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Online schools in Wyoming are offering virtual options to students with an interest in pursuing education without limitation of college or classroom site. Whether at the K-12 level, through a community college or through Wyoming's one university, distance learning in Wyoming is increasingly expanding in options.

Online Colleges in Wyoming

Online schools in Wyoming have become available at all levels, allowing students to become acquainted with a variety of subjects and technology, around the clock, from the comfort of their homes. The state's department of education has online schools in Wyoming in place that offer comprehensive academic programming.

The Wyoming Virtual Academy (www.k12.com) offers online kindergarten through 12th grade options. The state's major university and seven community colleges have also instituted online programs, enabling busy students to complete courses and even degree programs remotely. E-books, mobile devices and tablets are among the tools students pursuing online degrees in Wyoming are using to access information and participate in class.

The rate of growth in online enrollments remains robust, even as higher education enrollment overall has shown a decline, according to the 2012 survey of online learning "Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States," conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group. Approximately 32 percent of higher education students now take at least one course online, according to the survey, and 69.1 percent of the higher education institutions surveyed classify online learning as "critical" to their long-term strategies.

Trends in Online Schools in Wyoming

Changes in online schools in Wyoming are ongoing. The state government has provided grants to sustain schools, community colleges and university programs in their efforts. State school districts, community colleges and the University of Wyoming are eligible to apply for the Distance Education Grant, or DEG, offered through the Wyoming Department of Education. This grant reimburses an online school in Wyoming for course content design, creation and maintenance, as well as teacher training. Course accreditation and evaluation can also be covered through the grant, which is earmarked for online schooling in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services (wyomingatwork.com) website features links to free language and writing courses, as well as career exploration and development data. Students can also find links pointing them to open courseware offered through private colleges or state universities throughout the United States. Students interested in unique fields might also be interested to find that an online hunter training (wgfd.wyo.gov) program is offered in the state through the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Online College Degrees in Wyoming

The number of postsecondary institutions in Wyoming are somewhat limited. According to the Wyoming Department of Education, only one four-year college -- the University of Wyoming -- exists in the state, along with seven community colleges. At 97,914 square miles, Wyoming is the ninth largest state in the country, but the least populated of all 50 states. Online colleges in Wyoming can help prepare students to fill growing jobs in the state.

The state Department of Workforce Services (wyomingworkforce.org) reports the top four growing jobs in Wyoming and their estimated annual average corresponding wages for 2011 were truck drivers ($43,266), teaching assistants ($25,469), registered nurses ($60,929) and operating engineers and construction equipment operators ($47,929). Each of these jobs is expected to grow by at least 100 percent between 2011 and 2021. Students could prepare to qualify for some of these professions -- and many others growing in the state, according to the Department of Workforce Services -- through online schools in Wyoming.

A commercial driver's license is the most important qualification for truck drivers. Teaching assistants may need certificate-level training, and might later want to work toward becoming a teacher. Hospitals, meanwhile, require nurses to have postsecondary degrees in nursing -- from diplomas to master's degrees, depending on the level of responsibility. Companies and specialized schools train construction equipment operators to do their jobs.

Online Colleges in Wyoming

The University of Wyoming (uwyo.edu) claims to be the first university west of the Mississippi River to offer correspondence courses. For nearly a century, professors have also met with students, business owners, ranchers and farmers throughout the state to address their educational needs. Today, the University of Wyoming continues to be at the forefront of learning, with web-based instructional offerings. The university offers virtual degrees in business administration, education and nursing. Specific degree programs include a Bachelor of Business Administration, Executive MBA, Online Instruction Certificate and Master of Arts in Adult and Postsecondary Education. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science for Nurse Educator are also available.

Students can pursue online courses and degrees in Wyoming through the state's seven community colleges. Wyoming has consolidated its online courses offered in the state under a search function that can be done through a single website. Students can access all the courses available at the University of Wyoming and the state's seven community colleges through WyCLASS, the Wyoming Course Locator and Support Services website (wyclass.wy.edu). Delivery methods include interactive television, teleconference audio, telecourses and web conferencing.

Sources:
Sloan Consortium, Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States, 2012
State of Wyoming, Wyoming Information
Wyoming Department of Education, Distance Education Grant
WyCLASS
Wyoming Community Colleges
Wyoming Department of Workforce Services
Wyoming Distance Education Consortium
Wyoming Game & Fish Department, Hunter Education Online
Wyoming Virtual Academy
Wyomingatwork.com

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