With an economy built mainly on lumber, mineral extraction, tourism and transportation, Montana is a large state (over 147,000 square miles) with a small population--only 947,989, according to 2009 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The state's major exports include chemicals, machinery, medical and pharmaceutical instruments, mineral oil and fuel, ore, and salt. According to 2009 figures from the Montana Department of Commerce, $1.5 billion of exports are sent annually from the state to countries around the world. Montana's mountains also make it a top tourist attraction for climbers, hikers and skiers, creating a thriving hospitality industry in the state.
Montana weathered the recession from 2007 to 2009 relatively well, and as of March 2011 the state's 7.4 percent unemployment rate was below the national average of 8.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry's Labor Day Report of 2010, the state lost fewer jobs than the national average during the recession, and personal income in the state grew more than the U.S. average. Montana residents did face job losses during the recession, but educated workers in the state fared fare better than their less-educated counterparts; the Labor Day Report shows an unemployment rate of 18 percent for workers without a high school diploma while those with a bachelor's degree had only 3.5 percent unemployment in the first half of 2010.
Why a Montana Online Degree May be Right for You
Whether you're interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, commercial mining, hospitality, industrial engineering or something else, a Montana online degree offers the opportunity to succeed in the field of your choice. The Montana college system is made up of 14 campuses, including community colleges, independent colleges, state universities and seven tribal colleges. Many of these offer online degrees for career education, undergraduate degrees and graduate school, while other programs are available through the online colleges of national schools.
While a classroom education might be a good fit for students with no full-time job or family obligations, students who must work or raise a family while pursuing their education may find that flexible online courses better accommodate their schedules.
Montana online schools may also be the most convenient option for rural students in Montana who don't live near a college campus. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 640,000 of Montana's residents--or nearly two-thirds--live in rural areas. For these students, Montana online degrees can save hours of commuting each week.
Top Career Opportunities for Montana Graduates
The Montana Department of Labor and Industry reports that the most job growth from 2008 to 2009 was in health care, public administration and education. Careers in these industries generally require an associate or bachelor's degree.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures for 2009, some of the top careers in each of these sectors, along with the 2009 mean annual wage in Montana, include:
- Registered nurses: $56,380
- Dental hygienists: $66,460
- Elementary school teachers: $39,540
- Education administrators, elementary and secondary school: $65,120
Montana is a state with solid job opportunities for educated workers. For the state's large rural population, Montana online schools put education within reach.