More than 70% of mothers work. But for many of these moms, the hours are long, the pay is inadequate and the time spent away from kids feels awful. Guilt about being away from home can intensify the stress of a job that doesn’t live up to your expectations or meet your needs. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
The best online degree programs for working adults offer a path to a rewarding career, higher pay, greater work-life balance and a chance to live life on your own terms. Even if you dropped out before or tried to go back but struggled, now could be the right time to finally complete your degree. SNU offers innovative programs uniquely tailored to the needs of adult learners, allowing you to fit a degree into your busy schedule and take steps toward your ideal life.
Best Online Degree Programs for Working Adults
If you’re planning to get a degree, it’s important to choose a program that caters to your talents and ensures a brighter tomorrow. Here are our top five best picks for working moms who want to return to college:
1. Management and Leadership
As every mother knows, raising children is already a full-time management job. You have to coach, inspire, manage schedules, make fiscal projections and hire and fire babysitters, tutors and often a bevy of other people who support your kids.
So why not put that management experience to work in a highly lucrative profession? SNU offers a range of management and leadership programs, from bachelor’s degrees to graduate programs, including:
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Business Administration for Healthcare
- Master of Leadership
- Master of Science in Management
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership
Salaries vary depending on location and role, but they often start above six figures and increase from there. You’ll have plenty of opportunities for growth and can work in various industries and settings. And if you want to start your own business, a degree in management or leadership offers the background you need to excel.
A degree in management or leadership could be a great choice if:
- You like supporting others.
- You’ve enjoyed a management role before.
- You have a career in lower management and want to climb the career ladder.
- You’re interested in starting your own business or working for yourself.
If you want employers to compete over you, healthcare is a clear winner. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13% growth in healthcare careers from 2021-2031 — much faster than average. An aging population, expanding healthcare systems, an increased need for administrators and the aftereffects of the pandemic mean that many positions are available. You don’t have to be interested in clinical work or even knowledgeable about medicine to thrive in a healthcare job. In fact, administrators can make a huge difference and earn a competitive salary.
Some degree programs that can help you make your healthcare career dreams a reality include:
- Bachelor of science in healthcare administration
- Master of business administration in healthcare administration
A job in healthcare could be right for you if:
- You’re a compassionate and zealous advocate.
- You truly care about people and want to improve their lives.
- You think at the systems level and want to improve healthcare.
- You’re a natural leader.
If you’re like many mothers, you may have spent some time educating your kids at home, whether during the frazzled days of the pandemic, in early childhood before your kids started school or in a more formal role as a homeschooler. You probably know that education is demanding but rewarding work.
Imagine using those skills to serve a whole community. You could help struggling learners, advocate for your students and lead other educators to greatness.
Whether you're just starting out or climbing the ladder of educational leadership, SNU can help you achieve great things with our wide range of programs, including:
- An Alternative Certification for a faster path to a career as a teacher.
- A Doctor of Education (Ed.D) in Administration and Leadership for leaders who want to advance in their career.
- An M.A. in Educational Leadership for educators who want to move into administration.
- An M.A. in Administration of Special Education.
- A Special Education Boot Camp for teachers who want a deeper understanding of special needs learners.
- Troops to Teachers courses for soldiers transitioning into an education career.
A role in education could be a great choice if:
- You enjoy shaping young minds.
- You want to be a strong advocate for students who might fall through the cracks.
- You’re patient and compassionate.
- You employ creativity to develop engaging lessons.
4. Instructional design
Your days may already be filled with managing fears, navigating conflicts, planning for the future, setting goals and helping people step outside their comfort zones. These are the normal demands of parenthood. They’re exhausting, but they also require real skill. Being a good parent requires immense emotional intelligence, the ability to resolve conflicts and a knack for identifying the deeper reasons behind challenging behaviors. Leverage your emotional intelligence, executive functioning and experience with project management into a lucrative career in instructional design.
In 2021, median earnings for instructional coordinators were $63,740. This figure is growing rapidly thanks to rapid growth in the field. The pandemic solidified the need for exceptional instructional designers, and many experts in the field now earn well into six figures as consultants or entrepreneurs.
At SNU, you can graduate in as few as 16 months. Moreover, many instructional designers work remotely, or have flexible schedules that accommodate life as a parent.
