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Online Career Colleges

Online career colleges offer students the flexibility of earning a certificate or degree while maintaining their current lifestyle. Career colleges also focus on teaching courses that give students real, hands-on experience. As industries such as health care and technology continue to expand in the U.S., professionals will need to update their education and job skills to stay competitive in the workforce.


Online career colleges differ based on factors such as the types of degrees and programs offered. Bryan College Online provides students with the option of choosing between online associate degree and diploma programs. Students can enroll in accounting, criminal justice, finance, marketing or travel agency operations. In comparison, Westwood College has online associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs ranging from graphic design and business, to medical assisting and automotive technology. U.S. Career Institute grants graduates with certificates in professional areas including legal transcription, office administration and medical coding. However, students can also enroll in one of their 10 associate degree programs.


Courses offered at online career colleges hone in on the skills required for student’s particular field or chosen area of emphasis. Byan College Online Associate Degree of Applied Science in Finance covers topics including entrepreneurial finance; investments, security analysis and portfolio management; money and banking; and fundraising for nonprofits. The Child Day Care Specialist Certificate program at the U.S. Career Institute covers child development, child psychology, health and safety, and state and local regulations for running day care businesses. Some online career colleges also break down courses into core, required and general education.


Admissions requirements for online career colleges vary from program to program. Westwood College states that applicants must possess a high school diploma, GED or equivalent degree prior to applying to an associate or bachelor’s degree program. International applicants who are non-native English speakers must successfully complete an English proficiency exam. Moreover, prospective students must interview with a Westwood College representative, as well as provide transcripts and standardized test scores. In contrast, certificate only programs such as those offered at the U.S. Career Institute request that students complete a standard online application with their personal contact information, age, educational background, intended program and payment method for tuition. Official high school transcripts, test scores and personal essays are not required.

Financial Aid

Students attending online career colleges such as the U.S. Career Institute must pay their own tuition. No financial assistance is offered. However, students enrolling in one of Westwood College’s full-degree programs can apply for federal aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, full-time students can apply for new student, continuing education and matching scholarships. Additional materials, including recommendation letters and a personal essay, must be submitted along with the application. Bryan College Online admissions representatives direct students to federal financial aid resources, and help with applications for Federal Pell Grants, Stafford Loans and state loans and grants.