Online Colleges in Pennsylvania
As Pennsylvania and the rest of the United States begin to rebound from recession, the importance of higher education has never been more evident. According to a 2010 report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, about 1.8 million jobs are expected to be available to Pennsylvania residents between 2008 and 2018—and one million of those positions will require a college degree.
This increased demand for college-educated workers is already becoming apparent. Many of the careers mentioned in the state’s 2012 list of High-Priority Occupations require a postsecondary degree. Unfortunately, the Lumina Foundation reports that as of 2010, only 38.6 percent of working-age adults (25 to 64 years old) in the state have earned a degree. Since an estimated 57 percent of jobs will require at least an associate degree by 2018, Pennsylvania needs to find ways to close this education shortfall.
Thanks to the rise of online education, students in Pennsylvania now have more access to postsecondary training programs. With their convenience and flexibility, online colleges offer numerous advantages over traditional campus-based instruction. Not surprisingly, many well-known colleges in the state, including Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania, have already begun offering online learning options. Whether they’re attending college for the first time or pursuing an advanced degree, Pennsylvanians interested in higher education should consider the growing number of online schools based in state.
Advantages of Online Education for Students in Pennsylvania
The flexibility of online courses makes distance learning an attractive option for Pennsylvania students. Online colleges allow students to learn in the comfort of their own homes, which is extremely beneficial for those juggling school with family responsibilities and/or full-time jobs. In addition, there are now a broad range of degree options available online. Whether a student wants to earn an associate, bachelor's, or graduate degree, they can typically find a program that aligns with their academic and professional goals.
In some cases, tuition for online schools can be less than what students would pay if they attended a brick-and-mortar institution. Some online schools may even give students access to course materials, such as textbooks, for free—which could translate into significant savings over the length of a degree program. Similarly, students pursuing fully-online degrees don't have to commute to classes, which cuts down on transportation and parking expenses.
Finally, online learning may help familiarize students with emerging technology trends and applications. Typically, online students interface with classmates and professors remotely via video chat, online forums and instant messaging. This increased technological aptitude could serve students well in today’s workplace, where global communication and virtual networking are becoming commonplace.
Trends in Online Education: Public and Private Online Schools in Pennsylvania
In order to help train the Pennsylvania workforce for the expected job boom, a number of public colleges in the state have developed online degree programs. For example, the University of Pennsylvania offers online degrees in healthcare fields, such as dentistry and nursing, as well as free, non-credit versions of a number of its traditional courses through MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) provider Coursera. In 1998, Penn State became one of the first major accredited colleges in the nation to offer online education options to its students. These offerings have evolved into the school's World Campus, where students can pursue associate and bachelor's degrees in areas such as business administration, information technology, criminal justice, public relations, organizational leadership, and psychology.
Private institutions in Pennsylvania also feature online degrees that help prepare students for the state's changing economy. Arcadia University has several degree programs online, including bachelor's degrees in liberal studies and business administration, and master's degrees in creative writing, special education, and instructional technology. Likewise, Carnegie Mellon University developed the Open Learning Initiative, or OLI, which is an online platform that allows students to take courses taught by professors from all over the country.
In addition to state schools, national online colleges offer a broad range of online degrees to students in Pennsylvania. Some, such as DeVry University, University of Phoenix, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, even have physical campuses in state. These schools may offer both fully-online and blended learning options, allowing students to split their time between virtual courses and on-campus instruction.
Entry Requirements and Application Process for Pennsylvania Online Colleges
As with brick-and-mortar institutions, entry requirements for online colleges differ from school to school. For more information about online degrees in Pennsylvania, prospective students should contact an admissions counselor. Many nationally accredited colleges have advisors available to answer questions online via text chat. To learn more about online degree programs and the application process, request information from one of the schools below.
“Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018,” Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
High-Priority Occupations, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, 2012
Lumina Foundation, 2012
Open Learning Initiative - Carnegie Mellon University
Penn State World Campus
The University of Pennsylvania
View Online College Courses in Pennsylvania Below
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