Consider a career in instructional design if:
- You’re passionate about education, and about building instructional programs that support learners from all walks of life.
- You’re organized, great at managing projects, and committed to seeing your ideas through to completion.
- You’re a great listener who can understand people’s needs then build programs around them.
- You enjoy helping people solve their problems.
- You like managing people, and can work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.
- You are a systematic thinker who loves puzzles and logic.
If you have teens or tweens, you might already have become a cybersecurity expert. The threat of criminals, predators and other bad actors online is very real and extends beyond your family. In fact, most companies have experienced cyberattacks. These crimes can cost millions of dollars, so businesses are willing to spend a lot to prevent them.
A cybersecurity degree offers immense flexibility. Work for yourself or someone else in government, nonprofits, corporations or small businesses. In 2021, information security analysts had median earnings of more than $100,000, and this career is growing much faster than average.
Consider this program if:
- You’re the family tech geek.
- You’re interested in cybersecurity and safety.
- You want to help make the internet a safer place.
- You enjoy the idea of spending most of your day on the computer.
Benefits of Going Back to School as an Adult Learner
Going back to school can be challenging, but the challenge is one of the benefits. Doing difficult things expands your mind and models a growth mindset to your kids. Here are the top reasons to return to school as an adult learner:
Credit for What You Already Know
If you’ve already attended some school, the knowledge of the past doesn’t have to be lost, even if it was a long time ago. You can get transfer credits that may help you graduate more quickly.
Additionally, SNU offers students credit for the knowledge they already have, no matter how they attained that knowledge. Our prior learning assessment offers up to 30 hours of credit–one full year of college classes–for the knowledge you can demonstrate on a test. This may help you graduate much more quickly than you otherwise would have.
Your life is already pretty full. You may even struggle to get time in for self-care or sleep, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of adding something new. Well-designed programs for adult learners offer immense flexibility. Some of the benefits of choosing an online degree program include:
- The power to study on your own time and schedule.
- Self-paced learning.
- No need to travel to or from school.
- Reduced reliance on childcare.
- No more mom guilt! You can integrate school into your daily life rather than upending your life to go to school.
A Myriad of Degree Paths
No matter who you are or where you are in your career, there’s an online degree program for you. Whether you want to start your career with an associate’s degree or break through career ceilings with a doctorate, there's a viable path. SNU offers dozens of programs in education, technology, healthcare and more. Choose a degree program that aligns with your goals and interests.
An Improved Work-Life Balance
Motherhood requires you to carry a massive mental load. Planning for childcare, juggling schedules, remembering everything that needs to be done — all of these tasks can eat into your time and mental space. It might feel like going back to school will increase this load. However, online degree programs offer significant work-life balance by empowering you to integrate your education into your daily life. There’s no need to take time off work or away from your kids, allowing for greater balance and less stress.
A Better Life for Your Family
One of the challenges of motherhood is that money often stands between where you are and where you want to be. More income can help you send your child to a better school, move to a more suitable house, relocate to a different neighborhood, invest in support for a struggling child and spend more on family activities.
An online degree program is an affordable way to gain additional qualifications and skills that can help you earn more money, climb the career ladder and attain a better life for your family.
A Supportive Learning Environment
You might worry that an online degree program doesn’t offer the same camaraderie or support as a traditional education. But at SNU, support is key. We believe that learners learn best in a community, which is why we offer an innovative cohort model. Build a professional network while getting support from like-minded students — many of whom may be mothers themselves.
Working moms can also connect in other ways. SNU instructors engage with learners and are committed to their success. Learners also enjoy unparalleled support from admissions, financial aid office and student services. We offer the best online degree programs for working adults, with coursework tailored to the needs of adult learners.
Tips for Choosing an Online Degree Program
The following tips can ensure you get the most out of an online degree program:
- Select a fully accredited school so your transfer credits go with you.
- Learn as much as you can about the school you choose.
- Select an institution that hires highly qualified instructors.
- Ask for details about graduation and employment rates.
- Select a school that offers flexibility so you can attend school on your schedule.
If you’re considering the best online degree for working adults, we’re here to help. Check out our guide about what to expect and how to get started.