Online colleges in Colorado can allow you to earn a degree from a highly-ranked college regardless of where you live.
Colorado is a state that’s serious about education. The state is full of top-notch colleges and universities offering flexible learning opportunities via Colorado online colleges.
The educational success in Colorado is due in large part to numerous organizations and programs put in place to support students, proving that the state places a high value on education.
Online Colleges in Colorado
Colorado supports online learning starting at a young age. Groups like the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families have developed to promote and support the use of online platforms for students in grades K-12.
At the college level, the Colorado Distance Learning Association (ColoDLA) is Colorado’s primary advocate, providing resources and opportunities to connect with the larger community.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 27.8% of higher education students in Colorado are enrolled in exclusively online programs. An additional 28.1% are enrolled in hybrid programs including both online and on-campus classes.
Online college students may be especially impressed with Colorado’s education offerings. It is home to several fully online accredited schools as well as schools that offer numerous online and hybrid degree programs, including those with accelerated, 8 week course formats.
Common Online Degrees in Colorado
If you’re looking for a flexible way to earn your degree, you might consider looking into Colorado colleges online.
There are a wide variety of Colorado online degrees that can help you achieve your career goals. Some examples of degree programs offered by online Colorado postsecondary institutions include:
- Registered Nursing: RN degree programs prepare students for careers as registered nurses by covering topics such as patient care, clinical leadership, evidence-based practice, and health education.
- Business Administration and Management: Professionals interested in gaining advanced business and leadership skills may want to enroll in a program in this field. These degree programs typically explore principles of business and management, finance, strategic thinking, and project management.
- Criminal Justice: A criminal justice degree program typically covers basic concepts and principles of criminology and legal and court systems, as well as criminal justice issues and law enforcement procedures.
- Biology: Biology degree programs can be broken up into two main categories: biomedical and organismal biology. Biomedical programs typically cover anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry, whereas organismal biology programs typically cover animal behavior, ecology, and evolution.
- Social Sciences: An online social sciences degree program usually includes introductory coursework in psychology, sociology, and behavioral sciences that covers lifespan development, society and relationship dynamics, and research methods.
Colorado online degrees can be ideal if you want a flexible coursework schedule through asynchronous or synchronous learning. It can also be a good option if you’re an out-of-state student and want to earn your degree from a Colorado college or university.
Overview of Higher Education in Colorado
Colorado has 70 degree-granting institutions to choose from, according to the NCES. Of the 61 schools, 28 are public, 10 are nonprofit, and 23 are for-profit.
Most of Colorado’s post-secondary schools are located in the center of the state in cities like Colorado Springs, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver. There are several large research universities, liberal arts colleges, and the United States Air Force Academy, one of the nation’s 5 military academies.
The NCES reports that Colorado residents attending a public, 4 year institution pay an average of $9,269 in tuition and fees each year. Out-of-state students pay $30,930 each year in tuition and fees at public, 4 year institutions. The tuition rates are typically lower at 2-year or Colorado community colleges.
Those in nearby western states may pay a little less for their education thanks to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
WICHE is a collaborative organization that allows qualifying students to enroll in programs in any of the 16 participating states and territories for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
Employment Outlook for College Graduates in Colorado
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the total employment for all occupations in Colorado is about 2.6 million.
The annual median salary for all occupations in Colorado is $47,944. This is slightly higher than the national annual median income of $45,760. Salaries and job availability can widely vary depending on the specific occupation and industry.
Some of the top industries with the most employment in the state include office and administrative support, sales occupations, business and financial operations, healthcare practitioners, and technical occupations.
According to the BLS, the unemployment rate is 2.9% in Colorado, which is lower than the national unemployment rate of 3.6%.
Many industries in Colorado, including mining and logging, manufacturing, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality, have a positive 12-month employment change percentage.
Careers & Salaries in Colorado
Top areas of employment in Colorado include office and administrative support, sales, food preparation and serving, business, transportation and material moving, healthcare, and education.
Other industries that follow closely behind include architecture and engineering, protective service, and community and social service.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the annual median salaries of some careers in Colorado:
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Public Relations Managers||$131,540|
|General and Operations Managers||$114,000|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||$97,988|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||$81,490|
|Human Resources Specialists||$64,080|
|Home Health and Personal Care Aides||$29,910|
Salaries can vary depending on how much work experience you have and your level of education and your geographic location. Some occupations may have higher job availability than others.
Earning a degree from an online Colorado university can help you develop skills and knowledge in your desired field and potentially make you a more competitive job candidate.
Online Colorado Colleges Admissions Requirements
Admissions requirements can differ between colleges or universities. Some general admissions requirements that Colorado schools may ask for include:
- All official transcripts from high school or colleges
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- Statement of purpose
- Application form
Colorado colleges and universities aren’t required to request SAT or ACT scores for student admission. If required, national test scores may be used to determine eligibility for admission or placement level for general education courses when obtaining a Colorado online degree.
Some Colorado colleges may ask questions on the application pertaining to extracurricular activities you’ve completed.
Online CO Colleges Accreditation
Accreditation is an important factor to consider when applying to any college or university. The accreditation status of a school is determined by a third-party accrediting organization that reviews the institution’s resources, curriculum, facilities, and faculty.
Colleges and universities typically offer information about their accreditation status and what organization they’re accredited by on their websites. You can also review regional accrediting organizations through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Although colleges and universities aren’t required to receive accreditation, it can have a number of impacts on students. It can affect financial aid eligibility, credit transferability, and future education or employment opportunities.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you need financial aid to attend a Colorado university online, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your access to federal, state, and private funds.
The ideal types of financial aid are grants and scholarships because they do not have to be paid back as long as they are used properly. In addition to federal grants, students attending Colorado online colleges have exclusive access to the following grant programs:
- Colorado Student Grant: This is a need-based grant worth up to $5,000 per year.
- Colorado College Responsibility Grant (CCRG): This is a need-based grant that offers $200-600 per semester. Further information about qualification for this grant can be found on the websites of schools that offer it.
- Dependents Tuition Assistance Program: This program provides need-based assistance to cover the tuition, room, and board of dependents of police officers, firefighters, and National Guard personnel killed or disabled in the line of duty.
- College Opportunity Fund: This need-based fund offers a set dollar amount of aid per credit hour at public and private colleges. The amount provided varies annually. You must attend a participating school and meet eligibility requirements to be considered.
You can also look into scholarship opportunities. Scholarships and grants are available through various organizations and through colleges and institutions themselves. They may be need-based or merit-based.
Here are just a few of the scholarships open to Colorado residents:
- Alice Hamilton Scholarship: $200-1,000
- Boundless Opportunity Scholarship: Varies
- CollegeInvest 529 Scholarship: $2,000
- Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Technical School Scholarship: (8) $1,000
- The Dottie-Walker Scholarship: $1,000
You can check with the financial aid office at the school(s) you’re considering to see what might be available to you.
Colorado Online Education Resources
Some organizations that assist students by offering various Colorado college resources include:
- Colorado Department of Education: You can find information on college preparation, admissions eligibility, financial aid, credit transfers, and career and salary data on this website.
- Colorado Admissions Tool for Colorado: This resource center helps students navigate college and career planning and money management, as well as provides insight into Colorado college admissions standards.
- COTrainingProviders.org: Students can search for programs of study and careers that align with their career goals and interests on this site.
These resources may help you find financial aid opportunities and make college and career planning easier.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to a Colorado Online College?
The cost of college can vary, depending on whether you attend a public or private college or if you’re an in-state or out-of-state student.
Out-of-state tuition is typically higher than in-state tuition, and private college tuition is usually higher than public college tuition. The cost of tuition can differ between online and on-campus programs.
