Florida students 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 school anywhere in the country without leaving your home. This can 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. Learn more 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 (NES) reported that approximately 32% of Florida’s higher education students were enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 31% of students were participating in some combination of online and on-campus courses.
Most of Florida’s 181 institutions offer online learning opportunities. The state boasts hundreds of online college courses available with a number of programs existing to help support distance education within the state.
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Through the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), online students have 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, the Florida Distance Learning 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 is ideal for students who are interested in a profession in programming, information technology, web design and administration, software, and data analysis.
- Nursing: There are many different types of nursing, but the first step for many registered nurses is earning a bachelor’s degree, which will provide training in biology, anatomy, and patient care.
- Education: This degree can prepare students 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: Those who are interested in roles as entrepreneurs, business administrators, corporate professionals, or leadership positions within their chosen field may benefit from this degree program.
- Engineering: There are many concentrations within this field, including software, environmental, electrical, and chemical engineering, along with 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 181 colleges and universities. The NCES indicates that of the 181 institutions, 43 are public, 65 are non-profit, and 73 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 $4,443 to attend a 4-year intuition. Out-of-state students pay around $18,456. That’s $4769 less than the national average for in-state, and $7926 less for out-of-state students.
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On top of low tuition rates, those looking to earn online bachelors degrees in Florida can 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 and Related 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, with professional anesthesiologists and emergency medicine physicians earning 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 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:
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$131,770|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$97,930|
|Project Management Specialists||$80,640|
|Career/Technical Education Teachers, Postsecondary||$60,740|
There are many potential career paths for those who attend online Florida universities, depending on your own professional and educational goals.
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 a different type of interaction with your professor and class 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
Each of the online Florida universities will offer its own unique experience. 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: 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 you select.
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 popular requirements include:
- SAT or ACT Scores (only some schools require them)
- High School Transcripts or 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. As a result, you may find that financial assistance opportunities are extended to those who plan to attend an accredited school or program. Furthermore, some future 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 opens the door to federal financial aid, and 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). OSFA handles about a dozen programs, several of which offer sizable, renewable financial aid packages.
Here are just a few examples:
- Bright Futures Scholarship Program: Three merit-based scholarships with varying GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements; Awards vary per credit hour, renewable (with merit requirements)
- Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant: Need-based aid for students enrolled full-time at an eligible institution and not studying theology or divinity; Amount varies each year, renewable up to 9 semesters (with merit requirements)
- First Generation Matching Grant Program: Need-based aid for students whose parents have not earned a baccalaureate degree; Award will not exceed the student’s unmet financial need
- José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund: Need and merit-based scholarship for students of Spanish culture attending public or eligible private institutions; $2000 per year, renewable (with financial need and merit requirements)
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 and/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: $1000; 25 awards
- College Fund of Pinellas County Grant: $1000 per year up to $4,000
- Right Fit Foundation Scholarship: $5000
- South Florida Fair Scholarship: Varies / Multiple awards
Opportunities like these can be found on scholarship search sites where you can enter basic information about yourself and be matched with dozens of scholarships.
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 completing 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 an excellent 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 two-year college will be the least expensive option, and private four-year colleges will be the most expensive. The average tuition across Florida’s public universities for in-state students is around $4,500, while the average among private schools is $29,000. These figures do not include room and board or fees.
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, and West Virginia may be able to take advantage of certain discounts.
The Southern Regional Education Board offers a program known as 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 prepare you for a variety of opportunities depending on 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 can 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. Students can choose from 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. 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 is 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. Students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees in nursing, business, and more.
FAU 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. For bachelor’s programs, students can’t complete core classes online. Master’s programs are entirely online. Fields of study offered include criminal justice, educational leadership, health science, and legal studies.
FGCU 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. Online students can expect to get the same quality education as their on-campus peers. Courses are asynchronous. Students can earn undergraduate, graduate, or 4+1 degrees. 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. Online students can receive the same renowned education as those receiving their education on campus. Students may earn bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees online. FSU offers degrees 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. Students can earn a degree fully online, although some programs do require some time on campus. NSU offers many online degree programs in fields like biomedical sciences, college student affairs, and psychology.
Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Rasmussen University has offered 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. The school 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 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. Students can earn undergraduate, master’s, or doctoral degrees. 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.
SPC 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 #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. Students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, or 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 offers asynchronous courses to provide students with flexibility. Nursing Degree Search named UNF the number one nursing doctoral degree provider. 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.
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 internet connection and can choose between undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The school’s bachelor’s programs are set up to be degree completion, meaning students will need to complete core courses before enrolling. Graduate degree fields of study 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 allow students to work at their own pace. The school aims to meet the needs and goals of a diverse group of learners. UNF online students can pursue bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees or professional certificates. 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 some of the country’s lowest tuition rates, and then save even more thanks to the numerous grants and scholarships offered by the state.
They also have several state organizations committed to supporting them through their education and into their careers, with online and on-campus resources. Florida is a state that’s committed to education, and the country is taking notice. To start your higher education journey, research accredited online schools in Florida that offer your chosen degree path.
You can also view our Online Colleges in Delaware and Online Colleges in Georgia guides for more options.