Alabama is home to 14 public universities, three of them ranked in U.S. News and World Report‘s 2011 Top 100 Public Schools in America, including the state’s largest campus, the University of Alabama. There are a total of 61 accredited public, community, technical, and private schools in the state, along with several for-profit schools, many specializing in online certificate and degree programs. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education is responsible for overseeing the state’s public sector higher education institutions. The commission’s recent PK-20 initiative seeks to make early learning through higher education opportunities more readily accessible to Alabama residents. Distance learning platforms and online degree programs are helping with this initiative.
The online Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus allows Alabama residents to search for public colleges and universities that offer online degrees. Participating institutions on the Electronic Campus site include the University of Alabama, which offers several online bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Auburn University, Jacksonville State University, the University of North Alabama, and the University of South Alabama also offer distance learning and online courses and degree programs. Along with Alabama’s public and private not-for-profit schools, several for-profit institutions offer online degrees as well. The accredited, distance education institution Columbia Southern University enrolls over 28,000 students nationally and internationally and offers a large selection of online associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in areas including business administration, information technology, and health care administration.
Online degree programs in Alabama can effectively prepare you for the state’s top industries. One of Alabama’s most important industries is aviation and aerospace, as the state is home to hundreds of aerospace companies that employ 73,000 Alabama residents, according to the Alabama Development Office. Online or blended programs, like the University of Alabama’s Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics, are ideal for preparing people for leadership positions in this thriving industry. Other key industries in Alabama include automotive, life sciences, chemical manufacturing, and forestry, so earning an online degree in one of these fields could be a smart career move.
The biggest employers in Alabama, as reported by the Birmingham Business Journal, included Redstone Arsenal, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Maxwell Airforce Base, the State of Alabama, and the Mobile County School Systems. Alabama’s military personnel may be interested in online degrees in military history and related subjects, while online degrees in education, special education, and K-12 content areas like mathematics and science may be beneficial for those seeking employment in Alabama’s public schools. Students looking for online degrees in Alabama may choose from the following schools: