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Best Online College Courses To Prepare You For The Next Decade’s Hottest Careers

Today’s economic and workforce dynamics are constantly changing. Tomorrow’s career opportunities will be dominated by professionals who stay at the top of their game.

Many professionals are turning to online courses to keep their skills fresh and earn credentials that will set them apart in a competitive market. According to labor market analytics firm EMSI, online programs are significantly outpacing in-person programs. Distance offered program completions grew 49.3% from 2012 to 2018, while non-distance offered program competitions declined by 4.1%. 

If you want long-term career stability and growth, look to these careers and the online courses that will help you thrive.

8 Fast Growing Careers Over the Next 10 Years (And The Online Courses You Need to Land One)

A degree is a long-term investment—so you want it to prepare you for a career that’s poised for growth. If you take the right online courses, these eight well-paying careers will position you for success over the next decade.

Registered Nurse

With many nurses headed toward retirement and an aging population of Baby Boomers, nursing is one of the most stable careers out there. 

These frontline care professionals assess patient conditions, coordinate patient care, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families. Nurses in specialties like neonatal (infant) care and clinical care, as well as nurse practitioners are in especially high demand.

Software Developers, Applications

Demand for software developers is, and is projected to remain, higher than supply. According to research done by employment search engine Indeed, as of 2019, nine in ten business owners were struggling to find and hire IT professionals. 

  • Median Salary (EMSI): $103,625.60
  • Projected Growth: 23% 
  • Ideal For: Creative and tech-savvy individuals who can balance details with big-picture requirements.
  • Online Courses to Get in the Door:B.S. Computer Science
  • Online Courses to Advance Your Career:M.S. Computer Science

Whether you’re interested in designing games or enterprise software, becoming an applications developer opens the door to endless career possibilities.

General and Operations Managers

From store managers to operations directors, these professionals formulate policies, manage daily operations, and plan the use of materials and human resources. 

These jobs are in-demand in nearly every industry, making it a stable career path with great advancement prospects.


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Postsecondary Teachers

With 135,458 jobs expected to enter the market over the next decade, this is a solid career for individuals who are passionate subject matter experts.

  • Median Salary (EMSI): $69,471.26
  • Projected Growth: 9%
  • Ideal For: Individuals who want to help further their field and teach the next generation of professionals.
  • Online Courses to Get in the Door:Master’s degree in specialty area
  • Online Courses to Advance Your Career:Doctoral degree in specialty area

These professionals teach undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as conduct research, in their specialized field of study. Adjunct faculty may only require a master’s degree, while tenured professorships require a doctoral degree. 

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

Whether you want to focus on consumer research or creative campaign development, the next ten years promise ample opportunities for marketing professionals.

  • Median Salary (EMSI): $63,128.00
  • Projected Growth: 19%
  • Ideal For: Analytical and creative thinkers who want to use data to understand and influence consumer behavior.
  • Online Courses to Get in the Door:B.S. Marketing
  • Online Courses to Advance Your Career:M.S. Marketing & Communication

Marketing is one of the top sales engines for companies. Marketing analysts and specialists are involved in the entire customer acquisition lifecycle—including competitor research, pricing, sales, and methods of marketing and distribution.

Accountants and Auditors

If you want a stable job, accounting will always be at the top of the list. As finance continues to diversify and evolve, these professionals will be even more in demand. 

  • Median Salary (EMSI): $70,491.20
  • Projected Growth: 8%
  • Ideal For: Detail-oriented, analytical individuals with strong math, organization and problem-solving skills.
  • Online Courses to Get in the Door:B.S. Accounting
  • Online Courses to Advance Your Career:M.S. Accounting 

These professionals examine, analyze, and interpret accounting records to prepare financial statements, give advice, or audit and evaluate statements prepared by others. 

Management Analysts

Many times, these professionals work as consultants, giving them extensive flexibility as their career progresses.

For management analysts, it’s all about efficiency. These professionals conduct organizational studies, design workflow processes, and assist management in increasing productivity. 

Financial Managers

With 100,173 new jobs anticipated over the next ten years, this career is on the rise.

  • Median Salary (EMSI): $127,982.40
  • Projected Growth: 15%
  • Ideal For: Analytical-minded individuals who are good at drawing insights from data to make strategic financial decisions.
  • Online Courses to Get in the Door:B.S. Financial Management
  • Online Courses to Advance Your Career:M.S. Business Analytics

These professionals are involved in many aspects of financial activity—like planning investments, coordinating accounting, and managing insurance. Financial managers may be in charge of a department or an entire company.

5 of the Best Online Courses You Can Take (No Matter What Degree You’re Getting)

If you’re looking to pursue a degree, there are online courses that will benefit any professional’s career. If you’re looking to round out your required degree curriculum, look for online courses in these areas to upgrade your skill set.

  • Data and Analytics: In today’s world, business decisions must be data-driven. Learn to gather, interpret and analyze data in order to stay competitive in your field and give your organization an edge. 
  • Computer Applications: Technology is the driving force of change in business. Gain foundational skills in computer science and technology to get a leg up, and look to add software classes relevant to the tools used in your field.
  • Professional Communication: In any career, writing, presentation, and communication skills are at the top of soft skills sought after by employers. To raise through the ranks, you need to be able to communicate in a straightforward, succinct and persuasive way. 
  • Leadership: Effective teamwork is critical to productivity. Gain skills in motivation, management, and delegation as you prepare to advance to senior and leadership levels in your organization. 
  • Decision Making and Ethics: Combining quantitative and qualitative decision making skills with ethical frameworks will help you become an effective and principled leader.

How to Find the Best Online Courses for Working Adults

Many people choose to get their degree online because they are working professionals who want to advance without putting their career on pause. But in order to get the most out of your degree, you need to find a program with high-quality online courses, dedicated support services, and proven student outcomes.

These are six of the top ways to find the best online college courses and degree programs:

  1. Look for institutions that are regionally accredited and individual programs that are also accredited for industry best-practice curriculum.
  2. Find online courses that are delivered flexibly—whether that’s asynchronous, synchronous, or a hybrid approach—and will best fit your learning style.
  3. Explore online courses that promote student-centered learning, rather than just competency-based programs.
  4. Choose an institution that offers ample transfer credit opportunities for previous course credit or professional credentials and experience.
  5. Research dedicated support services for online courses, including access to faculty, advisors, and educational resources like libraries and writing support. 
  6. Focus on institutions that use innovative course design to support real-world outcomes, including developing curriculum in concert with industry advisory boards. 

Top Online Courses for Working Professionals Looking to Advance

There are seemingly endless options for online courses and degrees. If you’re a working professional, you need a program that will set you up for success.

At Franklin University, we specialize in online courses tailored to the needs of working adults. Each course is intricately designed to combine online learning best practices with industry-relevant content to help you gain job-ready skills. We offer online courses at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Explore all of our degrees to see which is the right fit for your career aspirations.

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