Here's a high-level look at the range of programs and types of online colleges in Colorado.

  • 47 schools in Colorado offer online associate, bachelor's, and master's degree programs.
  • The schools with the most online degree programs in the state are Colorado State University-Fort Collins, Regis University, and University of Phoenix-Colorado.
  • There are 24 public and 23 private online colleges in Colorado, including several faith-based online colleges. Four of these institutions focus specifically on healthcare degree programs like nursing.
  • The largest postsecondary education system in Colorado is the Colorado Community College System, which offers numerous online degree programs.

A report by Georgetown University analyzing job growth and education requirements predicts that, by 2020, a whopping 74 percent of jobs in Colorado will require postsecondary education. This is the second-highest percent in the country, tied with Minnesota and surpassed only by the District of Columbia, and it is also a clear indication of the importance of earning a degree in Colorado.

Fortunately, Colorado has created Complete College Colorado!, a resource designed to help first-time and returning students earn a degree in the most efficient and affordable way possible. On their website, students can find general information about credit transfers, as well as a transfer directory full of information about specific schools. If you have a specific school in mind that you would like to attend, Complete College Colorado! can help you plan your path to and through a degree program.

However, what can you do if you're not sure where you'd like to go to school? That's where we can help. Read on for a wealth of details about online colleges in Colorado, such as which accredited online colleges are the best or most affordable in the Centennial State. And be sure to see our financial aid section, as it outlines a number of state-specific scholarships that can help you fund your online degree.

What Makes a Good Online College in Colorado?

Here at OnlineColleges.com, we have created multiple rankings on the best online schools in Colorado. Using our rankings, students can be better informed about selecting online schools that are compatible with their budget, needs and personal preferences.

Every school in our rankings is accredited by an accreditation body such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) or the Colorado Department of Higher Education. To learn more about the importance of accreditation, visit our "What is College Accreditation?" page or the Colorado Department of Education. We also encourage students to visit the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page, where we explain the factors we analyze in order to rank an online college experience and why.

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Best Online Colleges in Colorado for 2019-20

Anyone who would like to enjoy the benefits of online learning has so many options to choose from that it can be difficult to make a decision. To help guide your choice, start with our list of the top 10 online colleges in Colorado. We display data such as tuition costs and percentage of students taking online courses, and we also discuss features of each college such as online majors and resources offered at each school.

1

Regis University

Tuition & Fees
$36,810
Distance Education Participation
63%
Number of Programs Offered
98
School Type
4-year

What is Regis like?

Regis University was founded in 1877 by a group of exiled Italian Jesuits, and it has a strong commitment to the traditions of its founders. Known as "Colorado's Jesuit University," the school emphasizes critical thinking and social justice through a lens of Jesuit values. Its online degree programs are specifically geared towards working adults looking to enhance or change their careers, and they have held position No.1 on our list of the best online colleges in Colorado for two years in a row.

What online programs are at Regis?

Online courses at Regis are taught through the WorldClass learning management system and cover many subjects, including an online Bachelor of Science in business administration program that is taught in an eight-week accelerated format and offers specializations such as human resource management, marketing and project management. Another interesting option is the Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology, which allows students to apply two graduate level courses from the program to an M.A. in counseling or in marriage & family therapy.

What online resources does Regis offer?

The Learning Commons is an online resource center that offers Regis students academic support at no additional cost, including online tutoring, academic success workshops, a writing center and more. Handshake, a career-services platform that connects students to jobs and internship opportunities, is available through the university as well.

2

Adams State University

Tuition & Fees
$9,440
Distance Education Participation
51%
Number of Programs Offered
19
School Type
4-year

What is ASU like?

Adams State University began in 1921 as a small educational institution to educate teachers on how to serve rural areas in Colorado. While education is still their specialty, ASU has expanded to offer many programs in other fields, among them several online programs. This university is constantly striving to improve, and it shows: ASU has jumped up two places from last year, when it earned the No.4 spot on our list of best online colleges in Colorado.

What online programs are at ASU?

At ASU, students may pursue programs in business or sociology at the undergraduate level, or in subjects from public administration to music education at the graduate level. One of the most prestigious of these programs is the online Master's in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (HEAL), which has been recognized by Excelencia in Education as a positive influence for the higher education of Latino students. The university also offers various individual online courses, which can help students transfer to other institutions, prepare for tests or meet certification requirements.

