There is still an increasing debate over the validity of online education, especially when it comes to higher degrees.
Most people tend to believe that education is still at its true value when done face-to-face. Some people find the ease of online education with their busy lifestyles a lot easier to manage than having to attend classes at a university or college. Online education also gives the flexibility to do course work that is outside of the area where you live. Schools such as the University of Phoenix are famous for offering online graduate degrees to busy professionals.
When it comes to higher degrees such as masters and doctorate degrees there are a number of online universities in North America that offer these kinds of courses. Schools such as Athabasca University in Canada have an extremely strong reputation. There have been a number of problems with some of the accrediting policies with schools in the United States. One university that is accredited in the states is Capella University, however some people have had bad things to say about it on the Internet.
In order to do PhD-level work, there is a university called Charles Sturt that is based in Australia where you do not need to do course work and simply work on your thesis or dissertation. Depending on the reason why you would want to do your PhD, it may or may not be seriously recognized in academic circles. There is another school called Texas Tech in the United States that also offers online graduate degrees, even at the PhD-level.
If you decide that you would rather go the traditional route with your education, many U.S. schools offer great stipends that can pay for your tuition and your rent if your grades have been high in previous education. It would mean making the major transition to uproot your life, however more colleges and universities throughout North America are starting to ask for PhD-level education to get your foot in the door of academia. Many Canadian schools also offer the same incentives in scholarships, bursaries and teaching assistantships, as well as the opportunity to teach a class sole-responsibility.