The 20 Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students in 2023

Are you thinking of obtaining a college degree as an adult? We got you!

Regardless of your age, it’s always wise to go back to school and get that degree! It’s becoming more normal for adults and full-time working professionals to return to college. EAB, a research company in the education sector, estimates that 38% of students are adult learners (older than 25).

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If you’re worried about balancing life, work, studies, and other obligations, worry no more! Thanks to technology, you have endless opportunities to study with flexible college classes. You can enroll in online classes and flexible degree programs. Most online and flexible programs offer fast and accelerated courses, allowing you to complete your undergraduate or graduate program faster at a much lower cost. 

Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students - fact

Why Working Adults Return to College

You may wonder why so many adult students — in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond — are returning to school and obtaining a certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and graduate degree. While each person will have unique motivations to return to school, several appear widespread.

The #1 reason why working adults obtain a degree is to increase their earning potential. One research found that men and women with a bachelor’s degree earn more than men and women with a high school diploma.

Another reason is to change career paths. After working in their current field for many years, many adults no longer enjoy it. They might find their passions lie elsewhere but still need more training to start their new profession.

Working adult professionals often need to upgrade or obtain new skills, which sometimes can only be done only by obtaining a certificate or degree. Regardless of what field you’re in right now, you’re obliged to upscale your skills to keep up with technological advances. Some professionals often find it challenging to do their tasks as quickly as they formerly did after switching to new technology.

Also, returning to school after figuring out where you want your career to go allows you to obtain the exact skills you need rather than general ones that might or might not apply to your work.

Tip: If you ever decide to return to college to continue or earn a new degree but want to reduce the cost of a four-year college, you can earn transfer credits with an associate’s degree in a community college. You can also enroll in online courses that can be transferred toward a bachelor’s degree.

The majority of adult students want to complete their degrees quickly. You can graduate in a shorter period by choosing accelerated programs.

Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students


Accounting - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

You can enroll in online degrees in accounting if you want flexibility in finding careers. This program works best for adult learners with solid arithmetic skills, an analytical mindset, and knowledge of money management. Accounting degree programs cover finance-related topics, such as taxation, auditing, financial accounting, and economics, to help students develop skills related to making sound financial decisions.

Even with a bachelor’s degree, you can work as a personal financial advisor, accountant, financial analyst, forensic accountant, and much more! However, adult learners who want to earn a spot in leadership and managerial roles should enroll in graduate programs. 

Employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031.

Business Administration

Business Administration - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Business administration includes all aspects of an organization’s management. Business administration courses teach you how to manage and oversee business operations, including education in accounting, project management, marketing, and some crucial IT skills.

Business administration specialists are critical in deciding everything from daily operations to organizational structure to financial management. They are responsible for keeping track of performance and ensuring that the business continues to align with its vision and mission while achieving its objectives.

Employment in business and finance is anticipated to grow by 7% between 2021 and 2031. The BLS projects that businesses will add more than 715,000 new employees throughout this time.


Communication - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

If you have a knack for engaging with various people, researching exciting stories, and spreading them to the public, you’re best suited for a communication program. 

A communications degree program can open many doors. Almost every field you can think of has a demand for people who can communicate clearly and concisely. With the proliferation of mediums for communication, demand is also on the rise

If you want to study communication with flexibility, go for online programs. Online bachelor degrees will allow working adults to hone the necessary skills and knowledge from their chosen place and at their own pace. 

Because communication is broad, schools offering this program allow students to tailor their own curriculum by choosing a concentration. There are several unique concentrations in communication. The most popular, however, include mass communication journalism, public relations, technical writing, and rhetoric. 

Computer Science

Computer Science - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Computer science degree programs typically teach the essential mathematical and scientific principles behind computers and their programming. Busy adult learners in online degree programs in CS study the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts, which includes software and hardware and data structures, software engineering, programming languages, and artificial intelligence.

Engineering, mathematics, or statistics courses may also be necessary for computer science degrees.

According to the NACE, the demand for CS graduates is high. Additionally, BLS expects the employment field for Computer and Technology to increase by 15% from 2021 to 2031.

The world is heavily reliant on technology; it needs a worker with a strong sense and college-level knowledge about cloud computing, information security, and gathering, storing, and analyzing big data. Furthermore, because computer science is a broad field, choosing specialties and completing certificate programs are highly suggested.

Creative Writing

Creative Writing - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Have you always been passionate about writing what you feel? If so, you should consider a creative writing major in college. Online degree programs will help you develop your skills and knowledge in expressing yourself clearly and —effectively, which will improve your communication— without sacrificing your current career. 

Creative writing is also a vast field. And because of this, students in a creative writing degree program can enroll in as many as a dozen unique classes. You can design a degree program that corresponds to your objectives and areas of interest. 

There are many different jobs that relate to writing. Of course, you could pursue work as a writer or an author, but that comes in various forms. Take a quick look at the different kinds of authors and writers. 

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Crime is inevitable. If you want a law-related career, one of the best and most popular ways is to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. However, if you want to specialize in a particular field, work in research or policy analysis, or assume leadership positions within the justice system, you must obtain a master’s degree.

Criminal justice degree programs include law, social services, and public policy courses to prepare students for various careers. The curriculum allows you to work as a forensic analyst, probation officer, police officer, detective, or paralegal.

You can enroll in graduate law school and obtain an advanced degree upon completing your undergrad degree for more career opportunities with higher pay.

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

The National Association of School Psychologists’ research demonstrates early childhood educators’ critical role in human development. Most importantly, they instill a love of studying, preparing us for success.

Consider Early Childhood Education degrees if you have dreamed of teaching and guiding students aged 1 to 8. This degree program helps you acquire the skills necessary to teach children how to combine play and learning while fostering their social, academic, and personal development. 

According to BLS, employment for preschool teachers is expected to grow by 15% from 2021 to 2031. In addition to having a wealth of job prospects, it’s also good to know that you’ll be helping many parents with their children. 


Entrepreneurship - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Entrepreneurship is best suitable for working adult students who are fed up with 9-5 jobs and those who want to look for ideas off the ground to expand their businesses.

The stereotype of an entrepreneur is evolving. It requires more than just picking yourself up by your bootstraps and starting from scratch without formal education or expertise. As more and more aspiring business owners get degrees, they can learn invaluable information from professors and professionals in the fields of management, business, finance, and operations.


Finance - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

With the continuous inflation worldwide, everybody needs to practice wise, ethical money management. Working adult students who want to shift their careers or build on their money management skills should consider finance degree programs. Graduates can be crucial in directing and supervising financial systems at the micro and macro levels. 

Bachelor in finance programs include business courses and courses specifically related to finance. The curricula introduce students to theoretical ideas that impact financial policies and decisions, as well as practical abilities that can be used in various workplace situations in the future.

According to federal data, the finance industry is expected to grow 7 percent from 2021 to 2031. There will be a million additional jobs in the business and financial sectors. 

Health Sciences

Health Sciences - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

If you’ve been paying attention to political debates over the last few decades, you know that healthcare expenses have skyrocketed. This is partly because of the complexity of the problems facing individual and public health today. So, now more than ever, professionals with expertise in human and animal health science are in demand.

Students pursuing degrees in health sciences must complete prerequisite courses in research techniques, health science ethics, and health communications. Furthermore, many health sciences undergraduate and graduate degrees offer specializations or tracks that educate students for certain professions.

Health sciences open up various career opportunities. You can become a medical manager, clinical laboratory technologist/technician, insurance agent, medical sales representative, dietitian/nutritionist, and many more!

Healthcare Administration

Healthcare Administration - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

If you want to work in the healthcare industry but do not want to see blood splattering around, you’re best suited for a healthcare administration/management degree. However, you must have a bachelor’s degree to qualify for entry-level jobs. To land higher-level managerial positions, you need to obtain an MHA degree.

There are minute distinctions between healthcare administration and management. However, the phrases can be used interchangeably. The Council on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) do not distinguish between the titles.

Both degree programs include health sciences, nursing, health information, and business courses. A few core business classes, legal and ethical studies, accounting and finance, Human Resources, marketing and communications, information technology, as well as organizational behavior and growth, will all be included in the curriculum.

Human Resources Management

Human Resources Management - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Today, becoming a human resource specialist is about more than just hiring employees and managing their wages. HRs today are responsible for ensuring that an organization’s staff members are happy and content to aid in the seamless operation of the business. Those with degrees in human resource management are positioned as important business partners in corporate success in today’s business environment.

HRM degrees train students to have the best strategic approach to hiring, training, analysis, and all other intricate aspects of HR. Studying human resource management also exposes you to the development, implementation, and evaluation strategies used worldwide.

Experts in human resources are in high demand. Also, this is a rewarding industry to enter. In addition to having above-average salaries, employment in the field is also expected to grow 8% from 2021 to 2031.

Information Technology

 Information Technology - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

This is undoubtedly the best computer degree option if you are tech-savvy and want to excel in working with end-user computers, systems administration, and/or systems engineering. A bachelor’s degree will help you focus on cloud computing, information security, data analytics, and IT management. But if you want to focus more on data storage and retrieval, you should obtain a master’s in informatics. 

Information technology occupations are expected to grow 15 percent between 2021 and 2031. And many companies are still hiring for entry-level roles in IT and computer tech, despite the pandemic.

Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

You may have heard one of your peers mention that they’re taking liberal arts major in college, but it appears that everyone defines it differently. A degree in liberal arts is broad and can include various areas. Liberal arts can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks, making it one of the oldest subjects you can study worldwide!

Liberal arts can be a great choice if you are genuinely interested in developing transferable skills and exploring various topics that interest you. While liberal arts allow you to enter various sectors, including communications, education, history, political sciences, and more, it’s not for you if you have a particular course or profession in mind.


Marketing - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Marketing is a fascinating field to enter, with all the new brands and names rising in different industries. All people interested in selling a name or a brand need a marketing expert. According to the Bureau of Labor, management positions in marketing and advertising will grow 10% over the next ten years.

A bachelor’s degree in marketing will give you enough knowledge to effectively examine business aspects and analyze customer experience at every sale stage. But if you really want to obtain advanced knowledge and skill and have higher chances of employability in America’s biggest companies, you should obtain a master’s degree. Master-level marketing has a blend of lectures, tutorials or seminars, case study analyses, and market research projects.


Nursing - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

A nursing degree is a wise investment in your future. The US is in high demand for nursing personnel, which suggests that the industry will expand for many years. The BLS forecasts a 6% increase in RN employment from 2021 to 2031 and a 40% increase in nurse practitioner employment (NPs).

There are many pathways to pursuing a nursing career. You can obtain entry-level nursing programs in local community colleges, including diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees. 

Consider a BSN and an MSN degree for a more concentrated nursing career. Earning an MSN opens up opportunities for higher-paying professions in positions like advanced nurse practitioners (ANPs), nurse anesthetists, and nurse consultants. 

Organizational Leadership

Organizational Leadership - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Organizational Leadership is one of the most popular business degree majors. This program prepares students for profitable management-level professions that improve the efficiency of businesses. If you’re interested in training for leadership positions during your undergrad study, consider a bachelor’s in organizational Leadership or a business degree concentration on organizational Leadership. 

Students earning a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership can prepare for lucrative management opportunities in several expanding industries. The BLS forecasts an average job growth rate of 8% for management jobs between 2021 and 2031.

This degree is best suited for working professionals with strong interpersonal, managerial, problem-solving, and strategic leadership abilities.

Public Administration

Public Administration - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

The United States needs professionals capable of handling and implementing the government’s policy. A public administration program may be ideal if you have always dreamed of working in a public or government office. 

According to the NCES, students who enroll in public administration programs are prepared to serve as government officials. Public policy, financial procedures, and professional ethics are all covered in the program.

Graduates may also work for advocacy organizations, lobbying firms, or organizations that fight against poverty. 


Psychology - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Psychology programs are best suited for students who want to help others, learn more about the human mind, and wish to take courses in arts and sciences. 

Students who major in psychology are taught to think critically, examine situations, and apply the scientific method. Students gain knowledge of psychological theories, concepts, and procedures. They also look at both conscious and unconscious behavior in people.

As new professional opportunities in the healthcare, industry, education, social services, criminal justice, and legal systems emerge, psychology majors should anticipate a positive job outlook. 

A bachelor’s degree in psychology will open doors to counseling careers, such as School and Career Counselors and Advisors and Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors. However, you must obtain a Ph.D. or PsyD to become a psychologist and earn more money. 


Sociology - Most Flexible Programs for Adult College Students

Sociology may be interesting to study if you are fascinated by people and how they interact with one another. This fascinating discipline includes many topics, including family, law, religion, and culture. The nicest thing about a sociology bachelor’s degree is that it is one of the only degrees that teach students how to think critically, conduct research, solve problems, and communicate.

Graduates with a bachelor’s in sociology can choose from various professions. Some popular choices include careers in social work, healthcare, medical ethics, business, human resources, business management, counseling, academia, and private research organizations. It is an expanding area, offering many professional development opportunities and additional academic advancement.

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