Online Schools in Virginia
According to a 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov/emp), unemployment rates for people who have completed some postsecondary education are significantly lower than those for workers without a degree. What's more, Virginia's financial, education, and health services sectors have seen the greatest growth among all industries statewide since February 2010 (U.S. Joint Economic Committee, 2013). Not only can online colleges in Virginia prepare students with the knowledge and training they need to feel confident in today's career market, but their flexible schedules and self-directed courses of study can help even busy members of the workforce fit a continued education into their schedule.
Online Education Resources for Students in Virginia
Plenty of resources exist for students who want to learn more about online college in Virginia. Even historic universities in the state have begun offering courses in the virtual classroom, with such long-standing institutions as George Washington University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech offering options for online degrees. Virginia high school students are also given the option to enroll in online courses through the Virginia Department of Education's Virtual Virginia program, which may help better prepare them for distance learning opportunities in higher education.
The multiple in-state options for online school in Virginia are only one way for area students to earn their education electronically. The University of Phoenix, a national online school, maintains two campuses and four learning centers in Virginia, and courses are offered to students all over the state. Everest College, which offers a wide variety of online degrees in Virginia, has campus locations in Chesapeake, Newport News, Woodbridge and Tysons Corner. Online universities that have locations on the ground in Virginia can allow students to "hybridize" their course work, combining the convenience and flexibility of online classes with the hands-on, real-world experience of a campus environment.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in Virginia
In order to ensure that learning institutions meet an acceptable standard of quality, the U.S. Department of Education appoints independent accrediting agencies to evaluate the educational programs offered by traditional and online colleges. When students attend a school accredited by a sanctioned agency, they know that not only will they get an education that's up to national standards, but that the credits they earn in their program can typically be transferred to other accredited schools.
Most colleges in Virginia are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Online schools in Virginia that also have campuses in other regions earn their accreditation through national agencies -- such as the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), which certifies Everest College -- and are permitted to operate in the region by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Virginia Online Colleges and Tuition Rates
Just like with traditional brick-and-mortar colleges, tuition rates for online schools in Virginia vary based on multiple factors. Universities that only exist in Virginia will usually have different rates for Virginia residents than they do for nonlocal students. The difference between resident and nonresident tuition can be quite large, so students are advised to look into school policy and determine where they stand. Most online schools in the area charge tuition per credit hour, although some courses are paid for on a per-class basis, and certain special fees and service charges may apply specifically to online students. To learn about a particular program's tuition rates, prospective students should contact a school representative.
Selected Online Degree Programs in Virginia
Online Teaching Degrees in Virginia: Education is a very diverse field, and multiple disciplines within it can be studied at online colleges in Virginia. Some postgraduate certificates and degrees, particularly in the field of special education or educational technology, can be earned entirely online from Virginia universities. Topics of study may include strategies for assessing and working with special-needs students, theories for instructional design, and integrative approaches to teaching a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.
Online Nursing Degrees in Virginia: Although most nursing degrees at Virginia online schools are hybrid programs, in which students may participate in lectures through videoconferencing software or meetings at brick-and-mortar locations, programs exist that meet mainly online. Bachelor's degree candidates in an online nursing program will cover topics such as clinical assessment, applied principles of health, ethics in clinical practice and information literacy in health care.
Online Psychology Degrees in Virginia: Students who seek a deeper, more functional understanding of human behavior and thought can study psychology at Virginia colleges online. Typical online psychology programs cover such areas of study as social development, criminal behavior, adolescent cognitive psychology, and human creativity. Online psychology degrees also tend to include a complement of general education courses such as statistical math, written communication, and at least the basics of a natural science such as biology or chemistry.
From criminal justice and homeland security to systems engineering and clinical laboratory science, students can find a wide range of degree options from online schools in Virginia. For more on available programs, request information from one of the schools listed below.
"Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
Old Dominion University Distance Learning
Online Learning, The George Washington University
Online@VCU, Virginia Commonwealth University
SACS Commission on Colleges
U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, Economic Overview and Outlook: Virginia [PDF]
VTOnline, Virginia Tech