A recent congressional report indicates that the Louisiana career market is bounding back from its low point during the Great Recession, indicating a growth of 5.7 percent in private sector employment between 2010 and 2013 (U.S. Joint Economic Committee, 2013). The same report suggests that two of the job sectors expected to experience the greatest employment gains throughout the rest of the decade are health care and business services, while available work in manufacturing continues to drop off.
Today's students have the opportunity, through online colleges in Louisiana, to earn the skills that remain in demand as the economy changes. This modern, self-directed educational model provides a way for even the busiest aspiring professionals to pursue a college degree or technical certificate at their own pace, whenever they have time to spare.
Online Education Resources for Students in Louisiana
Louisiana students seeking information about online college programs might not need to look any further than the admissions offices of some of their state's most well-known universities. Historic institutions from coast to coast are waking up to the online revolution in education, and many Louisiana colleges are among them, including:
- Louisiana Tech University
- Louisiana State University
- McNeese State University
- Northwestern State University
- University of New Orleans
- University of Louisiana at Monroe
Along with the multiple universities in-state that feature distance learning options, many nationwide online colleges offer degree programs to students in Louisiana. Some, such as Strayer University and ITT Technical Institute, even have physical locations in the state. The University of Phoenix operates campuses in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and Shreveport, and maintains a satellite learning center in Covington. At locations like these, students may be able to pursue hybrid learning programs, which combine virtual coursework with hands-on classroom sessions.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Louisiana
Students who have already looked into online schools in Louisiana have no doubt become aware of the concept of accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education sanctions particular regional or national agencies to oversee educational standards at all types of schools. When an institution meets these standards, it becomes accredited. Along with helping ensure a quality education, accreditation influences whether the credits a student earns at one school can be transferred to another.
The regional accrediting body that oversees most online programs at Louisiana's home universities is known as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). An online school that operates in Louisiana but has campuses in other regions may fall under the jurisdiction of an accreditation agency with national scope.
Louisiana Online Colleges and Tuition Rates
Tuition rates for online schools in Louisiana can vary greatly from program to program, depending on the institution and the subject studied. It's usually advisable to earn Louisiana residency before applying to most state schools, since in-state tuition is often significantly less expensive than the nonresident rate. Tuition may be charged per class, per credit hour, or per semester in some rare cases. Because every school is different, it is a good idea to speak with an admissions counselor before beginning the application process.
Selected Online Degree Programs in Louisiana
Online Nursing Degrees in Louisiana: While registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical or vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) programs still conduct the clinical portion of their training in a face-to-face environment (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012), there may be an online component to the coursework. Nurses who have already earned an RN, LPN or LVN license can take their education to the next level with a bachelor's of science in nursing at many online schools in Louisiana.
Online Radiology Degrees in Louisiana: Similar to candidates for online nursing degrees, students seeking continued education in radiologic technology must undergo face-to-face clinical training and become ARRT Registered Radiologic Technologists. Once registered as professionals, they can enter online radiology programs at Northwestern State University or the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Online Teaching Degrees in Louisiana: The field of education is one of the best-represented areas of study at Louisiana online schools. The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) offers an online bachelor's degree in elementary education, and education master's degrees are available online at ULM, Northwestern State University, New Orleans University and elsewhere. Online bachelor's degrees in history, English, math and other secondary subjects, which can be combined with a teaching certificate or postgraduate work in education, can be found throughout the state as well.
Online degrees in Louisiana don't stop there. Students can now find programs in a wide range of fields, including criminal justice, psychology, engineering, business administration and many more. For details on available programs, or to speak with an admissions counselor, request information from one of the colleges listed below.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-2013 Edition: Registered Nurses
eLearning / Online Programs - Louisiana State University-Eunice
eNSU, Northwestern State University
Online Learning at UNO, The University of New Orleans
United States Congress, Joint Economic Committee, Economic Overview and Outlook: Louisiana [PDF]
University of Louisiana System, Online Degree Programs
U.S. Department of Education, Accreditation in the United States, Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies