the material taught. It may be a good idea to have an accountability partner, either a spouse or a friend that checks in with you to make sure you’re keeping on top of your work, at least for the first semester or two. 

With the above caveat mentioned, online degrees make education accessible for those with families, full-time jobs, and other commitments that make attending on-ground classes impossible. While some people initially thought that online education was sub-par to the curriculum taught on the main campuses, that bias has changed with more and more people recognizing the quality and unique talents of online college graduates. Today most schools don’t even specify where or how the degree was earned, which has contributed to decreasing the bias of employers. 

While online degree programs help eliminate some of the barriers to getting a college degree, don’t forget that often the same curriculum that is taught at the physical location is delivered to the school’s online students. This means that you should expect to dedicate the same amount or more time to learning the material. You should ask yourself when throughout a normal day you have time to dedicate to your coursework. Ensure you have enough time to spend learning before enrolling in an online degree. 

Who Is Not a Good Candidate for an Online Degree? 

Some people may be more suited to online learning than others, but with preparation and dedication, most students will be able to do well in an online degree program. Individuals prone to procrastination may find online courses more difficult than on-ground courses as it’s entirely up to them to complete the assignments. Those prone to procrastination should set a time each day, preferably the same time to dedicate solely to completing online coursework and have someone that ensures that they are getting their work completed on time. 

Individuals who have just graduated high school and have minimal responsibilities may do better with a traditional classroom-based college degree. There are many advantages to pursuing your degree at an on-ground college, especially for the young. College is an opportunity to make friends, explore interests and passions, and learn to cooperate with others individually and in groups. These skills and activities are essential during the formative years of life, such as right after high school. This is not to say that some recent high school graduates wouldn’t find their ideal learning environment in the online classroom. 

When Is the Perfect Time to Enroll in an Online Degree Program? 

The short answer to this question is that there may never be a perfect time in your life to enroll in an online degree program. Often we have to make pursuing an online education a priority, sacrificing and prioritizing some things over others. That being said, if your employer offers tuition reimbursement, this is an opportunity to get some or all of your education paid for and be left with little to no student loan debt. This is an opportunity many find irresistible. 

If you go through your day and are unable to find time each day you could dedicate to your schoolwork, this is a good sign that right now may not be the best time to get your online degree. Additionally, if an online degree will not lead to a salary increase or a career you enjoy more than the one you are currently working, then you may be wasting both your time and money with online classes. Enrolling in an online degree program is a big decision that you may want to discuss with your significant other as their support can make the educational journey much easier. 

If you’re interested in pursuing higher education, then you should check out Top 35 Fastest Online College Programs and 15 Top Accredited Online Medical Billing and Coding Schools!