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Online Schools in Florida

According to a study by the Parthenon Group, 40 percent of Florida college students took at least one online course during the 2010-11 academic year. This number far exceeds the nationwide average of 31 percent. With nearly 700 online programs available from 39 Florida colleges and universities, online education is already a significant force in the state. Online colleges provide recent high school graduates, as well as working adults, parents, and other non-traditional students, with more options for attaining postsecondary training. From vocational certification to graduate degrees, students in Florida can now choose from a wide range of either fully online or blended programs.

Online Education Resources for Students in Florida

A growing number of public and private institutions in Florida have begun to feature online learning options. Florida Virtual Campus, a service of the State University System of Florida and Florida College System, is a great resource for prospective online students in the state. Along with admissions information and electronic library services, the site features a searchable catalog of online courses and degrees available from Florida's public universities and community colleges.

Many national online colleges also offer degrees and certificates to students in Florida. Some, such as Argosy University and Everest, even have physical campuses in Florida, where students may be able to pursue hybrid learning options. These programs combine online courses with on-campus sessions, such as discussion groups or labs. Based in Florida, Full Sail University is a nationally accredited school that offers both fully online and hybrid degrees in art, video game design, music production, and related entertainment fields.


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Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Florida

Accreditation shows that a school has met certain criteria in order to provide a quality education for its students. Additionally, accreditation influences whether or not a school's credits will be honored by another institution, should a student wish to transfer. There are numerous associations responsible for the accreditation of colleges and universities throughout the nation, as well as the distance learning programs offered by these schools.

Many postsecondary institutions based in Florida are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). National colleges may receive accreditation from other agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission or the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. To learn more about a particular institution's accreditation status, students should contact a school representative.

Florida Online Colleges and Tuition Rates

As with traditional programs, online tuition rates vary from school to school. Florida State University, for example, charges per credit hour, with different rates for in-state and out-of-state students. Additionally, there is a distance learning fee for all classes taken online. Jacksonville State University also charges by credit hour, but the rate varies depending on whether a student is enrolling in undergraduate or graduate courses. For more information on tuition or the application process, prospective students should contact an admissions counselor from their school of interest.

Selected Online Degree Programs in Florida

Online Business Degrees in Florida: An undergraduate degree in business typically emphasizes fundamental understanding of marketing, enterprise information systems, and statistics. Individuals pursuing a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, may learn about project management, innovation and technology, and managing financial business risks. Often, online schools also offer several specializations within the MBA, such as corporate finance, health care management, sustainability, and international business. Depending on the level, an online degree in business may qualify graduates for careers such as accountant or management assistant.

Online Social Work and Human Services Degrees in Florida: Online programs in this field generally focus on the skills needed to provide different types of care for individuals who are unable to help themselves, such as young children and the elderly. Often, students learn about child development, family and community relationships, mentoring, and various mental disorders, as well as different ways to promote conflict resolution. Online degrees in social work help prepare graduates for a wide range of employment opportunities, from working with abused children in foster care to helping patients with substance abuse problems. Some examples of possible careers include social and human services assistant or social worker.

Online Communication Degrees in Florida: For individuals interested in public speaking and building relationships or coalitions for large-scale projects, an online degree in communication may be the right choice. Students typically learn the foundations of inter- and intrapersonal communication, the relationship between media and society, and communication law. Specializations within the major often include journalism, culture and communication, marketing, and politics. With a degree in the field, graduates may qualify for careers such as public relations specialist or marketing manager.

Other degrees offered by online schools in Florida include public health, information technology, psychology, and criminal justice. Please browse the list of colleges below to learn more about available programs.

Sources:
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Employment Projections, 2013, http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections

"Florida Ponders Opening an Online-Only Public University," The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 14, 2012, Angela Chen, http://chronicle.com/article/Florida-Ponders-Opening-an/134482/

Florida International University Online, Tuition & Feeds, 2013, http://online.fiu.edu/programs/tuition

Florida State University, Tuition Rates, January 2013, http://controller.vpfa.fsu.edu/Student-Financial-Services/SFS-For-Students/Tuition-Rates

Florida Virtual Campus, http://www.flvc.org

Jacksonville State University, Tuition & Fees, 2013, http://www.jsu.edu/bursar/tuition.html

"Study of online learning in the State University System reveals several expansion options," State University System of Florida Board of Governors, http://www.flbog.edu/pressroom/news.php?id=482

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