Info on Online Colleges & Programs in Louisiana (LA)
Advantages of Online Colleges for Students in Louisiana
Online learning offers working adults, busy parents, and other non-traditional students many potential advantages over brick-and-mortar programs. Students who live far away from a college campus, or are unable to attend school in a classroom setting, may benefit from the ability to attend class from anywhere with an Internet connection. Additionally, distance learning can be helpful for students who find the traditional learning model difficult to adhere to, such as those who have mobility issues or learning challenges.
Typically, online colleges allow students to take classes at their own pace. Working professionals whose job requires continuing education might find that online courses satisfy this requirement, while allowing them to complete courses in a way that fits their schedule. Those who want to earn a higher degree while working can pursue one of the many online options for graduate degrees.
In addition to the flexible scheduling, online students often have the added bonus of gaining first-hand experience with emerging learning technologies. Online schools in Louisiana may use video conferencing, message boards, chat rooms and various other platforms to deliver the educational experience. A working knowledge of these technologies can be attractive to potential employers, especially those who rely on telecommunication.
Trends in Online Higher Education: Public and Private Online Schools in Louisiana
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana is home to 14 public four-year institutions and 22 public two-year colleges, many of which now offer online learning options. The Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus is an excellent resource for students interested in online education in the state. Through the site, visitors can find information on online degrees and courses offered by many colleges in Louisiana, as well as other states in the region. Prospective students can even search for online programs by school, degree level, or subject area.
While some Louisiana colleges only offer online courses at this time, others now feature a full range of online degree programs. For example, University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a master's in nursing, and a doctoral in nursing practice, among other options. Northwestern State University has enthusiastically embraced online learning with 129 courses and 29 full programs offered during the 2013-2014 academic year, according to the Electronic Campus.
Many institutions offer graduate degrees aimed toward working professionals who want to further their education. Louisiana State University in Shreveport offers a master's in health administration and a master's in human services administration, while Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine has several graduate degrees and certificates available. Loyola University's online options include master's programs in fields like nursing, criminal justice administration and religious education.
National online colleges also offer a wide range of programs to students in Louisiana. Some, such as Strayer University, Remington College and University of Phoenix, even have physical campuses in the state. For students who want to earn an online degree that requires a hands-on training component, these locations may provide a convenient way to embark on a hybrid approach of classroom study and Web-based courses.
2013's Revolutionary Online Programs in Louisiana
Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University launched its brand new distance learning web-based initiative "LSU Online" during the spring 2013 term. Initially, LSU Online offered three different master's degree programs available completely online. Those programs include the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Construction Management, and the Master of Science in Human Resource Education with a concentration in human resource and leadership development degrees. The initiative has already expanded those offerings to include two more graduate-level degree programs, the Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in higher education administration and Master of Education in Educational Leadership programs.
LSU administration officials hope that the new initiative will build the school's brand throughout the nation, as well as increase enrollment and revenues. Currently, LSU Online is strictly for students seeking graduate degrees. The school hopes the flexibility of an online degree will attract working adults who may not have the ability to earn a graduate degree in a traditional on-campus setting. LSU Online will utilize seven-week sessions, enabling a new session to begin every eight weeks. Each course will be available for three credits, making it possible to complete the 36 credits needed to graduate in two years.
The Independent and Distance Learning department at Louisiana State University is currently offering an online certificate in accounting, available to students who already have a bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university. Designed to meet the needs of working professionals who are pursuing their CPA designation, participants will be required to complete advanced college-level coursework in accounting and other related fields to earn the certificate. Students will complete five separate courses for 15 credit hours during the program. The courses may be taken in any order and may be completed either online or through print-based correspondence. The program must be completed within a four-year period.
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette unveiled its new "online.louisiana.edu" website in August 2013. The website is completely dedicated to online learning at the university. Current and future students are now able to search for the available online programs and their admission requirements. Curriculum and course descriptions are also available through the website. Students will also be able to find information regarding job opportunities for graduates of these programs. Currently, the university is offering seven different undergraduate and graduate degree programs online.
The online Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette had more than 350 students enrolled for the fall 2013 term. Designed for registered nurses who hold an associate's degree, the online program is intended to help nurses increase their earning potential through in-depth study of physical and social sciences, as well as health care delivery. Nurses who are currently employed by one of the university's 43 academic partners may be eligible for a tuition discount. The length of the online program is 11 months.
Employment Opportunities in Louisiana
According to the Louisiana Workforce Commission's 2010-2020 labor market projections, some of the fastest-growing industries in Louisiana include health care and social assistance, as well as professional, scientific and technical services -- fields that often call for postsecondary education. However, the state's higher education system faces financial challenges and may need to explore alternatives, such as online learning, in order to meet the needs of the future. A 2013 KTBS.com report reveals that Louisiana colleges and universities have lost more than $625 million to budget cuts since 2008, with tuition climbing by almost 12 percent in 2009.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics proposes that educational attainment in the U.S. is directly related to unemployment numbers and median annual income, based on 2012 data. According the Lumina Foundation, 28 percent of Louisiana residents aged 24 to 65 held an associate degree or higher as of 2010, compared to the national average of 38 percent. For the 22 percent who have attended some college but never graduated, online education may offer a chance to finally earn a degree. Many schools in Louisiana now offer online learning options, including such prominent institutions as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana State University at Shreveport and Northwestern State University. Today, students can find a wide range of online programs in the state, from career certificates to graduate degrees.
Entry Requirements and Application Process for Louisiana Online Colleges
Those interested in attending an online college in Louisiana should begin by searching for programs that suit their chosen career path and goals. As with traditional degree programs, application requirements vary from school to school. Speaking with an admissions counselor is a good idea, as they can easily answer questions about entry requirements, fees, transfer credit options and more. To take the next step, request more information from one of the schools listed below.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
Louisiana State University in Shreveport, eCampus, http://www.lsus.edu/academics/ecampus
Louisiana Workforce Commission, Labor Market Information: Projections by Industry and Occupation, http://lwc.laworks.net/sites/LMI/Pages/IndustryProjections.aspx
Loyola University, Online Learning, http://www.loyno.edu/jump/online/
Lumina Foundation, Louisiana, http://www.luminafoundation.org/state/Louisiana/
Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus, Louisiana, https://secure.electroniccampus.org/states/louisiana.asp
Tulane University, Center for Applied Environmental Public Health, http://tulane.edu/publichealth/caeph/dl/
University of Louisiana, Distance Learning, http://distancelearning.louisiana.edu/