Higher education could be key to becoming a competitive player in Rhode Island's workforce. Rhode Island's Department of Labor and Training reports that in 2008, jobs that required an associate degree or higher accounted for 26.3 percent of the state's labor market, but that 38 percent of new jobs anticipated from 2008 to 2018 are expected to require a minimum of an associate degree.
Employment and educational outlook in Rhode Island
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education reports that in 2008, 41 percent of adults ages 25 to 64 in Rhode Island had an associate degree or higher, which is just below the 44 percent reported by the states ranking highest in this category.
Yet obstacles still exist to getting an education in Rhode Island. A 2010 report by the Community College of Rhode Island states that nearly 60 percent of state community college students need to drive more than 30 miles to the nearest campus. The college reported a $7 million budget shortfall in 2009, and many students must wait to enter its health care programs.
As commuting and cost become major issues in traditional education, online education stands as a viable alternative.
Options in Rhode Island: online schools and degrees
Rhode Island online schools may be an increasingly attractive option for students who need to work full-time or have other commitments that make a return to traditional schooling difficult. State and private institutions offer some online courses and degrees, and students can also look into private online schools in Rhode Island to increase their degree options.
Whether you're interested in earning a degree in nursing, business, management, psychology, education, or information technology, Rhode Island online degrees are accessible from any place with an Internet connection.
Career opportunities in Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training classifies a career as a "Hot Job" if it has higher-than-average wages in Rhode Island and is expected to experience faster-than-average growth between 2008 and 2018. Below are five "Hot Jobs" in Rhode Island, along with their average salaries in the state as of December 2010, the typical education required, and projected employment growth.
- Computer applications software engineers: $88,254, bachelor's degree. Expected employment increase: 42.3 percent.
- Management analysts: $72,987, bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience. Expected employment increase: 25.5 percent.
- Mental health and substance abuse social workers: $52,104, master's degree. Expected employment increase: 16.1 percent.
- Registered nurses: $68,827, associate degree. Expected employment increase: 18.7 percent.
- Elementary school teachers: $68,410, bachelor's degree. Expected employment increase: 13.1 percent.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the largest industries in Rhode Island as of March 2011 were education and health services along with trade, transportation and utilities. In these growing industries, higher education is essential.
A report by the Rhode Island Economic Development corporation and Community College of Rhode Island states that "Forty-seven percent of all job openings projected for the state by 2016 are 'middle-skill'--jobs that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree." If you're determined to improve your job prospects, a degree from an online school in Rhode Island can help you do just that.