Demand for accredited online MBA programs reflects needs of nontraditional students

Online MBA programs are in high demand.
Online MBA programs are in high demand.

Many professionals with families who want to pursue an MBA are opting for online programs, according to Poets and Quants. Some may be concerned with the quality of their web-based education.

The site suggests that prospective students should seek out online business schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools, which approves many of the nation's top campus-based graduate programs.

Interested professionals may also note that the overall quality of such unique MBA programs is rising. For instance, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Florida and Arizona State University all deliver business degrees via distance learning.

Recently, the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School announced its own web-based master's, which is named the MBA@UNC program. The July launch will make the business school the highest ranked in the U.S. to offer this type of MBA to adult learners, the website reports.

Kenan-Flagler dean James W. Dean noted to the media outlet that most traditional students may "underestimate the challenge of what it is for people to remain in their jobs and work and study for the [MBA].” Distance learning programs are a flexible fit for many non-traditional students. Their classrooms generally boast small numbers. Students have a higher level of interaction with their peers and professors, and greater intimacy with the learning process.

Online MBA programs can, moreover, help individuals pursue more lucrative careers in financial management. Median salaries for business professionals in this field ranged between $77,280 and $134,940 during the 2008 fiscal year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.