Online Schools in Georgia
According to The Governor's Office of Student Achievement, more than 60 percent of Georgia jobs will require a postsecondary certificate, associate degree or bachelor's degree by 2020. And yet, only 42 percent of young adults in the state have these credentials.
As a result, the Complete College Georgia Initiative was launched with a $1 million grant from the organization Complete College America. With the state government showing strong support for higher education, now may be the perfect time for Georgians to go back to school and finish their degrees.
If you've been thinking about completing your education, here is what you need to know about Georgia colleges as well as which schools will let you earn a degree from the comfort of your own home. Explore the different sections of this guide to find out about different aspects of online education in Georgia, including:
• Georgia colleges offering online degrees
• Online colleges in Atlanta
• In-demand degrees in Georgia
• Traditional colleges
Why students choose online colleges in Georgia
As in other states, students in Georgia may choose to pursue their degree online for a number of reasons. Most notably, online colleges in Georgia provide working and adult students the flexibility to study around job and family obligations. While students near Atlanta, Columbus and Savannah may have access to numerous colleges and universities, options can be more limited in rural areas.
In addition, The University System of Georgia offers a robust online degree program that brings together hundreds of degree options from more than 30 institutions through the Georgia ONmyLINE program. That's in addition to the Georgia community colleges that offer online programs.
With so many convenient online choices, even traditional students may find online colleges in Georgia are preferably to driving to campus for lectures and coursework.
As mentioned previously, The University System of Georgia is a major provider of online degree programs in the state. Through the ONmyLINE program, students can select degrees from the following distinguished institutions, among others:
- University of Georgia
- Georgia State University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Georgia Gwinnett College
- Georgia Regents University
Beyond these public institutions, private schools such as Agnes Scott College, Emory University and Thomas University offer online degree programs. National institutions such Argosy University also enroll Georgia students in their online and distance education programs.
This map shows the location of all colleges in Georgia, according to 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Students interested in pursuing a distance-learning degree through a Georgia-based college can use the map to find out what schools are nearby before exploring specific academic offerings. (To see the map, mobile users will need to visit the full Schools.com site.)
Students living in the Atlanta metropolitan region specifically have no shortage of colleges and universities from which to choose. With so many schools nearby, it would seem as though enrolling in an online program is unnecessary. However, Atlanta residents may find an online degree saves them time and money by eliminating the need to commute in some of the nation's worst traffic.
According to the 2012 Urban Mobility Report, Atlanta ranks seventh on the list of metropolitan areas with the worst traffic. The average commuter wastes 51 hours each year stuck in traffic, which can cost as much as $1,120 in additional gas costs.
Rather than fight traffic, students may decide to enroll in an online degree program at one of these Atlanta online colleges, for example:
- Atlanta Technical College
- Atlantic Metro College
- The Art Institute of Atlanta
- Atlanta Metropolitan State College
- Troy University
Keep in mind that these aren't the only options, and prospective students might want to start the process by searching for online colleges available in Atlanta and comparing their degree programs. Some of these schools may offer fully online programs while others may have hybrid options, combining on-campus requirements with online learning. Either option may help Atlanta students reduce the time spent crawling through rush hour traffic.
There are many different types of degrees that can serve students well. However, those hoping above all to maximize their job prospects may want to consider focusing on a degree in health care. According to Projections Central, which compiles data from state labor departments, eight of the state's 10 fastest-growing jobs are related to the health services industry.
The following percentages represent projected job growth in Georgia from 2012-2022, making these among the hottest occupations in the state.
- Physician assistants: 67.9 percent
- Health specialties teachers, postsecondary: 65.5 percent
- Agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes: 62.6 percent
- Personal care aides: 62 percent
- Interpreters and translators: 58.9 percent
- Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary: 55.5 percent
- Psychiatric aides: 55.3 percent
- Home health aides: 55.1 percent
- Nurse practitioners: 53.9 percent
- Nurse midwives: 53.6 percent
According to state labor data, eight of Georgia's 10 fastest-growing jobs are related to the health care industry.
BLS data also indicates highly trained medical professionals are among the best paid workers in the state of Georgia. These include orthodontists, anesthesiologists and internists.
Those who aren't interested in a medical career but would still like a high-paying job may want to consider degrees in IT, management or law. The BLS found the following occupations in Georgia were among those with annual mean wages in excess of $100,000 in 2013.
- Marketing managers
- Computer and information systems managers
- Aerospace engineers
- Education administrators, postsecondary
While online colleges in Georgia are gaining popularity, they are not for everyone. If you still prefer to learn in a face-to-face setting, you can find plenty of Georgia colleges that continue to cater to traditional students.
There are around 200 colleges located in Georgia, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, meaning there are plenty to choose from. As an example, these are just a few of the biggest local names in higher education.
University of Georgia: UGA, as the school is also known, says it's the birthplace of America's higher education system. In 1785, it became the nation's first chartered university. Today, nearly 35,000 students are enrolled in UGA's undergraduate and graduate programs.
Georgia State University: As one of the nation's major public research universities, Georgia State University was established in 1913 in Atlanta. It currently offers more than 250 degree programs to its 32,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Georgia Institute of Technology: Also located in Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology has degree programs through its six colleges: architecture, computing, engineering, sciences, business and liberal arts.
Emory University: An internationally recognized institution, Emory has traditionally emphasized the liberal arts and teaching. Today, its nearly 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students can enroll in programs offered by the university's 11 schools and colleges that cover everything from medicine to law to business.
Mercer University: Mercer University educates 8,500 students through its 12 schools and colleges which offer classes at 10 locations across Georgia. In 2014, U.S. News and World Report ranked Mercer University as the No. 1 Best Value in the South.
Whether you are interested in online colleges in Georgia or planning to earn a degree the traditional way, it seems apparent now is the time to get the education needed for the jobs of the future. To discover which degree program is right for you, the first step is to request additional information from one of the many excellent Georgia colleges and universities serving the state's residents.
1. "Even in Good Weather, Atlanta Traffic is a Disaster," Alex Davies, Business Insider, January 29, 2014, http://www.businessinsider.com/atlanta-traffic-is-terrible-in-good-weather-2014-1
2. Facts and Figures about Emory, Emory University, http://www.emory.edu/home/about/factsfigures/index.html
3. About Georgia Tech, Georgia Institute of Technology, http://www.gatech.edu/about
4. Georgia ONmyLINE, http://www.georgiaonmyline.org/
5. Quick Facts, Georgia State University, http://www.gsu.edu/about/quick-facts/
6. Complete College Georgia: Transforming Remediation, The Governor's Office of Student Achievement, http://gosa.georgia.gov/complete-college-georgia-transforming-remediation
7. About Mercer, Mercer University, http://about.mercer.edu/
8. Long Term Occupational Projections for Georgia, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
9. UGA by the Numbers, University of Georgia, http://www.uga.edu/profile/facts/
10. May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm