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Online Schools in North Carolina

According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, by the year 2020, approximately 61 percent of jobs in North Carolina will require some education or training beyond the high school level. The report emphasizes that postsecondary training and education are essential for southern states such as North Carolina to attract high-paying, high-skill jobs. Online colleges in North Carolina may help meet the state's growing need for postsecondary degree holders by offering students more options and more flexible scheduling than traditional campus-based programs.

Online Education Resources for Students in North Carolina

North Carolina colleges and universities now feature a wealth of online learning opportunities. To help students navigate these programs and courses, the North Carolina Education Cabinet and Office of the Governor offer an all-ages eLearning website, eLearningNC. Additionally, the North Carolina Community College System has developed the Virtual Learning Community, an online information resource through which students can search for distance learning options throughout the state. The University of North Carolina currently boasts more than 300 online study programs and enrolls nearly 70,000 online students, according to the school's website. Other prominent institutions in North Carolina that offer online courses and degrees include Duke University and Appalachian State University.

Many national online colleges also offer full degree programs to students in North Carolina. These schools typically feature a broader spectrum of online education options, allowing students to pursue types of online degrees that may not yet be available at area colleges and universities. Some national colleges even have campus locations in North Carolina, which may allow students to pursue hybrid learning programs that combine online courses with classroom-based sessions.

Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in North Carolina

Accreditation is a process by which an institution's academic programs are evaluated by an impartial accrediting body. There are many different agencies and associations that award regional, national, and specialized accreditation. Regional accreditation is based on geography, with North Carolina colleges and universities falling under the jurisdiction of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. National accreditation, on the other hand, is based on specific types of schools and programs. For example, many education degree programs are evaluated by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, while the Distance Education and Training Council typically accredits colleges that offer distance learning. Prospective students should check a program's accreditation status before enrolling by contacting a school representative.

North Carolina Online Colleges and Tuition Rates

As with traditional colleges, tuition for online colleges varies by school, and may be based on a number of factors such as degree level and area of study. Tuition is usually charged per semester or by the number of credits or units taken. Colleges may also charge differently for in-state versus out-of-state students. The distance education programs at North Carolina State University, for example, charge a higher rate for nonresidents. The school also charges tuition per credit hour, and prices vary according to subject and degree level. Similarly, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill bills per credit hour for its online courses and also charges higher tuition for out-of-state students. Additional fees and expenses may be required as well. Students interested in a particular school or program of study should speak with an admissions counselor for more information on tuition and the application process in general.

Selected Online Degree Programs in North Carolina

Online Criminal Justice Degrees in North Carolina: Online criminal justice degrees familiarize students with government systems for apprehending, prosecuting, and punishing those who commit criminal behavior. Students in this field typically study topics such as criminal justice theory, psychology of criminal behavior, police procedures, probation and parole, and crime lab technology. Because criminal justice is a broad field, it incorporates many other subjects including sociology, psychology, and science. Within criminal justice, students can often choose from specialty areas such as law enforcement or forensic science. Some typical careers one might pursue with a criminal justice education, depending on degree level and training, include legal assistant, criminal investigator, probation officer, or correctional treatment specialist.

Online Education Degrees in North Carolina: An online degree in education typically prepares students to teach others. Those "others" could range from preschool and elementary school students to special-needs students and adult learners. In general, prospective teachers learn how to communicate information effectively to their students, structure lesson plans, and evaluate student progress. Specific education requirements may vary by state, institution, or age level, and most teaching positions require state certification or licensure. Some examples of careers one could pursue with an education degree include K-12 teacher, technical or vocational trade instructor, adult education instructor, principal, or school administrator.

Online Nursing Degrees in North Carolina: Online nursing degree programs generally teach students how to tend to the physical health of patients. Nursing education often includes course work in human anatomy, chemistry, nutrition, and psychology. Since nursing programs typically involve hands-on training, many degrees are administered through hybrid learning, meaning they blend online coursework with clinical instruction in the classroom or lab. Careers in nursing vary by degree level, but may include registered nurse (RN), licensed vocational nurse (LVN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or nurse practitioner (NP).

There are many other online degree programs open to interested students in North Carolina, including business and management, computer and information science, and psychology. For details about specific programs, contact an admissions advisor or request information from one of the schools listed below.

Sources:
Appalachian State University, Distance Education, 2013, http://distance.appstate.edu/
Duke University Continuing Studies, Online Courses, 2009, http://www.learnmore.duke.edu/online/
eLearningNC, Your Link to North Carolina's eLearning Resources, 2013, http://www.elearningnc.gov/
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, "A Decade Behind: Breaking Out of the Low-Skill Trap in the Southern Economy," Executive Summary, July 2012, Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, http://cew.georgetown.edu/south/
North Carolina Community College System Virtual Learning Community, 2009, http://vlc.nccommunitycolleges.edu/index.htm

North Carolina State University, Tuition and Fees, Distance Education, http://www.fis.ncsu.edu/cashier/tuition/de.asp

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 2012, http://www.sacscoc.org/

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education, http://fridaycenter.unc.edu/

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