What online resources does ASU offer?

As part of ASU's mission of advancing equal educational opportunities, the university hosts the Student Support Services Program, which offers academic and career counseling, financial literacy and grad school information, tutoring, mentoring and more to participants. ASU is also part of the Upward Bound program -- which helps low-income, first-generation students bridge the gap between high school and college -- and the College Opportunity Fund -- a stipend that offsets tuition costs for eligible undergraduate students in Colorado.

3

Colorado Christian University

Tuition & Fees
$31,866
Distance Education Participation
58%
Number of Programs Offered
52
School Type
4-year

What is CCU like?

Colorado Christian University was founded over a hundred years ago, and it is dedicated to delivering liberal arts education in a Christian environment. The university prioritizes forming close-knit learning communities for its online programs as well as its on-campus ones; students are encouraged to communicate with their peers and instructors through group discussions, document sharing, email and the Blackboard learning platform.

What online programs are at CCU?

At CCU, students take one course at time to help them get the most out of each course's curriculum. The school offers a number of online degree and certificate programs in areas of study such as marketing and sales, cyber defense and project management. There is also a Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology program that features several intriguing concentrations: biblical studies, clinical counseling or criminal justice.

What online resources does CCU offer?

As online programs at CCU are offered through the College of Adult and Graduate Studies, it's no surprise that the university has a plethora of resources for different kinds of students. Resources and guidance are available for transfer students, veterans and military students, international students, students with disabilities and more. These include the Prior Learning Credit program, general education courses through StraighterLine and cooperation with various military bases in Colorado.

4

Colorado State University-Fort Collins

Tuition & Fees
$11,707
Distance Education Participation
25%
Number of Programs Offered
66
School Type
4-year

What is CSU like?

Colorado State University Online, headquartered at the CSU flagship research campus in Fort Collins, has been delivering distance education to students for more than 50 years. The university is particularly known for its research in atmospheric sciences, infectious diseases and clean energy techniques, and has at various times been recognized for its business, veterinary medicine and journalism schools.

What online programs are at CSU?

A unique facet of online education at CSU are their digital badge programs. These are flexible, skill-focused programs that allow students to earn informal credentials for subjects such as "Creative Organizational Innovation," "Crucial Business Management Skills for the 21st Century," or "Foundations of 3D Printing." Dozens of official online degree programs are also available at CSU, including a master's in computer science or a graduate certificate in IT project management. All badges, certificates, and degree programs are delivered through the Canvas platform.

What online resources does CSU offer?

CSU's Morgan Library offers a full range of library services to online learners. Students can use databases, journals, e-books, and a number of other resources. They can also benefit from CSU's career center, which features open jobs and internships and posts useful career advice.

5

Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

Tuition & Fees
$19,020
Distance Education Participation
100%
Number of Programs Offered
17
School Type
4-year

What is RMCAD like?

From its focus on art and design to its origin by Philip Steele, a well-known educator and illustrator, the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design might just be one of the more unique online schools in Colorado. RMCAD strives to create a community of creatives who possess both passion for their medium and critical thinking skills for their future.

What online programs are at RMCAD?

The online degrees at RMCAD focus on animation, fashion design, game art, graphic design and other art- and design-related disciplines. Students pursuing the online animation degree may focus on 2D or 3D animation and learn essential animation techniques such as modeling, character design and storyboarding. Courses are taught via RMCAD's proprietary online learning management system, which creates a structured yet flexible learning environment so students can learn and grow.

What online resources does RMCAD offer?

To support online students in their art and design education, RMCAD offers complimentary subscriptions to a number of industry-standard digital tools. These tools include Lynda.com -- which hosts over 50,000 tutorials -- Adobe Creative Cloud, Behance and SketchFab.

6

University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Tuition & Fees
$8,523
Distance Education Participation
35%
Number of Programs Offered
28
School Type
4-year

What is UCCS like?

Established in 1965 as part of the University of Colorado System, the Colorado Springs campus of the University of Colorado is a remarkably consistent school, maintaining position No.6 on our ranking for two years in a row. UCCS is also one of the most affordable four-year online colleges in Colorado, making its educational offerings highly accessible to students from all walks of life.

What online programs are at UCCS?

Online courses at UCCS are taught via the Canvas learning system, and there are some intriguing offerings on display, in particular the school's dual offerings. These programs allow students to complete two degree programs simultaneously, with fewer credit hours than would be required if each program was completed separately. For example, the dual master's degree program in public administration and criminal justice allows students to complete a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Criminal Justice together in 54 credit hours, rather than 72 credit hours.

What online resources does UCCS offer?

UCCS offers many ways for high school students to start earning college credit before graduation, such as the CU Succeed program and Project Lead The Way. The university also hosts the MathOnline program, which allows qualified high school and post-high school students to take UCCS math courses remotely to satisfy requirements and/ or continuing education standards. Online students can also take advantage of the Excel Writing Center, Kramer Family Library and UCCS Bookstore.

7

Morgan Community College

Tuition & Fees
$3,765
Distance Education Participation
56%
Number of Programs Offered
11
School Type
2-year

What is MCC like?

MCC began in 1970, when it offered a single basic education course in a basement in Fort Morgan. Its first distance learner, Barbara Kershaw, graduated in 1989. The school has quickly evolved to host a variety of online, hybrid and interactive video courses, and it has also earned a reputation as one of the most affordable colleges in Colorado.

What online programs are at MCC?

MCC collaborates with the Colorado Community College System to utilize Desire2Learn (D2L) for the delivery of their online and hybrid courses. Videoconferencing for interactive courses, meanwhile, is held through WebEx. Course materials are hosted on a specific course website, and students use email and discussion forums to communicate in a virtual classroom.

What online resources does MCC offer?

Students can receive career advice, tips on how to write compelling resumes and cover letters, and guidance on how to perform in job interviews via MCC's Career Guidance Service. In addition, students can access e-books, citation guides and research databases via the MCC library.

8

University of Northern Colorado

Tuition & Fees
$9,918
Distance Education Participation
29%
Number of Programs Offered
22
School Type
4-year

What is UNC like?

The University of Northern Colorado is a public doctoral research university that was founded in 1889. Since then, the school has grown in many ways, including developing its online student portal, UNC Online, which extends its academic offerings to students all over America. The university is justifiably proud of its diversity and accessibility; of its student body, more than one quarter identifies as a student of color. Furthermore, more than a third of UNC undergraduates are the first in their family to go to college.

What online programs are at UNC?

In 2018, UNC Online introduced several new programs to its repertoire, including an online master's in biological sciences, a bachelor's completion program in communication studies, and a director of gifted education endorsement. The school also offers a Multilingual Education Master of Arts - World Language Licensure program designed to help those who are fluent in a second language to teach that language to others. Courses for UNC's various online programs are delivered through Canvas, most of them in an asynchronous format.

What online resources does UNC offer?

Students can participate in complimentary peer-led tutoring sessions and receive support for writing essays, scholarship letters and more. They can also use Summon -- an online tool that combines databases of articles and other documents -- in conjunction with the UNC's catalog to search for over 1.5 million library resources.

9

Nazarene Bible College

Tuition & Fees
$11,760
Distance Education Participation
98%
Number of Programs Offered
14
School Type
4-year

What is NBC like?

The Nazarene Bible College is one of two institutes of higher education in the United States that exclusively focus on preparing adults for ministry. It was the first Christian higher education institution to offer electronically mediated course delivery, and it has been delivering online education regarding theology and religious studies since 1998.

What online programs are at NBC?

NBC's students can earn an online Associate or Bachelor of Arts in ministry, with various concentrations available at the A.A. level and a different set of minors at the B.A. level. Students with some college experience already under their belt may be interested in the NBC AdVantage degree completion program, and students looking to be ordained as an elder or a deacon in the Church of the Nazarene may wish to start their journey in the ministry preparation program. Despite their distance from campus, many NBC Online students are involved in ministry assignments.

What online resources are at NBC?

Counseling, tutoring and individual assistance is available to all online students at NBC. In fact, online students are assigned an advisor who can assist with many aspects of the online experience from the first day of class all the way to graduation. The school also supplies its students with access to eBooks of Bible commentaries and certain textbooks, as well as online databases of full-text publications.

10

University of Colorado-Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus

Tuition & Fees
$9,283
Distance Education Participation
29%
Number of Programs Offered
33
School Type
4-year

What is CU Anschutz like?

