Earning a degree if you're working (or simply busy) isn't as hard as it used to be. The time, distance and financial constraints of higher education have all but disappeared with the arrival of distance learning via telecommunications and online technology. If you're already in the workforce but would like to earn a degree, then the opportunity is there. It may require some technological know-how, current computer equipment, and a lot of self-discipline, but it is definitely easier and more effective than it used to be.

Today, you can earn a degree from a major university without ever having sat in one of their classrooms. Many colleges and universities are jumping on the distance learning bandwagon and offering online courses and degree programs. There are even consortiums of universities, such as Canadian Virtual University (CVU). CVU offers no courses or degrees itself, but simply acts as a portal for courses from 13 universities across Canada. There is also the Global University Alliance that is a consortium of nine schools from the United States, Britain, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands. There are even schools that are complete, stand-alone virtual universities with no campuses, no football teams, and no fraternity row.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll look at how online degrees work, what you should look for if you are pursuing a degree via the online option, and what employers think of online degrees.