Online colleges in Alabama are an excellent choice for many students. The state is working hard to keep its students ahead of the curve.
In Alabama, the state education system offers online learning opportunities to public high school students through a program called Alabama Connecting Classrooms, Educators, and Students Statewide (ACCESS).
ACCESS familiarizes students with the virtual classroom concept, which offers them a leg up should they choose to pursue an online postsecondary degree program.
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As with online colleges in Alaska, state policymakers in Alabama have demonstrated they are investing in education and making sure students are prepared for the future of online learning.
Online Colleges in Alabama
Many of the top colleges in Alabama offer online degrees. Alabama online universities offer the choice of fully online degree programs, including certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs. Programs like these make it easier for adults to return to college while still balancing full-time jobs and family commitments.
In Alabama, you may select a hybrid of online and on-campus classes or enroll in a fully online degree program. These are available through the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) or through public or private institutions around the state.
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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), approximately 29% of Alabama undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in exclusively online college programs. Almost another 29% are enrolled in a mixture of online and on-campus classes.
Common Online Degrees in Alabama
Online universities in Alabama offer a selection of degrees with the potential to further your career. The following are some of the most common programs available at Alabama schools and what they typically entail.
- Business Administration: Common topics of study for this degree are accounting, finance, marketing, and office technology. Having a bachelor’s degree can qualify you to pursue a variety of management positions.
- Computer and Information Science: This degree field explores computer hardware and the software systems that make computer systems run. The curriculum for this degree can prepare you to pursue various tech-related jobs. You might become a network support specialist, a web developer, or a computer systems analyst.
- Education: College programs in education are often taken in preparation for a career as an elementary or secondary teacher. After taking classes in teaching methods, instructional design, and learning disabilities, the program typically requires the completion of a teaching practicum. Teaching jobs typically require state licensure as well, which many education programs can prepare you for.
- Nursing: Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs explore topics such as the human body, healthcare systems, and methods of diagnosis and treatment. This course of study can help prepare you to take industry exams and become licensed as a registered nurse (RN).
- Psychology: Learning how people think and act could provide valuable insight into relationships, communication, and leadership. Getting a psychology degree might qualify you to work in human resources, criminal justice, social services, or another field.
While these degrees are pretty easy to find at online Alabama colleges, they’re not the only options. If you’re interested in another area of study, you can look around to see if there’s an Alabama school offering that program.
Overview of Higher Education in Alabama
If you’re looking for an Alabama online degree, you’ll find 60 degree-granting institutions to consider, according to a report from the NCES. Of those, 37 are public, 19 are non-profits, and 4 are for-profits.
As you consider online universities in Alabama, tuition costs may be an important factor.
NCES reported that the average cost of tuition and fees for one year at a 4 year public institution is $10,617 for in-state students and $27,005 for out-of-state students. The out-of-state tuition cost is slightly lower than the national average.
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Alabama is also a member of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). This program allows qualifying residents to pursue out-of-state college degrees at in-state tuition rates, through agreements among the participating states.
Employment Outlook for College Graduates in Alabama
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama has a little over 2 million people employed. In general, job growth in Alabama may be slow over the coming years.
Students who want the most career opportunities might want to look into some of the state’s largest industries, since more jobs may be available in those areas. The top sectors include production, sales, transportation, and healthcare.
The median annual salary in Alabama is $38,480. It’s a bit higher in some metropolitan areas. For example, in the Birmingham-Hoover area, the median income is $40,580.
Even still, salaries in Alabama are generally lower than the national average, which is $46,300.
Careers & Salaries in Alabama
There are a wide variety of industries for prospective college students to consider when choosing online degree programs in Alabama.
One key employment sector is healthcare, and the state employs many registered nurses. You could potentially enter that field with a nursing bachelor’s degree.
Computer-related careers also offer a good number of employment opportunities in Alabama. Software developers, one career in this field, are typically paid very well.
A business degree could lead to various careers. Many people are employed as general or operations managers. Accounting and customer service are other popular Alabama options. Sales jobs are available too. Representatives are especially needed for selling services and wholesale goods.
Teaching elementary school is just one example of Alabama’s jobs in education. There are also positions in middle and high schools.
Many people in Alabama go into criminal justice. It’s common to start a law enforcement career as a patrol officer.
Petroleum engineering is one of the more unique job opportunities in Alabama. This job category has a limited number of Alabama employees, but it offers noteworthy average wages.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some common Alabama industries along with their average salaries in the state.
|Annual Median Salaries
|General and Operations Managers
|Accountants and Auditors
|Business Operations Specialists
|Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
|Sales Representatives, Services
|Customer Service Representatives
These figures were calculated by multiplying the hourly median wage by 2,080 hours, which is commonly considered a full-time, year-round work schedule. Specific salaries and job availability are dependent upon a variety of factors, including education, work experience, and location.
Alabama Online Colleges Admissions Requirements
While admissions requirements vary from school to school, when applying to an online university in Alabama, you’ll face similar admission requirements to those at other schools around the country.
Common things required include:
- ACT or SAT scores (not needed at all schools)
- High school transcripts or GED certificate
- Letters of reference from people who know you well
- Personal essay that showcases your writing abilities and tells the school about you
In addition, you’ll need to fill out a form, and you might have to pay an application fee.
AL Online Colleges Accreditation
It is generally established that the best online colleges in Alabama hold regional accreditation.
The regional accrediting association for Alabama is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). This regional accreditor evaluates colleges in the Alabama area to ensure that they meet respected standards of education.
Regionally accredited degrees from Alabama universities are typically recognized all around the country. Regionally accredited coursework may transfer from one college to another, or it may qualify you for graduate studies.
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Accredited degrees are typically more recognized by potential employers as well, which can help you secure a desirable job.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Typically, the first step to securing financial assistance for any Alabama college is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will be used to determine your access to federal, state, and even some private funds.
The FAFSA is available starting October 1 of the year before you plan to attend, and money is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so it’s important to fill it out right away.
In addition to the federal aid programs open to all US residents, Alabama residents have exclusive access to the following grant programs:
- Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP): Almost all schools in Alabama participate in this program. It provides need-based aid equaling $300-$5,000 to qualifying applicants. You can apply by filling out the FAFSA.
- Alabama Student Grant Program: This program is participated in by 13 Alabama institutions. It provides up to $1,200 per year to chosen applicants. You can obtain an application through the financial aid offices at participating schools.
- Alabama National Guard Education Assistance Program: This program is for active members of the Alabama National Guard. It provides need-based aid of up to $2,000 per year.
- Police Officer’s and Firefighters Survivors Educational Assistance Program (POFSEAP): This program covers the tuition, fees, books, and supplies of dependents and spouses of Alabama police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
You can also check sites like Fastweb.com for other forms of financial aid that don’t have to be repaid. There are thousands of scholarship possibilities to discover, including those open to all US residents, students living in the southern states, students of a specified race, religion, or gender, and so on.
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You can also look for scholarships only open to residents of Alabama or students wishing to attend school in Alabama, such as these:
- Alabama Home Builders Foundation Scholarship: Varies
- CollegeCounts Scholarship Program: $4,000
- Linly Heflin Scholarship: $7,000 per year
- The David Womack Memorial Alabama LGBT Scholarship: $1,000
There are also numerous scholarships and grants offered through individual Alabama institutions, both need-based and merit-based. You can check with the financial aid office at the school of your choice to see what financial aid you qualify for!
Alabama Online Education Resources
As you get ready to start an online college program in Alabama, you may wish to take advantage of the various resources available in this state.
- Alabama Community College System (ACCS): The state’s community colleges offer 2 year degrees as well as coursework that transfers into 4 year universities.
- AlabamaWorks!: This website offers information about job opportunities and Alabama industries.
- Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE): The ACHE provides information about colleges in the state, funding opportunities, and college majors.
These resources can help you make smart decisions about going back to school and pursuing a career in Alabama.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to an Online College in Alabama?
The cost of an Alabama university online degree varies by school. Various factors influence the cost. For example, public universities usually cost less than private ones, and in-state students may pay less than out-of-state students.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in-state students pay, on average, $10,617 per year for tuition and fees at public 4 year universities in Alabama. The average cost for out-of-state students is $27,005.
Alabama’s 2 year public colleges cost less, on average. For private colleges, the average tuition cost is $17,354.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Attending one of the state’s public universities is usually cheaper for Alabama residents than for residents of other states. There are some exceptions to that, though.
Alabama belongs to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). One of this organization’s benefits is the Academic Common Market. Through this program, you might be able to get in-state tuition at an Alabama college.
