Online Colleges in Alaska

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The online colleges in Alaska offer a robust selection of degree programs and some of the lowest tuition rates in the country.

Online Colleges in Alaska

Although Alaska is known for snow and frigid temperatures, it has a lot to offer when it comes to higher education.

Even with its typically low tuition rates, Alaska also offers many grant and scholarship opportunities. It even participates in an exchange program with other northeastern states to help students avoid high out-of-state tuition costs.

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If you’re thinking about pursuing a postsecondary degree in Alaska, you can check out all the Alaska universities and savings that may be in store for you.

Online Colleges in Alaska

University campus in Alaska offering Online Colleges Degree

You don’t have to be an Alaska resident to know that the state is cold and snowy most of the time. Conditions like these can make it difficult or even impossible for college students to get to campus for classes, so online degree options are a popular option.

Many Alaska universities offer students 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.

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According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), approximately 48% of Alaska’s students are enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. Nearly another 31% are enrolled in hybrid programs, which combine online learning with on-campus learning.

Only 21% of Alaska’s higher-education students choose to learn exclusively on campus.

Common Online Degrees in Alaska

Man taking Online College in Alaska

Whether you’re unable to commute to a university in Alaska or want to earn a degree from a postsecondary institution in Alaska as an out-of-state student, an online degree in Alaska may be a viable option for you.

These are some common online degree programs offered in Alaska and what they typically entail:

  • Biological Sciences: This field involves the study of living things and the environment. It can help you develop an understanding of the natural world and environmental issues. It is often taken in preparation for careers in environmental management, agriculture, and ecology.
  • Business Administration and Management: This degree field explores the basic principles and practices of business and management. It can help you develop the professional management skills needed to pursue a career as an operations manager, a human resources manager, or an entrepreneur.
  • Communication and Media Studies: This interdisciplinary degree field involves the learning of technical media and communication skills. Subjects commonly studied include media writing, social media strategy, and professional communication.
  • Criminal Justice: If you wish to pursue a career in law enforcement, forensic science, homeland security, public law, or other related fields you may benefit from a criminal justice degree. This program typically includes introductory coursework in criminology, criminal law, social research, corrections, and psychology.
  • Education: An education degree can be beneficial for professionals who want to pursue a career in education, childcare, career counseling, or similar fields. You may specialize in a certain sector, such as elementary or secondary education, and gain leadership, communication, and organizational skills.

These degree programs can be useful for a number of careers in Alaska. A wide range of career opportunities may be available with these degrees and can help you become a more competitive job candidate.

Overview of Higher Education in Alaska

college student working on a laptop while writing notes

According to the NCES, Alaska is home to 8 degree-granting institutions, including 4 public schools, 3 non-profit schools, and 1 for-profit school, these include community colleges in Alaska and 4 year schools.

With such a limited selection of schools, you might think tuition costs would be through the roof, but that’s not the case.

The NCES reports that the average cost of tuition and fees for a 4 year public institution in Alaska is $8,849 a year for in-state students and $25,535 for out-of-state students. Both of these costs are below the national average.

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To provide even more of a financial incentive, Alaska also participates in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

WICHE is a collaborative program that allows qualifying residents to enroll in degree programs at any of the 16 participating states and territories while paying no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.

Employment Outlook for College Graduates in Alaska

Employees in a company from Alaska

Over 300,000 people are employed in Alaska, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of the largest areas of employment in Alaska are office and administrative support, transportation and material moving, food preparation and serving, management, sales, and healthcare. Other top industries include education, construction, protective services, and engineering.

Job availability can vary depending on the region you live in and the demand for occupations in your desired field.

Anchorage, Alaska, has the highest number of employment opportunities in the top occupations compared to other areas in the state. The mean wage for all occupations in Alaska is $52,000 per year.

Careers & Salaries in Alaska

Careers & Salaries in Alaska

Some of the biggest industries in Alaska include oil and gas, tourism, mining, fishing, and agriculture. A large portion of Alaska’s economy is supported by the oil and gas industry.

