Florida has been seeing considerable economic improvements since the economy crashed and the housing bubble burst. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis recently reported Florida's economic output increased 3.1 percent in 2015, higher than the national average of 2.4 percent.
Popular Programs and Degrees in Florida
Just as the occupations in Florida are diverse, the most popular degrees also span a wide range of interests. Here's a breakdown of some of the most popular programs in Florida based on National Center for Education Services (NCES) numbers of graduates during in the 2014-15 academic year:
- Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities: 60,069
- Health professions: 40,931
- Business management and marketing: 36,944
- Education: 10,448
- Homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and other protective services: 8,316
Cities and Schools in Florida
No matter what students want to study, chances are there are several schools for them to choose from. That's because there are over 400 colleges and universities around the state, including about 350 private colleges and universities.
Florida also boasts a robust public college system:
- State University System of Florida universities: 12 universities
- Florida College System: 28 community colleges
Floridians have their pick of a number of schools in the area, especially for those who live in the larger cities. Among the largest cities in Florida are Jacksonville, which has a population of 821,784, and Miami, which has the population of 399,457. Other large cities in the state include Tampa, Saint Petersburg, Orlando and Hialeah.
Although people in large cities may have easy access to a local college campus, via online schools in Florida, people who live outside of these metropolitan areas can still take advantage of the state's best schools by earning their degrees online.
Highlighted Careers in Florida
There are several popular careers among Florida's professionals. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics, there are 168,870 registered nurses around Florida, and these professionals earn a median annual salary of $63,960. Here are five highlighted careers in the state based on May 2015 BLS data for median annual salaries and total in-state employment:
|Discipline||Mean annual salary||Total in-state employment|
|General and operations manager||$128,160||72,840|
|Accountant and auditor||$68,750||75,280|
Florida Education Costs (tuition fees and cost of living) and Student Aid
According to data compiled by The College Board, the 2015-16 annual cost of tuition for Florida schools is as follows:
- $3,232 for public two-year in-state schools
- $6,260 for public four-year in-state institutions
- $32,405 for private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities (national average)
The price of tuition may vary from school to school, and may be higher in major cities with a higher cost of living. However, Florida schools are still affordable compared to those in many other areas of the country.
Students may also have access to tuition assistance to help with the cost of attending a Florida college or university. For example, the Florida Student Assistance Grant Program and the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program are awarded to students based on financial need. There are also scholarships that students may be eligible for based on their background and the field they plan to study.
Students may also be eligible to receive federal financial aid. The first step toward eligibility is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Florida Accreditation Standards
Accreditation of colleges and universities is a form of quality control, which seeks to ensure students are getting the best education Florida institutions have to offer. Accrediting organizations hold schools up to high standards, so students can be confident that when they earn their degrees they are prepared to enter the workforce. Some schools in the state are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
- Trends in Higher Education, The College Board, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time
- The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Occupational Employment Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://data.bls.gov/oes/
- FAFSA Federal Student Aid, Federal Student Aid, https://fafsa.ed.gov/
- FAQs About Accreditation, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, https://cihe.neasc.org/information-public/faqs-about-accreditation#what_is_accreditation
- Important Questions About Accreditation, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, http://www.chea.org/degreemills/
- College Navigator FL, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=FL
- State University System of Florida, State University System of Florida Board of Governors, http://www.flbog.edu/aboutsus/universities/
- About Us, The Florida College System, http://www.floridacollegesystem.com/about.aspx
- Florida - Largest Cities, GeoNames, http://www.geonames.org/US/FL/largest-cities-in-florida.html
- (FL) Cities - ranked by Population, TogetherWeTeach, http://www.togetherweteach.com/TWTIC/uscityinfo/09fl/flpopr/09flpr.htm
- Florida Scholarships, Scholarships.com, https://www.scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-state/florida-scholarships/
- Florida Scholarships & Grants, Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance, https://www.floridastudentfinancialaidsg.org/pdf/nm4c_brochure.pdf
- Accreditation and Memberships, College of Central Florida, http://www.cf.edu/smartcatalog/accreditation.htm
- Gross Domestic Product by State: First Quarter 2016, Bureau of Economic Analysis, http://bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/2016/pdf/qgsp0716.pdf