In the period between January 2008 and December 2012, Missouri residents witnessed firsthand the effects of the Great Recession on their state economy. Construction and manufacturing jobs disappeared during the downturn, while positions requiring more education, such as professional, business, educational and health services, led the charge during the resurgence that began in 2010 (U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, 2013). Online colleges in Missouri have been working throughout the economic shift to make continuing education, professional certification and career training available to students who might not be able to attend a traditional, full-time university degree program.
Online Education Resources for Students in Missouri
Many public and private institutions in Missouri now offer online learning options, including several of the state's most prominent universities. Here are just a few of the Missouri colleges that offer certificate and degree programs online:
- University of Missouri
- Missouri State University
- Missouri University of Science and Technology
- Missouri Southern State University
- University of Central Missouri
- Columbia College
Aspiring online students can also seek enrollment at national online colleges with a virtual presence in Missouri, including Capella University, Grand Canyon University, ITT Technical Institute and the University of Phoenix. Even though these institutions conduct their coursework primarily online, some of them also offer campus locations in Missouri, providing an option for students who prefer to take a portion of their degree work in a traditional classroom environment. Locations for these national online colleges in Missouri are concentrated around population centers, such as St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield, but students statewide can take advantage of the courses offered by these institutions.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Missouri
In the U.S., a set of standards has been put in place to help students feel confident that they're getting an education that's worth the time and money they put into it. Online schools in Missouri that meet these standards become accredited by one of the independent regional or national associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Accredited colleges not only offer a standard level of quality in education, but typically allow for the transfer of earned credit hours from one school to another, depending on the policies of individual institutions.
Schools such as the University of Missouri and Missouri State University are accredited regionally by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) (U.S. Department of Education, 2013). Online schools in Missouri with a national scope might be accredited by other agencies -- such as the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), for example, which accredits ITT Technical Institute -- and permitted to operate locally by the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
Missouri Online Colleges and Tuition Rates
Missouri universities offer a wide variety of tuition rates. Before enrolling in universities that operate primarily in Missouri, students should consider establishing in-state residency because the tuition surcharges imposed on nonresident students can be formidable. Some online programs, however, may operate on a less-regionalized model. Tuition charges are typically levied per credit hour, and some institutions use a system of adjustment based on the type of class taken or the method of instruction used to teach the course work.
Selected Online Degree Programs in Missouri
Online Nursing Degrees in Missouri: Registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical or vocational nurses (LPNs or LVNs) can take the next step in their nursing education at several of the online colleges in Missouri. Nurses who go on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing may open up career paths in areas such as home health, public health, program planning, nursing management and health care education. Some programs require candidates to have earned an Associate of Arts degree in nursing prior to enrollment (University of Central Missouri, Missouri State University, 2013).
Online Teaching Degrees in Missouri: Candidates for online school in Missouri who have already earned a bachelor's degree can work toward becoming a certified teacher online through a program offered by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). Experienced instructors looking to take their education even further with a Master of Education (M.Ed.) or an educational specialist (Ed.S) degree can do so online as well by completing between 30 and 40 hours of course work tailored to their chosen specialization (University of Missouri, 2013).
Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Missouri: Several Missouri colleges offer online or hybrid programs in criminal justice, spanning numerous aspects of the field. For example, Missouri State University offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in criminology, and Columbia College offers two bachelor's degrees in administration and a Master of Science degree in criminal justice. Typical courses in these programs cover such topics as criminal procedure, juvenile justice, crisis intervention and ethical issues in law enforcement.
Plenty of other online degrees and certifications are available through schools in Missouri. To learn more about available programs, request information from one of the colleges listed below.