Tourism is a popular industry because Alaska attracts a lot of visitors each year. The state also has vast forests and coal and mineral reserves that support the timber and mining industries.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these are the annual median salaries of common careers in Alaska:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Mining and Geological Engineers $98,800
General and Operations Managers $98,430
Web Developers $83,430
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers $82,310
Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas $79,020
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $78,670
Child, Family, and School Social Workers $59,840
Forest and Conservation Technicians $47,300
Social and Human Service Assistants $43,510
Home Health and Personal Care Aides $36,900

Salaries and job availability can vary depending on a number of factors, including your specific occupation, level of education, work experience, and geographic location.

There may be a higher availability of jobs in metropolitan areas of the state. Earning a degree from a university in Alaska may help you become more competitive in your desired field.

Alaska Colleges Online Admissions Requirements

student preparing Alaska Online College requirements

Admissions requirements can differ between schools, but some likely materials you may be asked to submit include:

  • SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Official transcripts
  • Application questions and fee

If required, SAT or ACT test scores may be used to consider admission or determine placement level for certain general education classes if you are accepted.

You’ll typically be asked to submit official high school or undergraduate transcripts so the admissions office can review the coursework you’ve completed. Some colleges or universities may offer opportunities for you to waive their application fees.

AK Online Colleges Accreditation

University offering Online Colleges in Alaska

Colleges and universities go through a screening process to receive regional accreditation. Although regional accreditation isn’t necessarily required for a college to provide quality educational services, it can affect you.

You can find a list of regional accrediting organizations through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These accrediting organizations have a set list of criteria used to evaluate postsecondary institutions and programs, which must meet or exceed quality standards.

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The accreditation status of a school or program can potentially affect your financial aid eligibility. Employment opportunities, credit transferability, and state reciprocity programs may also be affected by accreditation.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Alaska Colleges Online Financial Aid

In order to receive financial aid to attend either on-campus or online colleges in Alaska, you’ll need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA unlocks the door to federal, state, and many private college funds.

In addition to federal aid, the FAFSA provides access to the Alaska Education Grant. This grant, funded by The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, is entirely need-based and can offer $500-$4,000 in assistance each year.

If you are majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) you may also want to check out the Alaska Space Grant Program. This grant is given based on academic achievement, recommendations, and career goals.

Scholarships are often awarded to students with exceptional grades and test scores, but they may also be awarded based on race, religion, gender, athletic skills, talents, and more. Some scholarships are offered to students in a particular state or region.

Residents of Alaska, as well as out-of-state students who enroll at institutions in Alaska, can apply for scholarships like the ones below.

  • Alaska Performance Scholarship (APS): $2,378-$4,755 per year
  • Art Jess Scholarship: $1,000 or more
  • NSHSS Tesoro Youth Leadership Awards: $2,000
  • Red Boucher Scholarship: Up to $1,000
  • Tim Akers Memorial Scholarship: $1,000

Each of the colleges and universities in Alaska may offer additional financial aid, some based on need and some based on merit. To find out how you can access those funds, you can contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend.

Alaska Online Education Resources

Student checking Online Education Resources

A number of organizations provide education resources to help students navigate college preparation, financial assistance, and career planning.

Browsing education resources may provide you with helpful information on how to access financial assistance, internships, and more.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to an Online College in Alaska?

student taking Online College in Alaska

Attendance costs for online colleges in Alaska can vary depending on several factors, such as in-state versus out-of-state tuition and public versus private colleges.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees for in-state students is $8,849 for one year at a public 4 year school. Out-of-state students pay on average $25,535 for the same schools.

The average cost of tuition or fees for a private 4 year college or university is $19,575 a year.

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Online public college degrees may cost less for in-state and out-of-state students compared to in-person or private college programs.

Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students

Friends checking on Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students

Colleges and universities in certain states may participate in a state reciprocity program with Alaska colleges and universities, which can cut down the cost of tuition for qualifying out-of-state students.

