According to national nonprofit Complete College America, by 2020 about 60 percent of all new jobs nationwide are expected to require a college degree. Yet the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education reports that as of 2008, only 29 percent of Nevada adults ages 25 to 64 had an associate degree or higher. The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education reports that Nevada must improve its college graduation rates by 330 percent to compete in a today's knowledge-based economy.
As one step toward that goal, in 2010, Nevada made a commitment to improve college graduation rates by joining Complete College America's Alliance of States.
Overcoming the Economy: Education and Employment in Nevada
The recent economic crisis hit especially hard in the Silver State. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reports that in 2009, Nevada experienced a 4.8 percent decline in personal income, "the second largest decline among states since 1969". The per capita personal income in Nevada went from $40,936 in 2008 to $38,578 in 2009.
Nevada is home to two major state universities and a community college network, and the state's budget troubles have had a significant impact on those institutions. A National Conference of State Legislatures study on state spending for higher education reported that Nevada cut $58.3 million from higher education in the fiscal year 2009, while total support for the Nevada System of Higher Education was further reduced by 12.5 percent in the fiscal year 2010. The lack of state funding means that, among other things, the higher education system is experiencing increased tuition and fewer available majors. Individuals looking for broader options may want to consider Nevada online degree programs.
Getting an Education in Nevada: Online Schools
Nevada online degree programs offer all the usual advantages of online education, such as self-paced classes, the ability to work while attending school and the ability to live in Nevada while completing degree programs that may be based outside the state. While the state institutions offer many online courses, they only offer a few online degree options. On the other hand, nationwide distance learning institutions offer a variety of online degree options, including both graduate and undergraduate degrees, in high-demand fields such as accounting, nursing and information technology. It's becoming urgent for online schools in Nevada catch-up.
Growing Career Fields in Nevada
Despite the cloud over the Silver State's finances, the economy appears to be slowly recovering. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nevada's unemployment rate dropped to 13.2 percent as of March 2011, down from 14.9 percent in the last quarter of 2010.
Still, the state's unemployment rate remains high, and it's worth noting the careers that are expected to grow rapidly in Nevada between 2008 and 2018. Nevada Workforce's 2010 list of the Top 50 In-Demand occupations in the state includes a variety of jobs that are expected to have more than 100 openings each year. Below are some of those jobs, along with their average hourly wage in the state as of 2010 and the necessary level of education:
- General and operations managers: $49.73. Bachelor's degree in administration, management, or human resources, plus work experience.
- Registered nurses: $35.07. Associate degree or higher.
- Accountants and auditors: $28.48. Bachelor's degree.
- Computer applications software engineers: $36.92. Bachelor's degree.
- Financial managers: $45.91. Bachelor's degree or higher plus work experience.
The BLS reported that the largest industries in Nevada as of March 2011 were leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation, and utilities.
In a state pledging to help students complete college, there should be job opportunities in various industries for students who are willing to invest in a degree.
On the other hand, nationwide distance learning institutions offer a variety of online degree options, including both graduate and undergraduate degrees, in high-demand fields such as accounting, nursing and information technology. It's becoming urgent for online schools in Nevada catch-up.