This tripartite institute consists of the University of Colorado's Denver campus; the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora; and the online portal CU Online, all working together to serve the University of Colorado System. The school is reportedly the largest academic health center in the Rocky Mountain region, providing health care services for two nationally recognized hospitals even as it educates the health care students who may someday work there.

What online programs are at CU Anschutz?

Online courses at CU Anschutz are delivered through the Canvas learning platform in an asynchronous format, and prospective students are welcome to test out an online course before enrolling in a program. As you might expect, the university offers several health care-related programs in the pharmacy and nursing fields. However, there are multiple graduate and undergraduate options in other fields as well, such as psychology, criminal justice and business administration.

What online resources are at CU Anschutz?

CU Anschutz students can download e-books and journals via the Strauss Health Sciences Library, as well as access various databases. They can also work with an advisor one-on-one and receive assistance with resumes, scientific papers and other writing projects through the school's Writing Center.

Affordable Online Colleges in Colorado for 2019-20

Affordability is a major consideration for many students when it comes to choosing an online college. The two lists below highlight the most affordable 2- and 4-year colleges offering online programs in Colorado, ranked in order by the in-state tuition costs they reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Financial Aid Resources in Colorado

Students who wish to attend college in Colorado have access to a number of state financial aid programs that can help them reduce the cost of attendance. The Colorado Department of Higher Education is a hub of information that can teach families about how the financial aid process works. It also administers some programs that can help fund students' educational pursuits. The CDHE's mission is "to provide access to high-quality, affordable education for all Colorado residents that is student-centered, quality driven and performance-based."

For some help getting started on your financial aid quest, explore some of Colorado's state financial aid programs here.

What Grants and Scholarships are Available in Colorado?

From graduating at the top of one's class to having affiliations with various organizations or community service endeavors, there are opportunities for Colorado students to earn grants and scholarships. Here are some of the many options for Colorado financial aid.

For more information about how you can help fund your college education, try out the Ultimate Guide to Grants or the Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Student Loans in Colorado

Colorado does not offer state-specific student loans and instead chooses to focus its financial aid offerings on scholarship and grant programs. However, many times, student loans are needed so that families can pay for what remains after financial aid is exhausted. Students are encouraged to start with federal student loan programs, which offer the most favorable terms, including some that are subsidized. Private student loans can also be used to supplement as needed.

Find out more about how student loans work by reading our Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Colorado

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Colorado

There's good news for out-of-state students who want to attend one of Colorado's public universities. Legislation was passed and signed into law in 2018 increasing the cap on the number of non-resident students who can be admitted. That opens up an additional 685 spots for out-of-state students in the University of Colorado system during the next three years.

However, those students still have to contend with out-of-state tuition rates, which can be significantly higher than the amount charged to residents. To reduce tuition costs, you could try one of the following strategies:

  • Relocate to Colorado 12 months before the start of classes to gain in-state residency status
  • Enroll in an online degree program offered at a reduced tuition rate at some state schools
  • Select a program covered by the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

The WUE is a program that encompasses 16 western states and territories. If you live in one of these states, you may eligible for reduced out-of-state tuition if your home state doesn't offer your degree program. In 2017-2018, more than 4,000 out-of-state students received reduced tuition in Colorado thanks to WUE. Similar programs may be available to students earning graduate and professional degrees.

Don't forget that schools may also have scholarships and other financial aid available to offset non-resident tuition rates. Talk to your admissions counselor for more information. The following links may also be of interest to you:

Best Careers In Colorado

It's not easy to establish what the best jobs in Colorado are, but we're taking a stab at it. We've compared data such as projected job growth, average salaries and state employment to devise lists of the best industries and the best careers in this state. Take a look at our results, and take a look at our displayed data as well to see what factors might sound the most worthwhile to you.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary
2,770,99020.4%$31,649$51,093

Top Colorado Industries

*Industry rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Oil and gas extraction1,106,12019%$75,458
Utilities1,430,06017%$69,408
Support activities for mining1,111,77017%$68,873
Telecommunications1,204,26016%$73,567
Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities1,022,20016%$73,617
Pipeline transportation764,47019%$80,940
Data processing, hosting, and related services1,045,46016%$75,595
Broadcasting (except Internet)958,72016%$72,520
Educational services; state, local, and private2,333,01020%$63,877
Ambulatory healthcare services1,882,81021%$68,804

Colorado is abundant in natural resources, a fact that drives a large percentage of the state's overall employment. The three top industries in the state all pertain to these resources: oil and gas, utilities such as natural gas and water power, and support for the state's metal and mineral mining. According to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, there were over 40,000 active oil and gas wells across various Colorado counties as of June 2017.