Distance learning courses may be offered by a college or university in a student’s home state, which can be applied to other participating institutions. Online programs may be a cheaper alternative for out-of-state students who want to learn remotely, but additional fees for distance learning may still apply.

You can check with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to find out if the state you live in participates in a state reciprocity program with colleges and universities in Alaska.

If you live in a participating state, you may receive a tuition break despite being an out-of-state student and potentially pay less than the average cost of out-of-state tuition.

What Jobs Are in High Demand in Alaska?

Airline Pilots & Copilot jobs in Alaska

According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, these careers are experiencing moderate growth and very high openings in the state:

  • Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers
  • Dental assistants
  • Healthcare support workers
  • Medical and health services managers
  • Registered nurses

There are other jobs that have high or very high openings but low growth, such as accountants and auditors, amusement and recreation attendants, environmental specialists, zoologists, and wildlife biologists. Overall, the occupations with the highest demand in Alaska are in the healthcare field.

What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Alaska?

Highest Paying Jobs in Alaska

Many of the top-paying jobs in Alaska are found in the healthcare and engineering fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some of the highest-paying jobs in Alaska:

  • Pediatricians:$220,650
  • Dentists: $204,570
  • Chief Executives: $148,720
  • Architectural and Engineering Managers: $146,950
  • Industrial Managers: $145,080

Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the median hourly wage by a “year-round, full-time” hours figure of 2,080 hours. Your specific wages will depend upon a number of factors, including your level of education, location, and work experience.

List of Online Colleges in Alaska

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.

Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University splits its degree programs into three institutes: Business and Public Policy, Culture and Environment, and Health and Wellness. The institutes are designed to serve the Alaskan community.

Students may pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees. APU offers degrees in counseling psychology, creative writing, environmental science, and more. The school also offers certificate programs and early honors classes for high schoolers.

Alaska Pacific University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Ilisagvik College

Ilisagvik College

Ilisagvik College is the only tribal college in Alaska. Ilisagvik offers education programs that are steeped in the rich Iñupiaq cultural heritage. Students can earn degrees through entirely online courses or in a hybrid format.

The school offers associate and bachelor’s degrees, certificates, and endorsements. Areas of study include accounting, Iñupiaq studies, and more.

Iḷisaġvik College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Alaska – Anchorage

University of Alaska Anchorage

The University of Alaska—Anchorage offers several online degrees. Students who live out of state still pay in-state tuition for all courses that are completely online.

UAA offers certificates and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. There is a wide range of degree options, such as a BS in Occupational Safety and Health and an MS in Project Management.

The University of Alaska – Anchorage is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Alaska – Fairbanks

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The University of Alaska—Fairbanks offers over 40 online majors. Most courses are asynchronous but still have weekly work due. While most courses are the length of a traditional semester, the school offers a small selection of 7 week classes.

Fields of study offered include emergency management, justice administration, biology, and more.

The University of Alaska – Fairbanks is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Alaska – Southeast

University of Alaska Southeast

The University of Alaska—Southeast offers completely online degree programs for students worldwide. Fall and spring semesters are 15 weeks long, while summer terms are shorter.

The school offers certifications, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees in applied fisheries, social sciences, and more. It offers master’s degrees in fields such as public administration. education, and more.

The University of Alaska – Southeast is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting Your College Degree in Alaska Online

female student Getting her College Degree in Alaska Online

Online degree programs in Alaska may provide you with a more flexible distance learning option.

Online degrees are often a better option for professionals who want to earn their degrees but have to work around other responsibilities. It can also be more flexible for in-state students living in rural areas, which could make commuting to and from campus difficult.

If you want to receive your degree from a university in Alaska but can’t relocate, an online degree program in Alaska might be a good option. You can begin your educational journey by researching online accredited institutions in Alaska that best support your goals and interests.

You can also view our Online Colleges in Alabama and Online Colleges in Arizona guides for more options.

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Amy Hayes

Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.