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Online colleges in New York

New York's prowess as a tourist destination is mirrored by its status as one of the most popular states for college students. The Empire State's track-record of producing high-ranked colleges and idyllic college towns certainly helps, too. On the other hand, having so many promising New York schools — online and off — can make narrowing your options a feat.

This guide can help you determine whether the educational and career outlooks are up to par for your desired future. It contains:

Snapshot of the NY college scene

Whether you choose to attend a campus-based or an online program in New York, it can be helpful to attend classes in a city where plenty of other students are already living and thriving. Here's a list of the cities in New York with the highest overall student populations, compiled using NCES enrollment data:

  1. New York City
  2. Buffalo
  3. Rochester
  4. Syracuse
  5. Albany

Notable college towns in New York

For some students, the college experience is nearly as important as getting an education. They are looking for the quintessential college town: a particular atmosphere that suits their style and interests. There is no denying that the cultural powerhouse that is New York City draws thousands of students each year. When it comes to the best college towns, however, publications focus on smaller communities with a definite student-oriented environment. Time and again publications have named these communities among the best college towns in the nation:

City

Notable recognition

Largest local college by enrollment

Institution type

Enrollment*

Buffalo

Named one of the nation's Top College Destinations of 2016 by the American Institute for Economic Research.

Erie Community College

Public 2-year college

12,733
(Fall, 2015)

Albany

Named on of WalletHub's best college towns in America, particularly in the area of "youth-oriented environment."

Excelsior College

Private, nonprofit college offering all degree levels

39,074
(Summer 2016)

Syracuse

Named Best College Town in America by Travel+Leisure.

Syracuse University

Private research university

21,789
(Fall, 2015)

* Enrollment data is the most recent available at the time of this writing. Check out our source list for more information.

Online and on-campus: Schools in New York

According to various national and international collegiate ranking agencies, New York is home to some of the best colleges in the world. For example, the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) analyzes data about patents, research publications, alumni employment and overall quality of education and faculty to produce an annual list of the top 1,000 schools in the world. These New York colleges earned high marks in 2016:

University

National rank

Global rank

Online learning

Columbia University

4

6

Online courses, degrees, and non-degree programs

Cornell University

10

12

Online courses and professional development programs

New York University

18

22

Online courses, degrees and certificates

University of Rochester

45

72

Online courses, degrees and certificates

Source: Center for World University Rankings, 2016

New York's liberal arts colleges

Some students prefer the vibe of liberal arts colleges and all of their perks, including traditionally lower enrollment numbers and much more student-to-faculty interaction. Fortunately, 2016-17 college ranking data from U.S. News & World Report suggests New York has some of the best liberal arts colleges in America. Among them:

University

National rank

Online learning

Colgate University

12 (tie)

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) through edX

Hamilton College

12 (tie)

MOOCs through edX

Vassar College

12 (tie)

Limited online courses

Source: U.S. News & World Report, National Liberal Arts Colleges, 2016

New York's public universities

Public universities are typically much more affordable than their private counterparts, and also offer the most aid. These major campuses also offer a college experience difficult to find in smaller private or liberal arts institutions. The best public universities in New York, according to U.S. News:

University

National rank

Online learning

Binghamton University - SUNY

36

Several online degrees and courses through Open Suny

Stony Brook University - SUNY

42

Several online degrees and courses through Open Suny

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

43

Online courses and degrees through Open SUNY

Source: U.S. News & World Report, Rankings, Top Public Schools, 2016

The best community colleges in New York

The State University of New York System manages New York's nearly 30 community college and several technical colleges. These two-year schools are ideal for students seeking workforce training and college transfer programs, which can save learners a good deal of money over the course of their educations. Community colleges are also some of the most active online colleges in New York. Here are the Empire State's best:

College

Rank

Online Offerings

Niagara County Community College

1

Online courses

Herkimer College

2

Online courses, degrees and certificates

Genesee Community College

3

Online courses, degrees and certificates

Source: Schools.com, Best Community Colleges in New York

Online programs in New York

Online learning proved its value years ago, which is why online enrollments continue to grow quickly. While these programs require one to be more motivated, organized and self-directed than classroom-based learners, they can be of tremendous benefit to New Yorkers. Here's how:

  • Online colleges in New York that allow students to log on when they can rather than at set times can be a sanity-saver for busy students.
  • Online students can continue to earn New York wages — offsetting education costs — even if their school is in a different state.
  • New Yorkers pursuing online degrees rarely, if ever, have to brave city traffic or transportation to get to school.
  • Online degrees make learning more accessible for rural students, particularly in the central-eastern and northern regions of the state.

Featured online schools colleges in New York

The online college landscape is changing as community colleges, major universities, prestigious colleges and even smaller liberal arts schools invest in new online courses and technologies. Some online colleges in New York were early-adopters, are more online-learning-savvy, or invest more in the right technologies than others. Here are some of the best online programs in New York:

University

National rank

Most popular majors

CUNY School of Professional Studies

11 (tie)

Business, Speech Communication and Rhetoric, Psychology, Hospital Management and Sociology

Pace University

11 (tie)

Communications and Media Studies, Computer and Information Sciences, Telecommunications Technology and Business

SUNY College of Technology - Delhi

27

Registered Nursing

Marist College

48

General Studies

Source: U.S. News & World Report, Rankings, Best Online Bachelor's Degrees, 2016

Plan your career, education in New York

Deciding to go to college in New York is a monumental occasion, as is choosing a major. Some college students are fortunate enough to have a "calling," or a clear sense of their ideal careers. For the rest of us, however, the right major is a matter of not only personal interests and aptitudes but economics. This section reviews New York's most promising industries, jobs and college majors.

New York's leading industries

New York's economy is the third largest in the nation and the sixth largest on the globe, producing an annual gross domestic product comparable to that of Iran. It is also somewhat fluid: long-standing traditional industries are New York's economic foundation emerging and often knowledge-based sectors maintain its competitive edge.

Investopedia suggests the following industries drive New York's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) today:

  • Financial services
  • Health care
  • Professional and technical services
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Educational services

High-demand jobs in New York

College is a major endeavor, but an often expensive one. For students looking for a healthy return-on-investment, knowing which fields have the best career prospects pays off. Here's a snapshot of New York's most in-demand careers along with their education requirements and recommended majors.

Occupation

Projected growth,
2014-2024

Minimum degree-level required

Recommended Programs

Web Developer

35%

Associate

Web design
Computer science

Physical Therapist Assistant

30%

Associate

Physical therapy assistant*

Occupational Therapy Assistant

30%

Associate

Occupational therapy assistant*

Interpreters and Translators

34%

Bachelor's

English
Foreign language
Communications

Biomedical Engineers

33%

Bachelor's

Biomedical engineering

Operations Research Analysts

30%

Bachelor's

Data analytics
Statistics

Statisticians

55%

Master's

Statistics
Mathematics
Economics

Nurse Practitioners

32%

Master's

Chosen Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) specialty*

Physical Therapists

29%

Doctoral

Doctor of Physical Therapy

* May require additional licensing or certification

Source: CareerOneStop, U.S. Department of Labor, State Profile: New York

Featured New York schools and colleges

There are so many campus-based and online colleges in New York that it's tough to list them all. The following table highlights the diversity of the Empire State's college and program options:

Institution

Popular disciplines in 2015

New York University

Visual and Performing Arts; Social Sciences; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities; and Health Professions and Related Programs

Syracuse University

Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Social Sciences; Visual and Performing Arts; and Engineering

Rochester Institute of Technology

Engineering; Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services; Visual and Performing Arts; Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields; and Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

University at Albany - SUNY

Social Sciences; English Language and Literature/Letters,14%
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; and
Psychology

Yeshiva University

Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Psychology, General; Accounting; Economics, General; and Business Administration and Management

St. John's University

Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Health Professions and Related Programs; Education; Social Sciences; and Biological and Biomedical Sciences

How to enroll in an NY program

Most great journeys take time and planning; finding the right college is no exception. Review the list of featured on-campus and online colleges in New York below to get a sense of your options, or use the map to browse schools by region to enroll in the right school for your desired career path.

It never hurts to call your school of choice directly, or even better, visit if possible. The more action you take to put yourself on a solid educational route could be the way to earn a high salary.

Sources:

1. Center for World University Rankings, CWUR World Rankings, accessed October 12, 2016, http://cwur.org/2016/usa.php
2. U.S. News & World Report, Rankings, Colleges in New York, accessed October 12, 2016, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/ny
3. U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop, State Profile: New York, accessed October 12, 2016, https://www.careerinfonet.org/state1.asp?id=1,11&nodeid=12&stfips=36
4. Significant Industries in New York, Bureau of Labor Market Information, Division of Research and Statistics, State of New York, accessed October 12, 2016, https://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/PDFs/Significant-Industries-New-York-City.pdf
5. Investopedia, "New York's Economy: The 6 Industries Driving GDP Growth," Sean Ross, Accessed October 12, 2016, http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/011516/new-yorks-economy-6-industries-driving-gdp-growth.asp
6. United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, accessed October 12, 2016: Web Developer, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/web-developers.htm; Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapist-assistants-and-aides.htm; Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Occupational-therapy-assistants-and-aides.htm; Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, or Nurse Practitioners, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm; Interpreters and Translators, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm; Biomedical Engineers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/biomedical-engineers.htm; Operations Research Analysts, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm; Statisticians, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/statisticians.htm; Physical Therapists, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physical-therapists.htm
7. New York community colleges' online learning options, accessed October 13, 2016: Herkimer College, http://www.herkimer.edu/learn/online-learning/; Niagara County Community College, http://www.niagaracc.suny.edu/elearning/; Genesee Community College, http://www.genesee.edu/offices/online/
8. College enrollment data: Syracuse University, SU Facts, accessed October 13, http://www.syr.edu/about/facts.html
9. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Erie Community College, https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/
10. Excelsior College, Fast Facts About Excelsior College, accessed October 13, 2016, http://www.excelsior.edu/about/fast-facts
America's Best College Towns, Travel+Leisure, accessed October 13, 2016, http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-best-college-towns
11. American Institute for Economic Research, 2015-2016 Top College Destinations, accessed October 13, 2016, https://www.aier.org/2015-2016-top-college-destinations-ranked
12. WalletHub, 2015's Best & Worst College Cities & Towns in America, Richie Bernardo, accessed October 13, 2016, https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-college-cities-and-towns-in-america/8974/

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