As the job market becomes more competitive, more employers are looking for applicants with a college education. According to a 2010 report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 52 percent of all jobs in Arkansas will require a college degree by 2018. Online schools in Arkansas can help students prepare for the intense job search by offering certificates, associate, bachelor’s master’s and even doctorates through a wide variety of programs.
Online learning was once considered the lesser sister of brick-and-mortar schools. Today distance education is considered just as good – and in some studies, perhaps even better – than courses taken in a traditional classroom setting. According to a 2013 report from the Sloan Consortium, 6.7 million students took at least one online course in the fall of 2011, making virtual education a very valid part of their degree pursuit. Whether you are going back to school after a long absence, hoping to change career paths or building up college credit while still in high school, online colleges in Arkansas can pave the way to a better future.
Online colleges have long been considered a viable opportunity for working professionals to earn continuing education credits or busy parents to complete their college degree while taking courses from home. But today online college is catching on among those from many different backgrounds for a wide variety of reasons. In fact, the Sloan Consortium found that though overall higher education enrollment declined during the 2010-2011 school year, online enrollment went up by over 520,000 students. That’s an excellent testament to just how quickly online learning is catching on.
Busy parents, working professionals, those who live far away from a campus or those who simply need to learn in a different way can turn to online schools in Arkansas for the education they deserve. Here are just a few of the clear reasons why online schools work:
Just a few decades ago, students who wanted to attend college were required to spend time in a formal classroom setting. This meant enrolling in a college near your home or moving across the state or country in order to reside near the college of your choice. This often meant disruption of job and family and the expenses of moving. What’s more, students attended classes at a convenient time for all, which was usually during the typical daytime schedule or by taking night courses. With online learning, those limitations are no more. Students can take courses through any college they choose without leaving the comfort of their own home. They can also complete coursework, listen to lectures or otherwise participate in class on their own time, even if that means first thing in the morning or the middle of the night. This allows you the freedom to choose a college based on what is best for you, not on the questions of location.
For some students, learning in a traditional classroom is tough. Each student learns differently, and online education can help a student embrace what he or she needs to best learn the material. Arkansas online colleges use recorded lectures, videos, message boards, chat rooms, video chats, slideshows and more to create the educational experience. Rather than sitting in a classroom and learning the way everyone else does, you now have the opportunity to learn the way that best suits you.
Gone are the days of lugging around a big backpack or messenger bag filled with heavy textbooks. With online learning, everything you need is right there at your fingertips, ready for study with the click of a mouse. Carrying your laptop to the corner café to do your homework is a much more appealing option than carting all those heavy books to one classroom after another. What’s more, the materials can be accessed anytime, anywhere, so you can look through it all at your own pace and structure the class schedule to meet your needs.
Though the nature of online education might make it seem as though conversing with instructors and fellow students can be tough, many students find that online learning actually allows them more access to the people who are sharing the experience with them. Online learning offers a wide range of web-base communications, from email to chat rooms to message boards, which allow you to engage your fellow students in serious discussion of course materials. Teachers are available through online communications as well. For those who want to have face-to-face time with their peers and teachers, video conferencing, Skype chats and other emerging technologies make “face time” easier than ever.
What’s your schedule like? Online schools in Arkansas allow you to work around your schedule and study at a time that works for you. Rather than attending classes on a rigid schedule that cuts into the time you need to work or take care of your children, online courses can be handled in the middle of the night, during your lunch hour or over the weekend. You can choose a time to learn when you are fresh and eager, with no distractions to keep you from the hard work of learning.
There was a time when online schools were seen with suspicion by students and employers alike. Today, online education has proven itself as a way to earn an accredited, fully-recognized college degree in a different way. Educators have embraced online learning and see it as a fantastic option: the Sloan Consortium report found that a full 77 percent of academic leaders believed online education offers the same quality or even superior quality over a traditional classroom education.
In fact, some studies have shown that online learning might actually be better than the traditional educational model. SRI International, a non-profit independent research institute, found that students who took online classes performed modestly better than those who took courses in a brick-and-mortar school setting.
When online schools were first bursting onto the scene, they offered continuing education credits, diplomas, certificates and the occasional associate degree. Today, Arkansas online colleges offer everything from certificates to full degrees, including the associate, bachelor’s or master’s. In some fields, online schools can provide the education necessary to earn a doctorate. By choosing an accredited college, you can be certain that your degree is of the same caliber as that earned by those who choose to attend school in the traditional classroom.
The state of Arkansas will need many more degree holders to step into job opportunities in the near future. The state currently ranks 49th among all states in terms of college attainment. A 2012 report from the Lumina Foundation found that only 27.92 percent of working age adults in the state held at least a two-year degree, much less than the national average of 38.3 percent.
This means that almost 520,000 new degrees will be needed in order to meet the workforce needs of Arkansas by 2025. Earning a degree through Arkansas online colleges could not only boost the state economy, but could add to personal economies as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in most cases, educational attainment means higher pay and lower unemployment rates.
For example, a worker who holds an associate degree makes $133 per week more, on average, than someone who has only a high school diploma; those with a bachelor’s degree make an average of $414 more per week. Unemployment rates drop too. Those who hold a high school diploma face an average unemployment rate of 8.3 percent. That drops to 6.2 percent for those with an associate degree and drops even further, to 4.5 percent, for those with a bachelor’s degree.
The good news is that Arkansas online schools can offer wider opportunities for education than ever before. Whether you are a high school student planning out your future, a parent who wants to go back to school or a working professional looking to change careers, online schools in Arkansas can be your chance to shine with a higher degree in a competitive job market. To learn more about the opportunities available through online colleges in Arkansas, see our list of institutions and state resources below.
|School Name||Program Types||Enrollment|
|Arkansas Northeastern College||Campus, Online||1,996|
|Arkansas State University-Beebe||Campus, Online||4,689|
|Arkansas State University-Main Campus||Campus, Online||13,900|
|Arkansas State University-Mountain Home||Campus, Online||1,472|
|Arkansas State University-Newport||Campus, Online||2,025|
|Arkansas Tech University||Campus, Online||10,464|
|College of the Ouachitas||Campus, Online||1,407|
|Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas||Campus, Online||1,460|
|Ecclesia College||Campus, Online||141|
|Harding University||Campus, Online||7,056|
|Henderson State University||Campus, Online||3,774|
|National Park Community College||Campus, Online||4,268|
|NorthWest Arkansas Community College||Campus, Online||8,528|
|Ozarka College||Campus, Online||1,622|
|Pulaski Technical College||Campus, Online||11,946|
|Rich Mountain Community College||Campus, Online||1,108|
|South Arkansas Community College||Campus, Online||1,765|
|Southern Arkansas University Main Campus||Campus, Online||3,382|
|Southern Arkansas University Tech||Campus, Online||2,136|
|University of Arkansas||Campus, Online||23,199|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||Campus, Online||13,068|
|University of Arkansas at Monticello||Campus, Online||3,920|
|University of Arkansas Community College-Batesville||Campus, Online||1,573|
|University of Arkansas Community College-Hope||Campus, Online||1,377|
|University of Arkansas-Fort Smith||Campus, Online||7,606|
|University of Central Arkansas||Campus, Online||11,163|
|University of Phoenix-Little Rock Campus||Campus, Online, Hybrid||1,010|
|University of Phoenix-Northwest Arkansas Campus||Campus, Online, Hybrid||704|