Florida students often have a bright future when choosing one of the many online colleges in Florida for their higher education.
Florida colleges online can offer flexibility and the opportunity to attend without leaving your home. This can help open up a lot of opportunities that may not have been available to you before.
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Florida has a lot to offer in terms of education. You can learn more here about the state’s offerings to help you choose the right path for your educational and career goals.
Online Colleges in Florida
Florida is one of the nation’s leaders in online learning. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that approximately 32% of Florida’s higher education students are enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 31% of students are participating in some combination of online and on-campus courses.
Most of Florida’s 163 institutions offer online learning opportunities. The state boasts hundreds of online college courses available and a number of programs exist to help support distance education within the state.
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The Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) provides access to academic advising, library resources, career readiness, and distance learning resources. Tools and training materials are also provided for distance educators and staff.
One of FLVC’s star services, FloridaShines, acts as a hub for delivering innovative educational services that operate at all of the state’s institutions.
Another supportive resource is the Florida Distance Learning Association. This association brings together educational institutions, government agencies, community groups, and more to help share information and advance distance learning.
Common Online Degrees in Florida
If you’re currently looking at Florida online colleges, you may be curious about which degree programs are offered and which may fit your career goals.
While it would be difficult to list all of the possible options available to students, here are a few of the most common Florida online degrees received by online students:
- Computer Science: This degree may be ideal if you are interested in a profession in programming, information technology, web design and administration, software, or data analysis.
- Nursing: There are many different types of nursing, but the first step for many registered nurses is earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing in order to get training in biology, anatomy, and patient care.
- Education: This degree can help prepare you for a variety of teaching opportunities, from technical training to career and community outreach, as well as educating children, young adults, and returning adult students.
- Business Administration and Management: If you are interested in a role as an entrepreneur, a business administrator, a corporate professional, or a leader in your chosen field you may benefit from this degree.
- Engineering: There are many concentrations within this field, including software, environmental, electrical, chemical, mechanical, agricultural, aerospace, and petroleum engineering.
Those who are researching online colleges in FL may choose from a wide array of majors and concentrations, which can prepare them for many different jobs in Florida and around the world.
Overview of Higher Education in Florida
Florida is home to 163 colleges and universities. The NCES indicates that of the 163 institutions, 41 are public, 63 are non-profit, and 59 are for-profit. This breakdown includes 4 year institutions and 2 year institutions, like Florida community colleges online.
Florida’s tuition rates are among the lowest in the country.
The NCES reports that in-state students pay, on average, just $4,541 a year in tuition and fees to attend a 4 year institution. Out-of-state students pay around $18,322 on average. That’s $4,834 less than the national average for in-state, and $8,769 less for out-of-state students.
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On top of potentially low tuition rates, those looking to earn online bachelor degrees in Florida can possibly look forward to excellent financial aid opportunities. Florida is one of the top states in the nation when it comes to financial aid awards.
Florida students are also supported by the state’s involvement in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which encourages resource sharing among the 16 participating states. Through this program, online Florida colleges allow students to enroll in out-of-state programs in nearby states while paying in-state rates.
Employment Outlook for College Graduates in Florida
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an average of over 8.6 million individuals are employed within the state of Florida. Some of the most popular employment fields include office and administrative support occupations and sales occupations.
Given its warm location and sunny weather, tourism is a significant factor in Florida’s employment, with theme parks and vacation destinations ranking among some of the predominant employers. It is estimated that healthcare, educators, and trade specialists are among the fastest-growing career opportunities in Florida.
Additionally, agriculture and international trade play a big part in Florida’s economy, thanks to its warm location on major trade waterways.
Some of the highest-paying jobs in Florida at this time are in the medical field. In particular, professional anesthesiologists and emergency medicine physicians earn some of the highest average salaries in the state.
Careers & Salaries in Florida
Many of the most popular careers in Florida are directly related to the popular online bachelor’s degree Florida programs students seek.
Business, management, health care, and education fields are popular among professionals in the Sunshine State. While some of these career paths may require additional education, the path for many professionals in these fields begins with earning an online bachelor’s degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following professional fields are among some of the most popular in Florida:
|Annual Median Salaries
|Computer and Information Systems Managers
|Medical and Health Services Managers
|Project Management Specialists
|Career and Technical Education Teachers, Postsecondary
Depending on your own professional and educational goals, there are many potential career paths you may take if you attend one of the online Florida universities available.
