Online Schools in Massachusetts

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs Provide Accessible Education

Massachusetts boasts a wide array of colleges and universities, including some of the most prestigious in the world. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in the Boston area, came in at No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, on the 2012 U.S. News & World Report World's Best Universities rankings (colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com). Bay State colleges such as Williams and Amherst regularly top rankings of liberal arts schools, and the public higher education system in the state is robust, featuring nine state universities and six University of Massachusetts campuses. Online schools in Massachusetts expand schooling options and allow the opportunity to take advantage of the state's varied higher education resources.

Online Schools in Massachusetts Help Meet Occupational Demand

Following the recent economic downturn, caused in part by complicated banking practices, careers related to proper management of securities, commodity contracts and other financial investment vehicles are predicted to grow 64.4 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to figures from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (mass.gov/lwd). This is compared to a statewide growth rate of 15.4 percent for all careers during that time period. Boston University's (bu.edu) online Master of Science in Banking & Financial Services Management includes courses on topics such as securities markets and corporate finance, and aims to prepare students to develop best practices for the quickly evolving financial sector.

As in many other states, information technology professionals are in high demand in Massachusetts. Computer and information systems manager jobs are expected to increase nearly 30 percent in Massachusetts from 2010 to 2020, according to the EOLD. The agency predicts similar growth for computer and information research scientists, computer network architects and web developers. Massachusetts online schools offering training relevant to this occupation include the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (umassonline.net), which recently begin featuring its online master's degree in information technology. The curriculum includes courses on network and system infrastructure, security and software management.

Online Coursework Benefits Working Professionals

Web-based and hybrid programs, which combine online and in-person classes, allow working professionals to gain valuable knowledge and academic credentials from some of the well-known Massachusetts online colleges. For example, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (umass.edu) offers three online master of public health programs, with 100 percent online degrees in public health practice and nutrition, and a blended learning option with classes at the campus in Worcester. The programs are flexible enough to accommodate students' busy professional lives. Students can attend part-time or take time off as needed, and the programs do not require summer coursework. Prospective public health practice and nutrition students must have a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75, and three to five years of professional experience in a relevant field. The blended learning program requires two years of professional experience.

The Fletcher School of International Affairs at Tufts University (fletcher.tufts.edu) touts itself as the oldest international relations-specific graduate school in the country. It offers a one-year Global Master of Arts program for working professionals, which combines online coursework with two residencies, one on the Tufts campus in Medford, Mass., and one in a city outside the United States. Successful applicants generally have a minimum of eight years of work experience and a general proficiency in a second language.

Industries for Job Growth in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts labor force included about 3.2 million employed workers as of December 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data (bls.gov/eag/eag.ma.htm#eag_ma.f.3). Education and health services was the most robust sector, accounting for more than 675,000 jobs, or the equivalent of one in five non-farm workers. Trade, transportation and utilities followed with 560,000 jobs, and professional and business services took the third spot with about 501,000 jobs.

Among education careers, the state's labor department predicts that postsecondary administrator jobs should grow about 19 percent from 2010 to 2020. Boston's Northeastern University (northeastern.edu) offers an online master's degree in education, with a specialization in higher education administration. Among business careers, those related to marketing should grow significantly by 2020. The number of marketing managers is expected to increase about 25 percent, while market research analysts and marketing specialists jobs should increase more than 50 percent in the state. Suffolk University (www2.suffolk.edu) in Boston offers an online Master's of Business Administration program that can be customized to focus on marketing.

Sources:
Boston University, Distance Education
Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Northeastern University, Higher Education Administration Concentration Online
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Online Master of Public Health
University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Online Master's Degree in Information Technology
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts Economy at a Glance, 2012
U.S. Census Bureau
U.S News & World Report, National University Rankings
Suffolk University, MBA Electives
Tufts University, GMAP Program Description