Online Schools in Arizona
Trends in Arizona Online Schools
Students in Arizona who select online degree programs are part of a growing trend toward virtual learning. The nationwide 2011 Survey of Online Learning, conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group and shared in an infographic on the Sloan Consortium website, found more than 6 million postsecondary students enrolled in at least one online class in 2010. In addition, online enrollment accounted for nearly a third of all enrollments in the fall of 2010.
Virtual learning opportunities in Arizona attract students both from the state and beyond. Arizona State University reports that students in California are particularly interested in online degrees in Arizona. The school notes that the number of California students enrolled in Arizona State University's online programs has climbed recently.
College Degrees in Arizona
Online colleges in Arizona may help state residents gain access to the college education needed for many of the jobs projected to be on a growth pattern in the near future. According to the Lumina Foundation, only 34.4 percent of Arizona residents have at least a two-year degree, based on 2008 Census Bureau data; the foundation expects that number to increase to 38.8 percent by 2025. The Lumina Foundation expects 554,000 jobs in the state by that year to be available only to degree holders.
Data from the Chronicle of Higher Education indicates many Arizona residents enroll in a degree program but never finish. According to the organization, in 2010, only 31.9 percent of students enrolled in Arizona four-year public colleges graduated in four years. After six years, 57.1 percent of these students had earned a degree.
Students fail to complete their degree program for a variety of reasons. Online schools may address some of the challenges facing those who have difficulty maintaining a traditional campus course schedule. Online colleges in Arizona typically feature flexible scheduling, which make them a convenient option for busy students. Additionally, many programs can be completed while students work full- or part-time, a responsibility that can be a barrier to higher education for some.
Online College in Arizona
Students looking for online degrees in Arizona have many options. Arizona State University Online provides fully online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level, with graduate certificates as well. Degree programs range from film and media studies to an MBA for business professionals. The most popular studies for Arizona and California students, according to the university, are the bachelor's degree in liberal studies, bachelor's degree in psychology and degrees in criminal justice.
The University of Arizona Outreach College also offers graduate certificates and degrees available fully online. Graduate degrees are available in fields such as special education, systems engineering and nursing. Certificates span engineering, fine arts and public health among other areas.
Career Outlook for College Graduates in Arizona
Arizona employed more than 2.3 million workers in 2011 according to 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov). The BLS reports that office and administrative support, sales and food preparation were the three largest industries during that year, while education, transportation and health care were also major employers in the state. Across all occupations, the BLS calculated a mean annual wage for Arizona workers of $43,670 in 2011.
The Arizona Department of Administration projects the largest employment gains from 2011 to 2013 occurring in educational and health services; leisure and hospitality; and trade, transportation and utilities. Educational and health services alone are expected to add 21,800 jobs during the 2011-2013 period. Degrees such as nursing and health sciences can introduce students to these growing fields.