Vermont, one of the original 13 states, offers many opportunities for both work and play. While it is one of the smallest states in terms of area and population, it is in close proximity to large trade and cultural centers such as Boston and New York City. Vermont's unemployment rate in September 2011 was 5.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which was considerably lower than the national rate.
Living and working in Vermont
Vermont's population was 625,741 in 2010, with modest 2.8 percent growth since 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At slightly under 40,000 residents, Burlington is the largest city in the state, while Montpelier, the capital, has a population of just over 8,000.
Vermont's major industries include retail and wholesale trade, manufacturing--both technology and food processing--government, health care, financial services, and construction. Vermont's economy has grown at an overall annual rate of about 2.5 percent since 2001, performing better than some neighboring New England states. The Department of Labor's list of the largest employers in the state includes several medical and health care facilities, as well as companies involved in tourism, recreation and traveler accommodations.
Vermont online schools and traditional colleges
Vermont has a rich tradition of post-secondary education, and an array of public and private colleges and universities. In addition to traditional campus programs, the opportunities for achieving a Vermont online degree are growing. Vermont online schools include distance learning and hybrid programs from the existing colleges and universities as well as dedicated online degree programs for associate, bachelor's and advanced degrees. Family and work obligations often prevent a student from participating in a full-time, on-campus degree program. The option of attending one of the Vermont online schools provides flexibility to achieve your educational goals on your own schedule.
Growing Vermont career fields
Some occupations show more demand than others. On the DOL's list of Vermont's fastest-growing occupations between 2008 and 2018, several jobs are related to health care. High-growth careers requiring postsecondary education include physical therapist assistants, respiratory therapists and surgical technologists. The BLS reported a mean annual salary of $42,030 for Vermont workers as of May 2010.
Here are a few examples of thriving fields in Vermont, with BLS data for projected growth rates and mean annual wages in 2010:
- Registered nurses: 22 percent growth and wages of $63,210. The health care industry in Vermont is growing at three times the state's economic growth rate, fueling a strong demand for RNs. The majority of jobs (60 percent) are in hospitals, but the growing number of outpatient procedures is expanding the demand in physicians' offices. Minimum educational requirements are an associate or bachelor's degree, or a diploma from an approved nursing program.
- Accountants and auditors: 22 percent growth and wages of $66,250. A degree in accounting can lead in many directions, such as self employment as a certified public accountant, work in an accounting firm or an accounting position in a variety of industries.
- Computer software engineers: 21 percent growth; application developers earned $77,150, while systems software developers earned $86,950. With the explosive growth of the Internet and online marketing, demand for website applications and e-commerce programs is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Education is valued in Vermont, as seen in Census Bureau data on the educational level of residents. Nearly one-third of residents aged 25 or over had a bachelor's degree or higher in 2009, which was above the national average. A Vermont online degree can prepare you to seek rewarding careers in the state in a variety of fields.