Online Schools in California

Online and Hybrid Degree Programs: Making Education Accessible

Depending on where students are located in the state, traditional college campuses and schools in California may be a limited resource. According to the State of California, regions surrounding densely populated cities, like San Francisco and Los Angeles, enjoy a variety of community college campuses, independent college campuses and both California State University and University of California campuses, which make higher education accessible for a variety of potential students. However, in northern California, the central valley and San Bernardino regions of the state, only a handful of campuses are available, and resultantly, access to traditional higher education remains out of reach for many students.

Between hybrid programs, which pair traditional classroom instruction with online study, and fully online degree programs, online colleges in California help make higher education a realistic possibility for many students throughout the state. One online-focused California college, which was established in 1978 and remains active today, is California Southern University, which offers students access to online courses and degree programs in law, business and psychology. Equally, University of Phoenix, which enrolled more than 307,000 students throughout the U.S. in 2012, according to, offers California students a variety of online and hybrid degree and certificate programs.

Hybrid Programs: Continued Education for Working Professionals

One of the driving forces behind the hybrid programs offered at schools in California is that today’s working professionals want to earn an advanced degree while working full- or part-time. To answer that need, hybrid programs are often scheduled with working professionals in mind: students usually complete most coursework on a self-paced schedule and attend in-person courses at times that align with a traditional work week. For example, Saint Mary’s College of California offers a hybrid executive MBA program designed for busy professionals. By prioritizing flexibility and convenience, this progressive MBA program allows students to attend on-campus sessions on Saturdays, sign in to web-based classes on weeknight evenings, and complete the rest of their program requirements on a flexible schedule.

Another benefit that some hybrid programs offer students is an accelerated degree timeline. For example, California State University Long Beach offers an accelerated master’s degree in criminal justice, which helps working professionals earn an advanced degree in less than two years. Based at the CSU Long Beach campus, this degree program readies career-focused students for leadership and management roles by training them on the conceptual and theoretical framework of crime and criminal justice. With accelerated six-week sessions, in-person courses on Saturdays, and even facilitated networking opportunities with other professionals, this accredited graduate degree program can educate working professionals in a flexible environment, on a performance-focused timeline.

Online and Hybrid Education in California

Many well-known educational institutions in California offer students coursework and degree programs that are either available online or as a hybrid program. UC Berkeley Extension makes specific courses and specialized programs available to students online. One example is their certificate program in information systems and management; a career-focused certification program offered entirely online for professionals that have previously earned a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, UC Berkeley Extension offers coursework in database design and management that’s scheduled on weeknights when working professionals can likely attend courses. This coursework may align well with some of the state’s fastest growing technology jobs, like positions for database administrators, which are projected by California’s Employment Development Department to grow by 32 percent between 2010 and 2020.

Another well-known state institutional system, California State University offers college students a variety of online degree programs through their Extended University. Their online master’s degree in education, for example, could help prepare graduates for pursuing positions in education, an industry which is projected by CEDD (, 2012) to employ nearly two million professionals throughout the state between 2010 and 2020.

Industries for Job Growth in California

Statewide, California employed more than 14 million professionals in 2012 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to CEDD, leading industries in the state include education and health services, which employed nearly two million people in 2012, leisure and hospitality, which employed just over one and a half million professionals in 2012, and healthcare and social assistance, which employed one and a half million people in 2012.

In California, certain job growth rates are projected to remain well above the national average, which is projected to reach 14 percent between 2010 and 2020. Projected by (2012) to experience growth, California’s marketing industry should be adding positions at a noteworthy rate: marketing research analysts and marketing specialists are expected to experience a 45.8 percent increase in positions. Additionally, as the home to Silicon Valley, it’s no surprise that California is projected by CEDD to enjoy faster-than-average job growth in certain technology careers:  database administrators are anticipated to enjoy a 32.1 percent job growth between 2010 and 2020 in California. By taking advantage of the programs offered through hybrid programs and online schools in California, today’s prospective students can pursue an education that can align them with some of the state’s quickly growing industries.

Related Pages:

Online Colleges in the US
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Master's Degree Programs
Career Pathfinder


Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates California, 2011,

California Southern University, Online Degree Programs,

California State University, Extended and Continuing Education,

California State University Long Beach, Master of Science in Criminal Justice,

National Center for Education Statistics, IPEDS Data Center,

Saint Mary’s College of California, Executive MBA Program,

State of California, Employment Development Department,

State of California, College Campus Map,

UC Berkeley Extension, Online Learning,