West Virginia's economy is largely fueled by aerospace technology, the automotive industry, clean energy technologies, engineering, health care and mining. This Appalachian state is the second-largest coal producer in the U.S., reports the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. It is also a top exporter of mineral oil and natural gas.
Out of the many towns and small cities of West Virginia, Forbes magazine consistently ranks Morgantown among the nation's top small cities for doing business, and Forbes also reported that the cost of doing business in the state was 13 percent below the U.S. average. West Virginia isn't only affordable for businesses--its cost of living makes it affordable for workers as well. The state had a cost of living about 5.5 percent below the national average in the fourth quarter of 2010, the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center Reports.
West Virginia has made significant efforts in recent years to improve its business climate, attract high-tech companies to the region and create more opportunities for skilled workers, Forbes reports, which all translates into solid career prospects for West Virginia degree holders.
Studying at West Virginia online schools
"Charting the Future: A Master Plan for West Virginia Higher Education," a report published by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, lays out key goals for the state from 2007 to 2012. The report places a priority on increasing accessibility to higher education, and identifies online learning as one way to do that.
West Virginia online schools can help bring education to the state's large rural population. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 800,000 of West Virginia's 1.8 million residents lived in rural areas in 2010, meaning campus-based schools may require a significant commute. West Virginia online degrees offer convenient options for these students, helping them save time and money as they pursue a degree.
West Virginia online schools offer degrees and diplomas from the certificate level on up to master's and doctoral degrees. Students can major in virtually any field because online education means you are not limited to the course offerings of nearby institutions.
Growing jobs in West Virginia
The West Virginia Department of Commerce reports job growth in business services, construction, education, government, health care and manufacturing between March 2010 and March 2011. Hospitality, logging and information technology also showed small gains in employment in that period.
According to Workforce West Virginia, the jobs listed below are projected to be in the top quarter of all jobs for growth in the state from 2008 to 2018 (along with 2009 mean annual salary in West Virginia from the Bureau of Labor Statistics):
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers: master's degree required. $31,030.
- Accountants and auditors: bachelor's degree required. $56,720.
- Special education teachers: bachelor's degree required. $40,880.
- Paralegals and legal assistants: associate degree required. $36,020.
Whatever your dream career, West Virginia online schools offer degree programs that make it easier to get the skills and training you need to succeed. Find out how you can get career training that prepares you for work in West Virginia's business-friendly economy.