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Online Schools in Colorado

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs: Making Education Accessible

Colorado is home to several two- and four-year postsecondary institutions, but not all students in the state may have equal access to education. This is due, in part, to the fact that many Colorado colleges and universities are located in and around the Denver metropolitan area. The region, with a population of nearly 2.9 million (metrodenver.org), is home to major institutions like the University of Colorado, Denver and the University of Denver (a private school). However, individuals who reside near the state's borders, such as in small locales like Antonito or Wray, or even other rural areas located in the state's interior, may find themselves with fewer options when it comes to education. With schools, and even community colleges, located significant distances away, they may wonder if they have the right to an education and what, if any, steps they can take to procure the learning to become a college-educated adult in Colorado.

Fortunately, online education in the U.S. is growing. A Sloan Consortium (sloanconsortium.org) report on the state of online education in the U.S. indicates that 9.3 percent more students enrolled in at least one online class in the fall of 2012 compared to the year prior - that's 570,000 additional students in the U.S. deciding to try online coursework. In Colorado, distance-learning opportunities can provide greater access to students as well. These opportunities are not just intended for those who might be limited in their education by location in a rural or outlying town. Online colleges in Colorado can also benefit students who may be looking for other programs than those offered at their area campus or who may simply feel the on-campus structure is not a fit for them.

Online Schools in Colorado Help Meet Increased Occupational Demand

Students can find online bachelor's degrees in Colorado offered in a range of fields - at the University of Denver, these include English writing, nursing (RN to BS), and sociology alone. Online master's degrees in Colorado can also be helpful to students seeking an advanced education, especially in skill areas that could be advantageous to entering a high-growth field in Colorado. For example, job opportunities for civil engineers in Colorado are projected to grow 22 percent from 2011 to 2021, according to the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (colorado.gov, 2011). Colorado State University (colostate.edu) provides an advanced degree in the area that could help. Its online Master of Engineering provides a specialization in Civil Engineering that can lead students to complete learning in one of two areas of emphasis: 1) geospatial engineering or 2) water resources engineering. Coursework for this degree aims to enhance understanding of water resources engineering, systems analysis and optimization, hydrology, hydraulics and civil engineering infrastructure. Students typically take one class online per semester, the school website notes, with summer coursework not required.

Speech-language pathology is another field that is expected to grow in the state 2011 to 2021, reports the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (colorado.gov, 2011). With a 22.4 percent increase in jobs anticipated in this field in Colorado during this time, students may want to turn to the online Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology offered through the University of Northern Colorado (unco.edu). Coursework focuses on speech science and communication neurophysiology, as well as disorders relating to fluency, language, resonance and voice. The majority of the program can be completed online, but students are required to visit the university's Greeley, Colo., campus for two or three weeks during their first summer term for lab sessions.

Distance Learning Benefits Working Professionals

Colorado online colleges offer programs that are tailored for working professionals, allowing them to earn an education while maintaining full-time employment. The University of Colorado (colorado.edu) offers one such program through its online Master of Engineering in Computer Science degree. Students will find that many of the courses for this program are offered on a rotating basis to allow students access, online, to needed coursework. At the same time, these students may want to be planning on how they could put their skills to work in Colorado's computer science field. The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (colorado.gov, 2011) projects job opportunities for database administrators in Colorado could increase 34.9 percent from 2011 to 2021 and those for network and computer systems administrator could grow by 32 percent during the same time. Students interested in other advanced engineering coursework offered online in Colorado can also look to The University of Colorado for additional master's-level classes, as well. These online classes are available in aerospace engineering, business, engineering management, telecommunications, and several other content areas.

As well, the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (colorado.gov, 2011) predicts that job growth for marketing research analysts and marketing specialists in Colorado could increase by 43 percent from 2011 and 2021. During the same time, opportunities for public relations specialists are expected to grow by 17.7 percent. Students hoping to enter one of these occupational fields could turn to the University of Denver (du.edu) for its Master of Professional Studies in Organizational and Professional Communication focused on Public Relations and Marketing. Offering flexibility for working professionals, the program can be taken completely online, on campus during the evenings, or through a combination of both. The website notes classes are taught by industry experts and can be helpful to those already at work in the marketing or public relations field.

Industries for Job Growth in Colorado

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012), approximately 2.5 million professionals were employed in Colorado in 2012. More than 407,000 of those occupations fell into the trade, transportation and utilities industry, which was the state's leading industry for employment. Government positions accounted for approximately 398,000 jobs, making that Colorado's second-highest employment industry.

Colorado online schools can help students earn degrees that could lead to a career in management that could be advantageous to individuals wanting to enter that trade, transportation and utilities sector in Colorado. Jobs for management analysts are estimated to grow by 28.5 percent from 2011 to 2021 - potentially leading to the creation of more than 3,000 new jobs in the occupation, reports the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment (colorado.gov, 2011). This could be a benefit for those pursuing management degrees in the state in this sector or any other.

Sources:
State of Colorado
Colorado State University
University of Northern Colorado
University of Colorado
University of Denver
Colorado Department of Labor & Employment
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado Economy at a Glance, 2012

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