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Online Schools in Idaho

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs: Advancing Education

Idaho is home to a number of postsecondary institutions, from community and technical colleges to master’s-level and research universities. However, brick-and-mortar instruction might not be an option for those residing in sparsely-populated regions of the state.

The majority of the state’s postsecondary institutions are located in northern Idaho, between the Washington and Montana borders, or in close proximity to urban centers such as Boise or Pocatello. Students who live in rural areas in the southwest corner of the state or the mountainous interior region could have trouble accessing a traditional college campus. Online schools in Idaho can help serve full-time students who want to pursue a college education while staying close to home, or working professionals who desire the flexibility to attend to career or family responsibilities while they work toward a degree.

Distance Learning: Meeting Idaho Employment Needs

Specifically designed to accommodate rural students and working professionals, Pocatello-based Idaho State University (isu.edu) offers an online master of science in speech language pathology program. The three-year program consists of academic coursework which is completely online, and also includes two mandatory on-campus clinical practicum experiences during the summer. That coursework is supplemented by a clinical practicum that can be completed close to a student’s home town The Idaho Department of Labor (labor.idaho.gov, 2010) projects that the position will grow by 25.59 percent between 2010 and 2020, ranking among the fastest-growing occupations in the state.

Industrial engineer and mechanical engineer are two other positions that the Idaho Department of Labor (labor.idaho.gov, 2010) expects to increase in the future, with projected growth of 21.17 percent and 18.31 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2020. Preparing students to meet that increased demand, the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Idaho (uidaho.edu) has established an online master of engineering program. Coursework is completed entirely online, and covers a full range of aerospace, automotive, computer and construction engineering.

Educating Working Professionals Through Online Study

Working professionals can benefit from online colleges in Idaho, allowing them to pursue an education as they maintain full-time employment. Boise State University (boisestate.edu) offers an online master of educational technology, preparing teachers for changes in education delivery systems. Interactive coursework is completed online, and includes study of theoretical foundations, advancing technology and integration strategies for learning environments. Working heavily with educational technology, the curriculum helps students develop skills working with online teaching, e-learning design and school technology coordination.

Currently licensed registered nurses have the opportunity to pursue additional education at Brigham Young University – Idaho (byui.edu), which offers a bachelor of science in nursing program. Designed to enhance nursing knowledge and expand employment opportunities, the program is available either completely online, entirely on-campus, or through a combination of online and campus courses. The curriculum helps students learn how to administer, direct, manage and coordinate nursing care for individuals, families and communities.

Industries for Job Growth in Idaho

Idaho employed approximately 720,000 working professionals in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012). Trade, transportation and utilities was the state’s leading employment industry in 2012, accounting for more than 126,000 jobs. Government positions accounted for approximately 114,000 jobs, making it the second-highest industry for employment in Idaho in 2012. Education and health services made up more than 91,000 occupations, ranking third among state industries.

Idaho online schools offer programs that may help prepare students for some of the state’s high-growth occupations. According to the Idaho Department of Labor (labor.idaho.gov, 2010), the number of medical and public health social workers will increase by approximately 41.1 percent between 2010 and 2020. Those positions fall into the social assistance industry, which is projected to grow by 36.82 percent during that time, adding more than 4,700 jobs. Idaho distance learning programs are also available in finance, and those positions are on the rise as well. Financial specialists are expected to increase by 15.91 percent, while accountants and auditors are projected to grow 15.25 percent.

Sources:
State of Idaho
Idaho State University
University of Idaho
Boise State University
Brigham Young University – Idaho
Idaho Department of Labor
Idaho Department of Labor, 2010-2020 Long-Term Occupation Projections, 2010
Idaho Department of Labor, 2010-2020 Long-Term Industry Projections, 2010
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Idaho Economy at a Glance, 2012

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