Online Schools in Louisiana

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs: Making Education Accessible

Louisiana offers a variety of higher education opportunities to its 4.6 million residents, with roughly 40 two- and four-year colleges and universities located in the state, according to the Louisiana Board of Regents. However, a large number of these schools are found in metropolitan areas, such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, or in major population centers in the north-central part of the state, such as Monroe and Ruston. But what happens to people located in the smaller communities or rural coastal towns in Louisiana? They may be actively seeking alternative ways to pursue a higher education in Louisiana.

Louisiana online schools can offer certificate and degree programs in a variety of fields, ranging from business to education to health care. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered either through hybrid delivery or fully online, and are comprised of continuing education and professional development classes. Adding online schools in Louisiana to the plethora of choices available to students can help them as they plan for their education.

Online Schools in Louisiana Help Meet Occupational Demand

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana was left to pick up the pieces and rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding areas. Post-recession plans for new construction, and Louisiana's thriving petroleum industry, has led to a surge in the construction industry. The Louisiana Workforce Commission projects employment in the construction industry to grow 18.6 percent between 2010 and 2020, and, within this category, civil engineering by 16.2 percent. Louisiana Tech's online Master of Engineering and Technology Management degree program is designed to prepare future leaders for the industry. The program aims to meet national and local demand for engineers by integrating engineering sciences with the business skills leaders in the industry need.

One of Louisiana's fastest-growing industries is health care and social assistance, which the Louisiana Workforce Commission expects to grow 20.9 percent from 2010 to 2020. It's expected that the state could add approximately 9,580 registered nurses and 4,250 licensed practical and vocational nurse positions during that span. The University of Louisiana System, which includes nine universities, is working to meet this demand by offering a full range of online nursing programs at its universities around the state. McNeese State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern State and the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and Monroe offer a combination of online undergraduate certificate, bachelor's degree and master's degree programs in nursing.

Distance Learning Benefits Working Professionals

Online schools can offer distinct advantages to working professionals. An online delivery method enables people with full-time jobs to pursue an education without sacrificing their career responsibilities. Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine offers a number of distance learning programs. Designed for mid-career professionals in the occupational safety and health field, these programs include online master's degrees in occupational health and safety management, occupational and environmental health, industrial hygiene and disaster management, as well as online certificate programs in industrial hygiene and disaster management. For those working in public health in rural areas around the state, such options enable them to complete coursework from anywhere with an internet connection.

The Loyola University New Orleans online graduate nursing program was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 10 best online graduate nursing programs for 2013. Among its offerings are both master's and doctoral degree programs, including an RN-to-MSN and a blended MSN bridge program available to those with non-nursing bachelor's degrees. The RN-to-MSN option may help registered nurses wanting to advance in their profession by going straight to the master's level without the BSN. Because it's online, students can do this while continuing to work in the high-demand field.

Industries for Job Growth in Louisiana

Approximately 1.95 million working professionals were employed in Louisiana as of August 2013, with the majority of them residing in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trade, transportation and utilities was the state's largest employment industry, with about 388,000 people working in the field. A close second was government, employing 344,000 people. Education and health services was the third-largest employer, providing jobs to approximately 282,000 people in the sector.

A large number of education degree programs are offered through online colleges in Louisiana, which could help address the growing demand in this field. The Louisiana Workforce Commission projects that approximately 2,750 elementary and 1,350 middle school teaching positions could become available between 2010 and 2020. Many Louisiana online colleges could also help train students at various levels who want to enter the fast-growing professional and business services field. Accountants and auditor are also expected to be among the state's faster-growing occupations from 2010 to 2020, according to CareerOneStop.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana Economy at a Glance, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.la.htm#eag_la.f.1

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_la.htm

Career InfoNet, Louisiana Occupations with the Most Openings, http://www.careerinfonet.org/Occ_Intro.asp?id=1&nodeid=1

Louisiana Tech University Global_Campus, http://www.latech.edu/globalcampus/

Louisiana Workforce Commission, Labor Market Information, http://www.laworks.net/LaborMarketInfo/LMI_MainMenu.asp

Loyola University New Orleans, Online Learning, http://www.loyno.edu/jump/online/

State of Louisiana Board of Regents, http://regents.louisiana.gov/

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, http://tulane.edu/publichealth/

University of Louisiana System, Online Degree Programs, http://www.ulsystem.edu/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&nid=85&pnid=69&pid=238&fmid=0&catid=0&elid=0

U.S. Census Bureau, Louisiana Quick Facts, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/22000.html

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