How to Know If an Online Degree Is Right for Me
Florida online colleges can be an exciting opportunity for those who have obligations that prevent them from spending each day in a classroom setting.
As an online student, you will have different interactions with your professors and classmates than you might have in a classroom setting. Some of the traits of successful online students include:
- Motivation and self-discipline to review courses
- Ability to complete assignments on time
- Being comfortable studying material alone
Before you commit to online learning, you may wish to consider whether this education style is right for you.
Choosing a Florida Online College Program
Online Florida universities offer their own unique experiences. Not only will you have the opportunity to choose courses that interest and excite you, but you’ll also be able to select the overall learning program that works best for you.
To determine which online program is the best fit for you, you may wish to consider:
- Majors and concentrations available: While there are many popular degree programs and career opportunities in Florida, you’ll want to select a program that’s best suited for your long-term career goals.
- Flexibility: You may wish to consider whether you’ll attend school part-time, full-time, or as your availability permits and which school schedule best fits your own.
- Cost: Though online college programs are typically less expensive than classroom learning, you will incur tuition costs.
- Connection with professors: You may want to investigate how students can contact their online professors for guidance, questions, and further discussion.
- In-person learning requirements: Some programs require laboratory, shadowing, internship, and other in-person learning, depending on the classes and programs selected.
You may wish to connect with an admissions representative or a specific department head if you have questions regarding the format and requirements of a particular program before you enroll.
Online Universities in Florida Admissions Requirements
The admissions requirements for Florida online colleges will vary from school to school, so it’s a good idea to review the admissions process in detail before you start applying. Fees, application details, and other requirements are often disclosed there.
Some possible requirements include:
- SAT or ACT scores (only some schools require them)
- High school transcripts or the equivalent
- Personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
Some schools will also encourage students to complete an interview with an admissions counselor or additional essays as part of the application process.
FL Colleges Online Accreditation
Students who are considering an online bachelor’s degree in Florida may wish to pay close attention to schools accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Programs that have received CHEA accreditation have been specifically evaluated for academic distinction.
Along with this academic distinction, there are other likely benefits of attending an accredited school. Financial assistance opportunities are often more available to those who attend an accredited school or program.
Some employers may ask applicants to demonstrate that they have graduated from an accredited college or university.
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If you select a career path that requires licensing or certification, an accredited education may be required as well.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
When applying for financial aid to help you attend online FL colleges, it’s a good idea to start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA).
The FAFSA will determine what federal financial aid is available to you. Many state and private financial aid programs require it as well.
The FFAA is a separate application that applies only to the scholarships and grants administered by the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA). The OSFA handles about a dozen programs, several of which offer sizable, renewable financial aid packages.
Here are just a few examples that may be available to you:
- Bright Futures Scholarship Program: This program offers three merit-based scholarships with varying GPA and ACT or SAT score requirements. The awards offered vary per credit hour. These scholarships are renewable if certain merit requirements are met.
- Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant: This grant provides need-based aid to qualifying students enrolled full-time at an eligible institution and not studying theology or divinity. The amount offered varies each year and is renewable for up to 9 semesters if certain merit requirements are met.
- First Generation Matching Grant Program: This grant program offers need-based aid for qualifying students whose parents have not earned a baccalaureate degree. The award will not exceed the student’s unmet financial need.
- José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund: This fund offers need and merit-based scholarships for qualifying students of Spanish culture attending public or eligible private institutions. The grant is worth $2,000 per year and is renewable if certain financial and merit requirements are met.
In addition to these statewide opportunities, schools may also have other aid available, which you can learn about by contacting their financial aid office.
While the programs above are dependent upon financial need or academic excellence, scholarships can be offered for a variety of other things, such as the region you live in, a peculiar hobby, or the certain course of study you’ve chosen.
Here are some unique scholarships exclusively available to Florida residents:
- Arts for Life! Scholarship: $1,000
- College Fund of Pinellas County Grant: $1,000 per year, up to $4,000
- Right Fit Foundation Scholarship: $5,000
- South Florida Fair Scholarship: Varies
Opportunities like these can be found on scholarship search sites where you can enter basic information about yourself and be matched with dozens of possible scholarship opportunities.
