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Providing an online education in Mississippi is a growing interest, as the state aims to increase the number of students earning advanced education degrees. Find out what Mississippi is doing to make it easier to get your degree online.

Online Colleges in Mississippi

As the economy begins to rebound, some say the need for advanced skills through a college degree is increasing; competition for many high-paying jobs is growing, but some students and prospective students find themselves unable to attend traditional campus classes. The world of online colleges is continuing to expand, and online schools in Mississippi are part of that trend. Most major universities in the state offer online education opportunities.

The state has created the Mississippi Virtual Public School, in part to assist students who wish to take advanced placement courses and to offer courses that are not available in a student's local high school. The goal is to help students with college preparation, further encouraging the goal of attaining a college degree. A 2012 study by the Sloan Consortium (sloanconsortium.org) reports that 69.1 percent of chief academic leaders in the U.S. believe online learning is critical to their school's long-term strategy, the highest in the 10 years the study has been published.

Trends in Mississippi Online Schools

According to the Lumina Foundation, (luminafoundation.org) Mississippi is slightly behind the nationwide average in terms of the number of residents with a two-year or four-year degree. Approximately 29.9 percent of the state's residents had degrees, while the national average is 38.3 percent. The state is working to increase its number of graduates, and online colleges in Mississippi can help that effort.

One way online schools in Mississippi can help is through the Mississippi Virtual Community College, which is a consortium of 15 of the state's community colleges that allows students to take classes from any of the online schools in Mississippi regardless of where they live, all while receiving support from a local school. According to the MVCC website, enrollment has grown from more than 1,300 students in 2000 to about 20,000 each semester currently.

College Degrees in Mississippi

Mississippi ranks 46th in the nation in terms of the number of residents who have college degrees, according to the Lumina Foundation. The national goal, set by the nonprofit foundation for the year 2025, is for 60 percent of the population to hold a college degree. However, the Mississippi figure is projected to be just 37.4 percent by 2025. At the same time, the foundation predicts that by 2018, 54 percent of all jobs will require a college credential, while Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce (cec.georgetown.edu) projects 66 percent of all U.S. employment will require such a degree.

The state has its work cut out for it, and online colleges in Mississippi are assisting the effort. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), some of the leading industries in Mississippi include business administration and health care. Online colleges in Mississippi offer a variety of online degrees in these disciplines, including bachelor's and master's degrees in health care administration and several MBA programs.

For prospective online students, it's worth noting that the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (mdes.ms.gov) predicts engineering fields and personal training careers to experience the highest growth in the state between now and 2018. The number of athletic trainers is expected to grow 37 percent, while industrial engineers should see an increase of 35 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, earning a degree in either field could put a student's potential earning average near the top of the state's median income earned.

Online College in Mississippi

Many of the state's four-year institutions of higher education offer online degree coursework. The University of Mississippi (online.olemiss.edu) offers students the chance to earn online degrees such as a Master's of Health Care of Administration and professional Master's of Business Administration. Many of the school's online classes allow students to go at their own pace, with regular "attendance" via coursework required, and some instructors require students to attend scheduled online chats with the entire class or one to two face-to-face meetings with the instructor. Many classes also require at least one exam.

Some other schools offering online degrees in Mississippi include The University of Mississippi Medical Center, with online degrees available in such disciplines as nursing (Nursing and Health Care Administrator) post-MSN certification, health informatics and information management (BS), nursing BSN (RN to BSN), physical therapy DPT (BPT to DPT/MPT to DPT) and health administration DHA. At Jackson State University, students can earn such advanced online degrees as a Master's of Business Administration or Master's of Arts in Teaching (jsumonline.com).

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce
Jackson State University Online Programs
Lumina Foundation
Mississippi Department of Employment Security
Mississippi Virtual Community College
University of Mississippi
Sloan Consortium

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