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Online Schools in California

According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, between 2008 and 2018, California is expected to add about 1.3 million jobs that will require a postsecondary degree for employment. Online education presents recent high school graduates, nontraditional students and working professionals more options and flexibility for attaining higher education. Along with eliminating worries about limited space or course availability, distance learning typically offers students with career or family obligations the ability to pursue a degree any time their busy schedule permits.

Online Education Resources for Students in California

California has many options and resources for students who wish to earn a college degree through online education. Many schools in the state, including Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Los Angeles, already offer distance courses or fully-online degree programs. To help students search for online programs, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office created the California Virtual Campus. This website allows individuals to search through 1,200 degree programs from over 160 postsecondary institutions. It also provides links to resources such as career centers, financial aid information, and résumé builders.

Schools with a national presence are another option for students interested in online learning. These institutions tend to offer a greater variety of online degree programs that may not yet be available through state colleges and universities, or even private institutions. Some of these schools, including University of Phoenix and DeVry University, have physical campuses throughout California, allowing students to pursue a hybrid degree program that mixes online courses with classroom-based training.

Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in California

Accreditation signifies an institution has had their programs and courses evaluated against established academic standards. This helps ensure that education provided by the school meets a certain quality level. Accreditation is carried out by private associations and agencies, some of which meet the criteria of the Secretary of Education and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

While many higher learning institutions in California are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, some schools may be accredited by other entities. For instance, although University of Phoenix features multiple campuses throughout California, the school is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Additionally, some specialty associations accredit individual programs. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, for example, measures the standards for programs involved in teacher preparation.

California Online Colleges and Tuition Rates

Rates of tuition for online programs will vary from school to school and may also depend on the degree level. Typically, colleges charge based on units and credit hours or by semesters or quarters. California State University, Bakersfield, for example, charges per unit for both undergraduate and graduate classes. On the other hand, students pursuing an online degree from the University of Southern California can expect to pay per semester. The University of California, Berkeley has a number of online certificate programs, and each certificate is accompanied with an individual estimated cost. For online courses and degree programs, many schools charge the same amount for in-state and out-of-state residents. Prospective students should contact individual schools and speak with an admissions counselor to learn more about tuition rates and the application process.

Selected Online Degree Programs in California

Online Information Technology Degrees in California: Information technology programs typically train students in data structures, database access and programming logic. Other topics of study include computer-based system design, analysis and impact of IT solutions, and collaborative projects with other IT professionals. Graduates of these programs may be qualified for a variety of jobs depending on their degree level. Some examples of positions include database administrator, network and computer systems analyst or computer support specialist.

Online Business Degrees in California: An undergraduate degree program in business teaches individuals about the ethical principles of business, financial accounting practices and organizational behavior. Individuals interested in earning an MBA may study data analysis as it pertains to management decisions, as well as effective leadership in global businesses. Some schools offer specializations, including accountancy, business law, marketing and management. A business degree may qualify graduates for a number of careers, including financial analyst or insurance underwriter.

Online Psychology Degrees in California: Psychology programs explore the terminology and theories of the field, including structuralism, functionalism, behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Other topics of study include statistical reasoning as it applies to psychology, human and self-perception, and social psychology. Depending on the level of their degree, graduates may be qualified for a variety of careers, including substance abuse counselor and mental health counselor.

Other online degrees that can be earned in California include the areas of public health, social work, and education. For details on available programs, contact an admissions advisor or request information from one of the schools listed below.


California State University, Bakersfield, Extended University Division,

California Virtual Campus,

Higher Learning Commission,

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education,

Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-13 Edition), Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor,

"Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018,” Georgetown University,

University of California at Berkeley Extension,

University of Southern California Catalogue,

Western Association of Schools and Colleges,

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