If you were a degree, what kind of degree would you be? (aka help me pick a degree)

So I’ve been working for over half my life for <B>someone else</b> and I’d rather get to the point where I’m working <B>for myself</b> … mostly.

But right now we’re in our prime earning years. Him as a technical super dude, me as a technical writer. One kid in day care, no plans for another one straight away, but we’d like to be able to keep one of us at home by the time the next one rolls around.

I’ve been toying with the idea of the Univeristy of Phoenix, the famous online school, to get a degree (I have none). The purpose is twofold: having a degree will help me should I decide to move on in Techwriting (5yrs exp here, 3ish hit and miss years exp as a ‘cowboy’) just to show I’ve got the paper, motivated, etc, or in a number of other careers I could shoot for. But I’d more like the degree to prepare me to work for myself, run my own business.

I’ve got a few ideas, most of which would require us to work, still, while they got off of the ground, and I’ve worked in/for/with small businesses before so I’m not completely ignorant on the subject (just mostly). But would any of their offered degrees be worth it for what I’m trying to do:

<B>Undergraduate Degrees
Accounting, Administration, E-Business, Management, Marketing, Information Technology, Nursing and General Studies.

Probably not nursing or IT ;).

Or should I suck it up, CLEP my way through a bunch of stuff and try to get an AS from a local community college to get to a BS from the local university brick and mortar campus? I don’t really want to take more physical time away from the family than I have to; and at the point, unless I went freelance writer I don’t have the option of working part time and going to school for a full load.

Thoughts? Is the piece of paper that important at this point? Is the ROI going to be high enough (right now I’m a mid-level writer at my company, can work my way up to team lead and senior writer in a few more years). Will I gain enough that I haven’t gotten as a member of the workforce over the past few decades to warrant going back and finishing up a degree?

This issue just came up on an education listserv I read. The initial response of most folks was negative towards online degrees. I guess from too many emails touting a PhD for “only $39.95!!!”. But some online professors chimed in saying that their online students actually work harder and have to do more to prove themselves and their work than bricks-and-mortar students. After some discussion, online degrees were more accepted but still with a skeptical eye.

So, my $0.02: don’t expect this to be easier than a traditional degree. If it is, you’re wasting your time. Also, I would look into online degrees from bricks-and-mortar institutions. That might have more clout than a degree from a web university (even if it is reputable).

As for what subject, I can’t help you there. I’m a science geek.

Easier only in more flexible time wise and work wise. I’m 8-5, with an hour each way commute that I’m hoping will become an hour each way train ride (then I can do school stuff on the way in and out every day).