Top 15 Best Degrees for Adults Returning to College | Ranking

There are many good reasons to go back to college later in life. It could be time to switch jobs, or maybe you just want to level up and earn more. It’s never too late to go to college, no matter what the reason. Thousands of working adults set this as a goal every year.

Nearly 40% of people who go to school after high school is working adults. 46% of people between the ages of 25 and 29, and 66% of people over the age of 39, work while going to school.

Do you want to take your career to the next level? Change all of your jobs? Get that degree you’ve always wanted? This article on the top degrees for adults returning to college is for you. Let’s dive right in.

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Why are Adult Learners Going Back to School?

Your Earning Potential Will Rise

Everyone desires to increase their income, right? Well, returning to school as an adult can significantly boost one’s earning potential. With extra training, many employees discover they may advance beyond their current responsibilities into managerial or other leadership positions.

These often pay more money. It makes sense if going back to school at 40 or even 50 gives you access to more financial prospects.

Launch a New Career

After working in their current field for ten or more years, many adults discover that they no longer enjoy it, if they ever did. They might discover that their passions lay elsewhere. However, they still need more training to start their new profession. Returning to school can lead to new job opportunities.

Perhaps your current job isn’t making you unhappy, but you’ve recently heard about a better position. Again, a lot of adults are returning to school to open up these new career options. Feel free to join the bandwagon if you come across an opportunity you’d like to take advantage of.

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Your Revenue Has Increased

The great majority of people struggle with student loan debt. With an average debt of $28,650 per borrower in 2019, Forbes estimates that the total amount of student loan debt in the United States is above $1.5 trillion.

Perhaps you put off starting or finishing your college degree out of concern that you would accumulate more debt. Since you’ve begun working and your income has grown, you could have the money to go back to school and finish your degree without taking out any student loans.

You weren’t a student when you were younger.

Not everyone graduates from high school and enrolls in college right away. In some cases, older students aren’t adults beginning college for the first time; rather, they’re adults returning. Starting your degree in your 30s or 40s is perfectly acceptable because life and its circumstances change. Go ahead and pursue your goals if you can now that you couldn’t when you were in your 20s.

Updating Your Skill Set

You may have discovered your existing skillset is no longer enough for the demands of your position. This frequently occurs when technology advances. You could find it challenging to do your task as quickly as you formerly did after switching to new technology.

Adults returning to school have the chance to pick up new skills that may lead to greater employment possibilities. In addition, returning to school after determining where your career gives you the chance to master the precise skills you will require. Rather than general ones that might or might not apply to your field of work.

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You’re Considering Starting Your Own Business

You may have realized, after many years of working in your firm, that you genuinely love it and want to go out on your own. Although starting your own business can be exciting and profitable, do you have what it takes to make it successful?

A key component of starting your own business is having expertise in your field. You also need to be aware of the nuances of business management. Adults who re-enroll in college occasionally do so to obtain the startup company expertise they require.

What are the Factors to Consider for The Best Degrees For Adults Returning To College?

Getting into a program is the first step toward going back to college. Here are some things you might need to send in to get in:

  • Find the school and fill out the admission form. This form will have your basic information and the major you want to choose.
  • Cost of applying. Some colleges charge a small fee to look over the paperwork that students send in.
  • A sign that you graduated. You might have to prove that you finished high school or something similar.
  • Transcripts. You can ask your previous colleges to send official transcripts that list the courses you’ve taken.
  • Some schools may also want to see your SAT or ACT scores, but that’s not always a requirement for adult programs.
  • Accreditation: You can find out if a college is good or not by looking at its accreditation status. Colleges can only get regional accreditation if they meet strict requirements.
  • Help with money and scholarships. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to get help with money (FAFSA). You might be able to put off some of your payments on low-interest government loans. If you qualify, grants may help you pay for school without you having to pay them back. You can look into programs from your state and the federal government that can help you.
  • You might also be able to find money from private sources. There are a lot of scholarship programs, so it’s smart to apply for more than one. Your employer might also give you money to help pay for school.

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Is Going Back to College Worth It?

Yes, for many students, going back to college is worth it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs that require a bachelor’s degree to get into will grow at a rate of 6% over the next 10 years. This is faster than the average growth rate for all jobs.

Whether you want to move up in your current field or try to break into a new one, college could give you new opportunities. However, you may have to find a program that fits your schedule. You may not be able to join a traditional college program if you are a busy adult with a family or a hard job.

You might do better with a program for adults returning to college. Some of the best choices are online bachelor’s degrees from schools that are good. This is often the case whether you want to get an online degree in business, computer science, or even theology.

