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 2.2 percent in the last year, higher than the national average.
Top Programs and Degrees in Florida
Just as the top occupations in Florida are diverse, the most popular degrees also span a wide range of interests Here's a breakdown of some of the top programs in Florida based on National Center for Education Services (NCES) numbers on total degrees granted in the 2012-2013 academic year:
- Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities: 62,614
- Business management and marketing: 39,156
- Health professions: 38,441
- Education: 11,000
- Homeland security, law enforcement, firefighting and other protective services: 8,852
Spotlight 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 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 162,530 registered nurses around Florida, and these professionals earn a median annual salary of $60,420. Here are five highlight careers in the state based on May 2013 BLS data for median annual salaries and total in-state employment:
|Discipline||Median annual salary||Total in-state employment|
|General and operations manager||$100,640||72,530|
|Accountant and auditor||$60,010||72,810|
Florida Education Costs (tuition fees and cost of living) and Student Aid
According to data compiled by The College Board, the annual cost of tuition for Florida schools is as follows:
- $3,100 for public two-year in-state schools
- $6,100 for public four-year in-state institutions
- $20,000 for private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities
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 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 needs. There are also scholarships students can receive based on their background and the field they plan to study.
Students may also be eligible to receive federal financial aid, which they can obtain by filling 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 that 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.
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"The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System," National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed November 28, 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
"Occupational Employment Statistics," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed November 28, 2014, http://data.bls.gov/oes/
"FAFSA Federal Student Aid," Federal Student Aid, Accessed November 28, 2014, https://fafsa.ed.gov/
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"Important Questions About Accreditation," Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Accessed November 28, 2014, http://www.chea.org/degreemills/
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"College Navigator FL," National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed November 28, 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=FL
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"Accreditation and Memberships," College of Central Florida, Accessed November 28, 2014, http://www.cf.edu/smartcatalog/accreditation.htm