Whether you're interested in a career in one of Idaho's growing industries, like advanced manufacturing or energy, or if you're looking into a more traditional sector like healthcare or a government job in Boise, having a degree in hand can prepare you for a higher-skill job.

Online colleges in Idaho can provide a convenient way to pursue a degree program. The flexible aspect of distance education means you can still earn a degree around your current work schedule or family responsibilities. Here's a closer look at online education opportunities in the Gem State.

  • Online associate degree programs are available at 10 schools, while online bachelor's degrees can be earned at 8 schools. Master's degree programs can be completed online at 6 schools.
  • While each Idaho college has its own established program offerings, several offer common online degree programs in subjects like business administration, early childhood education, web design and nursing.
  • Of the online colleges in Idaho, 5 are private, including several faith-based schools, and 7 are public.
  • The schools that offer the most online program options in Idaho include Northwest Nazarene University, College of Southern Idaho, and University of Phoenix-Idaho.

To promote higher education in the state, Idaho has created the Next Steps Initiative, which is designed to help all Idaho students, including those who plan on pursuing a degree through an online college.

By browsing this page, you can learn about the best online colleges in Idaho as well as the importance of college accreditation. You'll also find out about Idaho-specific scholarships that you can use to make your education more affordable.

What Makes a Good Online College in Idaho?

OnlineColleges.com has created multiple rankings of the best online colleges in Idaho to help students find a college that suits their educational and financial needs. Visit the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page to learn about the data points we consider important for finding the best online colleges in Idaho.

We only display schools that have been accredited by nationally recognized accrediting agencies, such as the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Curious why this matters? Learn more on our "What is College Accreditation?" page or from the Idaho State Board of Education.


Featured Online Colleges in Idaho for 2019-20

This listing of featured online colleges in Idaho can help you compare institutions and find the one that's best for you. Information about the online programs at each school, data on tuition and fees, details on the way each school serves online students and more is available to help you make an informed decision.

Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.


University of Idaho

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is UI like?

Founded in 1889 with campuses across the state, the University of Idaho is a development-focused public institution that recognizes the importance of innovation, flexibility and hands-on education. UI's diversity of online graduate and undergraduate programs - including its quality M.S. in computer science - helped move it into first place among all online colleges in Idaho!

What online programs are at UI?

As Idaho's only land-grant institution, UI prides itself on its online College of Natural Resources graduate programs, such as M.S. of Environmental Science, M.S. of Geological Engineering and M.N.S. Master of Natural Resources, offering both professional and traditional (thesis-based) options.

UI has transitioned many associate's and bachelor's programs, including psychology and sociology/ criminology, into flexible online asynchronous options as well. Courses for these various programs can be accessed through the Collaborate virtual classroom and/or BBLearn.

What online resources does UI offer?

Online students have access to the UI library system and database, filled with scholarly journals, digital supplementary textbooks and WorldCat -- a digital catalog of over 72,000 libraries from around the world. With 24/7 access to course material and a self-paced learning structure, it's easy for working students to complete UI degree programs at their own pace.


Brigham Young University-Idaho

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is BYU like?

Brigham Young University is a private school founded, supported and guided by the Church of Latter-day Saints, seeking to help students become well-rounded workplace and community leaders. Its flexible courses and skill-driven teaching approach makes BYU one of the best online schools for web media programs in the country.

What online programs are at BYU?

Students at BYU can earn associate and bachelor's degrees in fields such as business administration, applied management and software engineering. As one of the best online colleges for web media, BYU also offers online programs for front end design, back end development, social media, computer programming and more.

BYU's innovative stackable degree process allows students to save time and reduce redundant material by building on previous courses and experiences. Students interested in studying online at BYU should expect to participate in PathwayConnect and meet with other students once each week.

What online resources does BYU offer?

Available services include a FAFSA portal, scholarship applications, and a human resource center to assist with employment and development. Online students can also learn how to use the school's software and technology through their IT resource center. To help students interact with peers and professors, BYU hosts digital message boards, tutoring and audiovisual resources.


Northwest Nazarene University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is NNU like?

Founded in 1913, the liberal arts college Northwest Nazarene University cooperates with other programs to offer its degree programs in 35 different countries. NNU places a strong emphasis on Christian values and requests that current students adhere to their general lifestyle guidelines.

What online programs are at NNU?

Online courses at NNU are flexible, offering start dates every eight weeks and self-paced learning options. As one of the top education administration schools in Idaho, NNU offers a wide range of teaching and administration programs.

NNU students may complete online programs at the associate, undergraduate, graduate and even doctoral levels according to a cohort model. The school offers a particularly thorough range of programs online, spanning early childhood education to leadership and organization development.

Aside from education leadership, NNU offers programs for nursing, accounting, liberal studies and faith-driven subjects like pastoral ministry.

What online resources does NNU offer?

NNU is a veteran-friendly school, offering specialized programs and services to active duty military service members, veterans and qualified family members.

Students have access to an NNU library portal where they can conduct research and book study rooms.


Idaho State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is ISU like?

Over 12,000 students from 50 different countries attend Idaho State University. Founded in 1901, ISU is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research and teaching institution with campuses in four Idaho cities and over 250 educational programs. ISU offers online degree programs that can help students excel in fields ranging from nuclear research to healthcare.

What online programs are at ISU?

ISU's online programs include education, nursing, speech pathology, history and much more. Through eISU Online, students can earn degrees at the associate, bachelor, master and doctoral levels, as well as technical certificates through asynchronous, synchronous and web-conference courses.

ISU also offers MBA programs designed for students with or without a professional background in business, as well as master's-level taxation and accounting degree programs.

What online resources does ISU offer?

The innovative eISU system is designed to accommodate online students with structure, resources and communication. Online students at this university can take advantage of online proctoring, Moodle learning, Bandwidth learning, web conferencing through Zoom and digital course materials.


Boise State University

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is BSU like?

Idaho's largest graduate school, Boise State University, offers high-quality online degree programs through its e-campus platform. Over the years, BSU has transformed its online offerings with extensive digital resources, experimental learning and career advancement to accommodate students from around the world with degree programs, certificate programs and individual courses.

What online programs are at BSU?

Students at BSU can pursue a broad range of bachelor, master and graduate degrees in fields like early childhood education, business administration and respiratory care. Most online courses at BSU follow a cohort design.

Through BSU's master degree program in respiratory care, students engage with fellow colleagues across the country to explore different theories in unique contexts. BSU also offers niche healthcare and education graduate programs for healthcare simulation, adult gerontology nurse practitioner and behavioral intervention and supports.

What online resources does BSU offer?

BSU has taken pains to make traditional resources like student collaboration and faculty interaction digitally accessible. Through the BSU e-campus learning portal, students can communicate with advisors to develop their program schedule, ask questions and understand the online learning process.


Lewis-Clark State College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is LCSC like?

Lewis-Clark State College has been educating Idaho students for over 125 years. The public college now offers various bachelor's, master's and associate degree programs, as well as technical certificate programs, online through its e-learning services.

What online programs are at LCSC?

LCSC uses the Blackboard Learn system to facilitate web-enhanced lectures, asynchronous courses, workshops and instruction. Through the LCSC e-learning platform, students can earn bachelor degrees in business administration, web design and early childhood education online. Students with a professional business background may be interested in LCSC's online marketing management certificate program to expand their career opportunities.

Prospective students should talk to an LCSC advisor before enrolling to find out whether their desired degree or certification program is available entirely online or whether it may require certain on-campus classes or lectures.

What online resources does LCSC offer?

Online LCSC students have full access to the LCSC digital library system, with databases, research tools, and streaming video documentaries via "Films on Demand." Students can also access software like Microsoft Office Suite and Read & Write Literacy Software. Online tutoring in math and science is available, as is an electronic alumni mentorship program that can provide academic and career insight.


College of Southern Idaho

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is CSI like?

The College of Southern Idaho is a progressive public college committed to meeting the individual education needs of students through asynchronous courses and active communication with peers and professors. The college values participation in its distance learning program, requiring online students take part in threaded course discussions and make meaningful contributions to conversations to earn course credit.

What online programs are at CSI?

Students can take many online courses at CSI and put them towards the completion of a bachelor's, associate or master's degree program. This allows students to hybridize many of the college's programs, creating much-needed flexibility in the curriculum. Prospective students should check with a counselor to understand how much of a program they may be able to complete online.

CSI offers its synchronous courses through the Blackboard system, where students can retrieve syllabi, presentations, notes, take tests and complete their work. A particular specialty at CSI is early childhood education; students who earn an associate degree or technical certificate from CSI should be ready to take the NOCTI exam upon graduation.

What online resources does CSI offer?

Through Blackboard, students can easily communicate with their professors and participate in discussions with other students. CSI offers a library where online students can get citation help, research material, tutoring and industry-specific informational guides. The electronic resource center grants access to audiobooks, music streaming, magazines, eBooks and other media for online students.


North Idaho College

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is NIC like?

North Idaho College is a community college offering a broad range of degree programs, certificate programs, and non-credit courses across several disciplines. A career-driven school, NIC focuses on teaching students the skills they might need to work in local government agencies and economic development sectors. Their open-door admission policy makes it easy for students to advance their workplace skills through online education.

What online programs are at NIC?

Most of the programs at NIC end with students earning a technical certificate, vocational training or an associate degree. NIC offers courses online and on-campus in a broad range of in-demand industries such as computer programming, healthcare computer technology, and web design.

NIC uses the Canvas learning management system to administer classes, tests and course material. Students should speak to an advisor to ensure that their chosen program is available entirely online. In many cases, students may have to complete a portion of their training on-campus due to the hands-on nature of some industries.

What online resources does NIC offer?

The NIC e-learning resource center makes it easy for students to access course materials, attend virtual classrooms and learn how to use the Canvas online learning software. Students can also enjoy access to the NIC digital library - filled with books, articles, and other media formats - during scheduled hours.


College of Western Idaho

Tuition & Fees
Distance Education Participation
Number of Programs Offered
School Type

What is CWI like?

The College of Western Idaho is a community college offering associate degree programs and hands-on work training for in-demand industries. Through CWI's online degree programs, students can take hundreds of courses on their own schedule with experienced instructors and collaborative interaction. CWI is one of the few community colleges in Idaho that offers a wide range of fully online degree programs.

What online programs are at CWI?

Prospective CWI students can earn an associate degree in several fields, including early childhood development, computer science and business administration. CWI's career-focused criminal justice program is particularly notable; it emphasizes internships and networking and, perhaps most excitingly, gives students an opportunity to participate in the school's Annual Social and Human Relations Department Symposium.

CWI Online is designed to help students succeed, with plenty of financial aid assistance, scholarship opportunities and hybrid courses to meet each student's unique needs and goals. Courses are completed through Blackboard, and many of them can be counted towards a variety of Academic Transfer associate-level degree programs at other universities.

What online resources does CWI offer?

CWI offers a guide for students who are new to online courses and higher education in general. The user-friendly digital library makes it easy to search databases, watch relevant videos and browse resource guides. Students can also find plenty of online resources that can help them plan their degree and course schedule.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Affordable Online Colleges in Idaho for 2019-20

The following list presents some of the schools in Idaho that offer education at the lowest tuition costs. Tuition figures are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics and reflect in-state tuition (when in-state tuition is available) for all students, including online students.

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Financial Aid Resources in Idaho

Source: Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of CollegeXpress, a division of Carnegie Dartlet. Copyright © 2020 by CollegeXpress.

Student Loans in Idaho

Idaho does not offer students any state-specific loans, as they prefer to focus on state-based scholarships and grants like The Idaho Opportunity Scholarship instead. The state encourages students to apply for any scholarships and grants for which they may be qualified, since that money is awarded and does not need to be repaid. If you are still in need of financial assistance, you may apply for federal and private loans to help cover your tuition costs. To qualify for federal loans, you will need to fill out the FAFSA with your family's financial information. Learn more about student loans in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Idaho

Costs for Out-of-State Students in Idaho

While college enrollment in many states has declined in recent years, the number of undergraduates in Idaho keeps climbing. In 2018, the state even exceeded 100,000 undergrad students for the first time ever, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse.

Among those are non-resident students who travel from across the country to study in Idaho. Out-of-state students have to contend with higher costs, but there are ways to offset higher out-of-state tuition rates.

One option is use the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). This program is open to students in 16 Western states and territories. It caps their non-resident tuition at 150 percent of the in-state rate should they be studying a program not available where they live. More than 2,500 students enrolled in Idaho through the WUE in 2017-2018. Similar programs are available for graduate and professional degree programs.

Idaho colleges and universities may have their own programs for out-of-state students as well. For instance, the Discover Idaho program at the University of Idaho provides non-resident scholarships based on high school academic achievement.

Don't assume there won't be other options for you to minimize out-of-state tuition in Idaho. The links below provide additional information, and your admissions counselor may be able to help you identity other resources for out-of-state students.

Best Careers in Idaho

Idaho has a diverse and growing economy, with industries ranging from agriculture to healthcare to nuclear science. Students can gain insight into many of the great careers available in Idaho by using the data compiled here, which includes statewide employment and job growth projections, as well as average salaries for some of the state's top-paying jobs. Peruse the data below to gain more insight into potential job opportunities and career paths for graduates of online colleges in Idaho.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary

Top Idaho 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
Ambulatory healthcare services480,86014%$56,474
Pipeline transportation190,80012%$63,415
Hospitals; state, local, and private531,90014%$55,351
Monetary authorities-central bank137,41012%$61,807
Oil and gas extraction269,99011%$59,709
Data processing, hosting, and related services244,55011%$58,645
Educational services; state, local, and private605,60013%$53,914
Postal service184,46012%$58,196
Insurance carriers and related activities379,03013%$54,839
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets (except copyrighted works)183,19012%$58,927

Idaho may be famous for its potatoes, but agriculture is just one of many industries that powers the state's economy.

Healthcare is a major employer across the Gem State. Idaho's population increased by 12 percent from 2010 through 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. This spike in residents places added demand for trained healthcare workers such as nurses, general and family practitioners, and health services managers. It also creates greater demand for ambulatory healthcare service professionals and those who work on the insurance side of healthcare, including medical billing and coding. Opportunities across the educational spectrum also are on the rise, as schools need additional teachers and administrators to serve the boom of new residents.

The influx of new residents is reshaping the geographical boundaries of many of the state's population centers as well. The Treasure Valley area, for instance -- which includes Boise, Nampa, Caldwell, Star, Meridian and many other communities -- is growing at an unprecedented clip. New subdivisions, commerical retail centers and office/industrial buildings are replacing thousands of acres of former farmland. These changes drive demand for additional loan officers and others in the banking and finance industries.

Idaho is home to many well-known companies like Chobani, Clif Bar, Meadow Gold and the J.R. Simplot Company. The McCain foods company in Burley, meanwhile, is the largest french fry producer in the world. Despite their roots in food processing or agriculture, these organizations and dozens of others require talented information technology workers for data processing, information storage and security, and many other related IT services. Many of Idaho's top online colleges and universities work directly with these businesses to create programs and coursework that dovetail with employer needs, the Idaho Department of Commerce reports.

Other key industries in Idaho include advanced manufacturing, aerospace, back office and shared services, oil and gas extraction and pipeline transportation. The many companies that operate in these key economic sectors offer a wide range of potential employment opportunities for graduates of online colleges in Idaho. Below, we take a deeper dive into the hot jobs in Idaho by looking at a few of the state's most prominent metro areas.

Boise City, ID Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

In addition to being the state capital, Boise also is the most populous city in Idaho. The greater Boise-Nampa metropolitan area is home to more than 700,000 people, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. There are several hospitals in the area that serve this concentration of residents, including St. Luke's Boise Medical Center, Treasure Valley Hospital, Saint Alphonsus. These organizations offer potential avenues of employment for nurse anesthetists and medical and health services managers.

The region's continued growth also creates strong demand for trained architectural and engineering managers, who are needed to build homes for residents and offices for their companies and careers.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Nurse AnesthetistsMaster's degree$149,850N/A
Sales ManagersBachelor's degree$114,130830
Loan OfficersBachelor's degree$58,740750
Architectural and Engineering ManagersBachelor's degree$151,710830
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$100,3501,010

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

Idaho Falls, ID Metro Area

Total Population
Median salary for high school grads
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
Median rent

Idaho Falls is home to the Idaho National Laboratory, which provides some of the most high paying jobs in Idaho Falls and eastern Idaho. The INL is home to 52 nuclear reactors, the largest concentration of nuclear power generation in the world. INL employs many nuclear engineers and environmental engineers, as well as chemical engineers.

Other leading industries in Idaho Falls include advanced manufacturing, health care and tourism -- the city is a hub for travel to the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park. The city also is the headquarters of Melaleuca, a billion-dollar health and wellness company.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Nuclear EngineersBachelor's degree$130,050470
Architectural and Engineering ManagersBachelor's degree$146,280280
Chemical EngineersBachelor's degree$126,270270
General and Operations ManagersBachelor's degree$81,7701,350

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

Scenic Couer d'Alene is the largest metropolitan region in northwestern Idaho. The region is home to growing aerospace and advanced manufacturing clusters, the Idaho Tech Council reports. Companies in these sectors offer potential employment to general operations managers and chief executives. The region's population has doubled since 1990, leading to many additional job opportunities for nurses, family and general practitioners and medical and health services managers as well.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Family Medicine PhysiciansDoctoral or professional degree$243,310210
Registered NursesBachelor's degree$76,6501,500
General and Operations ManagersBachelor's degree$77,7301,240
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$89,350300
Chief ExecutivesBachelor's degree$83,380210

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