Programs for working people often have flexible schedules, shorter terms, and start dates throughout the year.

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Top 15 Best degrees for adults returning to college

#1. Financial Accounting Degree

You could become a bookkeeper, accountant, auditor, or financial manager with this degree. You could work as an accountant for a business, a tax firm, a government agency, or a community group.

You’ll probably take a few accounting classes in this program. There are courses on intermediate accounting and advanced accounting. In other classes, you might learn about taxes, auditing, and the ethics of accounting. There will probably be some classes that cover other areas of business as well.

You might be able to become a certified public accountant if you get a master’s degree (CPA). It is no doubt, one of the top degrees for adults returning to college.

#2. Business Studies Degree

Consider getting a degree in business studies if you want to be able to work in many different fields. You could get a general degree or specialize in something like finance, human resources, information technology, or management.

Whether you choose a generalist or a specialist degree, you’ll take a variety of core business classes. They might include business law, management principles, and office technology systems.

People who study business may be able to move up into management positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the average salary for a management job is $109,760 per year. Manager of administrative services and manager of sales are both possible job titles. Ranking #2 on our list, it is one of the best degrees for adults returning to college.

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#3. Communication Program Degree

People who are good with words, in general, may do well in a communications program. During your studies, you might learn how to write or speak in a way that gets ideas across for businesses or organizations. Any degree in communications is one of the top degrees for adults returning to college.

In this major’s classes, you might learn about branding, public speaking, social media, and project management. You’ll probably talk about ethics for people in business and the media. People who major in communications work in many different fields.

Some people become writers, like authors or people who write about technology. You may choose to work in public relations or manage social media. There may also be opportunities to raise money, plan events, write for newspapers or do advertising.

#4. Criminal Justice Degree

A career in criminal justice can be strongly built on a strong desire for fairness. It is in fact, one of the best degrees for adults returning to college. Your studies could help you get ready for a job in the courts, with law enforcement, in prisons, or with homeland security.

A degree in criminal justice can also help you get ready to fight for fairness in police work and sentencing. You can learn about crime, the legal system, forensic investigations, and the right to due process. Your classes may also talk about ethics in criminal justice and how different cultures work together.

Many people who get degrees in criminal justice work for the local, state, or federal government.

#5. Computer Engineering Degree

Computer skills are very important in the job market today. If you know how to keep networks and data safe from outside threats, you could be a valuable asset to any company. It is one of the top degrees for adults returning to college.

Network architect, information security analyst, and network administrator are all possible jobs. You’ll learn about computer networks and information technology to get this degree. You could also learn how to code in one or more languages.

Classes like digital forensics, cybersecurity law and ethics, and system testing can teach you how to use your computer skills in professional cyber security roles. Some programs have certification courses that can help you prepare for exams in your field. It would also look good on your resume.

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#6. Data Analytics Degree

If you are good at math and technology, you might want to think about getting a degree in analytics. Professionals in analytics organize and analyze datasets to find insights that can help businesses make decisions. Management analyst, data analyst, and operations research analyst are all possible jobs.

Calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics are all examples of advanced math topics. You might learn about these in your math classes. You might also learn how to collect data, and manage both big and small data sets. The BLS says that the number of jobs for data analysts is growing at a rate of 25%. It is one of the best degrees for adults returning to college.

#7. Education Degree

If you major in education, you might be able to see information come to life for students all the time. Getting a degree in education is usually the first step to becoming a teacher. This is true whether you want to teach preschoolers, high schoolers, or any age in between.

During your studies, you’ll probably learn about how to run a classroom, how people learn, how to read and write, and how different students are. Some classes may focus on a certain subject, like math or science. Most education programs prepare students to get a license to teach. It can be helpful to check if a program meets the requirements of your state.

Any form of education program degree is one of the top degrees for adults returning to college.

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#8. Finance Degree

If you like dealing with money but aren’t sure about accounting, you could try finance instead. Finance professionals look at data about money to help businesses make important business decisions. With this degree, you can work as a financial manager or an analyst.

You can take classes in accounting, economics, risk management, and global markets to get a bachelor’s degree in finance. You could learn about business and how to run it by taking other classes. Some graduates go on to work in the finance departments of businesses. Others choose to become personal financial planners.

Getting Certified Financial Planner status may help you move up in your field. Whether you work for yourself or a company. It is one of the best degrees for adults returning to college.

#9. Administration for Health Care Degree

The field of health care is in high demand. To meet the need, health organizations need not only more clinical providers but also more administrators who know what they are doing. To work in this field, you need to know both how medicine works and how to run a business.

