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E-Learning Survey

'Helper Careers' Get Online Degree Interest

A Web site that connects prospective online students to colleges and universities reports that business administration and MBAs top the list for inquiries and that "caring" professions are making a big showing. provides information about 4,100 online degrees and certificates and 6,500 courses from 200 accredited online colleges and universities that are sponsors of the site.

The top 10 online degree programs for January 2010, according to the site, included:

  • Business administration and MBA;
  • Nursing;
  • Psychology;
  • Criminal justice;
  • Health administration;
  • Religion;
  • Early childhood education;
  • Counseling;
  • Accounting; and
  • Human services.

K-12 education, engineering, and management, entries on last year's list, have been bumped off and replaced by religion, counseling, and human services.

The company noted that five of those categories were for helping professions: nursing, psychology, religion, and early childhood education.

"What we're seeing is that during this economic downturn people are looking for careers that help others," said Terrence Thomas, executive vice president of marketing for "Business programs will typically lead the way, but an interesting trend worth noting is that more people are seeking careers that lend a helping hand as shown in the growth of our online religion and nursing programs."

That doesn't surprise career coach Ayn Fox, who gives presentations for the company. "Although there is recognition that the caring fields are growing and will have plenty of opportunity, the reason for choosing these fields goes deeper than that. Listening to hundreds of individuals as I traveled around the country this summer, I heard over and over that people want a career that makes a difference. They want to touch others and help them create a better quality of life. Many people are reevaluating what is important to them, and are choosing careers that have less to do with making large amounts of money--and more to do with working toward a larger purpose."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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