Online Colleges in Florida

Sunny and warm, Florida is a great place to visit. But it's also a great place to earn a degree online, without even stepping foot in the Sunshine State. In recent years, online colleges in Florida have greatly expanded their online degree programs for people who can't travel to a college campus.

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Online degree programs are currently available at a wide range of public and private Florida colleges, including some of the largest institutions in the state. While many, such as the University of Miami, only offer online courses at this time, an increasing number are beginning to feature full degree programs. The University of Florida offers both undergraduate and graduate programs online, including its Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Similarly, the University of Central Florida boasts over two dozen fully online degrees, certificates, and degree completion programs, as well as hundreds of web-based courses.

The Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida website provides access to 31 private, non-profit schools that feature online education options. On top of that, Florida Virtual Campus features 39 public universities and community colleges now offering over 10,700 courses and 650 degrees or certificates online. As of November 2012, the number of programs at each level is as follows:

  • Online Associate Degrees: 76 programs from 15 schools
  • Online Bachelor's Degrees: 82 programs from 17 schools
  • Online Master's Degrees: 246 programs from 13 schools
  • Online Doctorate Degrees: 27 programs from 6 schools

Along with state schools, many national online colleges also offer degrees to students in Florida. Many of these schools have been offering online education for several years and host a broader set of courses and programs. Some, such as Argosy University and Everest, also have physical campuses in Florida where students can attend classes. Based in Florida, Full Sail University is a nationally accredited school that offers fully online degrees in art, video game design, music production, and related entertainment fields.

There are also several accredited online universities headquartered outside of Florida, such as University of Phoenix, Ashford University, and Walden University, that can accept residents located in Florida.

There are 18.8 million people living in Florida, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and nearly 86 percent of them have earned a high school diploma. Among those 18 to 25 years old, 43.6 percent have an Associate's degree or have attended some college, and 7.7 percent have earned at least a Bachelor's degree.

There are about 9.5 million workers in Florida, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn an average of $41,140 a year, or about $19.78 an hour. About a third of the workforce is located in Miami, where the unemployment rate is below the national average.

There are 154 institutions where students can earn a Bachelor's degree in Florida. Thirty-five of those schools are public, and 58 of them are non-profit private schools.

The Top 10 List of Online Colleges in Florida

This list of ten colleges is ranked by tuition costs (lowest to highest), and offers crucial information for prospective students, such as the number and type of online programs offered, tuition fees, and accreditation.

#1 - Florida State College at Jacksonville

  • In-state Tuition: $2,830 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 12 undergraduate programs
  • Notable Alumni: Politician Janet Adkins, former pro basketball player Alvin Heggs

Florida State College at Jacksonville offers online Bachelor's degree programs in Business Administration; Early Childhood Education; Information Technology Management; and Supervision and Management. It also offers Associate's degrees in Accounting Technology; Business Administration; Information Technology; Criminal Justice Technology; Early Childhood Management; Histological Technology; Industrial Management Technology; and Office Administration. The school also offers a variety of certificates in such fields as personal lines insurance and claims adjuster.

#2 - Florida Atlantic University

  • In-state Tuition: $4,790 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 4 undergraduate and 4 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Pro basketball player Yolanda Griffith, professional football player Rob Housler, social scientist Arthur C. Brooks. Comedian Carrot Top

Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton offers online degree programs through its Center for eLearning, working with the College of Business, College of Design and Social Inquiry, College of Education, and College of Science. Bachelor's degrees are offered in Accounting; Management; Marketing; and Public Safety Administration. Master's degrees are offered in Accounting; Taxation; Exercise Science and Health Promotion; and Instructional Technology. It also offers certificate programs in Geographic Information Systems and Procurement.

#3 - Florida Gulf Coast University

  • In-state Tuition: $6,118 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 3 undergraduate and 4 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Politician Matt Caldwll, professional baseball player Don Carman, pro golfer Derek Lamely

Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, in addition to offering its own Bachelor's and Master's degree programs, also partners with Florida Virtual Campus and the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus to deliver online programs to Floridians and students in 19 other states. FGCU itself offers Bachelor's degree programs in Criminal Justice; Health Sciences; and Legal Studies, and Master's degree programs in Business Administration; Public Administration; Educational Technology; and Special Education.

#4 - University of Central Florida

  • In-state Tuition: $6,317 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 16 undergraduate and 21 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Astronaut Nicole Stott, actress Cheryl Hines, composer Teddy Blass, film director Daniel Myrick

UCF in Orlando delivers its extensive online degree programs through its Center for Distributed Learning. Not only is there a wide variety of online degree programs, but UCF's Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness is continually analyzing the effectiveness of those programs in an effort to make sure its online programs are as effective as they can be. Bachelor's degree programs are offered online in Anthropology; Criminal Justice; Creative Writing; English Literature; Technical Communication; Health Services Administration; History; Interdisciplinary Studies; International and Global Studies; Nursing; Political Science; Psychology; Religion and Cultural Studies; Sociology; and Technical Education and Industry Training. Some of it's online graduate degree programs include English; Career and Technical Education; Instructional Design and Technology; Criminal Justice; Executive Health Services Administration; Civil Engineering; Digital Forensics; Industrial Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering; Nursing; and Forensic Science.

#5 - Florida International University

  • In-state Tuition: $6,496 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 7 undergraduate and 6 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Pro baseball player Mike Lowell, pro basketball play Raja Bell, author Dennis Lehane, actor Andy Garcia, politician David Rivera

FIU in Miami offers their distance education students success coaches, academic coaches, advisers and tutors. What's more, it offers and broad spectrum of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It offers online undergraduate degree programs in Communication Arts; Psychology; Business Administration (with options in finance, human resources management, international business, management and marketing); Criminal Justice; Early Childhood Education; Hospitality Management; Nursing; and Recreation and Sports management. Graduate degrees are offered in Curriculum and Instruction; Special Education; International Business; International Real Estate; Human Resource Management; and Business Administration with a corporate or healthcare emphasis.

#6 - Florida State University

  • In-state Tuition: $6,507 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Leave blank we will verify and fill this in later.
  • # of online programs: 4 undergraduate and 7 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Heisman Trophy winners Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke and Jameis Winston, former San Francisco mayor Art Agnos, former Florida governors Charlie Crist and Reubin Askew

FSU is physically located in Tallahassee but its online degree programs carry its quality courses to many parts of the country. Students who want to earn an online Bachelor's degree typically have to earn an Associate's degree or have at least 60 hours of transferable credit. It offers undergraduate degree programs in Public Safety and Security (with an emphasis on law enforcement intelligence, operations or police science); Computer Science (both a BS and a BA); Criminology; and Interdisciplinary Social Science. Graduate degrees are offered in Business Administration; Management; Information Systems Management; Communication Disorders; Information Technology; Library and Information Studies; and Criminology.

#7 - Jones College

  • Tuition: $7,410 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 7 undergraduate

Jones College in Jacksonville, Fla., offers online Bachelor of Science degree programs with majors in Business Administration; Computer Information Systems; Interdisciplinary Studies; and Legal Assistant (for Florida residents only). The school's online degree programs also include Associate of Science degree programs with majors in Business Administration; Computer Information Systems; and Legal Assistant (Florida residents only). Course work can be completed on your schedule from anywhere you have an Internet connection.

#8 - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide

  • Tuition: $7,800 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 13 undergraduate 12 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Actor Jerry Doyle, astronaut Daniel Burbank, U.S. Navy commander Susan Kilrain, RollerJam skater Karen Magnussen

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has campuses in more than 150 locations around the world, and Daytona Beach, Fla., is one of them. From there, online students can gain access to the variety of online degree programs from Embry-Riddle's worldwide collection of educators. Associate degrees are offered in Aeronautics Aviation Business Administration; Aviation Maintenance; Engineering Fundamentals; and Technical Management. Bachelor degree programs are offered in Aeronautics; Aviation Business Administration; Aviation Maintenance; Aviation Security; Communication; Emergency Services; Engineering Technology; Technical Management; and Transportation. Master's degree programs are offered in Aeronautical Science; Business Administration in Aviation; Aviation Finance; Engineering Management; Information Security and Assurance; Leadership; Logistics and Supply Chain Management; Management; Management Information Systems; Occupational Safety Management; Project Management; Unmanned Systems; and Engineering.

#9 - Hodges University

  • Tuition: $12,740 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 24 undergraduate and 5 postgraduate

Hodges University in Naples, Fla., offers Associate's degrees in Business Administration; Computer Information Technology; Criminal Justice; Digital Design and Graphics; Health Information Management; Health Services Administration; Interdisciplinary Studies; Management; and Paralegal Studies. Online Bachelor's degrees are offered in Applied Psychology; Business Administration; Computer Information Technology; Computer Networking; Criminal Justice Cybersecurity and Forensics; Digital Design and Graphics; Health Services Administration; Information Systems Business Analyst; Information Systems Management; Interdisciplinary Studies; Legal Studies; Management; Marketing and Branding; and Software Development. It's graduate degree programs include Business Administration; Health Services Administration; Information Systems Management; Legal Studies; and Management.

#10 - Saint Leo University

  • Tuition: $19,920 (2013-2014)
  • Accredited: Y
  • # of online programs: 16 undergraduate and 13 postgraduate
  • Notable Alumni: Actor Desi Arnaz, actor Lee Marvin, pro baseball executive JP Ricciardi, pro baseball play Bob Tewksbury

Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, Fla., offers online Bachelor's degree programs in Business Administration (with specialties in accounting, logistics, management, marketing, and project management); Computer Information Systems; Criminal Justice; Criminalistics; Homeland Security; Healthcare Management; Human Resources Management; Liberal Studies; Psychology; Religion; and Sociology. It's Associate programs focus on Business Administration; Criminal Justice; Information Technology; and Liberal Arts. Its Master's degree programs include Business Administration; Educational Leadership; Exceptional Student Education; Instructional Leadership; Reading; Criminal Justice; Cybersecurity; Instructional Design; Accounting; Theology; Advanced Clinical Practice; Social Work; and Teaching Exceptional Children.

Snapshot of Florida Cities

The three largest metropolitan areas of Florida are Miami, Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg and Orlando. The Miami metropolitan area, which includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, is the largest in the state and the eighth largest metropolitan area in the U.S. All three areas enjoy robust tourism industries, but in addition to being the world's busiest cruise ship port, Miami also supports a great number of international banks. Orlando, the third-largest of Florida's metropolitan areas, gets about 60 million vacationers a year to such attractions as Walt Disney World, but it also has strong aerospace and biotechnology industries.

The following is a closer economic and demographic look at Florida, with economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the 2014 Cost of Living Index published by The Council for Community and Economic Research. All demographic data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and the latest Labor Force Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All data in the Facts for Online Learners section comes from the region's various tourism websites.

The Miami metropolitan area is home to about 3 million workers, who pull down an average annual salary of $43,120, or about $20.73 per hour. Miami provides roughly a third of all workers employed in the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Cost of Living Index in Miami is 110.5, with average home prices just over $357,000.

The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area has about 5.5 million residents, who live in an area referred to as South Florida and the Gold Coast. It's a strip of oceanfront land that is about 110 miles long but only 20 miles wide at its thickest point, as the region sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Everglades. Miami provides roughly a third of all workers employed in the state, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
There is no shortage of fun things to do in Miami. There is plenty of nightlife, ethnic restaurants, cruises, zoos, professional sports, museums, shopping and, when all else fails, the beach. Miami's Art Deco Historic District is a must-see for many visitors, and the Little Havana section provides tourists an authentic taste of Miami's strong Cuban flavor.

Tampa-St. Petersburg
The Tampa Bay on the western shoreline of Florida is home to 1.3 million workers, who earn an average of $42,320 a year, or about $20.35 per hour. Although tourism is important to the region, one of its main economic drivers is its strong financial services and information technology industries. Average home prices in Tampa average $209,709, and the Cost of Living index is 92.9.

The metropolitan area of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater supplies about 13 percent of the state's total workforce with a combined population of about 4 million people. The Tampa region has enjoyed steady growth in recent years, and is expected to continue growing in coming years.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
The Salvador Dali Museum is one of several high quality art museums in the Tampa Bay region. Visitors also enjoy going to Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Weeki Wachee Springs and Legoland Florida. Tampa Bay is also home to professional football, hockey and baseball.

The Orlando metro area, which includes Kissimmee and Sanford, supports just over a million workers, about 10 percent of the state's workforce. Workers in Orlando earn about $39,400 a year, or about $18.94 per hour. While those wages are less than those paid in other parts of the state, the unemployment rate in Orlando is among the lowest in Florida.

Orlando is the county seat for Orange County, and its 2.1 million population makes it the 26th largest metro area in the country. In addition to is robust tourism industry, Orlando also hosts a great number of conferences and conventions, making its airport the 13th busiest in the nation.

Fun Facts for Online Learners
Orlando is known as the "The City Beautiful" and as "The Theme Park Capital of the World" for good reason. In addition to Walk Disney World, Orlando is home to Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios.

Helpful Resources

Prospective students can utilize online tools to help find degree programs and plan their academic future. For example, the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus allows students to browse distance education offerings throughout the South. Florida Virtual Campus, a service of the State University System of Florida and the Florida College System, is a similar resource for programs available from the state's public schools. Students can search for online courses or degrees by level, subject, delivery method, and college. In addition, the site offers online academic advising services, career planning, and electronic access to the library holdings of all Florida public universities, including full-text journals, databases, and eBooks.


1. The Bureau of Labor Statistics,
2. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics,
3. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide,
4. Florida Atlantic University,
5. Florida Gulf Coast University,
6. Florida International University,
7. Florida State College at Jacksonville,
8. Florida State College at Jacksonville Notable Alumni and Attendees,
9. Florida State University,
10. Florida State University Graduate Programs,
11. Hodges University,
12. Jones College-Jacksonville,
13. List of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Alumni,
14. List of Florida Gulf Coast University People,
15. List of Florida International University People,
16. List of Florida Atlantic University People,
17. List of Florida State University People,
List of University of Central Florida Alumni,
18. Miami Metropolitan Area,,_FL_MSA
19. National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator,
20. Saint Leo University,
21. Saint Leo University Alumni,
22. Tampa Bay Area,
23. University of Central Florida,
24. Unlock Tampa Bay,
25. U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder,
26. U.S. Department of Education, The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs,

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