As a student of healthcare administration, you might learn about organizational theory, marketing, and human resources. In other classes, you might study things like anatomy, epidemiology, reimbursement systems, and health equity.  

A common job path for graduates is to work as a medical or health services manager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these jobs are growing at a rate of 32%. It is one of the top degrees for adults returning to college.

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#10. Human Resources Degree

Do you think that the people who work for a company are what makes it great? Do you know how to get along with people and solve problems well? If so, you could be a good fit for a job in human resources.

Since HR is a part of business, you could take classes in business law, management, and communication. You could also study compensation, conflict resolution, training and development, and transition management to get ready for a job in HR.

You could start working in HR as an assistant or specialist. It is one of the best degrees for adults returning to college.

#11. Information Technology

If you want to work in almost any industry, you might want to get a degree in information technology. It is one of the top degrees for adults returning to college. IT professionals have the skills to build and maintain technology systems. This is why many organizations need them.

You can get jobs like computer support specialist, information security analyst, and computer systems analyst. Becoming a database administrator with this degree is not left out as well.  To get ready, you will often study computer networks, operating systems, programming languages, and computer security.

IT operations, cloud computing, and concepts in data management may be on the list. Some classes may help you get ready for certifications in your field.

#12. Accounting

Someone may have told you that you are good with numbers. Some of the jobs that someone with a degree in accounting can get are risk analyst, certified bookkeeper, board secretary, and police secretary. A degree in accounting can lead to a lot of different job opportunities.

Colleges and universities with good reputations offer online bachelor’s degrees in accounting. These are great for adults who are busy and have jobs. Some schools offer both undergraduate and graduate accounting degrees. You can complete most of them faster and online. It is one of the best degrees for adults returning to college.

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#13. Creative Writing Degree

Not everyone chooses to major in creative writing. But it might be great for a working adult who wants a degree program that is flexible, fun, and interesting. Are you looking for a different job? Do you have a strong desire to write? If you get a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, you may be able to find work in advertising, journalism, media, and publishing.

On the other hand, many adults who go back to school choose creative writing because they love to write. This degree program is easy to finish online or in a shorter amount of time. It will give you a lot of chances to make your work with different ideas and styles. The degree is also one of the top degrees for adults returning to college.

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#14. Data Science

Some of the best and fastest-growing jobs are in the field of data science. This is the perfect time for adults who work to go back to school and get a degree in this exciting field. The field of data science is pretty big. But classes help people work on very specific skills. Among these are analyzing, organizing, and storing different sets of data.

This field combines technology with other fields, such as economics, mathematics, business, and engineering. Technology is a big part of data science. So it’s the perfect online degree program for adults who are busy but still want to learn. It is one of the top degrees for adults returning to college. 

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#15. Health Science

Looking for a broad health career that can prepare you for a variety of healthcare jobs? A degree in health sciences is an exciting choice. It shows you how people care for themselves as they get older. You can expect to learn about exercise science and public health.

Most degrees let you choose a specialty in the end, like health information technology or nutrition. The major requires a strong background in basic sciences like biology, chemistry, and physics. It is one of the best degrees for adults returning to college.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which degree is best for an older person?

These degrees and majors are great for people over 50.
Financial Planning and Economics.
Early Childhood Education.
Human Services, Public Administration
Landscape Architecture
Medical Billing and Coding

What is the most sought-after college degree for adults?

Health-related courses are usually the most sought-after college degree by adults

What is the easiest well-paying degree for adults?

Philosophy major
Creative writing major
Communication major
History major
Religious studies major
History major, and
Education major

What’s a good degree to get in your later years?

Generalist degrees give you a more flexible and well-rounded education in a certain field. Two generalist degrees that are good for older people are: MBA stands for Master of Business Administration. People who want to work their way up to leadership positions often choose to get an MBA.

What’s a good job to start when you’re 50?

Some of the jobs in this group are pharmacists, exercise physiologists, dietitians and nutritionists, therapists, podiatrists, optometrists, surgeons, orthodontists, dentists, and chiropractors. Many of these jobs need advanced degrees and a lot of training.

What major will always get you a job?

The ten most in-demand degrees with the best job prospects in Engineering is a job in the US. Engineering is one of the most popular and well-paid degrees in the United States. Medicine, Pharmacology, Business Administration, Computer Science, Accounting, Economics, Psychology, and Political Science.

What kinds of degrees won’t matter in the future?

Advertising. If you major in advertising, you might want to work in digital marketing, e-commerce, or sports marketing.


Are you prepared to finish your college degree? If so, you can start looking at online schools that have the best degree programs for adults going back to college. We hope this article on the best degrees for adults returning to college helped!

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