Earning a degree online allows you to gain new skills and knowledge from anywhere. However, some online college programs are becoming obsolete, thereby preparing students for careers that are becoming outdated.
As industries evolve and new technologies emerge, certain jobs are declining or transforming.
By avoiding online degrees that lead to shrinking careers, you can ensure your education aligns with future workforce needs.
10 Online College Programs That Are Becoming Obsolete
Here are the 10 online college programs that are sadly becoming obsolete.
1. Travel and Tourism Management
At one time, travel and tourism management degrees trained students for lucrative roles managing hotels, resorts, theme parks, and other hospitality businesses.
However, the rise of automated kiosks and digital booking platforms has greatly reduced the need for as many industry managers and agents.
As consumers continue to rely on DIY booking tools, demand for specialized travel and tourism management continues to decline. Earning this degree online no longer offers the career prep it once did.
2. Office Administration
Office administration programs teach skills like record-keeping, organizational management, and administrative support.
But the need for dedicated office administrators has dropped sharply due to workflow automation tools.
Platforms like Dropbox, Slack, and Asana have digitized and simplified tasks once performed by human assistants.
Most standard office duties can now be handled with technology. An online office administration degree is unlikely to provide in-demand job training.
Once a vital career path for telling news stories visually, demand for dedicated photojournalists has plummeted.
First, the rise of smartphones enabled virtually anyone nearby breaking news to capture and share photos.
Later, advanced AI applications were developed that can generate news photos and videos faster than humans.
As technology has democratized and automated visual journalism, online photojournalism programs have become less practical for career preparation.
4. Print Media and Publishing
The print media and publishing industry has declined sharply with the rise of digital content consumption.
Circulation and profits have dropped tremendously for newspapers and magazines. Bookstores have also struggled as ebooks and online retailers dominate publishing.
Print media management and publishing programs, whether online or on-campus, are not well aligned with the modern digital-first publishing environment. These degrees are outdated for today’s publishing job market.
5. Forestry and Wildlife Management
Forestry and wildlife management programs train conservation professionals to manage forests, parks, and animal populations.
But increased automation is reducing the need for entry-level workers in these fields. Drones now survey land faster than humans can on foot.
Predictive data analytics guide conservation efforts more efficiently than field observations.
As technology transforms these industries, online forestry and wildlife programs are becoming less relevant for in-demand careers.
6. Video Production
Once coveted by aspiring filmmakers, video production degrees are declining in value due to AI.
Advanced computer vision algorithms can now generate professional-quality video content without human camera operators, lighting crews, editors, etc.
Tools like Synthesia, Vizrt, and Runway ML automate tasks once done manually by video pros.
As artificial intelligence transforms the video creation process, demand for specialized video production training is falling.
7. IT Network Administration
IT network administration programs teach how to install, configure, and maintain systems that connect devices and technologies.
But as cloud computing and managed services have exploded, fewer basic network administrators are needed in-house.
With the critical infrastructure now hosted in the cloud, most network upkeep is performed by vendors offsite.
Local IT teams primarily manage connections to cloud services. Traditional network administration skills are becoming outdated.
8. Paralegal Studies
Paralegal degrees prepare students to support legal teams with research, document prep, case management, and other crucial tasks.
However, advancements in legal technology are reducing firms’ reliance on human paralegals.
AI tools now streamline research, eDiscovery, contract review, and billing – the core duties of paralegals.
While legal careers remain plentiful, technology transformation has made traditional paralegal training less relevant.
9. Criminal Justice
Online criminal justice programs train future law enforcement professionals and public safety leaders. But due to advanced analytics and automation, demand for traditional criminal justice roles is declining.
Crime prediction algorithms are enabling more proactive, targeted policing and resource deployment.
Robot security guards are taking over dangerous patrol tasks once performed by humans. As technology progresses, fewer workers are needed for routine criminal justice duties.
For decades, accountant degrees prepared students for stable corporate accounting and bookkeeping careers.
But as financial data processes have become automated, the day-to-day work of accountants is decreasing. Tax preparation, auditing, reporting, and other accounting tasks now rely on advanced financial applications.
Even complex responsibilities like budget analysis and fraud detection are being managed by intelligent accounting software.
This reduced need for entry-level practitioners makes traditional accounting programs outmoded.
While these fields are evolving, new career opportunities are emerging in industries like data science, cybersecurity, healthcare, renewable energy, and more.
By choosing future-focused online programs in growing sectors, you can ensure your degree leads to in-demand job opportunities.
With informed program selection, online education remains a flexible and valuable way to prepare for workplace success.
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