Online Schools in Michigan
According to a report from the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, more than half of the jobs expected to see the most career growth and highest pay in Michigan between now and 2018 require a bachelor's degree or above. Online education may make earning a postsecondary degree more attainable by giving students more options and flexibility than traditional brick-and-mortar schools. Students juggling work or family commitments can often complete online course work on their own timeline, and those with travel limitations can access higher education from any location with an Internet connection. Online colleges in Michigan could help the state fill more job openings in coming years by helping students achieve the educational requirements necessary for the hottest occupations in the state.
Online Education Resources for Students in Michigan
Michigan has a number of options for students who wish to pursue a college degree online. Many of the state's colleges and universities now offer distance learning and online degree programs, including the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, and Michigan Technological University, all ranked among U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges for 2012. The Michigan Community College Association also offers a Virtual Learning Collaborative that allows students to take courses that aren't offered at their own colleges, while still receiving support from their "home" campus.
National online colleges are another option for Michigan students pursuing postsecondary education. These colleges often offer degree programs and courses of study that are not yet available at area colleges. A number of national schools also have campus locations throughout Michigan, allowing students to pursue hybrid degree programs that combine online and on-campus learning.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Michigan
Accreditation, a method adopted by American secondary and postsecondary institutions more than 100 years ago, ensures that an academic institution has met certain educational standards. Moreover, accreditation evaluates an institution as a whole to determine how well it meets the needs of its students. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), an independent corporation that is part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), grants accreditation to most degree-granting colleges and universities in Michigan. Some colleges with campuses in Michigan may actually be based in another state or region of the United States, however, and are therefore accredited by that region's accrediting body.
Aside from the six regional accreditation agencies, there is also national accreditation, which is not based on geography. National accreditation evaluates specific types of schools and colleges. For example, the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) accredits institutions offering distance education. Before enrolling in any program, prospective students should make sure it is properly accredited by contacting a school representative.