Rhode Island, the nation’s smallest state, still has a lot to offer both traditional and online students. The state is home to Brown University, an Ivy League institution that is best known for its campus-based programs but also offers online and blended learning opportunities. The University of Rhode Island, the state’s most prominent public research institution, educates students through its main campus in Kingston and its three other campuses. The Community College of Rhode Island, another public institution, boasts being the largest community college in New England. The Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education has outlined the following goals and priorities for increasing the number of college graduates in the state:
- Improving college readiness in Rhode Island’s K-12 students by improving assessment standards, piloting a dual enrollment program for students who want to earn college credit while in high school, and monitoring enrollment in rigorous college prep courses in high school
- Improving college enrollment and completion in Rhode Island by expanding enrolling capacity to reduce enrollment limitations, opening a new community college campus, making more courses available at convenient times for adult students, and more.
- Utilizing Rhode Island’s colleges and universities to generate a more competitive workforce in the state by gathering survey information on what skills and knowledge are needed in today’s workplace, cancelling any low-enrolling programs after a review if they are found to be unproductive, conducting employer satisfaction surveys for those who have hired recent graduates to see if they are pleased with the graduates’ knowledge and skills, and more.
Online education is an important component of Rhode Island’s higher education system. While URI and CCRI both offer a wide range of individual online courses, private institutions like Salve Regina University offer a selection of online master’s degrees in areas like business administration, humanities, international relations, and more. In addition, Roger Williams University offers accelerated online master’s programs in areas like criminal justice and public administration through RWU Online. Finally, the New England Institute of Technology provides a bachelor’s degree completion program for registered nurses, the first and only fully online RN-to-BSN program in Rhode Island.
Getting a Career in Rhode Island With Your Degree
Health care and tourism are both important industries in Rhode Island. Health care employers like Rhode Island Hospital, the Miriam Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, and Kent County Memorial Hospital topped the list of major employers in Rhode Island in March 2011, according to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. Degrees in nursing — at the bachelor’s and graduate levels — would be beneficial for those who want to advance in the largest sector of the health care field, but degrees in health information technology, medical billing and coding, health care management, and health informatics may also be valuable for preparing for other areas of health care.
The tourism industry in Rhode Island generates $2.31 billion for the local economy and supports 66,145 jobs in the state. Degrees in hospitality management, tourism management, hotel management, or restaurant management can help people excel in this industry. Another option would be a business degree with a specialization in hospitality.
Rhode Island residents can search this school directory by degree level to see what online programs are available to them.