California is the most populous state in the country as well as one of the largest by land area. The state's economy grew at a rate of 2 percent in 2013, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, had an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent as of June 2014. Despite this, there are jobs available for those with certain desired skill sets.
Highlight Careers in California
There are a variety of promising career options one could pursue in California. Here's a breakdown of a few of the highlight careers in-state based on the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for total in-state employment numbers as well as annual median salary:
|Career||Total In-state Employment||Median annual income|
|Operations manager||More than 254,000||$125,250|
|Registered nurse||More than 252,000||$96,980|
|Software developer, applications||95,510||$112,180|
|Software developer, systems||78,990||$119,180|
Programs and Degrees in California
The top major in the state in 2012-2013 are those in the health professions and related programs, with a total of 93,979 graduates. Many online schools in California offer degrees in these areas.
Business management and marketing
Business management, marketing, and related support services are also popular degrees in online schools in CA. In the academic year 2012-2013, 68,512 students have business management or a related degree as their primary or secondary major.
The third most popular educational area in California is degrees in liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and the humanities. In 2012-2013, more than fifty thousand students graduated with related majors in this category. Traditionally, liberal arts degrees teach many transferable skills that may prepare students for a wide variety of careers.
Social sciences degrees are also in demand among California's postsecondary students. Over thirty-four thousand students graduated with degrees or certificates in the social sciences in 2012-2013. Like liberal arts, social sciences provide a solid educational foundation that graduates can transfer into many exciting careers.
Visual and performing arts
California is also an educational hub for students seeking visual and performing arts degrees and certificates. In 2012-2013, nearly twenty-five thousand students graduated with this category of major.
Spotlight schools and cities in California for education
Because of its large geographic area and high population, California has a robust system of higher education. On the public side this includes:
- California State University (CSU)
- University of California (UC) system
- California Community Colleges (CCC)
California is also home to hundreds of private universities, including religious institutions, special-purpose (technical and vocational) institutions, and of course, number of online schools and colleges.
The CSU system is the largest in the U.S., enrolling over 430,000 students at 23 campuses statewide. The UC system has ten campuses and over 230,000 students. The CCC system has 112 colleges and serves more than 2.9 million students.
By location, southern California has one of the highest densities of post-secondary institutions not only in the United States, but the world. These institutions are mainly centered in the state's densest population areas such as Los Angeles and San Diego. The San Francisco Bay area is also home to many colleges and universities. Other California cities with high concentrations of students are Fresno and Sacramento.
California education costs (tuition fees and cost of living) and student aid
In 2013-2014, tuition and fees costs in California averaged the following by institution type:
- $1,424 for public two-year in-state
- $9,037 for public four-year in-state
- $36,914 for private nonprofit four-year
Prices may vary from the average at individual institutions.
The California Student Aid Commission's mission is to make education beyond high school financially accessible to all Californians. In keeping with this mission, California offers a variety of financial aid programs including Cal Grants and the California Dream Act programs. Californians may also be eligible for financial aid programs targeted at specific careers including K-12 teaching, child care, nursing, and law enforcement. Students are also encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they are eligible.
California accreditation standards
California is a member of the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC) and the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC).
It's important to consider whether or not an institution is accredited.. Why? Because accreditation is the process by which institutions are determined to be trustworthy and committed to student learning. Schools operating without accreditation may not provide students with the skills necessary to obtain a job in today's competitive market.
"Financial aid programs," California Student Aid Comission, 30 October 2014, http://www.csac.ca.gov/doc.asp?id=33
"Tuition and fees by sector and state over time," Collegeboard, 31 October 2014, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time
"ACS WASC Organization," Accrediting Commission for Schools, WASC, 31 October 2014, http://www.acswasc.org/about_overview.htm
"Welcome to ACCJC," Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, 31 October 2014, http://www.accjc.org/
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, California," Occupational Employment Statistics, 30 October 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm