The various online colleges in Washington prove that the state, named after the nation’s first president, is working hard to become number one in higher education.
The Washington Student Achievement Council was tasked with developing a ten-year “Roadmap” of goals to help increase educational attainment state-wide. In 2015, they announced their two-part goal:
- By 2023, 100% of adults 25-44 in Washington will have a high school diploma or equivalent
- By 2023, at least 70% of adults 25-44 in Washington will have a postsecondary credential
To support these goals, the state will focus on affordability, grant funding, and expanding its dual-credit programs.
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With such impressive goals, it’s clear the state of Washington values higher education.
Online Colleges in Washington
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that 27.9% of Washington’s undergraduate and graduate students were already enrolled exclusively in online courses, while another 21.1% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. These numbers include those enrolled in online community colleges in Washington as well.
Since then, the numbers have risen as colleges have increased their online offerings. Colleges throughout the state offer online degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Hospitality Business, Humanities, Psychology, Sociology, and many other disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
When attending certain schools, online students have access to academic advisors, 24/7 tech support, their own student services staff and student government, online tutoring, and writing labs. They are typically invited to meet on-campus students at events and seminars. You also have a variety of online options for different certificates, and multiple bachelor’s and master’s degree programs.
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It’s not just public schools; private universities are on-board when it comes to online learning, too. Private colleges throughout the state offer over 1,900 online graduate students pursuing degrees in Communication and Leadership Studies, Organizational Leadership, Sports and Athletic Administration, Theology and Leadership, or Nursing Programs.
Choosing to attend an online school in Washington can help you achieve your educational and career goals while maintaining your current life responsibilities, such as a caretaker or a job.
Common Online Degrees in Washington
While degrees offered will vary by school, listed below are some common programs offered through online colleges and universities in Washington state.
- Information Technology: This degree is ideal for students interested in careers in IT, including information security, systems management, and networking.
- Business Administration: For individuals interested in developing skills, including finance, communication, and leadership, that can be used in numerous careers.
- Social Services: This degree can be ideal for students interested in pursuing careers in social services, including as social workers and community service managers.
- Psychology: For individuals beginning their postsecondary degrees in psychology or developing careers like substance abuse and mental health counselors.
- Education: An education degree is needed in most states to get a teaching license at the elementary, middle, or high school level.
These are just a few degrees offered through online Washington colleges that prepare students for some of Washington’s most in-demand jobs.
Overview of Higher Education in Washington
In Washington, there are 72 degree-granting institutions, including online colleges, according to the NCES. Of these, 42 are public, 22 are private non-profit and 8 are private for-profit.
The NCES also reports tuition rates for the state to attend one of the 4-year public institutions residents will pay around $7,168, while non-residents will pay $30,891. Those who cannot find their chosen major at area schools can take advantage of the state’s partnership with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
WICHE’s Student Exchange Program allows students to enroll in degree programs at schools 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 Washington
Successful graduates looking for career opportunities in Washington may find a job market that continues to grow, particularly in certain industries.
With large employers such as Microsoft and Amazon based in Washington, there continues to be high demand for jobs in the technology industry. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many jobs are found in Business and Financial Operations, Healthcare, Sales, Management, and Education.
Many growing careers pay higher-than-average salaries, with some, like Information Security Analysts, projected to grow 35% over the next 10 years. The Washington leisure and hospitality industry continues to grow, with many workers finding seasonal employment in various industries.
Careers & Salaries in Washington
Graduates pursuing employment in Washington State will find a wide range of opportunities and industries, from Business and Management to Farming, Fishing, and Forestry.
As the tech industry continues to grow, many graduates pursue careers as software developers, web developers, quality assurance testers, and database administrators. Individuals interested in business, management, or finance may find opportunities in accounting, human resources, business administration, and hospitality management.
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As an area with many natural attractions, the Farming, Fishing, and Forestry industry continues to grow, with careers including Forest and Conservation Workers.
Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, listed below are ten careers graduates pursue after completing their degree from Washington online colleges.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Project Management Specialists||$122,780|
|General and Operations Managers||$119,450|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$102,940|
|Business Operations Specialists||$77,690|
|Human Resources Specialists||$77,480|
|Computer Support Specialists||$61,090|
|Community and Social Service Workers||$56,700|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||$48,320|
Many careers in Washington tend to pay higher than average and are on a strong growth trajectory, especially in technology fields.
Online Colleges in Washington Admissions Requirements
Admissions requirements will vary by school, but some common admissions requirements for Washington online colleges are listed below.
- Minimum GPA: Some schools may require a certain minimum GPA from your high school courses.
- Official Transcripts: Many schools will require copies of your official high school transcripts or other college courses if transferring.
- Online Application: Most schools will require you to complete an online application, and some will also require payment of an application fee.
Admissions requirements can also vary by program, with some schools having specific requirements for programs like Nursing, Accounting, or Information Technology.
