IT jobs are on the rise.Online colleges have become a go-to option for not only working professionals, but stay-at-home moms and military officials who are looking to earn a degree. Traditional colleges lack many of the options that internet-based schools have to offer. Flexible class schedules enable individuals to study from the comfort of their own homes or wherever they may be stationed.

Annually, Global Academy Online takes the time to recognize online colleges around the world for their achievements in the industry. The website has been ranking 30 schools every year since 1993. This year, a handful of online colleges made it into the top 10 for their genuine dedication to providing optimal degree options for distance learners.

Ellis College of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) was ranked in the top 10 for its efforts to provide education resources via the internet from anywhere around the world. Global Academy Online acknowledged that the school excelled at giving students the schedule flexibility they need to finish their schooling. Working professionals were also permitted to take one course at a time as they work toward earning an online degree.

Online colleges meeting job demands

Computer and information systems jobs are predicted to grow by 17 percent by 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Online IT degree programs, such as the one Ellis College provides, are giving individuals more opportunities to earn a postsecondary education and branch out into this industry.

The University of Maryland's internet-based degree program stood out on the Global Academy Online's top 10 list. Its 800 different courses and 100 distinct online degree programs have attracted a number of working professionals who are looking to finish their schooling in order to advance their careers. The University of Maryland has a variety of undergraduate, graduate and certificate training programs to suit the various needs of its students.

"The University of Maryland's vision has continuously contributed to its growth and sustainability over the years as one of the premier providers of online higher education," said Fred DiUlus, the chief executive officer and publisher of Global Academy Online.

This is the fourth time in eight years that the University of Maryland has made it onto the Global Academy Online top 10.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 90 percent of high-salary jobs created within the next decade will require some postsecondary education. Online schools that offer a number of different degree options, such as the University of Maryland, can expect to see an increase in enrollment.

Other schools that did not make it to the top of Global Academy Online's list are struggling to keep up with the growing demand for online degree programs. The University of Wisconsin (UW) system is just one example of a school working on their own internet-based program, according to the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune.

Interest in online degree programs has increased 10 percent at UW colleges this year. Nearly one-third of students who attend these schools are nontraditional, meaning they take classes part-time while they continue to work to make ends meet. UW colleges plan on developing more online courses and emphasizing their two-year programs to meet the demands for more nontraditional methods of earning an education.

The unemployment rate for individuals without a degree was 3.4 percent higher than those with a bachelor's degree in 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the economy remains sluggish, many individuals are not only looking to return to school to advance their careers, but hold onto the ones they already have. Online colleges now give people the option to work toward a degree without infringing upon their current lifestyle. 

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