Online schools in Missouri

Missouri's "Big Goal" is to create the highly trained workforce needed to meet employer demand in the coming years. According to the Missouri Department of Higher Education, 60 percent of all jobs in the state will require some form of postsecondary training by 2018. However, in 2013, only 37.6 percent of the state's adults had an associate or bachelor's degree. When those with certificates are included, the number moves up to 49 percent but still falls short of expected employer demand.

Therefore, the state has made it a priority to encourage higher education opportunities for its residents. Its initiative, known formally as Missouri's Big Goal for Higher Education, seeks to help 60 percent of state adults receive a certificate or degree by 2025.

The state has already seen some success, with degree attainment increasing 1.5 percent from 2008 to 2011 — the sixth largest increase in the nation during that period. With the help of established schools, the Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis and Fulton communities are already flourishing college towns in Missouri.

However, you don't have to travel to one of these cities to get a quality degree or certificate. Online colleges in Missouri offer many of the same educational opportunities through a convenient and accessible format. To find out more about attending college in the state, explore the different sections of this guide, including:

Online education
Major industries & in-demand degrees
Missouri colleges

What to know about online schools in Missouri

Like traditional campus programs, online colleges in Missouri are working to prepare students for employment in many of the state's key industries. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, these industries include the following:

  • Life sciences
  • Information technology
  • National security
  • Energy
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Financial services
  • Automotive
  • Agricultural business

Some of the state's biggest employers are hospitals, universities and manufacturers. While not all jobs at these businesses require a higher education, many do. For those who can't attend class on-campus, online programs offer an alternate way to gain necessary skills and knowledge.

While the details may vary by school, many online colleges in Missouri allow students to log-in to complete their studies at whatever time is most convenient for them. This arrangement can be ideal for students who have work or family obligations and may need to listen to lectures or complete assignments late at night or early in the morning. In addition, some schools use the same curriculum and instructors both online and on-campus, which means students can get the same education regardless of their learning format.

Online colleges in Missouri to consider

Missouri students have plenty of choices when it comes to earning an online degree or certificate. Some of the most distinguished colleges and universities in the state offer online programs. In addition, national schools, many of which pioneered online learning, are also available to Missouri students. Some popular institutions are:

  • University of Missouri
  • Liberty University
  • Missouri State University
  • DeVry University
  • Missouri College

In addition, there are seminaries, Bible colleges and other specialty institutions offering online degrees and certificates in Missouri. Depending on the school and program, students may have the option to earn their degree entirely online. Other programs, such as those in the health care field or with a hand-on component, may require some on-campus coursework.

Students interested in a more complete list of Missouri-based institutions offering online degrees can start by exploring this map, which shows the location of all colleges with online offerings in the state based on 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Once you identify schools located nearby, it's easy to explore what online degrees might be offered near you. (Mobile users will need to visit the full Schools.com site to use the map.)

Which degree to get in Missouri

When it comes time to select a specific degree program, students may want to look at the state's key industries and employers for guidance.

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center notes the Barnes-Jewish Hospital System, Mercy Hospital System and Lester E. Cox Medical are among the top ten largest employers in the state. Degrees and certificates in health care may be useful in finding employment at these and other medical care systems. Boeing is another major employer in the state, and they may require individuals with engineering training. Computer science, business and finance may also be smart choices based upon the state's industries.

Of course, employment can and does change over time. There is no guarantee that a job that is hot today will be in-demand tomorrow. Online schools in Missouri can help you review employment trends and determine the best education course to pursue.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates job growth, and their predictions may also be helpful for students selecting a degree program. The following chart uses government data to highlight the degrees needed for some of Missouri's fastest growing occupations:



Expected job growth (2012-2022)

Associate or bachelor's degree in sonography

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer


Bachelor's degree in a foreign language

Interpreter or Translator


Master's degree in nursing

Nursing Instructor


Vocational training

Skincare Specialist


Associate degree in occupational therapy assisting

Occupational Therapy Assistant


Other students may be interesting in pursuing a career in a higher-paying field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all five of the jobs with the highest average salaries in the state are in the medical field.

  • Internists, general - $246,760
  • Obstetricians and gynecologists - $237,450
  • Anesthesiologists - $228,550
  • Podiatrists - $201,770
  • Physicians and Surgeons, all other - $197,280

Managers across multiple fields also appear to be well-paid in Missouri. The government found marketing managers, financial managers, computer and information systems managers, compensation and benefits managers and natural sciences managers were among those occupations with average annual incomes in excess of six digits.

A look at colleges in Missouri

Whether you are planning to earn an associate degree at a community college or a graduate degree at a university, Missouri likely has an institution to meet your needs. Here's a closer look at some of the top online colleges in Missouri.

  • University of Missouri: Founded in 1839, the University of Missouri was the first state university to be established in the Louisiana Purchase territory. Today, it enrolls 35,000 students, and its Columbia campus contains 19 colleges and schools as well as a nuclear research reactor. With Mizzou Online, the university offers 90 degree programs and more than 900 courses online to students in the state and beyond its borders.

For adult learners who want to combine online learning with classroom interaction, the Evening College Plus program at Missouri State provides the best of both worlds as it blends the two forms of learning.

  • Missouri State University: The main campus of Missouri State University was founded in Springfield in 1905. For much of its history, the school was known as Southwest Missouri State until its name was shortened in 2005 to reflect its broad enrollment and appeal. For adult learners who want to combine online learning with classroom interaction, the Evening College Plus program provides the best of both worlds as it blends the two forms of learning.
  • St. Louis Community College: Not every online student wants or needs a four-year degree. St. Louis Community College is one of the largest institutions, in terms of enrollment, in the state and a top choice for those seeking a certificate, associate degree or vocational training. Students can choose from eight programs offered entirely online. Another 13 degrees and a certificate can be earned partially online.
  • Columbia College: The University of Missouri isn't the only institution based in the city of Columbia. In 1851, Columbia College was founded as Christian Female College. It has since grown into a co-educational school that supports 35 campuses in 13 states in addition to its main campus in Missouri. The college also supports 6,000 online learners who can choose from 29 online degrees and more than 800 undergraduate courses.
  • Webster University: Webster University is another of the private online schools in Missouri. Its home campus in St. Louis was founded in 1915, and the university now operates around the world. Online students can earn a certificate, undergraduate degree or graduate degree through programs that the school says meet the same rigorous standards as its on-campus courses.

Online colleges in Missouri include some leading names in education as well as many smaller institutions that also provide excellent learning opportunities. The next step for those considering an online degree program is to further investigate individual schools to find the right fit for your career goals. A list of online schools in Missouri is below to get you started.

Last updated: April 24, 2015


1. About CC, Columbia College, http://web.ccis.edu/about/.aspx
2. Key Industries, Missouri Department of Economic Development, http://www.ded.mo.gov/BCS%20Programs/BCSProgramDetails.aspx?BCSProgramID=93
3. Missouri's Big Goal, Missouri Department of Higher Education, http://dhe.mo.gov/initiatives/MissourisBigGoal.php
4. Missouri's Top 50 Employers, Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, http://www.missourieconomy.org/industry/top50/index.stm
5. Missouri State University, http://www.missouristate.edu
6. Online Education, St. Louis Community College, http://www.stlcc.edu/Distance_Learning/
7. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
8. University of Missouri, http://online.missouri.edu/
9. Missouri, "Occupational Employment Statistics," Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mo.htm
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh

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