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Online Schools in Texas

In 2000, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), working with state educators and legislators, drafted a set of goals to help close education gaps in Texas by 2015. THECB hoped to raise higher education enrollment from 5 percent in 2000 to 5.7 percent in 2015 -- an increase of 630,000 students. According to a 2012 progress report, the state is currently on pace to meet this goal, but has seen a dip in annual participation. Online schools in Texas may help the state achieve, or even surpass, these enrollment numbers. Often more convenient and flexible than traditional degree programs, online colleges can give more students the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Online Education Resources for Students in Texas

A growing number of colleges and universities in Texas now offer online degree and certificate programs. For example, Texas Tech University features numerous degrees that are fully online, along with some that are a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. The University of Texas system currently offers both undergraduate completion programs and full master's degrees online. Similarly, Abilene Christian University boasts five online graduate programs, including Master of Education in Higher Education and Master of Science in Organizational and Human Resource Development.

In addition to these institutions, national online schools offer a wide range of fully online degrees to students in Texas. These include Walden University, ITT Technical Institute, Kaplan University, and University of Phoenix. Some of these colleges even have physical campuses in Texas, where students may be able to pursue hybrid learning options.

Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Texas

School accreditation is important for many reasons. First, proper accreditation helps ensure that a degree earned from a particular college will qualify graduates for employment. It also influences whether another institution will accept that school's credits, if a student chooses to transfer. Generally, private associations are responsible for the accreditation of colleges, which must meet criteria provided by the Secretary of Education. These institutions are also reviewed by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. Six accrediting agencies service multiple states, grouped according to region.

Most postsecondary institutions in Texas fall under the jurisdiction of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Schools with a national presence may be accredited by other agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission. Prospective students should check with a school representative to find out about a particular institution's accreditation status.

Texas Online Colleges and Tuition Rates

Online tuition rates vary according to school and program. Some Texas colleges also charge different online rates for in-state students than they do for non-residents. For example, Texas Tech charges per credit hour, and tuition is more expensive for out-of-state students. The University of Texas also has different rates depending on residency, but charges online students per course, as opposed to per credit. Programs may require additional fees and expenses as well. For details about a specific school's rates or application process, students should contact an admissions counselor.

Selected Online Degree Programs in Texas

Online Criminal Justice Degrees in Texas: Degree programs in criminal justice typically include coursework in public safety, law enforcement, courts, and the correctional system. Students may also have the choice of different degree specializations, such as information security, juvenile justice, administration, and crime scene investigation. Depending on the level, an online degree in criminal justice may qualify graduates for a variety of careers in the field, including security guard, probation officer, and correctional treatment specialist.

Online Education Degrees in Texas: Online degrees in education and teaching vary according to the age group one wants to work with. Students interested in becoming a K-12 educator, for example, may study adolescent development, applications of technology in education, and reading practices and processes. On the other hand, those working towards a graduate degree, in order to teach at postsecondary schools or become administrators, tend to focus on contemporary issues in education, research methods, instructional leadership, and curriculum theory. In addition to a degree, graduates will also need a state credential to qualify for most teaching positions. Some examples of possible careers include elementary school teacher, special education instructor, or postsecondary educational administrator.

Online Public Health Degrees in Texas: This is an interdisciplinary degree for individuals who wish to enter health care-related fields that don't initially involve becoming a nurse or a doctor. Students may study theories of health behavior, data management, global health, and environmental health and safety. Typical specializations in this degree program include child development, health communication, and disaster and emergency management. With a public heath degree, graduates may qualify to become a health service manager or a social and community service manager.

There are many other online degrees available to students in Texas, including in social work, business administration, political science, and communication. Please browse the schools below to learn more about possible degree options.

Sources:

Abilene Christian University, ACU Online Graduate Programs, 2013, http://acuonline.acu.edu/

"Closing the Gaps by 2015," Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), 2013, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=858D2E7C-F5C8-97E9-0CDEB3037C1C2CA3

Texas Labor Market and Career Information (LMCI), 2010-2020 Employment Projections, October 2010, http://www.lmci.state.tx.us/index.asp

Texas Tech University, Online & Regional Site Degrees, Certificate, and Certification Preparation Programs, http://www.depts.ttu.edu/distancelearning/programs/

University of Texas System, Online Consortium, 2010, http://www.utcoursesonline.org/

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