However, by no means are these the only kinds of careers in Colorado that workers are needed to fill. Ambulatory healthcare features the greatest projected growth of all ten of our top industries in Colorado; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that by 2025, Colorado's demand for nurses could exceed supply by 12,900 positions. The telecommunications industry, despite its high pay, is struggling to find enough qualified workers in Colorado as well. And there is such a shortage of postal service workers that the U.S. Postal Service has sent volunteers dressed in sandwich boards to the streets of Denver in order to advertise their vacancies.

Fortunately, there are multiple initiatives that can help students step up to fill these hot jobs in Colorado. One is CareerWise Colorado, which offers three-year apprenticeships that allow secondary students to gain meaningful work experience in the tech and healthcare sectors so they can fill some of these high demand positions. Businesses and other Colorado organizations are rising to the challenge as well -- for example, UCHealth Memorial Hospital has begun a program to help nurses employed at its facilities to earn bachelor's degrees that are almost completely paid for by the hospital.

Let's take a closer look at which careers might be best for you by exploring three different metro areas in the Centennial State.

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metro Area

Total Population
2,798,684
Median salary for high school grads
$32,661
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$55,611
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
24.7%
Median rent
$1,203

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood has no shortage of software companies, making it an ideal place for software developers. OpenTable, the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations; Apto, a customer relationship management platform for the commercial real estate industry; and Vertafore, which creates software solutions for the insurance industry, can all be found in the area.

In addition, CU Anschutz is situated in Aurora and can be an excellent career choice for postsecondary health specialty teachers, who are needed to teach subjects such as public health, pharmacy and therapy. Seeing as ambulatory healthcare and hospitals are the two best industries in Colorado, it's no surprise instructors in these subjects would be in such high demand.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Health Specialties Teachers, PostsecondaryDoctoral or professional degree$156,4504,910
Software Developers, Systems SoftwareBachelor's degree$127,4407,230
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight EngineersBachelor's degree$203,2203,060
Petroleum EngineersBachelor's degree$165,490910
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and GeographersBachelor's degree$129,8901,180

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Colorado Springs, CO Metro Area

Total Population
698,595
Median salary for high school grads
$29,171
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$48,029
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
30.3%
Median rent
$1,070

UCHealth in Colorado Springs offers specialized occupational therapy services such as hand and upper extremity therapy, low vision rehabilitation, and lymphedema therapy. The hospital is frequently on the lookout for qualified occupational therapists to add to its team.

The area also features tech companies like BombBomb -- an interactive email service provider -- and root9B -- a cybersecurity company with a comprehensive list of defense services. These companies can be great sources for high paying jobs in Colorado Springs such as software developers, information security analysts and computer hardware engineers.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Software Developers, Systems SoftwareBachelor's degree$118,0702,250
Software Developers, ApplicationsBachelor's degree$107,5903,530
Information Security AnalystsBachelor's degree$107,910840
Computer Hardware EngineersBachelor's degree$115,480710
Occupational TherapistsMaster's degree$96,530400

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

Fort Collins, CO Metro Area

Total Population
330,976
Median salary for high school grads
$31,331
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$45,019
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
43.8%
Median rent
$1,140

Lamp Rynearson, Ayres Associates, and United Civil Design Group are just a few of the many Fort Collins companies that hire civil engineers and environmental engineers. In addition to engineers, medical professionals are needed to fill various high paying jobs in Fort Collins. Hospitals such as the UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital and Banner Fort Collins Medical Center rely on physician assistants and other healthcare professionals to provide their patients with quality care.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Computer Hardware EngineersBachelor's degree$136,810430
Physician AssistantsMaster's degree$113,060200
Civil EngineersBachelor's degree$93,670860
Natural Sciences ManagersBachelor's degree$131,830220
Environmental EngineersBachelor's degree$92,600110

*Career rankings determined by annual mean wage, employment, projected growth and location quotient. Data sourced from the BLS, 2019 dataset.

 
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