The average cost of tuition per year in Colorado is $9,269 for in-state public colleges, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The average cost of tuition per year for out-of-state students is $30,930. The average cost of tuition per year for private colleges is $23,128 in Colorado.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Out-of-state students usually end up paying higher tuition than in-state students. Colorado universities online may be cheaper than on-campus programs because room and board fees through the school may not apply.
As an online student, you may be subject to distance learning fees for online instruction and supplies, such as technology or textbooks.
There may be opportunities for you to cut down the cost of your tuition if you’re an out-of-state student. Institutions that participate in state reciprocity programs share resources, which may allow you to attend a Colorado college for a lower out-of-state tuition rate.
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a state reciprocity program through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The program allows eligible students in participating states to attend a Colorado college for no more than 150% of the prospective institution’s tuition rate.
What Jobs Are in High Demand in Colorado?
According to the C0lorado Department of Labor and Employment, the industries with the highest increase in employment over the next decade are the following:
- Food preparation and serving
- Computer and mathematical
- Business and financial operations
- Transportation and material moving.
Occupations in Colorado that are advertised the most online include:
- Registered nurses
- Retail sales positions
- First-line supervisors of food preparation and serving
- Fast food and counter workers
- Customer service representatives
Jobs in Colorado that are expected to experience the fastest growth over the next decade include solar photovoltaic installers, nurse practitioners, flight attendants, and wind turbine service technicians.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Colorado?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the highest-paying jobs in Colorado and their annual median salaries:
- Podiatrists: $185,080
- Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates: $171,060
- Ophthalmologists: $169,040
- Advertising and Promotions Managers: $168,500
- Pathologists: $166,460
These are average salaries based on median hourly wages. Actual salaries will vary based on experience, job requirements, and other factors.
An advertising or promotions manager position may be attainable with a bachelor’s degree. The other occupations listed typically require an advanced medical or law degree and additional training and exams to receive licensure or certification to practice.
List of Online Colleges in Colorado
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.
Adams State University’s online program offers a wide range of degrees and professional development courses for students who need flexibility in their college education. Classes are currently offered in a 16 week format.
The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in fields like business and music education.
Adams State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Arapahoe Community College strives to provide a solid education in a small, welcoming environment. The college offers over 200 courses online, some in conjunction with Colorado Community College Online.
Online students may pursue professional certificates or associate or bachelor’s degrees. Fields of study offered include computer graphics, political science, Spanish, and emergency service administration.
Arapahoe Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Christian University has received several awards and accolades for the high quality of education it provides. The school aims to prepare students to lead and grow in their faith.
CCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies offers degree programs to fit into the schedules of busy adults. Most programs are entirely online. Fields of study offered include biblical studies and computer science.
Colorado Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Mesa University strives to create an online community of learners where students and professors can make meaningful connections, even in a virtual environment. CMU offers online and hybrid programs. Hybrid programs require 25% to 75% of the coursework to be on campus.
The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in fields like nursing and sport management.
Colorado Mesa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Mountain College aims to provide students with hands-on learning and field training to prepare them for future careers. While CMC doesn’t currently offer any fully online programs, many degrees are partially online.
Possible fields of study include business administration and culinary arts.
Colorado Mountain College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado State University aims to provide the same quality education to online students as its on-campus students. Both in-state and out-of-state online students pay the same tuition.
CSU offers undergraduate and graduate programs, with some degrees completely online and others in a hybrid format. Degrees are offered in economics, social work, engineering, and more.
Colorado State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Technical University was named one of the best online programs for bachelor’s degrees by U.S. News & World Report. Its goal is to give students an affordable education.
Students can earn associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees in online or hybrid formats. Programs are offered in marketing, computer science, executive leadership, and more.
Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
At the Community College of Denver, online students have the same instructors and participate in the same curriculum as their on-campus counterparts.
