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Online colleges in Colorado offer a solution to the state's higher education needs, and students can enjoy opportunities to earn a degree online from online schools and hybrid programs.

Online Schools in Colorado

Progressive statewide programs keep Colorado on the forefront of higher education trends. Like an increasing number of other states, Colorado has set tangible, achievable goals for its public colleges and universities through a master plan executed by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education in late 2012 (highered.colorado.gov).

While the master plan involves the completion of four goals across the state's public colleges and universities, it serves as the backbone of a single objective: to ensure that at least 66 percent of Colorado residents aged 25-34 have completed a college degree or certification by 2025.

Colorado's emphasis on the significance of higher education is potentially good news for those considering earning a college degree. Online colleges in Colorado, both private and public, can help provide a solution to the state's higher education needs, and students across the state can enjoy an increasing number of opportunities to earn a degree online.

Trends in Colorado Online Schools

Census figures showed that almost 44 percent of Colorado residents between ages 25 and 34 had a degree or certificate in 2010 (census.gov). The recently approved CCHE master plan seeks to increase the number of degree-holding adults in this age group by more than 20 percent by 2025.

To help meet the increasing demand for higher education offerings created by the CCHE master plan's objective, many of Colorado's schools are embracing national online education trends. Research from the Sloan Consortium indicates that 60 percent of the nation's private-sector colleges and universities have encompassed online learning in their long-term strategies, and this trend is reflected by the growing number of online colleges in Colorado (sloanconsortium.org). Some private schools are helping lead the way and shape trends in Colorado online schools, according to a 2010 report from Education News Colorado (ednewscolorado.org), and public and private institutions are adding online courses to their curriculum to keep up with increasing demands.

The number of occupational schools in Colorado is also climbing. Figures from Education News Colorado reflect an annual 5 percent climb in enrollment from 2005-10, and a whopping 12 percent jump in enrollment in 2010 (ednewscolorado.org). Many of these programs use a mix of technology so students both on-campus and off-campus have the opportunity to learn relevant skills for their chosen career.

College Degrees in Colorado

The motive behind the CCHE's plan to increase the number of college graduates in Colorado was simple: The state needs an educated workforce to move forward economically. This reason is sound, as many of Colorado's fastest-growing careers require a college degree or diploma.

Data from the Colorado Labor Market Information Gateway (colmigateway.com) indicates projected growth for occupations including network systems and data communication analysts, registered nurses, elementary and middle school teachers, and computer software engineers is expected during the 2010-2020 decade. To meet the state's growing demand for an educated workforce and to meet CCHE goals, colleges and online schools in Colorado are shifting to offer accessible options and degree programs to students statewide.

Online College in Colorado

As online education becomes a larger part of the college experience, many schools and universities are transitioning toward a blend of technology that helps bring a top-tier education to students online and on campus.

University of Colorado Denver offers students a variety of learning opportunities through online and blended programs. The flagship university's online programs allow students the opportunity to earn a UC degree on their own terms by choosing from 17 fully online degree programs and a dozen more certification programs. Online college courses through UC correlate to the state's growing economy; for example, UC's college of nursing offers bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. programs online.

Colorado State University in Fort Collins offers innovative online learning through its OnlinePlus programs. Through OnlinePlus, CSU offers online degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Programs cover an assortment of in-demand disciplines, as well as online college courses and certificates for students who are not ready for a full degree program.

Students considering working toward a degree can also research private schools or online institutions such as Ashford University and Altierus Career College. Each of these schools offers opportunities to pursue a variety of online degrees in Colorado at the associate- , bachelor's- , master's- and even doctoral-degree level.

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition
Colorado Commission on Higher Education
Colorado Competes: Colorado Commission on Higher Education Master Plan, October 2012
Colorado Department of Higher Education, April 2012
Colorado Labor Market Information Gateway
Education News Colorado
Online Learning Trends in Private-Sector Colleges and Universities, Jeff Seaman, 2011
Sloan Consortium
U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado, 2012

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