The higher education system in the Lone Star State is just what you would expect: big. Of the six public university systems, University of Texas is the largest, followed by Texas A&M. In addition to the four other university systems — University of Houston, University of North Texas, Texas State, and Texas Tech — there are also four independent public universities. Through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the state is involved in initiatives to improve the college readiness of high schoolers, increase the quality of educators, and create a culture where going to college is the norm. All of the state’s P-16 Initiatives aim to increase enrollment and accessibility to higher education in Texas. For students who would like to go to college but need more flexibility than traditional classes allow, online degrees in Texas are a smart option as they let you work classes into your schedule and complete a degree even if you’re hundreds of miles away from a campus.
With so many schools in Texas, both public and private, you have dozens of options when it comes to universities that offer online degrees. Besides national online schools, like Everest College and DeVry University, Texas Tech University offers students the chance to take single courses online or earn full online degrees up to the doctoral level. Texas A&M University also gives students who already hold a bachelor’s degree to earn an online graduate degree in agriculture and sciences, education and human development, engineering, or science. One of the state’s leaders in online education is the University of Texas, which not only offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs online through the UT Online Consortium, but also provides free course materials from around the world through its World Lecture Hall and is in talks with Coursera and edX to start offering massive open online open courses, or MOOCs, in the future.
Texas has one of the biggest economies in the country (second to California), and its economic climate and growth prospects make it one of the best places to do business, according to Forbes. The magazine additionally notes that 16 of the 1,000 largest public and private companies in the U.S. are based in Texas, including Dell, ExxonMobil, and AT&T. Texas is also the only larger state to transition from recovery to expansion mode post-recession, according to Moody’s Analytics, with employment rising at nearly twice the national pace.
The fastest-growing industry in the state is mining and logging, according to The Texas Economy, thanks to increased oil and natural gas exploration. Other growing industries include construction; manufacturing; trade, transportation, and utilities; financial activities; professional and business services, which is the fast-growing service-provide industry in the state; education and health services, which represent the third greatest source of job growth in Texas; and leisure and hospitality. Industries that have seen job loss in recent years include government and information. For students interested in earning degrees in growing areas such as healthcare, education, and business, here’s a look at Texas schools that offer online degrees: