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Online Schools in Missouri

Hybrid and Online Degrees in Missouri Make Education Accessible

Higher education students in Missouri can have their pick of postsecondary institutions to choose from, including professional and technical schools, as well as universities offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, and plenty of community colleges. The Missouri Department of Higher Education (dhe.mo.gov) provides a list of more than 200 higher education institutions in the state, but most are located in or around Missouri's three largest urban centers -- Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis.

For residents of the state's more rural areas, like the sparsely-populated Northwest region or border areas far from major cities, attending a brick-and-mortar college may present a difficult geographic challenge. Adult learners may also find that the demands of work and family make it problematic to attend a full-time, on-campus program. Fortunately, Missouri online colleges can help students overcome the most common barriers to success, offering a wide variety of online and hybrid degree programs that often offer flexible scheduling and little to no time required on campus.

Online Schools in Missouri Meet Growing Industry Needs

Information technology services is a driving force in Missouri's economy, providing more than 35,000 jobs and $20 billion in gross state product in 2009 alone, according to a study by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC), a division of the Missouri Department of Higher Education (missourieconomy.org). The IT services industry includes a number of diverse occupations, from data service and customer support to computer programming and software development.

Webster University (webster.edu) is helping prepare students for careers in IT management with its online masters degree program in information systems management. The program is designed to provide students with the technical and management skills necessary for leadership positions in the industry.

Education and health services make up another vital sector of the Missouri economy, with more employment growth projected between 2000 and 2010 than any other industry in the state, MERIC reports. The combined industries employed more than 326,000 people in 2011, according to BLS data (bls.gov). Within health care occupations, registered nurses accounted for more than 67,000 jobs -- far more than any other health care occupation.

Registered nurses also scored top marks for career outlook in Missouri, according to JobsMoGov (jobs.mo.gov), a state website designed for job seekers. The University of Missouri (online.missouri.edu) offers a number of health care degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including an online RN-to-BSN degree (some campus visits may be required) as well as large selection of nursing courses offered 100 percent online.

Distance Learning Designed for Working Professionals

Quite a few Missouri online colleges specialize in hybrid degree programs designed to help meet the needs and hectic schedules of working professionals. St. Louis University's School for Professional Studies (slu.edu) focuses on accessible learning for working adults with a number of hybrid and online programs offered in a range of disciplines. The school's accelerated online Master's in Leadership and Organization program is an eight-week, 36-hour program designed for professionals looking to transition into leadership roles or to advance in their current management positions.

Management of companies and enterprise is the second most concentrated industry in Missouri, says MERIC data, and the BLS reports that business and financial operations occupations provided more than 120,000 jobs in the state in 2011. Financial analysts are expected to see faster than average growth nationwide between 2010 and 2020, according to BLS data, and in Missouri, MERIC projects 15.6 percent growth for accounting and tax professionals during the same time period.

Industries for Job Growth in Missouri

Missouri employed more than 2.7 million people in December 2012, according to BLS data (bls, eag). Of that number, 510,000 were employed in trade, transportation and utilities, making it the state's leading employment industry. Government employed the second-highest number of people, accounting for 430,600 Missouri jobs, followed closely by education and health services jobs.

Additionally, the Missouri Department of Economic Development (ded.mo.gov) has targeted seven innovative industries with high potential for economic and employment growth in the future. These industries include energy solutions, biosciences, health sciences and services, information technology, and financial and professional services. For working professionals in Missouri, these industries might provide exciting career opportunities going forward, particularly when paired with training and education that could help expand possibilities.

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Missouri Economy at a Glance, 2013
Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational and Employment and Wage Estimates - Missouri, 2011
Job Market, JobsMoGov
Missouri Department of Higher Education, Colleges and Degrees  
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Industry Employment Projections, 2010-2020 Long-term, Statewide, 2010
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Missouri Targets Energy Solutions, 2012
Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, Pattern Industry Insight - Information Technology, 2010
Saint Louis University
Webster University

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