Online Schools in Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri, is often called "gateway to the West," but the entire state is working toward providing a gateway to higher education. Preparing students for college is a statewide priority in Missouri, and this is reflected in the state's legislation. Since it was passed in 1993, Missouri's A+ Schools Program has bolstered secondary education standards and worked toward preparing students to pursue a college degree.
Trends in Missouri Online Schools
One benefit of the A+ Program is that it increases accessibility: Because they can work toward a college degree via online schools in Missouri, students even in rural areas miles away from campus can now take college classes using the click of a mouse. National research from the Sloan Consortium indicates that more than half of private-sector colleges and universities in the U.S. have included online learning in their long-term education strategies, and this trend is reflected in Missouri colleges. As of December 2012, the University of Missouri offers more than 80 online degree programs and nearly 600 courses, evidence that online courses are on their way toward becoming a mainstream option both at Missouri's flagship university and across the state.
The cost of online degrees in Missouri rate favorably when compared with the price of online degrees in the rest of the nation. According to recent figures from the College Board as reported by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, statewide tuition rates are below the national average in all sectors: public 2-year colleges, public 4-year universities and private 4-year schools. Tuition increases at Missouri's public 4-year schools have also fallen below the national average for several consecutive years, a development that may also extend to online schools in Missouri.
Online degrees are offered at a variety of institutions throughout the state, including Washington University in St. Louis, which was ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Best Colleges list. The research university is associated with Barnes- Jewish Hospital -- Missouri's largest hospital -- and has embraced the future by expanding its academic programs to include both fully online and hybrid classes.
College Degrees in Missouri
Online colleges in Missouri benefit from generous funding for student-focused services, like reasonable tuition prices. The state's job market could also play a role in the growth of Missouri's online schools. According to data provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, a majority of the fastest-growing jobs in Missouri -- many in the life sciences field -- require some formal training, certification or college degree. The top 10 fastest-growing occupations in Missouri, based on 2008-18 projections, include the following:
- Biomedical engineers
- Home health aides
- Biochemists and biophysicists
- Personal care aides
- Athletic trainers
- Financial examiners
- Medical scientists
- Self-enrichment education teachers
- Veterinary technologists and technicians
- Pharmacy technicians
The most recent census figures reveal that only one quarter (25.4 percent) of Missourians hold a bachelor's degree or higher. Earning an online degree in Missouri could provide one way to break away from the competition and work toward a career in one of the state's fast-growing occupations.
Missouri Colleges Online
In addition to Mizzou and Washington University, Central Methodist University in Fayetteville, Missouri, offers online degrees, in fields including business, child development, psychology and more. The school works to make online learning in Missouri especially accessible by starting new courses every eight weeks and offering online education readiness resources to students.
Southeast Missouri State University, a public institution based in Cape Girardeau, offers three forms of courses for its online degree-seeking students: online, webinar and blended courses, affording students the opportunity to create a customized education experience. SEMO's RN to BSN Online Program may be helpful to nurses looking to advance in Missouri's growing life sciences and medical sectors.
Aspiring students may also choose to research private online colleges in Missouri and explore the various degrees and programs available.
Missouri Department of Higher Education, Media Fact Sheet, 2012, http://www.dhe.mo.gov/documents/MediaFactSheet8-14-12.pdf
Missouri Department of Higher Education, A+ Scholarship Program, 2013, http://dhe.mo.gov/ppc/grants/aplusscholarship.php
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, http://www.missourieconomy.org/
Missouri State Government, http://www.mo.gov/
Missouri QuickFacts, U.S. Census, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/29000.html