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There are specific qualifications that must be followed. For one thing, you must live in an SREB member state. Also, you must be pursuing a degree program that’s not available from one of your own state’s schools.
What Jobs Are in High Demand in Alabama?
As a general rule, job growth in Alabama is slow compared to the country as a whole. Even still, certain industries in Alabama are experiencing tremendous job growth.
Based on data from the Alabama Department of Labor, they include:
- Home health aides: 38.62% growth
- Transportation inspectors: 38.46% growth
- Aircraft mechanics and service technicians: 38.11% growth
- Avionics technicians: 36.98% growth
- Physician assistants: 36.66% growth
You may want to consider getting your college education in one of these high-demand fields.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Alabama?
Going to college can be an investment, but a high-paying job could be the payoff. If a good salary is a top priority for you, you may want to consider one of Alabama’s top-paying jobs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the most lucrative job categories in the state:
- Family Medicine Physicians: $204,960
- Dentists: $204,130
- Nurse Anesthetists: $177,400
- Architectural and Engineering Managers: $138,050
- Chief Executives: $136,930
These figures a based on the median annual wages for these careers in Alabama. The specific salary you earn will be dependent upon a number of factors, including your location, education, work experience, employer, and more.
List of Online Colleges in Alabama
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Alabama A&M University offers online degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Some courses may also be taught in a hybrid format.
Potential programs include computer science, pre-elementary education, and business administration. Courses typically follow a regular semester schedule and commonly start in the fall, spring, and summer.
Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Alabama State University offers online degree programs through several of its academic departments, including the Colleges of Education, Business Administration, Health Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
Undergrad degrees include a BS in Marketing and a BS in Psychology. ASU also offers master’s in fields like elementary education and rehabilitation counseling. The school offers doctorates in the fields of educational leadership, microbiology, and physical therapy.
Alabama State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Amridge University’s online degree programs are designed for people who plan to work while furthering their education. The college has a Christian focus and has offered online programs since 1993.
The university is entirely online and offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in fields like business, education, and theology.
Amridge University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award degrees.
Athens State University is unique in that it only admits transfer students. Students may be adult learners returning to get their degrees or current students who have completed some undergraduate coursework.
Undergraduate degrees are offered in accounting, criminal justice, healthcare management, and more. Graduate degrees include religious studies, career tech education, and interdisciplinary studies.
Athens State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Auburn University offers distance learning and continuing education programs to serve a larger student base. Programs include undergraduate, graduate, professional credit, and personal enrichment.
Undergrad degrees are offered in computer science, business administration, and more. Graduate degrees are offered in aerospace engineering, special education, and more. Professional credit programs are designed to help students meet requirements for distinction or licensing in their field.
Auburn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Auburn University at Montgomery offers completely online and hybrid programs. Hybrid programs require students to come to campus once a week. Incoming freshmen are offered free laptops when they enroll.
The school offers programs for certificates and degrees from bachelor’s to doctorates. Degree options include a BS in Nursing and an MS in Elementary Education.
Auburn University at Montgomery is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Columbia Southern University offers over 50 online associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Potential areas of study include business administration, criminal justice, cybersecurity, healthcare management, homeland security, and occupational safety.
Courses are typically 8 weeks long, and there are usually several start dates each year. Previously earned college credits may be transferred into some programs.
Columbia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Faulkner University is a Christian liberal arts college offering online degrees. Students attending Faulkner may pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees.
Some of the degrees offered online by Faulkner are a Bachelor’s in Sports Psychology, a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies, and a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. Some of the master’s degrees offered include a Master’s in Justice Administration and a Master’s in School Counseling.
The school also offers doctorate degrees in biblical studies, humanities, and health sciences.
Faulkner University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Jacksonville State University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in several fields and select microcredentials, graduate certificates, and doctorates that can be earned online.
Undergraduate programs are offered in emergency management, sociology, and more. Master’s degrees are offered in fields like education, history, public administration, and more. All courses are completely online. Online courses have the same professors and distinctions as in-person courses.
Jacksonville State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Oakwood University offers online bachelor’s degree programs through its LEAP program in church leadership, organizational management, and general studies. The programs are intended for degree completion and previously earned general education credits are required.
These programs may be completed in just 18 months.
Oakwood University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Samford University offers a Christian-centered online education. While courses may be taken online, online students also have opportunities for on-campus experiences.
Samford’s offerings include nationally recognized graduate programs in education, nursing, legal studies, and business. Undergraduates can earn a BA in Liberal Studies or a BA in Organizational Leadership.
Samford University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Spring Hill College strives to create an enriching experience that goes beyond video lectures for its online learners. The school uses a variety of methods to deliver a more authentic college experience.
Offered programs include bachelor’s degrees in entrepreneurship and sports management, master’s degrees in nursing and theology, and an accelerated MBA. Certificates and professional development opportunities are also available.
Spring Hill College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Talladega College offers bachelor’s degree programs online through its FastTrack program in areas such as business management, CIS, criminal justice, and psychology. Classes are often taught in sequential modules.
The minimum age for acceptance is 23 years old and at least 45 college credits must have been previously earned. Credit for prior learning may be granted.
Talladega College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Troy University’s programs have five start dates throughout the year and 9 week terms. Troy offers support to help their online students be successful in their chosen programs.
Troy has 109 completely online degree programs. Bachelor’s degrees are offered in human services, graphic design, cyber security, and more. Master’s programs are offered in criminology, gifted education, and kinesiology, to name a few.
Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tuskegee University’s degree programs are entirely online. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and personal enrichment programs.
Undergraduate options include a BS or BA in Liberal Studies and a BS in Veterinary or Animal Science. Graduate options include an MS in Animal Science, Environmental Science, or Environmental Management.
Tuskegee University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama’s online degree program is designed to fit the schedules of students who already have jobs and families. It is also recognized as one of the state’s military friendly online colleges.
Degree types offered include bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctorate. UA offers bachelor’s degrees in fields like food and nutrition and hospitality management. The school also offers master’s degrees in fields like marketing and mechanical engineering.
The University of Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama—Birmingham offers completely online and blended degrees. Classes run for a full term or for 7 week sessions. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s programs, UAB also offers certificates and minors.
Students can earn a BS in fields like finance, information systems, and psychology. Graduate students can earn a Master’s in Biotechnology or Optometry.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Alabama—Huntsville offers 23 online programs. Some courses are entirely online, while others are hybrid.
Most of the programs are at the graduate level, but the school does offer BS and BA degrees in professional studies, leadership strategies, and organizational Studies. Graduate degrees are offered in civil engineering, nursing, and more.
The University of Alabama – Huntsville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Mobile is a Christian-focused college with online programs that are 8 weeks long. UM’s goal is to help students discover God’s purpose for them.
The school offers BS degrees in nursing, Christian ministry, and psychology. Master’s programs are offered in music performance, biblical and theological studies, education, and more. Courses are either entirely online or hybrid.
The University of Mobile is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Montevallo is a Quality Matters member to ensure their programs offer a quality online experience. UM was also named one of Alabama’s best schools by EDsmart.
While the school doesn’t offer online undergraduate programs, it does offer online classes, such as Accounting and Introduction to Black Culture. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, instructional leadership, and more.
The University of Montevallo is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
At the University of North Alabama, the degrees earned by online students are the same degrees as those earned by on-campus students in the same programs. The online programs are also taught by the same faculty members as those on campus.
The school offers undergraduate online degree programs in fields like political science, history, and applied health science. Graduate degrees include an MAEd in Collaborative Special Education and an MS in Applied Manufacturing Engineering. UNA offers a New Start scholarship for first-time students.
The University of North Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of South Alabama designs online courses to fit busy schedules, particularly those with families, working professionals, and military members.
Undergraduate students can pursue a BA or BS in Interdisciplinary Studies or an RN-to-BSN degree. Graduate students can choose between several MEd degrees, an MSN in Nursing, or a Master of Accounting.
The University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of West Alabama offers over 70 degrees and certificates at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
Bachelor’s degrees are offered in marketing, psychology, and more. Students can pursue master’s degrees in fields like school counseling and conservation biology. Specialist degrees are available for students in education fields. Doctoral programs are offered in rural business, rural education, and more.
The University of West Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your College Degree in Alabama Online
Alabama offers many college opportunities for both in-state and out-of-state students. Getting a college degree could help set you up for success in a growing or high-paying line of work.
Some of the top sectors in Alabama include healthcare, business administration, technology, and sales. One of those areas might catch your interest, or you might want to pursue another line of work.
Whatever sort of degree you choose, it is important to consider the opportunities that online Alabama schools may offer you. You could potentially earn an accredited college degree while also experiencing the freedom of studying when and where it works for you.