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Nevada may face a significant college graduation gap by 2025 unless the state produces hundreds of thousands of college graduates. That's where education at online colleges in Nevada can come in: distance-learning education can put academics right in reach of students' fingertips.

Online Colleges in Nevada

October 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau (census.gov) shows that college graduates can earn more during their lifetime than non-college graduates. In a state that's all about odds, those may be pretty convincing numbers. Nevada is turning to online education as a way to help meet the education needs of its residents, some of whom may work in the 24/7 tourism sector or seek alternatives to attending classes at brick-and-mortar schools.

Nevada online education now starts at the high school level with the Beacon Academy of Nevada (banv.org), a virtual statewide public charter school that is open to any resident of Nevada of school age. Classes include video clips and speech-to-text -- the ability to have texts on the screen read aloud -- and many other innovative technological features. From young performers in Las Vegas production shows to students in remote desert areas, an online education has revolutionized the way students can access schooling. This choice extends to the college level, with plenty of online schools in Nevada available to provide a truly location-independent education.

Trends in Nevada Online Schools

The Nevada System of Higher Education has created a convenient online course catalog, which combines all online classes offered through its public institutions, including the College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College. It also includes the state's flagship universities, the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In addition to online education offerings, hybrid education is also growing in popularity in Nevada. According to a July 2012 article in Nevada Business (nevadabusiness.com), nearly 40 percent of Nevada State College students are enrolled in online or hybrid classes.

Individuals throughout the state of Nevada are returning to school in higher numbers than at pre-recession times. According to a March 2012 report by the Instructional Technology Council (itcnetwork.org), online enrollment at community colleges continued to rise in 2011. The 8.2 percent growth in 2011 is significant, especially when contrasted with nearly flat enrollment in traditional classrooms. Nevada community colleges are no exception, as they are offering an increased selection of online classes. For instance, the online campus of the College of Southern Nevada, which uses the ANGEL learning management software, enrolls some 10,000 students in 400 courses each semester.

College Degrees in Nevada

According to the non-profit Lumina Foundation (luminafoundation.org), 54 percent of Nevada jobs should require a college degree by 2018, but currently only 29.5 percent of Nevada adults hold at least a two-year degree. This means that by 2025, Nevada may have to award some 476,796 additional degrees in order to meet the demands of the marketplace. Online education may certainly be a part of the answer, allowing students who cannot attend traditional universities to take classes at online colleges in Nevada on their own time.

The availability of online schools in Nevada can also lead to a significant educational paradigm shift, as students realize that they can both keep their job and seek an education at the same time. According to CareerOneStop, a website operated by the U.S. Department of Labor, some of the fastest-growing occupations in Nevada requiring a four-year degree include those for industrial engineers, medical and health services managers and technical writers. An online school in Nevada could be helpful to any student wishing to pursue coursework in one of these fields, or any others that might be projected to be highest paying or have the largest employment.

Online Colleges in Nevada

The Online Adult Degree Completion Program at Sierra Nevada College (sierranevada.edu) is designed for students who seek the flexibility of an online program provided by a liberal arts college. Its unique hybrid program requires students to have earned 45 credits from other colleges before participating in any of its available courses. Sierra Nevada College also offers a hybrid master's degree program in either elementary or secondary education. Many of the core classes in this program are made available online or at a satellite campus location.

The University of Nevada, Reno (unr.edu) offers more than 200 online courses each year. Nevada students can earn credits toward their degree, or pursue certificates and minors offered online. The university also offers several fully-online degrees, such as a master of education in literacy studies, an online executive masters in business administration (launched in 2011), and a doctorate in nursing practice. In southern Nevada, the College of Southern Nevada (csn.edu) offers a wide selection of online programs, degrees and certificates, including, among others, a certificate in online teaching, an associate of arts in criminal justice, an associate of arts in applied science in accounting, and a bachelor of science in dental hygiene.

Sources:
College of Southern Nevada, About the CSN Online Campus
College of Southern Nevada Online Campus Facts
Instructional Technology Council, 2011 Distance Education Survey Results, 2012
Lumina Foundation, Nevada
Nevada Business, "Learning Something New: Executive Education in Nevada", 2012
Nevada System of Higher Education, Distance Education Online Course Catalog
Sierra Nevada College, Online Adult Degree Completion
University of Nevada, Reno, Online Learning
United States Census Bureau, Work-Life Earnings by Field of Degree and Occupation for People With a Bachelor's Degree: 2011, 2012

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