The flexibility of an online degree program also makes it easier to juggle schoolwork and your current work or family responsibilities.

There are many online colleges in West Virginia to consider. Here's a closer look at them:

  • Of the 30 online colleges in West Virginia, associate degrees can be earned at 26 of them, bachelor's degrees can be earned at 19, and master's degrees can be earned at 15.
  • The most online degree programs in West Virginia — more than 150 — can be found at American Public University System. Students can select from majors related to arts and humanities, health sciences, business, education, STEM, and security and global studies.
  • 13 of West Virginia's online colleges are public and 17 are private, including six faith-based colleges.

West Virginia aims to increase college completion rates through two higher education initiatives. The 15 to Finish program is designed to help students save money and graduate faster. The Corequisite Support program provides just-in-time support to first-year college students who need extra help completing math and English courses.

Explore our lists below of the best online colleges in West Virginia and the most affordable ones. You can also find financial aid resources, such as state-specific scholarships and grants, that can help make your online education more affordable.

What Makes a Good Online College in West Virginia?

Our rankings of the best online colleges in West Virginia are the result of comparing carefully selected criteria. Each college's place on the list is a direct result of how well they performed on our metrics, and they are all accredited by official governing bodies such as:

  • The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)

Head over to our "What is College Accreditation?" page for specifics on why accreditation matters, or visit the West Virginia Department of Education to check which accrediting agencies are valid in the state.

The criteria we use to determine our rankings were chosen based on their relevance to the online educational experience. We took several aspects into consideration for each school, including the ratio of students participating in distance education, available academic and career services, and the percent of students that are awarded financial aid. For details on how each of the criteria we use affects the online student experience, see the "What Makes a Good Online College?" section of our "About Us" page.

Best Online Colleges in West Virginia for 2019-20

While West Virginia is home to an array of schools that offer online learning programs, not all schools are created equal. To make it easier for you to select a program that's right for your needs, we created this ranking of best online universities in West Virginia using data from the National Center of Education Statistics. Our methodology for this ranking looked at factors such as student resources, graduation rate and net price (to learn more, see the bottom of the page). If you'd like to make your own rankings, try out our Top Colleges Tool.

1

American Public University System

Tuition & Fees
$6,880
Distance Education Participation
100%
Number of Programs Offered
160
School Type
4-year

The American Public University System has been OnlineColleges.com's No.1 pick for the best online colleges in Virginia for two years running, and it may continue to hold this title for many years to come. Its mission is to create student-centric online degree programs that can suit the needs of active-duty military and civilian public service members. Evidence suggests the university is accomplishing its goal: more than 55 percent of students at APUS are active-duty military members.

What online programs are at APUS?

Out of the online universities in West Virginia, APUS has by far the most online degree programs. Undergraduate distance learners can choose general-purpose degree programs such as business administration, criminal justice or healthcare administration, or military-specific degree programs such as military history, intelligence studies or homeland security. APUS also offers dozens of online master's degree programs for graduate students, as well as doctoral degree programs in global security or strategic intelligence.

Online degree programs at APUS are delivered asynchronously, so students can study on their own time.

What online resources does APUS offer?

Distance learners interact with professors via online message boards, email, videos and visual presentations. Students can transfer up to 45 credits into online associate degree programs, 90 toward online bachelor's degree programs and 15 for online master's degree programs.

If you're in need of help during your school career, APUS has resources available to assist. Distance learners at APUS are able to access academic advising, success mentoring and career service and support.

2

West Virginia University

Tuition & Fees
$8,856
Distance Education Participation
29%
Number of Programs Offered
24
School Type
4-year

What is WVU like?

West Virginia University is a public land-grand institution founded in 1867. From its flagship campus at Morgantown to Potomac State College at Keyser, from WVU Tech in Beckley to the WVU Online portal, the West Virginia University system hosts liberal arts, technical and research degree programs for students throughout West Virginia and beyond.

WVU is classified as an R1 Doctoral University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

What online programs are at WVU?

The university offers primarily online master's or doctoral degree programs, including study in special education, social work, nursing and business administration. Some programs, such as the MBA, require a handful of mandatory residencies. Other programs, such as the MSN, can be completed through either part- or full-time study.

WVU also offers a handful of online undergraduate degree programs, including an online Regents Bachelor of Arts program for nontraditional learners who have ample work, life or military experience.

What online resources does WVU offer?

Distance learners at WVU can receive help every step of the way from the school's enrollment coaches and academic advisors. Other resources include the WVU technology services desk and access to college libraries.

3

Concord University

Tuition & Fees
$8,211
Distance Education Participation
66%
Number of Programs Offered
5
School Type
4-year

What is CU like?

Concord University is a public four-year institution located at Athens that was founded in 1872.

What online programs are at CU?

Concord's Graduate Studies department offers online master's degree programs in subjects such as health promotion, education or social work. These master's degree programs require 36 credit hours to complete and are delivered through the Blackboard content management system.

In particular, the education program offers specializations in educational leadership and supervision, reading or special education. Education students also are required to complete field placement hours in their program specialization.

What online resources does CU offer?

Distance learners at CU can receive a wide range of support services, including academic advising, career, academic and personal counseling, and online tutoring from Smarthinking.

4

Wheeling Jesuit University

Tuition & Fees
$29,290
Distance Education Participation
31%
Number of Programs Offered
8
School Type
4-year

What is WJU like?

This private Roman-Catholic liberal arts university was founded at Wheeling in 1954. Its academic programs integrate the traditional Jesuit education experience of academic excellence and service to others with the goal of fostering moral leaders who can champion Jesuit values and faith.

What online programs are at WJU?

WJU offers online master's degree programs in subjects such as business administration and educational or instructional leadership. There are also three concentrations in nursing: nurse administration, nurse practitioner or nursing education specialist. The curriculum format for each of these subjects is slightly different:

  • Classes for the online MBA begin every seven weeks. Courses are offered in fall, spring and summer sessions.
  • Education coursework is delivered in both seven- and 16-week sessions, with multiple start dates each year.
  • Nursing coursework runs for 16-week sessions and include one on-campus presentation. Nursing students must also purchase their own tracking system for case logs, as well as a remote proctoring device for midterm and final exams.

What online resources does WJU offer?

WJU supports online students through its academic resource center, which features online tutoring, educational and personal counseling, career services and the Cardinal online help desk.

5

Fairmont State University

Tuition & Fees
$7,514
Distance Education Participation
49%
Number of Programs Offered
3
School Type
4-year

What is FSU like?

Fairmont State University's roots trace back to 1865, when campus president John Boyd founded the state's first college to train teachers. Some of its most famous alumni are Olympic gymnastics champion Mary Lou Retton and blues pianist Johnnie Johnson, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and is widely considered the founding father of rock and roll.

What online programs are at FSU?

Teaching and education are still FSU's primary focus, over a century and a half after its founding. Education students at FSU can pursue an M.A. in teaching or an M.Ed. in digital media, new literacies and learning. FSU also offers graduate education degree programs in professional studies, reading and special education with a concentration in autism. However, distance learners who are not interested in teaching can choose to pursue an online M.S. in criminal justice instead.

Coursework is delivered asynchronously, through the Blackboard content management system.

What online resources does FSU offer?

Distance learners at FSU can receive online academic advising and interpersonal professional support, as well as peer mentoring and help with writing and math through the university's tutoring center.

6

Marshall University

Tuition & Fees
$8,128
Distance Education Participation
35%
Number of Programs Offered
10
School Type
4-year

What is MU like?

Founded in 1837, this pubic university is one of West Virginia's oldest public colleges. The university is named after former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the United States.

What online programs are at MU?

MUOnline offers more than 200 online courses every semester, as well as online bachelor's degree programs in geography, medical laboratory science and nursing, and a Regents Bachelor of Arts for nontraditional students. Graduate students have a wider range of options for online master's degree programs, including study in education, criminal justice, nursing administration, nursing education and journalism.

Distance learners at Marshall are not expected to attend any in-person classroom meetings. Online coursework at MUOnline can be delivered asynchronously or in a hybrid format with regular online meeting times.

What online resources does MU offer?

Distance learners enrolled at Marshall University can receive academic support, career counseling and asynchronous support through the Marshall writing center, as well as technical support through the college's IT service desk.

7

Bluefield State College

Tuition & Fees
$7,056
Distance Education Participation
81%
Number of Programs Offered
3
School Type
4-year

What is BSC like?

Bluefield State College's flagship campus sits on a mountainside overlooking picturesque Bluefield, while its second campus at Beckley offers educational opportunities for students located in Raleigh County. BSC has a strong emphasis on STEM education -- according to the school, nearly two-thirds of graduates pursue degrees in STEM disciplines.

What online programs are at BSC?

Bluefield State College maintains an online RN to BSN program designed for working nurses. Classes are delivered via the Moodle system, and students can arrange to complete hands-on clinical work in their home states. The program requires 120 credits to complete.

The college does offer some other options for students who are not looking for online nursing programs: for example, the B.S. in imaging science degree program can be completed through a mix of online and on-campus classes. BSC also offers a wide range of online classes that can be taken as part of traditional on-campus degree programs, presenting options for online flexibility when students need it.

What online resources does BSC offer?

Online students at BSC who are looking for assistance can find academic advising and counseling, tutoring and mentoring, and career, financial and personal counseling resources, among other services.

8

University of Charleston

Tuition & Fees
$30,900
Distance Education Participation
74%
Number of Programs Offered
9
School Type
4-year

What is UC like?

University of Charleston was founded in 1888 as a seminary college. It has since expanded to include additional campuses at Beckley and Martinsburg.

What online programs are at UC?

UC offers online bachelor's degree pathways in subjects such as accounting, business administration, nursing, psychology and organizational leadership. Additionally, there are online master's degree pathways for graduate students, including business administration, cybersecurity and strategic leadership. CU also offers a doctorate of executive leadership degree program.

Some of these online programs, such as the MBA, require synchronous class meetings via video conferencing software. The doctoral in executive leadership, meanwhile, combines a mix of web conferencing with a five-day residency at UC's main campus in Charleston.

What online resources does UC offer?

UC supports its distance learners through online academic advising, career support, technology resources, online tutoring through Smarthinking, peer tutoring services and professional and academic mentoring.

9

West Liberty University

Tuition & Fees
$7,680
Distance Education Participation
29%
Number of Programs Offered
2
School Type
4-year

What is WLU like?

West Liberty University is the state's oldest institution of higher education. It was founded in 1837 to create educational opportunities for students in the Upper Ohio Valley.

What online programs are at WLU?

WLU doesn't offer many online degree programs directly, but there are multiple programs that can be taken fully or partially online if needed. The university hosts dozens of online courses, for a start, which students can take as part of an otherwise on-campus degree program. Then there is the school's accelerated RN-BSN degree completion program, which can be completed online depending on the electives a student chooses. In addition, WLU offers an M.S. and an M.A. in biology; this program is usually on-campus, but the zoo science concentration can be taken online.

What online resources does WLU offer?

Distance learners at WLU can receive academic support from advisors and mentors, as well as tutoring support through the peer tutoring program. The university's career services center, meanwhile, works to assist students with the various aspects of career preparation.

10

Salem University

Tuition & Fees
$16,700
Distance Education Participation
100%
Number of Programs Offered
21
School Type
4-year

What is Salem like?

The last institution in our list of best online colleges in West Virginia is located at Salem in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. This private, for-profit university was founded in 1888 by the Seventh Day Baptist Church.

What online programs are at Salem?

Salem offers one of the richest assortments of online degree programs in West Virginia, delivered via the Blackboard content management system. Programs cover many different degree levels and potential majors, including:

What online resources does Salem offer?

Undergraduate students at Salem are paired with a student success advisor to help them navigate a path from registration to graduation. Distance learners can also receive career development assistance and online access to books and journals housed in the Benedum Library.

Affordable Online Colleges in West Virginia for 2019-20

For a more detailed look at higher education in West Virginia we have compiled this list of colleges ranked by tuition costs from lowest to highest. Each school profile offers crucial information for prospective students, such as the number and type of online programs offered, tuition fees and accreditation.

Financial Aid Resources in West Virginia

1

Achievement Award

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
February 1
Application Deadline
No
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be a West Virginia resident.

2

Mountaineer Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$1,500
Application Deadline
February 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be an incoming freshman who is a West Virginia resident.

3

Presidential Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$3,000
Application Deadline
February 1
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
Yes
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be an incoming freshman who is a West Virginia resident.

4

W.P. Black Scholarship

Type : Scholarship
Award Amount
$1,000
Application Deadline
January 15
Application Deadline
Yes
Repay Required?
No
School Specific Scholarship?
No
Application URL
Criteria:

Applicant must be a West Virginia resident who has a minimum 2.5 GPA and demonstrates academic excellence, financial need, good moral character, and who is enrolled in an undergraduate program.

Student Loans in West Virginia

West Virginia's state government does not offer any loan opportunities for online college students. They instead focus their attention on state-based scholarships and grant programs across several fields of study, all maintained by the College Foundation of West Virginia. Students seeking financial aid assistance are encouraged to apply for scholarships and grants first to help cover their cost of tuition, as such awards do not need to be repaid. However, if you still find that you are in need of federal financial assistance, you will have to fill out the FAFSA and supply information about your family's financial situation. Private student loan programs can also help cover any remaining expenses.

Learn more about the student loan process by exploring the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in West Virginia

  • Financial Aid 101 provides an extensive FAQ to assist West Virginia students in navigating the entirety of the financial aid process.

Costs for Out-of-State Students in West Virginia

Tuition at West Virginia universities is generally affordable for in-state residents, but the cost for non-resident students can be as much as three times higher. The New York Times reports, however, that the number of out-of-state students coming to West Virginia for college far exceeds the number of residents leaving to pursue their degrees elsewhere.

One way West Virginia schools help these incoming transplants reduce out-of-state tuition costs is through a selection of non-resident student scholarships. Individual institutions in West Virginia -- including West Virginia University and Marshall University, its two largest schools — offer programs that provide thousands of dollars per year to out-of-state students.

What's more, students hoping to pursue online degrees in West Virginia may not be in line for out-of-state tuition in the first place. West Virginia University's online degree programs charge every student the same amount per credit hour no matter their residency status.

The Academic Common Market, a regional student exchange program for residents of the southeastern U.S., can also provide out-of-state tuition discounts for students in select fields of study. Reach out to a registrar or an adviser at the West Virginia college of your choice to learn more about your options.

Best Careers In West Virginia

There are many purposes to earning a degree, but one of the most important is helping students to earn good jobs. This means it's important to make a decision about what kind of career you want to pursue before you start working on your degree, so you can save time and money by making sure all of your work counts.

To help prospective students make this decision, let's take a look at the best jobs to have in West Virginia. Compare the displayed salary and employment data, gathered by the BLS, to decide which of the top jobs in West Virginia might suit your interests and needs.

EmploymentEmployment GrowthMedian High School SalaryMedian Bachelor's Salary
757,9005.5%$27,435$43,617
Employment in West Virginia757,900
Employment Growth in West Virginia5.5%
Median High School Salary in West Virginia$27,435
Median Bachelor's Salary in West Virginia$43,617

Top West Virginia Industries

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

Top IndustriesEmploymentProjected GrowthAverage Salary
Pipeline transportation190,0204%$64,982
Monetary authorities-central bank133,3606%$61,090
Ambulatory healthcare services501,6307%$52,583
Hospitals; state, local, and private555,1607%$52,191
Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets (except copyrighted works)174,0404%$61,401
Oil and gas extraction278,1704%$60,151
Educational services; state, local, and private611,6207%$51,780
Data processing, hosting, and related services240,6403%$58,721
Postal service190,1504%$57,938
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing259,9204%$58,738

West Virginia's economic roots may be in petroleum and coal — tens of thousands of people are directly and indirectly employed by coal mining operations in West Virginia — but the state also is home to a variety of other flourishing industries.

