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Massachusetts, one of the most highly-educated states in the country, is home to some of the most well-known and oldest universities in the country, and the state is once again at the forefront of education -- online this time. Read on for educational opportunities and online colleges in Massachusetts.

Online Colleges in Massachusetts

Historically, Massachusetts has led the way in terms of university education for the entire nation, starting with the founding of the oldest university in the country (which dates back to 1636) and one of the most venerable institutions on the planet: Harvard University. However, in the last few decades education has been taken to the next level, enabling students from urban and remote areas to access world-class education through online opportunities.

Massachusetts colleges and universities are once again leading the nation in the latest egalitarian education development, which is truly revolutionary. Harvard University (harvard.edu) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit.edu) recently launched edX (edx.org), a universally-praised platform that offers free Ivy League classes to students located around the world. Popular classes run the gamut from the humanities to high-tech and even include Artificial Intelligence, The Challenges of Global Poverty, The Ancient Greek Hero, Software as a Service, Justice and Circuits and Electronics

However, full degrees cannot be obtained through edX. Read on for information on finding the certificate or degree program that can help you to succeed in the marketplace at one of many Massachusetts online colleges. You could join the roughly 350,000 undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in on-campus and online Massachusetts colleges and universities. Even though it is a small state, it is home to 200 institutions of higher education, offering a number of online colleges in Massachusetts to choose from.

Trends in Massachusetts Online Schools

Massachusetts Colleges Online (mco.mass.edu) is a consortium of 15 community colleges and nine state colleges in Massachusetts, including Mass College of Liberal Arts, Cape Cod Community College, Middlesex Community College, and Bristol Community Colleges. Students apply to the school of their choice and can take convenient online classes from any of these Massachusetts institutions. Degrees, certificates and diplomas are awarded by the student's chosen university and include basic web page development, computer forensics, fire protection and safety technology, law enforcement certificate, and many more.

Endicott College (endicott.edu), a private institution, is at the forefront of so-called hybrid degree programs, which include an on-campus component and online assignments, syllabuses and student interaction. Endicott College launched its online program a decade ago and uses GullNet, a user-friendly learning management system. The college also offers a truly innovative MBA for Experienced Professionals, which combines several complete on-campus classes with a number of fully-online classes.

Online College Degrees in Massachusetts

According to a report issued through the Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training (web.detma.org), jobs for more educated and highly-skilled workers are projected to grow much faster than jobs for minimally-skilled workers between 2006 and 2016. In fact, 60 percent of the more than 216,650 projected net new jobs should require an associate degree or higher. The current rate of college graduates in Massachusetts is already one of the highest in the nation, at 50.54 percent, according to the non-profit Lumina Foundation (luminafoundation.org) The state's goal is to have a workforce composed of at least 60 percent college graduates who have a two-year degree or higher.

According to the same Massachusetts Job Outlook report, 11 out of the 20 fastest-growing industries in Massachusetts are concentrated in health care and information technologies, followed by life sciences. Many positions in these industries require at least a two-year degree. This is where online colleges in Massachusetts could prove beneficial. The paper also shows that by 2016 another 768,330 jobs will need to be filled just because of people retiring or switching careers. The study notes that those having more education and the relevant skills could find access to jobs and higher-paying ones at that.

Online Colleges in Massachusetts

You might remember Bunker Hill Community College (bhcc.mass.edu) from the prominent role it played in the film "Good Will Hunting." Away from the big screen, this real-life community college and vocational school offers a wide variety of online classes and degree programs, including online certificates in computer forensics and law enforcement, as well as associate degrees in English, communications, psychology and government. Bunker Hill Community College offers a variety of different formats, such as web courses, hybrid courses, streaming media courses, and virtual courses through the web.

The well-respected University of Massachusetts (umassonline.net), also known as UMass, offers a fantastic selection of accredited online bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, including a graduate certificate in victims studies, a Bachelor of Science in information technology, a Master of Science in gerontology, a certificate in clinical pathology, and many more. These degrees and certificates can help prepare graduates for Massachusetts' fastest growing industries: health care, social assistance, professional services and scientific services.

According to March 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), the mean annual wage for some fast-growing positions that require at least a two-year degree are: $79,650 for diagnostic medical sonographers, $73,910 for speech-language pathologists and $90,690 for computer network architects. In addition to obtaining online degrees at one of the many respected bricks-and-mortar Massachusetts universities, students also have the option of pursuing their studies at entirely online colleges in Massachusetts, such as Kaplan University, Capella University or Liberty University, which offers more than 110 online degrees.

Sources:
Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, Fast Facts about Higher Education in Massachusetts
Bunker Hill Community College
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, 2011
Endicott College
EdX
Liberty University
Lumina Foundation
National Center for Education Statistics, Fast Facts
Massachusetts Colleges Online
Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training, The Massachusetts Job Outlook through 2016, 2006
University of Massachusetts

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