Online schools in Michigan

Students in the Great Lakes State are practically surrounded by colleges and universities — more than 130 as of 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics — and the degree options available at both campus-based and online schools in Michigan are as diverse as they are numerous. Whether you're looking for a bachelor's degree, a master's degree or just a quick professional certification earned either on campus or online, colleges in Michigan are here to help.

Cities with high student populations can be conducive to a more enjoyable online education experience, and multiple urban areas in Michigan contain a comfortable density of potential study partners. Five Michigan cities with the highest populations of students, according to enrollment data released by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), are, in order: Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids.

Not only do they take the No. 1 and No. 3 spots in terms of total student population, but Ann Arbor and East Lansing have another point in their favor for prospective students: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 70 percent of each city's residents held a bachelor's degree or higher in 2013. Living in a place where college education is common among the general population might help you stay motivated to work hard clear through graduation.

To find out more about the state, its educational options and potential careers, explore the different sections of this guide. They include:

Online education in Michigan
Major industries & in-demand degrees
Colleges in Michigan

Online colleges in Michigan

Students at online schools in Michigan and elsewhere are introduced fairly quickly to a few of the main advantages of distance education. The ability to watch lectures in your available time rather than according to a specific class schedule can make it easier to complete all the credits you need to graduate, and the generally lower cost per student of delivering online courses often translates to lower tuition rates and fewer course fees passed on to individual learners.

What's more, data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the Michigan economy is bounding back in a big way. Aside from jobs in government, every employment sector has grown steadily between October 2014 and March 2015, and the state unemployment rate dropped a full point, tumbling from 6.6 percent to 5.6 percent in just those six months. Candidates with formal education in their field are often looked upon more favorably in the hiring process than their less-educated counterparts, and online schools in Michigan offer numerous workforce-oriented degrees for students looking to take their careers to the next level.

If you're interested, start exploring what online degrees might be offered near you by checking out this map, which shows the location of all colleges in Michigan that have online offerings, based on 2013 data from the NCES. (Mobile users will need to visit the full Schools.com site to use the map.)

Top subjects at specific online schools in Michigan

Manufacturing was once a vibrant economic sector in Michigan, and numbers show it's coming back into its own in the 21st century:

  • Given the history of manufacturing in the region, it's no wonder that U.S. News and World Report data shows Michigan State University as the top supply chain management and logistics program in the country.
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor students also have some well-regarded programs to choose from, including the No. 1 management and marketing programs in the nation and numerous engineering degrees placing in their respective top 10.

Students who want to work as teachers, school administrators or architects of public education policy:

  • You can find a top-five online graduate programs in education at Central Michigan University. No less than seven graduate degrees in educational practice and policymaking can be earned online in their entirety at the CMU Global Campus.
  • Other online colleges in Michigan with education programs in the top 100 include Wayne State University in Detroit and Grand Valley State University in Allandale.

The out-of-the-box online MBA

The leading instruction in business administration available at the University of Michigan flagship campus may require some campus attendance for certain specializations, but students seeking fully online degrees do have an additional advantage on their side: any online program, regardless of the location of the institution, is open to applicants from anywhere in the country.

Courses from the three top online MBA programs in the country — available at Indiana University - Bloomington, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and Philadelphia's Temple University — may be suitable for transfer into similar programs offered at online colleges in Michigan, which may allow students to study with a diverse mix of some of the best professors in the discipline.

Best industries & degrees to get in Michigan

Even though Michigan employment figures are looking fairly robust in 2015, it's still the case that no degree can rightfully guarantee you a job after graduation. Concentrating on the right subjects and activities during your time in school, however, might help your transition into the working world go a little more smoothly.

Here are a few of the hottest degrees available from traditional and online colleges in Michigan, taking into account average salary figures and reports of workforce demand:

    • Degrees in computer science or software development are in high demand in most urban areas in the U.S., but studying these booming IT disciplines at traditional or online schools in Michigan can be especially good for your job prospects. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) projected 37 percent growth in systems software development between 2010 and 2020, and the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a mean annual wage of $88,500 for Michigan systems software developers in 2014.

      Aside from jobs in government, every employment sector has grown steadily between October 2014 and March 2015, and the state unemployment rate dropped a full point, tumbling from 6.6 percent to 5.6 percent in just those six months.

