More adults are returning to school to earn a degree.Nearly 90 percent of high-wage jobs that will be created within the next decade will require some post-secondary education, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. As it becomes more important for individuals to earn a degree, online colleges are growing in popularity.

Online programs have provided new opportunities to stay-at-home moms, military officials and other travelers who otherwise wouldn’t have the time to earn a degree on a traditional campus.Working professionals are also looking to online programs to advance their careers. Individuals with master’s degrees made $558 more weekly in 2009 than those without a college degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

California pushes for more online classes

As the demand for online degree programs continues to flourish, political officials are beginning to request that schools increase the quality of their curriculum. The California state legislative office recently asked the University of California and California State University in a report to increase their number of online classes, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Approximately 600,000 students at California’s community colleges take at least one online course each year. The legislative office hopes to encourage the sharing of courses between schools by instituting more online classes.

“Why should faculty at college X go through all the trouble of designing an online psychology 101 course when faculty at college Y have already designed a [strong] curriculum?” report author Paul Steenhausen told the news source.

Advocates in favor of the California state legislative office’s request believe that the move could come with a number of benefits for distance learners. Online classes would give current students the flexibility they need to work around their course schedule as well.

Adjusting to demand

The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois has already adjusted to accommodate distance learners. The school recently announced plans to introduce an online master degree problem for information technology and human resources professionals, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We see online learning as another way The John Marshall Law School is making graduate law degrees accessible to today’s professionals,” professor Robert Nye told the news source.

When the program begins this spring, students will be able to access their courses and classwork on any computer where internet is available. However, The John Marshall Law School isn’t the only school that plans to offer these type of education resources.

The New England College of Business (NECB) recently announced that it will expand its online degree programs to students living in Colombia. In Latin America, there is a high demand for schools that offer degrees in banking and finance. NECB plans to extend online classes to students in partnership with Politécnico Grancolombiano (PG) of Bogota, Colombia.

“We could not be more excited about this new partnership,” says Emily Knight, who is leading the expansion. “The demand for U.S. education in Latin America continues to grow. This alliance allows us to not only participate, but to also provide an international learning experience for our current US based students.”

Undergraduates will have the opportunity to enroll in online classes at both PG and NECB. Students located in Colombia will be able to download their coursework directly to their computers and upload finished projects for professors to view in the U.S.

Banking jobs are expected to increase by 8 percent over the next eight years, according to the BLS. Information technology jobs are predicted to rise 17 percent, while the number of human resources positions is projected to increase by 22 percent. Programs that allow students to obtain their degrees online, such as those offered by NECB and the John Marshall Law School, are making it easier for individuals to earn a higher education.

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