Exploring the Trends of Top Campus and Top Online Degrees

Trends Top Campus versus Top Online Degrees

Interested in knowing what the most popular degrees are for both campuses and online schools? An examination of career outlooks for each degree type can help explain what’s driving people to pursue new fields when furthering their higher education.

Top Online Degrees vs. Top Campus Degrees

The table below details which degrees students are electing to pursue online over which they are choosing to complete at a campus school. The major delineation between the top online degrees over the campus programs seems to be the physical nature of the training that is required.

Degrees which require more hand-on learning, such as those in automotive technology and massage therapy, appear to be among the top campus degrees, whereas, the top online degrees, such as those in healthcare, business, and education, tend to be more traditionally academic in nature, and therefore, are popular in both the online and classroom environment.


Health-related programs rank in the top 10 for both online and campus degrees, which is no surprise, given that the healthcare industry is expected to experience significant growth through the end of the decade. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, careers that require healthcare training will have the largest growth through 2018, both in terms of percentage and the number of new jobs created. For example:

  • Medical assistants will grow by 34 percent, creating 164,000 new jobs
  • Home health aides will grow by 50 percent, creating 461,000 new jobs
  • Registered nurses will grow by 22 percent, creating 581,500 new jobs
  • Nursing aides will grow by 19 percent, creating 276,000 new jobs


Business-related programs also rank in the top 10 for both on-campus and online degrees, and include programs like management, administration, and accounting. In total, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the business sector will see 11 percent growth through 2018, with particularly large growth in a few key areas:

  • Management analysts will grow 24 percent, creating 178,000 new jobs.
  • Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks will grow by 10 percent, creating 212,000 new jobs
  • Accountants and auditors will grow by 22 percent, creating 279,400 new jobs

Information Technology

Although not included in the table above, programs in computer and information technology are also popular. Computer and mathematical science occupations are projected to grow by almost 765,700 new jobs through the end of the decade, driven largely by the continuing need for businesses to adopt and utilize cutting-edge technologies.


Among the top online degrees are those that are education-related, and this area is expected to see significant growth through the end of the decade. Additionally, careers in elementary and postsecondary education feature in the Occupational Outlook Handbook’s fastest growing occupations.

  • Postsecondary teachers will grow by 15 percent, adding 257,000 new jobs
  • Elementary school teachers will grow by 16 percent, adding 244,000 new jobs
Rank Top Online Degrees % Share of Inquiries Top Campus Degrees % Share of Inquiries
1 Criminal Justice/Police Science 5.83% Medical/Clinical Assistant 4.83%
2 Medical Office Management/Administration 4.82% Health/Medical Assisting Services, Other 3.84%
3 Business Administration, Management and Operations 4.28% Nursing 2.85%
4 Medical Insurance Specialist/Medical Biller 3.99% Criminal Justice/Police Science 2.50%
5 Health/Health Care Administration/Management 3.67% Medical Insurance Specialist/Medical Biller 2.38%
6 Education 1.63% Automobile/Automotive Mechanics Technology/Technician 2.35%
7 Accounting 1.57% Pharmacy Technician/Assistant 2.18%
8 Legal Assistant/Paralegal 1.46% Business Administration, Management and Operations 2.15%
9 Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 1.38% Massage Therapy/Therapeutic Massage 1.91%
10 Human Resources Management and Services 1.25% Industrial and Physical Pharmacy and Cosmetic Sciences (MS, PhD) 1.28%

*Source – Cunet, LLC Internal data