Online Colleges in WA Accreditation
As you look into Washington online colleges that may be best for you, one factor to consider is the school’s accreditation status. Accreditation is the process that verifies a school’s educational programs meet agreed-upon educational standards.
Across the board, regional accreditation is the most widely accepted type. If you plan on continuing your education or transferring schools, consider that some schools only accept degrees and credits from regionally accredited schools. Employers may also look more favorably on degrees earned from regionally accredited institutions.
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To learn more about regional accreditation and to search by school, you can visit the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
If you want to earn your postsecondary degree at one of the many online universities in Washington state, it can be a good idea to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This opens you up to receiving federal and state aid.
In Washington, the Washington Student Achievement Council administers a number of financial aid programs, known as “Opportunity Pathways.” Here are some of these programs:
- College Bound Scholarship: This is for 7th- or 8th-grade students whose families meet income requirements, are in foster care, or meet other financial assistance requirements and pledge to graduate college with a GPA of 2.0 or higher, apply to college, submit the FAFSA and have no felony convictions.
- Educational Opportunity Grant: This program helps low-income students complete up to one year of college and a certificate in a high-wage, high-demand career.
- Opportunity Scholarship Program: This program supports low- and middle-income students pursuing certificates, apprenticeships, and associate or bachelor’s degrees in the STEM or healthcare fields. You must meet income and academic requirements.
The state also offers aid to support American Indians and students pursuing degrees in teaching, healthcare, or aerospace.
Additionally, those applying to online colleges in Washington DC are eligible to apply for private scholarships, such as the following:
- American Society of Civil Engineers Seattle Younger Member Forum Scholarship: Up to $1000
- Lori Rhett Memorial Scholarship: Varies
- Stimson Bullitt Civic Courage Scholarship: (1) $5,000 (2) $2,500
- The Nellie Martin Carman Scholarship: $500-2000
- Wendy Jackson Hall Memorial Scholarship: $15,000
Finally, reach out to the financial aid office at the school you have chosen. Most have financial aid programs available and may be willing to work with you to make your college experience affordable.
Washington Online Education Resources
Whether you are just beginning your journey into online Washington colleges or looking ahead to careers, online education resources can help you at every step.
- GEAR UP Washington State: Provides students and families with college prep tools, including course pathways, exam prep, and financial aid resources.
- Washington Career Bridge: Provides searchable information on job trends, schools, and programs, as well as career resources and financial aid information.
- Education Lab: Spotlights education-focused news and content around challenges and solutions at all levels of education.
In addition, schools may offer their own online resources, from school-specific news and information to online tutoring resources.
How Much Does It Cost to Go to an Online College in Washington?
The cost of online colleges and universities in Washington state will vary based on several factors, including potential online fees and the type of school.
While tuition will vary by school, you can expect to pay approximately $200 – $350 per credit for in-state tuition at a public four-year university in Washington. Tuition will typically cost more at private universities and may also vary for public 2-year schools.
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It is worth looking into a school’s tuition policy for online students, as some schools may offer discounts for out-of-state online students, but some may not.
Tuition Breaks for Out-of-State Students
Washington State is part of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which seeks to provide reduced out-of-state tuition for students in select states.
The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) tuition discount program guarantees a cap on out-of-state tuition at no more than 150% of in-state tuition. The WUE includes 16 states in and around Washington, with over 160 participating colleges and universities. While online students may receive tuition discounts and do not pay for room and board, there may be specific fees for online students, which will vary by school.
In addition to the cost of materials, including the needed technology and school materials, some schools may charge fees for other services, including technology or library services.
What Are the Most in Demand Jobs in Washington State?
Washington has in-demand jobs in various fields, particularly in technology and engineering. Management positions can be in high demand in numerous industries.
Based on information from the Washington State Employment Security Department, listed below are some of the most in-demand jobs in Washington State.
- Marketing Managers: Projected growth of 3.2%
- Computer Systems Analysts: Projected growth of 2.4%
- Information Security Analysts: Projected growth of 4%
- Market Research Analysts and Specialists: Projected growth of 3.7%
- Software Developers: Projected growth of 3.2%
Healthcare, education, and sales jobs are also frequently in demand in Washington State.
What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Washington?
Careers and salaries will vary for several reasons, including location, work experience, and education level. Based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, below are some of the highest-paying careers in Washington state and their annual median salaries.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Orthotists and Prosthetists||$179,150|
While many of the highest-paying jobs require further education and degrees, high-paying jobs can be found with a bachelor’s degree in some industries, like information technology.
List of Online Universities in Washington State
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.
American University Washington offers a number of online master’s degree programs typically taught by the same instructors who teach on-campus courses. Potential programs on offer include public administration and policy, nutrition education, strategic communication, and more. Classes are designed to be flexible but interactive, and access to coursework is usually available at any time.
American University – Washington is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Bellevue College offers a variety of online degree programs to meet the needs of work, family, or military obligations. Popular undergraduate majors include healthcare informatics and healthcare management and leadership. The college aims to teach excellence that advances the life-long educational development of its students.
Bellevue College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Central Washington University offers online degree programs designed to be both convenient and personalized. Possible majors for online bachelor’s degree programs include English, information technology and management, social services, sociology, law and justice, and English creative writing. There is also a hybrid program in paramedicine.
Central Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
The City University of Seattle offers over 65 online degree programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Degree programs are also available as a blend of online and on-site instruction. Options for a bachelor’s degree potentially include criminal justice, healthcare administration, project management, business administration, business and data analytics, and more.
CityU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Eastern Washington University offers accelerated, online master’s degree programs, many of which may be completed in just 1 year. Potential programs include curriculum and instruction, business analysis and reporting, health services administration, early childhood education, and more. Programs are designed to fit within a busy schedule.
Eastern Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
George Washington University offers a variety of online master’s degrees in fields such as business administration, strategic public relations, educational leadership and administration, and more. There are also a limited number of online bachelor’s degree programs, including an RN-to-BSN, a BSHS in Biomedical Informatics, and a degree completion program in homeland security.
George Washington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Georgetown University offers master’s degree programs online. Possible choices include technology management, sports industry management, real estate, higher education administration, global strategic communications, applied intelligence, and more. Programs are designed to help enable working while earning a degree.
Georgetown University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Gonzaga University’s online degree programs include a PhD in Leadership Studies, an EdD in Educational Leadership, and a variety of master’s degrees. Potential master’s programs include communication and leadership studies, sport and athletic administration, transmission and distribution engineering, and more. There are also online MSN and DNP programs.
Gonzaga University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Heritage University’s online courses are designed to teach the same academic material as that on campus but are self-paced to help facilitate both getting an education and keeping a busy work schedule. Potential programs include a BA or an MA in English, or a Graduate Certificate in Educational Administration.
Heritage University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Northwest Indian College offers online classes in synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid formats. Bachelor’s degree programs include community advocates and responsive education in human services, native studies leadership, tribal governance and business management, and native environmental science.
Associate’s degrees include business and entrepreneurship, public and tribal administration, chemical dependency studies, and more.
Northwest Indian College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Northwest University offers both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online. Bachelor’s degree options include business management, communication, humanitarian leadership, interdisciplinary studies, ministry leadership, organizational leadership, and more. Master’s degree options include ministry, Bible and theology, clinical mental health counseling, and community economic development.
Northwest University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Peninsula College offers an online Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and an online Associate in Arts designed for transfer to a 4 year institution. Online courses at Peninsula are designed to teach the same knowledge and skills learned in on-campus classes, but with greater scheduling flexibility.
Peninsula College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Seattle University offers online master’s degree programs in criminal justice, school counseling, business administration, business analytics, and compliance and risk management. Educators can also earn an endorsement to teach English language learners. Most online classes feature recorded lectures and are asynchronous. Some programs may include internships or other in-person experiences.
Seattle University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Skagit Valley College offers flexible online degree programs. Potential options include a bachelor’s degree in applied management, and an associates degree program in general studies, biology, business management, early childhood education, or media and interactive technology. The general studies program has a special option designed for active military personnel.
Skagit Valley College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Strayer University offers online associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. Possible majors for a bachelor’s degree include management, business administration, accounting, criminal justice, and information technology. Master’s degree options include business administration, education, health services administration, human resource management, and more.
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of the Potomac offers online degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Potential undergraduate majors include information technology, business, accounting, cybersecurity, and more. Classes aim to provide flexible scheduling to accommodate the needs of adult students, and are typically taught by faculty with real-world experience in their fields.
The University of the Potomac is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Washington offers online degree programs designed to provide a flexible schedule while being part of a diverse community. Potential bachelor’s degree programs include early care and education and integrated social sciences. Master’s degree programs include health administration, aerospace engineering, pharmaceutical bioengineering, and more. Some courses feature live meetings via Zoom.
The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Washington State University offers many of its undergraduate and graduate degree programs fully online. Possible undergraduate majors include marketing, accounting, economics, management, hospitality business management, management information systems, and senior living management. Graduate programs include agriculture, music, business administration, and more.
Washington State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Online degree programs at Western Washington University are designed to be highly interactive, while also being flexible enough to meet the needs of a variety of learners. Potential programs include a bachelor’s degree in human services and multidisciplinary studies and a master’s degree in educational administration.
Western is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Whitworth University offers online bachelor’s degree programs in criminal justice administration, management and accounting, business management, public services administration, and more. Class meetings are usually synchronous and typically held in the evenings to accommodate work schedules, but also strive to ensure the benefits of discussions with classmates and instructors.
Whitworth University is accredited by Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Online Degree in Washington
What’s great is getting better, in Washington state. The state has high goals for improving its already excellent schools, financial aid resources, and online degree programs, proving it is and will continue to be an excellent place to earn your postsecondary degree.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your educational journey, you may want to consider researching accredited online colleges in Washington State that offer your chosen degree program.