Online Schools in Texas
The Texas Education Agency, or TEA, is supporting the growth of online schools in Texas through what it calls a "coordinated, statewide approach." This includes supporting programs that are already in place, as well as backing online learning and technological advances expected to impact the space in the future, according to the Vision 2020 plan.
The TEA currently oversees the Texas Virtual School Network, which is available to all Texas high school students and offers regular coursework, Advanced Placement classes, and dual credit courses that can lead to both high school and college credit. As of 2010, regular coursework offered in the network included Algebra I and II, world history, health education, and German I and II. AP coursework, designed to give students a jump start on college credits, was offered in subjects like U.S. history, government and politics, and physics. The Vision 2020 plan lays out a road map for further usage of networking and technology in the state's school system, further aiding Texan students along the pathway to higher education whether at a campus-based or online college in Texas.
College Degrees in Texas
Strong students have a special incentive to attend college in Texas. The state has a "Top 10 percent" law that requires public state universities and colleges to grant automatic admission to any applicant who graduated in the top 10 percent of his or her high-school class in the last two years. This program, administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, is part of a broader Texas initiative to ensure underrepresented populations have access to higher education. Many of the colleges and universities in Texas' public state higher-education system offer online learning options that could further make a college education attainable for these high-performing students.
According to Every Chance, Every Texan, the Jobs and Education for Texans program, which launched in 2009, helps provide grants to college students working towards a technical education that could help them find a job in one of the state's fast-growing fields, such as computer support, allied health care, nursing, or high-tech manufacturing. To date, more than 50 of the state's public community colleges and vocational schools have received scholarship money for students.
Online Colleges in Texas
Colleges in Texas offer a wide variety of online courses and degree programs. Students looking for grants under the state's "Every Chance Every Texan" program can turn to community colleges such as Dallas County Community College to find associate degrees offered full-time online in the arts, business, information technology, marketing and many other subjects. The state's largest school, the University of Texas, coordinates the various undergraduate, graduate and non-program courses offered through its various campuses via its UT Online Consortium.
Texas A&M offers career-focused master's degrees and certificates that can be pursued online. Texas State University offers a number of online courses to its students as part of its hybrid education offerings. Other well-known schools in the lone star state offer a variety of online degree programs that can help bring education to students who can't attend a traditional school because of logistical challenges and conflicting commitments: Texas Tech and the University of North Texas are two of the most recognizable. In addition to a wide choice of online programs offered by traditional colleges based in Texas, there are a number of national schools that also offer fully online programs in Texas.
Career Outlook in Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage earned by workers in the state was $43,090 as of May 2012. The Texas work force is more than 10 million people strong and many jobs are projected to maintain healthy wages between 2010 and 2020. These include jobs for actuaries, computer and information systems managers, marketing managers and many others. What most of these and many other occupations have in common is that they require some form of post-secondary education.
Every Chance, Every Texan, http://www.everychanceeverytexan.org/
May 2012 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates - Texas, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm#00-0000
Texas Education Agency, http://www.tea.state.tx.us/