Many programs are fully online. Hybrid courses are 30% to 90% online. Students typically have to log on 4 to 5 days each week for online courses. The school offers associate degrees and certificates in fields like accounting and music.
Community College of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Front Range Community College is dedicated to helping nontraditional students get the qualifications needed to move forward in their careers or pursue further degrees.
Front Range offers associate degrees and professional certificates. The programs are either entirely online or 80% or more online. Students can choose from many fields of study, including retail management and chemistry.
Front Range Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Metropolitan State University of Denver aims to give students a quality education at an affordable price. First-year MSU Denver students may be able to get up to $1,000 in scholarship money. Programs are either fully online or in a hybrid format.
MSU Denver offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields like social work, banking, and English.
Metropolitan State University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Nazarene Bible College has been offering online courses since 1998, making it the first Nazarene college with online programs. The school has a 97% completion rate.
NBC students can earn associate or bachelor’s degrees online. Fields of study offered include the bible and theology, Christian educational ministries, Hispanic pastoral ministries, and leadership and ethics.
Nazarene Bible College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Pikes Peak Community College’s goal is to make college a possibility for all students, even those who think they don’t have the time or finances. The school strives to work with students to make it possible. They can choose from online, hybrid, or hyflex programs.
Pikes Peak offers associate degrees and certificates in fields like anthropology and journalism.
Pikes Peak Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Regis University is a Jesuit Catholic university, and it encourages its students to grow in their faith along with their academics.
Regis offers undergraduate and graduate certificates and master’s and doctorate degrees that can be earned online. It provides programs in a variety of fields, including occupational therapy, full-stack, enterprise engineering, creative writing, and craft brewing.
Regis University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design offers degrees for students who want to go into artistic and creative fields. The professors at RMCAD are professionals in their fields.
A variety of bachelor’s degrees can be earned through RMCAD’s online program. Fields of study offered include animation, art education, fashion design, music production, and graphic design.
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Colorado—Boulder encourages students to forge their own paths and grow to their true potential.
CU Boulder offers master’s degrees and graduate certificates in a limited number of fields. Programs are offered in computer science, corporate communication, journalism, entrepreneurship, outdoor recreation economy, and data science.
The University of Colorado – Boulder is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Colorado—Colorado Springs has offered online courses since the 1990s. Its goal is to deliver quality online education to students in Colorado and around the world.
UCCS Connect offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certificates. Fields of study offered include business, criminal justice, engineering, health care sciences, and public administration.
The University of Colorado – Colorado Springs is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Colorado—Denver’s online programs are designed to help students achieve their career goals, even while working or having other commitments outside school.
The online school offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It also offers certificates and other professional development programs. Fields of study offered include aerospace engineering, sport management, cannabis science, and supply chain analytics.
The University of Colorado – Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Denver aspires to develop the whole student, not just the academic side. U.S. News and World Report has highly ranked many of DU’s online programs.
DU online students can earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees or career-advancing professional certificates. Fields of study offered include environmental policy and management and professional creative writing.
The University of Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The University of Northern Colorado gives students the chance to learn from professors who are active in their fields. Online students can receive the same quality education as their on-campus counterparts.
UNC offers many online degree programs for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees. Fields of study offered include ASL teaching, animal audiology, brewing and laboratory science, and dance.
The University of Northern Colorado is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Western Colorado University is dedicated to giving students a diverse, hands-on education that prepares them for their future careers.
The school offers a limited number of master’s degree programs, including an online MA in Education program. Students can also take accelerated bachelor’s plus master’s programs, which are partially online. WCU offers professional certificates that can be earned online too.
Western Colorado University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Online Degree in Colorado
It’s no wonder Colorado ranks high in postsecondary degree attainment. With so many schools to choose from and plenty of financial aid and scholarships available, attending college in Colorado is an excellent choice for many.
Online options can give you the chance to attend a high-ranking school from the comfort of your own home regardless of where you live. You can start your educational journey today by researching accredited online schools in Colorado.