In 2013, national GDP growth in the U.S. was 1.8 percent. Texas's economic growth during the same time frame was 3.7 percent, a strong showing compared to many other states. Its growth during the fourth quarter of 2013 was 4.3 percent. This is perhaps due in part to the fact that the Lone Star State is the second most populous in the U.S., behind only California. These factors make Texas and online schools in TX an attractive option for individuals seeking a post-secondary education.
Spotlight on careers in Texas
Here's a roundup of five spotlight careers in Texas based on total employment and median annual salary according to 2013 numbers for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Career||Total in-state employment||2013 median annual salary|
|General and operations manager||177,000||$118,250|
|Business operations specialist||More than 67,000||$79.790|
|Registered nurse||More than 190,000||$67,860|
|Sales representative (wholesale and manufacturing)||More than 130,000||$66,350|
|Laborers and freight, stock and materials movers||More than 194,000||$24,560|
Top programs and degrees in Texas
According to the National Center for Education Statistics' IPEDS database, the top major in Texas during 2012-2013, based on total Fall enrollment numbers, were as follows:
- Business, management, marketing and related support services, with more than 40,000 graduates.
- Health professions and related programs, with a total of 32,211 individuals graduating in 2012-2013
- Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and the humanities follow close behind with another 32,000 graduates during this time. The popularity of liberal arts degrees may be a result the fact that the skills and knowledge gained in these majors are transferable to many possible jobs.
- Interdisciplinary studies prepare students for many different career paths and accordingly are also popular, accounting for more than 12,000 degrees in 2012-2013.
- Education degrees also put forth a strong showing in Texas, with 14,646 graduates in 2012-2013.
Online schools in Texas offering these majors may help students prepare for a wide variety of careers.
Spotlight schools and cities in Texas for education
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) divides the state's 35 public institutions into three tiers: four national research universities in Tier 1, six emerging research universities in Tier 2, and 25 comprehensive universities in tier three. According to the THECB, as of Fall 2013 enrollments in institutions of higher education were as follows:
- 584,785 in public universities
- 708,508 in community and state colleges
- 11,333 in Texas state technical colleges
- 123,816 in independent two- and four-year institutions
In all, over 1.4 million individuals are currently being served by Texas's various institutions of higher education. The five largest cities in Texas are Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Fort Worth. There are many colleges and universities in or near these cities. However, the rapid growth of online education means that students do not necessarily have to live in a major metropolitan area to pursue a degree.
Texas education costs (tuition fees and cost of living) and student aid
In 2013-2014, tuition and fees costs in Texas averaged the following by institution type according to the College Board:
- $2,222 for public two-year in-state schools
- $8,522 for public four-year in-state schools
- $29,750 for private nonprofit four-year schools
Individual institutions may charge more or less than average compared to their category. For those hoping to support their higher education with financial aid, Texas supports a variety of programs including:
- Bordering States Waiver
- Good Neighbor Scholarship Program (GNSP)
- License Plate Insignia Scholarship (LPI)
- Texas Educational Opportunity Grant Program (TEOG)
- Texas Public Education Grant (TPEG)
- Texas Tuition and/or Fee Exemptions
- Top 10% Scholarship Program
- Towards EXcellence, Access & Success (TEXAS) Grant Program
- Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG)
Eligible students should also file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Texas accreditation standards
Texas is a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its affiliate organization, the Southern Association of Community, Junior and Technical Colleges. It's important for students to make an institution's accreditation status an important factor during their college or university selection process. Not only do schools operating without accreditation potentially fail to provide students with the skills necessary to obtain a job in today's competitive market, Texas-based financial aid is contingent on attending an accredited institution.
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Texas," Occupational Employment Statistics, October 31, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_tx.htm
"IPEDS Data Center," National Center for Education Statistics, December 17, 2014, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/Default.aspx
"Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time," Collegeboard, October 31, 2014, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time
"Widespread But Slower Growth in 2013," U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, October 31, 2014, http://bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htm
"Quarterly Gross Domestic Product by State, 2005-2013 (Prototype Statistics)," U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, October 31, 2014, http://bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/qgsp_newsrelease.htm
"State of Texas Financial Aid," Every Chance Every Texan, October 31, 2014, http://www.everychanceeverytexan.org/funding/aid/aidtx.php
"Texas Higher Ed Enrollments," Texas Higher Education Data, October 31, 2014, http://www.txhighereddata.org/
"The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges," The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, October 31, 2014, http://www.sacscoc.org/