Refining Your Soft Skills:
Online Degrees for Different Career

See also: Online Education and Learning

The rapid evolution of technology has democratized education, enabling individuals worldwide to enhance their knowledge and skills via online learning. These online platforms offer flexibility, convenience, and a vast array of programs from reputable institutions. This article delves into online degrees for different careers, with an emphasis on how they help to refine soft skills, from improved communication to problem-solving abilities.

We will explore a number of these online degree programs.

Student waving to friends online.

Soft Skills and Their Importance

Soft skills, often underrated, are as critical as technical skills for career growth. They encompass interpersonal abilities such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, and effective communication. As companies increasingly prioritize these skills, a well-rounded professional must seek ways to develop them. Thankfully, online education programs are tailored to provide both technical knowledge and the opportunity to hone these vital soft skills.

Master's in Business Administration

The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School provides an online MBA program that instills a deep understanding of business while honing essential soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, and strategic thinking. Through online group projects and discussions, students develop their ability to work collaboratively, manage time, and engage in effective decision-making.

  1. Leadership: Courses in strategic management and organizational behavior enhance leadership skills and foster a team-oriented mindset.

  2. Decision-making: The study of business analytics and decision sciences aids in refining decision-making abilities.

  3. Teamwork: Working on group projects and case studies in diverse teams boosts collaboration and adaptability.

Master's in TESOL

A Master's in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) sharpens communication, problem-solving, and cultural sensitivity. By interacting with students from diverse backgrounds and dealing with unique learner challenges, TESOL students learn to communicate effectively and think creatively. A Masters in TESOL from USM provides the tools necessary to facilitate these skills.

  1. Communication: TESOL students develop their communication skills as they are required to explain complex linguistic concepts in easy-to-understand terms.

  2. Cultural Sensitivity: Interacting with students from different cultural backgrounds promotes a sense of empathy and understanding.

  3. Problem-solving: Overcoming language barriers and addressing unique learning challenges enhances problem-solving skills and creative thinking.

Master's in Computer Science

Online Master's programs in Computer Science, like the one offered by Georgia Tech, not only develop technical proficiencies but also promote critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. Complex projects and problem-solving exercises push students to think outside the box and work as a team, thereby refining their soft skills.

  1. Critical Thinking: Challenging coursework and complex problem-solving exercises cultivate critical thinking skills.

  2. Creativity: The design and development of innovative software solutions foster creativity.

  3. Collaboration: Team projects promote collaboration, communication, and compromise.

Master's in Counseling

Counseling degrees, such as the online Master's program from Northwestern University, cultivate active listening, empathy, and effective communication. Counselors often work with people from different walks of life, promoting cultural sensitivity and adaptability.

  1. Active Listening: Counseling programs emphasize the importance of active listening, allowing students to understand and empathize with clients' issues.

  2. Empathy: Interacting with clients from diverse backgrounds enhances cultural sensitivity and empathy.

  3. Effective Communication: Counseling students learn how to communicate difficult insights and advice tactfully and compassionately.

Master's in Project Management

Project Management degrees, like the program at Purdue University, emphasize leadership, time management, and problem-solving skills. Project managers must coordinate with diverse teams, manage resources efficiently, and solve problems swiftly, which substantially refines their soft skills.

  1. Leadership: Courses on team management and leadership enhance the ability to guide, motivate, and lead teams.

  2. Time Management: Project managers must efficiently manage resources and timelines, fostering excellent time management skills.

  3. Problem-solving: Unexpected issues and project roadblocks demand swift problem-solving and adaptability.

Advantages of Online Learning for Soft Skill Development

  • Flexibility and Time Management: Online degrees offer the flexibility to study at one's own pace, which fosters time management skills. Balancing studies, work, and personal life effectively refines this skill.

  • Virtual Collaboration and Teamwork: Online degree programs often involve group projects, promoting virtual collaboration. This experience prepares learners for the increasingly digital professional world, where virtual teamwork is often necessary.

  • Communication Skills: Through online discussions and virtual presentations, students enhance their written and verbal communication skills, which are critical in any professional setting.

Online Degrees: Stepping Stone to Career Growth

Refining soft skills via online degrees does not merely contribute to personal development; it also enhances employability. Employers are more likely to hire and promote individuals who exhibit a strong set of soft skills. An online degree holder with well-developed soft skills stands out, as these skills often signify a person's ability to adapt and succeed in various professional environments.

Embracing Global Perspectives

One fascinating yet often overlooked advantage of online learning is the international perspective it brings. Students from different corners of the world bring diverse insights to discussions and collaborative projects. USM's online Master's in TESOL, for example, draws an international cohort.

Students not only learn from their instructors but also gain unique cultural insights from their peers. This exposure enriches students' understanding of the world, making them more culturally sensitive and globally minded. These skills are invaluable in today's interconnected global economy, where cross-cultural communication is often a daily occurrence.

Lifelong Learning and Adaptability

In a world where industries are constantly evolving due to technological advancements, lifelong learning has become a necessity rather than an option. Online degree programs cater to this need by providing platforms for continuous learning.

Programs like the online MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and the Master's in Computer Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign encourage students to stay updated and adapt to the dynamic nature of their fields. It fosters adaptability, a highly sought-after soft skill, demonstrating to potential employers the individual's ability to navigate change and learn continuously.


In the grand scheme of career development, soft skills, and technical knowledge are two sides of the same coin. Pursuing online degrees such as an MBA from Wharton, a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, or a Master's in TESOL from the USM equips individuals with the necessary technical knowledge and soft skills needed for career growth.

These programs provide the education needed to excel in one's field while also refining soft skills through flexibility, virtual collaboration, and improved communication. As the world continues to digitize, the ability to hone these skills online is more crucial than ever before.

About the Author

Peter is an outgoing person from Tampa Bay, FL. He loves reading and has dedicated most of his professional life to compliance and financial consultations. He loves to write and share ideas to help individuals and companies understand the importance of being aware of their financial status and how to handle debts, investment and expansions.