Florida Online Education Resources
Those who are considering Florida online degrees may wish to consider some of these resources regarding different programs and opportunities:
- The Florida College System: This site provides information about potential majors, financial aid, and applications for students of all ages and backgrounds.
- Florida College Access Network: This site offers details about the FAFSA process, financial aid opportunities, and student networking events.
- FloridaShines: This “hub” of information for students and adult learners can be a useful starting point for those starting to research online colleges in FL.
These resources can help you search for the best online program for your future goals.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to an Online College in Florida?
There are many factors that can impact how much it costs to attend an online college in Florida. Online students don’t typically have to pay for room and board, parking, or other fees that on-site students pay, but tuition and online fees will still apply.
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Generally speaking, a public 2 year college will likely be the least expensive option, and private 4 year colleges will probably be the most expensive.
The average tuition across Florida’s public universities for in-state students is around $4,500 a year, while the average among private schools is nearly $29,000 a year. These figures do not include room and board.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
If you are not currently a resident of Florida but are interested in attending online colleges in Florida, you may wish to investigate options that can lower your tuition cost.
Students who live in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or West Virginia may be able to take advantage of certain discounts.
The Southern Regional Education Board offers a program known as the Academic Common Market (ACM). This allows students in these states to seek an online degree at participating public schools at the in-state tuition rate, even if they do not qualify as state residents.
Certain restrictions regarding programs and majors apply, so you may wish to investigate the program requirements in detail before starting the admissions process.
What Jobs Are in High Demand in Florida?
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, a variety of jobs and career opportunities are in high demand in Florida.
Professional fields that are currently experiencing faster-than-average growth in Florida include:
- General and operations managers
- Financial managers
- Nurse practitioners
- Information security analysts
Bear in mind that this list is not exhaustive, and growth in a particular field may change prior to your graduation. Earning your online bachelor’s degree can help prepare you for a variety of opportunities that are dependent upon your skills, major, and long-term goals.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Florida?
Many students are interested in career paths that lead to high-paying jobs and choose their educational path accordingly.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the highest-paying jobs in Florida include:
- Psychiatrists: $176,920
- Chief Executives: $173,930
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: $131,770
- Petroleum Engineers: $130,420
- Actuaries: $129,310
Though these roles often require additional education and experience, earning your bachelor’s degree may be a great start toward planning your long-term career goals.
List of Online Colleges in Florida
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.
Broward College’s online degree programs are created with working adults in mind. The school aims to provide students with a rigorous education in less time and for less money. Most courses have little or no textbook costs.
Broward offers over 70 programs, and many courses are accelerated. Degrees and certificates are offered in fields like health science, business, education, and more.
Broward College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has made distance learning a possibility for the past 25 years. U.S. News & World Reports has ranked Embry-Riddle in the top five online bachelor’s programs since 2013.
Online students can choose between ten undergraduate and five graduate programs, each with 9 week sessions. Fields of study offered include aviation maintenance, international business, and engineering.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida Atlantic University has been named the most diverse public university in Florida. Its faculty is dedicated to giving students an education that encourages creativity and excellence.
FAU was named one of the best online universities for bachelor’s degrees by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in nursing, business, and more.
Florida Atlantic University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida Gulf Coast University’s online programs are designed to help working students get their degrees faster. FGCU offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees and professional certificates.
Core courses for bachelor’s programs may be completed online. Master’s programs are entirely online. Fields of study offered include criminal justice, educational leadership, health science, and legal studies.
Florida Gulf Coast University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida International University has an R1 Carnegie ranking and has offered online programs for 20 years. The school aims to offer online students the same quality education as their on-campus peers. Online courses are asynchronous.
FIU offers undergraduate, graduate, and 4+1 degrees online. Fields of study offered include Asian studies, crime science, and disaster management.
Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Florida State University has received many accolades, including being named the preeminent research university in Florida. FSU aims to offer online students the same renowned education as those receiving their education on campus.
The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online in fields like art education, computer science, and public safety and security.
Florida State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Hodges University has offered online programs since 1995, and its faculty continuously modifies programs to keep up with best practices.
Students may be able to transfer some credits into their program, and the school offers an online form to help students figure out how many credits they may transfer. Hodges U offers online and hybrid programs for associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in fields like legal studies, applied psychology, and accounting.
