Georgia was hard-hit by the recession and the Peach State's recovery has finally started to pick up steam. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, while the state's economy overall grew at a rate of 1.5 percent in the first quarter of 2016, its overall growth for 2015 was 2.6 percent.
Highlighted Careers in Georgia
Here are a handful of featured careers in the state of Georgia, according to total in-state employment and mean annual income as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2015:
|Career||Total In-state Employment||Mean Annual Income|
|General and operations managers||86,410||$113,430|
|Accountants and auditors||37,590||$76,850|
Programs and Degrees in Georgia
Here's a roundup of the most popular programs and degrees in the state from the National Center for Education Statistics, based on the number of graduates during the 2014-15 school year.
- Business, management, marketing and related support services: 17,237 graduates
- Health professions and related programs: 14,446 graduates
- Education:7,785 graduates
- Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, and the humanities: 7,386 graduates
These majors' popularity may stem in part from the fact that the skills and knowledge gained through these programs are highly transferable. Online schools in Georgia that offer these majors may help students prepare for careers in many different occupations.
Perhaps the fact that the popular TV series The Walking Dead is filmed in Georgia plays a part, but data indicates almost 4,000 students graduated with degrees in the visual and performing arts during 2014-15.
Spotlight on Schools and Cities in Georgia for Education
The state has almost 70 public colleges, universities, and technical colleges. Public education is governed by the University System of Georgia (USG), which is overseen by the Georgia Board of Regents. The USG has over 318,000 students enrolled, making it the fourth-largest university system in the U.S.
In addition to the public system, Georgia is also home to over 45 private post-secondary institutions, including technical and vocational schools. Georgia's roster of institutions of higher education includes several historically black schools.
By far the most populous city in Georgia is its capital, Atlanta. The other cities in Georgia's top five by population are Columbus, Augusta, Macon and Savannah. Students living in or near these cities may have many choices of post-secondary institutions. However, with many colleges and schools in Georgia offering online programs, living in more rural areas may be less of a barrier to the pursuit of an education than it has been in the past.
Georgia Education Costs (tuition fees and cost of living) and Student Aid
In 2015-2016, tuition and fees costs in Georgia averaged the following by institution type:
- $3,647 for public two-year in-state
- $8,447 for public four-year in-state
- $32,405 for private nonprofit four-year (national average)
Keep in mind prices may vary by individual institutions. Comparatively, Georgia may have a lower cost of living than more urban areas of the country like California or the northeast. This makes the Peach State an attractive option for those interested in pursuing higher education.
The state lottery also funds the HOPE Scholarship, and Georgia residents who have graduated from high school or earned a General Educational Development certificate are eligible for this award, provided they maintain a 3.2 or higher grade point average and attend a public college or university in the state. The Georgia Student Finance Commission is another resource for identifying financial aid for which students might be eligible. Of course, eligible students should also file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Georgia Accreditation Standards
Georgia is a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and its affiliate organization, the Southern Association of Community, Junior and Technical Colleges. Students should factor an institution's accreditation status during their college or university selection process. This is because schools operating without accreditation may not provide students with the skills necessary to obtain a job in a competitive market. Post-secondary education can be an expensive undertaking, so like any other investment, students should do the research necessary to ensure they are getting the most bang for their proverbial (and literal) buck.
- May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Georgia, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
- Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time, College Board, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time
- Gross Domestic Product by State: First Quarter 2016, U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis, http://bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htm
- Georgia's HOPE program, Georgia Student Finance Commission, http://www.gsfc.org/gsfcnew/index.cfm
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, http://www.sacs.org/
- IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/Default.aspx