      • There's no substitute for the feeling that you're making a positive difference in the world with the work you do, and earning a degree in marriage and family therapy can help you make that difference while meeting the demands of the Michigan workforce besides. Michigan DTMB numbers predict employment growth of around 37 percent to continue statewide until 2020, driven in part by a trend among insurance companies — like top Michigan employer Blue Cross/Blue Shield — of increasing coverage for mental health and family counseling.
        • Prospective students who love hosting parties and organizing events might find an outlet for their passion with a degree or certificate in hospitality management and a career trajectory toward conference and convention planning. Not only is it one of the fastest growing jobs in Michigan — more than 39 percent growth is projected to occur by 2020 — but the mean annual 2014 wages for convention and event planners averaged to $45,810, higher than the statewide average salary across all occupations, and the high degree of creativity that the job requires can make for a dynamic working environment.
          • Suitable positions can be found in just about any industry for graduates with a degree in finance or accounting, particularly those who have back-office work experience on their résumé, and the numbers indicate that Michigan is one of the better places for those degrees to take root and grow into strong careers. Jobs that require finance degrees are among the highest paid in the workforce, also, with financial examiners, personal financial advisors and financial managers earning $71,080, $89,410 and $109,930 in Michigan in 2014, respectively. BLS growth data shows a projected national average employment growth rate of just 6 percent for financial examiners between 2012 and 2022, but the Michigan DTMB expects a much healthier statewide increase of around 28 percent by 2020.
            • The rampant advancement of technology has done wonders to enhance the capabilities of the medical profession, but there are some parts of the discipline where the raw power of available tech still needs considerable study and refinement. A degree in biochemistry or biophysics can prepare you for a job researching, testing and developing exciting new medical technologies for practitioners at major Michigan employers like Oakwood Healthcare System, Pioneer Surgical Technology and Detroit Medical Center. Michigan DTMB numbers show expected growth of nearly 25 percent among biochemists and biophysicists by 2010, and the average 2014 salary for workers in these fields checked in at $87,510.

              Michigan colleges

              It can be hard to know which college is right for you until you do some research yourself, but you can start checking names off the list if you know what you want to study and where you want to live while you do it. Here's some information on a batch of campus-based and online colleges in Michigan, including a few subject areas in which they excel:

              Institution name

              Online degrees?

              Top programs

              University of Michigan


              Business, accounting, finance, management, marketing, graduate engineering (online), nuclear engineering, executive MBA, public policy, social work, public health, psychology, political science, computer science, physics, math, earth sciences, pharmacy, nursing, medicine, law, history, English, library and information studies

              Michigan State University


              Supply chain management, industrial/organizational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, primary care medicine, graduate education (on campus and online), graduate criminal justice (online), criminology, agricultural sciences, veterinary medicine, economics, physics, ecology, social work, biological sciences

              Grand Valley State University


              Nonprofit management, physician assisting, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, public affairs, part-time MBA, graduate education (online)

              Wayne State University


              Nursing, medicine, part-time law, chemistry, clinical psychology, computer science, library and information studies, occupational therapy, chemistry, pharmacy, English, math, social work, physician assisting, graduate education (online), MBA (online)

              Central Michigan University


              Graduate education (online), MBA (online), speech-language pathology, audiology, physical therapy, clinical psychology, public affairs, business administration, engineering

              Michigan Technological University


              Engineering, graduate engineering (online), earth sciences, biological sciences, physics, chemistry, computer science, math, English, business

              University of Detroit Mercy


              Civil engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, management, part-time law, nursing, clinical psychology, physician assisting

              1. Michigan's Largest Employers, Job Bank USA, accessed April 22, 2015, http://jobbankusa.com/jobs/michigan_mi/job_employment_largest_employers.html
              2. Occupational Projections (Long-Term), Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, accessed April 22, 2015, http://milmi.org/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Occprj
              3. Cost of Living Data Series, 2014 Annual Average, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, accessed April 21, 2015, http://www.missourieconomy.org/indicators/cost_of_living/index.stm
              4. College Navigator - Michigan, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed April 21, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=MI&ic=1+2&en=700&of=1&od=0&pg=1
              5. Online Degree Programs & Certificates, University of Detroit Mercy, April 22, 2015, http://www.udmercy.edu/learn/programs/online/index.php
              6-7. State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed April 21, 2015: Ann Arbor, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/2603000.html; East Lansing, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/2624120.html
              8. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed April 22, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mi.htm
              9. Economy at a Glance - Michigan, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed April 21, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.mi.htm
              10-14. Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-2015 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, accessed April 22, 2015: Software Developers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Software-developers.htm; Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm; Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Business-and-Financial/Meeting-convention-and-event-planners.htm; Financial Examiners, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-examiners.htm; Biochemists and Biophysicists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Life-Physical-and-Social-Science/Biochemists-and-biophysicists.htm
              15. Best Online MBA Programs, U.S. News and World Report, accessed April 21, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/mba/rankings
              16-22. Overall Rankings, U.S. News and World Report, accessed April 21, 2015: Central Michigan University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/central-michigan-university-169248/overall-rankings; Grand Valley State University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/grand-valley-state-university-170082/overall-rankings; Michigan State University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/michigan-state-university-171100/overall-rankings; Michigan Technological University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/michigan-technological-university-171128/overall-rankings; University of Detroit Mercy, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-detroit-mercy-169716/overall-rankings; University of Michigan, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-michigan-ann-arbor-170976/overall-rankings; Wayne State University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/wayne-state-university-172644/overall-rankings

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