Hodges University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Jacksonville University encourages students to take an active part in their education. The school aims to offer courses that provide authentic experiences that can help students shape their careers.
JU offers one online bachelor’s degree program, an RN to BS in Nursing. There are several graduate degrees available in fields like science health informatics, business administration, instructional design, and choreography.
Jacksonville University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Lynn University aims to deliver a unique, student-centered education. Lynn offers accelerated online programs to help students get their degrees faster.
Students may be able to receive credits for work experience and earn their degrees even faster. Programs are offered for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields like marketing, environmental policy and management, and aviation operations. The school utilizes iPads for much of the coursework.
Lynn University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Nova Southeastern University offers online degrees and courses taught at regional campuses for students who don’t live near the main campus.
NSU offers many online degree programs in fields like biomedical sciences, college student affairs, and psychology. Several of these may be earned fully online, but some programs do require time on campus.
Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Rasmussen University has offered online degrees for the past 20 years. The school has over 50 entirely online degree programs. Many classes have live, online sessions but are recorded so that students can view them anytime.
Rasmussen offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in subjects like data analytics and graphic design.
Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Saint Leo University is a Catholic-based liberal arts school that welcomes students of all faiths. The school offers online degree programs and has regional schools around the country.
Saint Leo strives to provide all students with the same quality of education, no matter how they choose to attend. The school offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in digital media, homeland security, early childhood development, and more.
Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southeastern University is dedicated to helping students along their career paths. SEU offers over 100 degrees and over 40 online degree programs. Online classes are asynchronous, and each one is 8 weeks long. Many programs are fully online.
Southeastern University offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degrees that may be earned online. Fields of study offered include digital media and design, ministry, and kinesiology.
Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
St. Petersburg College’s online programs are designed to allow students to learn in a way that works for them. Students can choose between virtual courses that meet online or asynchronous courses. Prospective students can take a free course sampler.
SPC offers over 50 online programs for associate or bachelor’s degrees. Fields of study offered include accounting and cybersecurity.
St. Petersburg College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
St. Thomas University is rooted in the Catholic faith. The school strives to provide students with a solid education while also helping them grow in their values.
STU’s online programs are designed with busy students in mind. Courses are delivered asynchronously, so students can work on their own schedules. Fields of study offered include healthcare, business, and theology.
St. Thomas University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Central Florida is dedicated to helping its online students succeed. Each student gets a success coach that offers one-on-one support throughout the program.
UCF students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees online. Fields of study offered include reading education, optics and photonics, international and global studies, and FinTech.
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Florida was ranked the #1 best online college for bachelor’s degrees by U.S. News and World Report. The school offers degrees that can be earned fully online, and online students earn the same degrees as their on-campus counterparts.
The school offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in a variety of fields, including biostatistics, entrepreneurship, gerontology, and sports and media journalism.
The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of North Florida’s online degree programs offer asynchronous courses that are designed to be flexible. Many courses are fully online, while others are mostly online. Students also have the option to take accelerated courses. Degrees are offered in business analytics, health administration, and more.
Nursing Degree Search named UNF the number one nursing doctoral degree provider.
The University of North Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of South Florida offers online programs to meet the needs of different types of learners. Students can learn from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and can choose between undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The school’s bachelor’s programs are set up to be degree-completion programs, meaning students will need to complete core courses before enrolling. Graduate degree fields of study offered include music education and global sustainability.
The University of South Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of West Florida’s online degree programs are designed to allow students to work at their own pace. The school aims to meet the needs and goals of a diverse group of learners.
UNF offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees and professional certificates that can be pursued online. Fields of study offered include public health, curriculum and instruction, and geographic information science.
The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Webber International University is a non-profit school with accolades from several different publications. It’s one of only seven schools to be recognized for its business program.
Webber encourages strong bonds between its faculty and students and expects hard work and motivation from its students. It offers online programs for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields like psychology, international business, and accounting.
Webber International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Online Degree in Florida
Students in the sunshine state pay, on average, some of the country’s lowest tuition rates and then often save even more thanks to the numerous grants and scholarships offered by the state.
Florida also has several state organizations committed to supporting students through their education and into their careers, with online and on-campus resources. The state is committed to education, and the country is taking notice.
To start your higher education journey, you can research accredited online schools in Florida that offer your chosen degree path.