Despite its small population, North Dakota offers exceptional educational opportunities at its 21 colleges and universities throughout the state. The North Dakota University System is comprised of four regional universities, five community colleges and two research institutions. There are also five tribal community colleges and four private colleges in the state.
North Dakota economy is booming
Unlike many other U.S. states that are struggling to recover from the recession, North Dakota has had a prosperous decade. The population continues to grow and the state unemployment rate is the lowest in the nation, according to December 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to a March 2011 article by USA Today, the state's per capita income rose from 38th to 17th place in the nation during the last decade. In contrast to most of its counterparts, North Dakota has managed to accrue a $1 billion state budget surplus as well. Although North Dakota's top industries are agriculture and energy production, tourism is also a major contributor to the state's economy. In 2009, visitors spent $4.36 billion in North Dakota, according to research data from North Dakota State University (NDSU).
Strong higher education means economic success in North Dakota
In a December 2010 North Dakota University press release, Chancellor Bill Goetz said: "Economic growth and diversity is dependent upon a strong higher education system. Investments in higher education flow back out to North Dakota as a contributor to economic growth."
Check out these two successful examples of this "higher education for a better economy" philosophy:
- Train ND: Located at the four University System community colleges, this program provides short-term training customized for employer needs. Career fields include wind energy technology, e-commerce, basic computer skills and training for IT professionals.
- Centers for Excellence: This program promotes partnerships that combine North Dakota public college and university research capabilities with the business expertise of private sector companies to generate new opportunities and jobs for North Dakota residents. Between 2003 and 2010, the state spent $26.2 million in state funds on the 18 centers. The estimated impact on North Dakota's economy: $406.5 million, according to the NDSU website.
With a population density of only 10 people per square mile, North Dakota online degree programs offer an excellent educational option for students living in the state's many rural areas.
North Dakota careers with potential
The following are among the top three careers that the state's Department of Labor expects to have significant growth potential from 2008 to 2018 (salary data for North Dakota provided by CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor):
- Petroleum engineer: Projected growth: 87 percent. Minimum education: bachelor's degree. 2010 salary range: $75,800 to $166,400.
- Financial analyst: Projected growth: 35 percent. Minimum education: bachelor's degree. 2010 salary range: $38,900 to $102,400.
- Respiratory therapist: Projected growth: 25 percent. Minimum education: associate degree. 2010 salary range: $34,500 to $54,800.
The flexibility offered by North Dakota online degree programs can prepare you for these fast growing careers or others, all of which are necessary to keep the state's economy booming. Whether you're just graduating from high school or you're a working professional looking to change your career or prepare for a promotion, North Dakota online schools could be an option worth pursuing.