West Virginia's extensive network of rail, river and interstate transportation corridors make it a natural home for logistics and distribution companies. The Mountain State is within an eight-hour drive of roughly half the U.S. population and one-third of Canada's population. Companies in this sector, especially those in coal production and transportation, offer many potential avenues of employment for logistics, supply chain or engineering majors.

An interesting specialty of West Virginia is biometrics: the study of measurements and calculations related to the human body. West Virginia houses the FBI's Biometric Center of Excellence, as well as its Criminal Justice Information Services Division. In fact, the state has been called the "Silicon Valley of biometrics activity." Biometrics has many applications in technology and healthcare, which has created many great jobs in West Virginia for ambulatory healthcare services, hospital services, data processing and similar careers.

Finally, aerospace is an emerging industry in the state. Major companies with facilities located in West Virginia include Pratt & Whitney, Bombardier and Northrop Grumman. These industry titans, along with advanced manufacturing firms making everything from clamps to carbon fiber composite airframes, may be creating new opportunities for engineering and other STEM graduates to land top jobs in West Virginia.

Below we take a deeper look at many of the leading careers in the state's major metropolitan areas.

Charleston, WV Metro Area

Total Population
219,964
Median salary for high school grads
$27,257
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$45,801
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
20.5%
Median rent
$698

Charleston's hospitals are major employers in the state's capital. Physicians at CAMC Memorial Hospital perform nearly 8,000 procedures annually in the hospitals cardiac catheterization laboratories, as well as 1,600 open heart bypass surgeries. Thomas Health, meanwhile, is a 383-bed facility that ranks as the 17th largest private employer in Charleston. These organizations offer a variety of potential employment opportunities for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants and other related medical professionals.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
LawyersDoctoral or professional degree$95,990920
Nurse AnesthetistsMaster's degree$192,450170
PharmacistsDoctoral or professional degree$102,630340
Physician AssistantsMaster's degree$109,730170
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$109,900250

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

Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Metro Area

Total Population
360,603
Median salary for high school grads
$28,131
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$47,781
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
25.5%
Median rent
$685

Education and healthcare are vital parts of the Huntington-Ashland economy, with healthcare expected to add more than 1,000 jobs through 2023. Many of the high demand jobs in Huntington predicted for coming years include registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and medical and health services managers.

An honorable mention goes to manufacturing and auto parts production facilities, which have several key employers in the region. Toyota operates a major manufacturing plant at Buffalo, while Allevard Sogefi USA's facility in Wayne County supplies parts to General Motors.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Nurse PractitionersMaster's degree$96,650300
PharmacistsDoctoral or professional degree$124,950500
Nurse AnesthetistsMaster's degree$168,890N/A
Registered NursesBachelor's degree$63,0005,010
Medical and Health Services ManagersBachelor's degree$98,750420

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

Morgantown, WV Metro Area

Total Population
137,475
Median salary for high school grads
$27,489
Median salary with a bachelor's degree
$43,892
% of the population enrolled in college or grad school
57.3%
Median rent
$774

Morgantown boasts one of the strongest economies in the state due to the strength of its many key economic drivers. These include education, healthcare and biosciences, manufacturing, mining and advanced business services. Education and research account for more than 13,000 jobs in the Morgantown area. A few of the high demand jobs in Morgantown include educational administrators and instructional coordinators.

Healthcare and biosciences, meanwhile, are responsible for more than 15,000 jobs in the region. Pharmacists, registered nurses and physical therapists are just a few of the high paying jobs in Morgantown.

Best CareersMinimum EducationAverage SalaryEmployment
Education Administrators, Postsecondarymaster's degree$135,070N/A
Registered NursesBachelor's degree$65,0703,380
PharmacistsDoctoral or professional degree$94,310290
Physical TherapistsDoctoral or professional degree$85,300160
Instructional Coordinatorsmaster's degree$51,650130

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

Sources