We can all agree that a college degree is becoming more of a necessity for success rather than the latter. Some have made it by without it and have become significantly wealthy, but that isn't the common story. For most of us, we need to prove ourselves through a series of tests, which make up a college degree. The following questions discuss the options of the college route of online versus traditional, and the reputation of the college chosen.  

Online or Brick and Mortar?

With schools such as Penn State, MIT, and Harvard offering online college material, it makes us change our tune about a college degree online. At first glance, it looks like an easy way to get a college degree, but the answer isn't that simple. There are several factors to consider when deciding between an online or tradional route. In a 2001 survey from Vault.com, 26% of respondents found an online degree as credible as a tradional college, while 61% found the online degree acceptable but less credible. 13% of the respondents found the online route unacceptable. It is up to you to decide which route you will take, but know that most employers don't see the "online" portion on your diploma, only the school name and your degree concentration. If the degree is from a reputable school, and you do well while attending full time employment, you may be considered a motivated individual, and score better than the tradional counterparts.  

The tradional route offers many benefits such as clubs and organizations, and one-on-one interaction with the professors, factors that are difficult to accomplish with the online route.

Is School Reputation Important?

Reputation within the college industry has always played a major factor upon college choice and employer preference. A Harvard Graduate may score better than an individual that went to a state college, but there are other factors to consider. The factor that gets lost in the fog of college choice lies the question of, "what do you want to do?" This question haunts us all, but for the few that are sure of their future path, a more defined role is addressed. The college brand is important for your degree type, but many get lost in the factor of our majors and the school reputations relating to the specific majors. For example, Harvard University is well known for Finance, Medicine, and Law, and MIT is known for engineering, mathematics, and physics. Each are strong brands that represent specific concentrations. There is more to it than choosing a good college brand.

Top 10 Best and Worst College Earning Majors

A report from the U.S. Census, Georgetown University Center, and the Workforce's "What's It Worth: The Economic Value of College Majors" looked at 171 college majors and found a difference of earning potential within the fields of study. Some can be different by more than 300%. The top 10 and bottom 10 median salary's per industry are shown below.

Top Earning Majors

10. Mining and Mineral Engineering
     Median Salary: 80,000

9.  Metallurgical Engineering
     Median Salary: 80,000

8.  Mechanical Engineering
     Median Salary: 80,000

7.  Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
     Median Salary: 82,000

6.  Electrical Engineering
     Median Salary: 85,000

5.  Chemical Engineering
     Median Salary: 86,000

4.  Aerospace Engineering
     Median Salary: 87,000

3.  Mathematics and Computer Sciences
     Median Salary: 98,000

2.  Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration
     Median Salary: 105,000

1.  Petroleum Engineering
     Median Salary: 120,000

Bottom Earning Majors

10. Health and Medical Prepatory Programs
     Median Salary: 40,000

9.  Visual and Performing Arts
     Median Salary: 40,000

8.  Communication-Disorders Sciences and Services
     Median Salary: 40,000

7.  Studio Arts
     Median Salary: 40,000

6.  Drama and Theater Arts
     Median Salary: 40,000

5.  Social Work
     Median Salary: 39,000

4.  Human Services and Community Organizations
     Median Salary: 38,000

3.  Theology and Religious Vocations
     Median Salary: 38,000

2.  Early-Childhood Education
     Median Salary: 36,000

1.  Counseling and Psychology
      Median Salary: 29,000