If you dream of becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. military, you probably already know you will need a bachelor’s degree. It may lead you to wonder if the military accepts online degrees. An online degree can be an excellent educational choice for students looking for an efficient, practical way to study at the college level.
Fortunately, you should have no trouble entering the military with a degree earned online. In this article, we’ll look at the best ways to choose a school for your online education and discuss possible subject choices that may help you find a satisfying and rewarding military career.
How to Find an Acceptable Online Degree Program
Online degrees have become increasingly accepted by hiring managers in all professional areas. The prevalence of online education during the pandemic meant that increasing numbers of students were graduating from online programs with degrees that were as good or better than those earned in on-campus programs.
In 2018, Northeastern University’s “Educational Credentials Come of Age” survey made it clear that online degrees were acceptable to hiring managers. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed had personally hired someone with an online degree or credential, and 61 percent stated that online credentials were no different from in-person degrees or were of higher quality.
Those numbers have likely increased In the five years since that report was published. Most job postings attract applicants with online degrees, and many times, these are the individuals with the best qualifications for the job. In recent years, employers, including the military, have become less concerned with where you earned your degree, as long as it is from an accredited institution.
How do you know if a school is accredited? It’s easy. Often, a school will post information about its accreditation on its website. Check under the “about us” tab. If the information is not readily available, any admissions recruiter can tell you if the institution is accredited and the name of the organization that accredited it.
That information is important because, to be valid, an accrediting organization needs to be approved by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or CHEA. Once you know who accredited your chosen school, check out CHEA’s Directory of Recognized Accrediting Organizations to be sure your school’s accrediting organization is on the list.
Accreditation is a process that happens regularly at most schools, often every five to ten years. It is an extensive process that may take several years and is designed to ensure that the school’s programs, faculty, and support services are of the highest quality. Students at an accredited school can be sure they are receiving an education that will be accepted and approved by hiring managers wherever they look for work, whether in the military or the civilian world.
5 Best Degrees for the Military
You don’t need a degree to join the military, but you do need one to become an officer. A degree will open the door to a broad range of jobs allowing you to advance in your career and find satisfying employment, both within the military and, if you wish, in the civilian world after you retire.
These five degrees are some of the best options for you if you are interested in joining the armed forces. All of them can lead to a satisfying military career and competitive salary.
There are many military careers you will be able to choose from with an online bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology. Your bachelor’s degree means you can become a military intelligence officer, veterans counselor, or behavioral health specialist. With a master’s degree, you could land a job as a substance abuse counselor, psychological operations specialist, or clinical therapist. Your degree allows you to begin your service in the U.S. Army at the rank of second lieutenant once you have completed officer training and other certifications.
2. Political science
An online degree in political science, either at the bachelor’s or master’s level, is highly useful in military settings. Political scientists study political systems, and their knowledge can help shape military theory and policies. Someone training in political science could serve in the military as a public affairs specialist, intelligence analyst, or leadership role in government affairs. An undergraduate degree in political science can also prepare you for further study in law or work as a professor in a higher education setting at a military academy.
3. Management information systems
Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems work in business, government, and the military as project managers, network managers, and information security professionals. They may play a role in fighting cybercrime and cyber-terrorism in the military world. Military jobs are available for those interested in working as logistics management specialists, program analysts, and intelligence analysts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is also a broad and growing need for cybersecurity professionals in the civilian world, with the demand for graduates growing by 16 percent in the next decade.
Nursing has traditionally been a good point of entry into the military for many individuals. Nurses are always needed, both in areas of conflict as well as at military installations across the globe. Nursing is also a rapidly growing and changing field in the civilian world, with a projected increase in bachelor’s-level nurses of an astounding 40 percent over the next decade. Nurses can earn a bachelor’s degree and serve as registered nurses or undertake advanced training to earn a master of science in nursing, which can lead to leadership roles on bases and in other military venues.
Those with training in engineering have little difficulty finding a position within the military. Military engineers may serve behind the scenes, designing bridges or buildings, or join the Army Corps of Engineers, which works across the globe at army installations. Positions available include combat engineer, geospatial engineer, and watercraft engineer. To qualify for these and other similar positions, you’ll need to earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering. Engineers are also highly sought-after in civilian life, serving as civil engineers, electrical engineers, chemical engineers, and more.
Interested in a degree instead?
Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.