Online Schools in South Carolina

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs: Advancing Education

South Carolina is home to more than 60 postsecondary institutions, from community and technical colleges to master’s-level and research universities. However, the majority of South Carolina postsecondary institutions are either located in the northwest corner of the state or in close proximity to urban centers such as Columbia or Charleston.

Brick-and-mortar instruction might not be an option for students residing in sparsely-populated regions in the south, coastal plains region and northeast corner of the state. Online schools in South Carolina can help serve full-time students who want to pursue a college education while staying close to home, or working professionals who desire the flexibility to attend to career or family responsibilities while they work toward a degree.

Distance Learning: Meeting South Carolina Employment Needs

Construction is expected to drive future job growth in South Carolina, according to the state’s Department of Employment & Workforce (dew.sc.gov, 2010), which expects the industry to add more than 20,000 jobs between 2010 and 2020. The number of construction occupations is estimated to increase 25.4 percent during that time, making it the third-fastest-growing employment industry in South Carolina. Clemson University (clemson.edu) began offering its online master of construction science and management degree program in 1992, and it remains the only construction master’s degree program offered entirely through distance learning in the United States. Construction planning, scheduling and management are key components of the program. Coursework aims to provide students with the management and technical skills necessary for advanced leadership positions in the construction industry.

Going hand-in-hand with that construction growth, the Columbia-based University of South Carolina (scu.edu) is working to prepare students in a related discipline. The flagship institution in the eight-campus University of South Carolina System has a variety of online degree programs available, including a master of engineering in civil engineering. The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (dew.sc.gov, 2010) estimates that civil engineers will increase from 4,580 in 2010 to 5,639 in 2020, projecting a growth of 23 percent that makes it one of the state’s fastest-growing professional occupations. Distance learning programs such as the one offered at the University of South Carolina can help train professionals to fill these positions. Online lectures and course materials are available to assist prospective engineers as they learn about structural mechanics, hydrology, material management, wastewater treatment and high-speed rail dynamics.

Educating Working Professionals Through Online Study

South Carolina professionals looking to continue their education while working full- or part-time could benefit from hybrid degree programs that combine in-person and virtual instruction. Coastal Carolina University (coastal.edu) offers a hybrid master of education degree in educational leadership. Students must have a minimum of one year of teaching experience to be enrolled in the program. Individuals interested in becoming principals at elementary and secondary schools receive training in areas including curriculum, management, personnel, finance, school law and public relations. As the general population increases, teachers and administrators will be required to meet future education demands, and the South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce (dew.sc.gov, 2010) anticipates that an additional 22,000 jobs will be added to the educational services industry between 2010 and 2020.

Charleston Southern University (csuniv.edu) offers a handful of online degree programs, including a master of science in organizational management. Fostering a school-life balance is a major emphasis of the accelerated degree program, with a flexible schedule focused on preparing working professionals for business leadership and management roles. Coursework can be completed entirely online, and students can access class materials, receive feedback and complete assignments remotely. The program can help prepare graduates to meet employment demand within the state. The South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce (dew.sc.gov, 2010) anticipates the number of business operations specialists to rise by over 7,000 between 2010 and 2020, an increase of approximately 18 percent.

Industries for Job Growth in South Carolina

South Carolina employed nearly 2 million working professionals in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012). Trade, transportation and utilities was the state’s leading employment industry in 2012, with the majority of its nearly 360,000 jobs falling into the retail trade category. Government positions accounted for approximately 340,000 jobs, making it the second-highest industry for employment in South Carolina in 2012. Professional and business services made up more than 230,000 occupations, ranking third among state industries.

Online colleges in South Carolina offer programs that may help prepare students for some of the state’s high-growth occupations. According to the South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce (dew.sc.gov, 2010), the number of registered nurses will increase by more than 10,800 between 2010 and 2020. Finance positions are also on the rise too: personal financial advisors are estimated to increase 37 percent while accountants and auditors are projected to grow 16 percent. Meanwhile, an additional 3,400 elementary school teachers are expected to come on board between 2010 and 2020, which would be an increase of approximately 17 percent over that time period.

Sources:
State of South Carolina
Clemson University
University of South Carolina
Coastal Carolina University
Charleston Southern University
South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce
South Carolina Department of Employment & Workforce, South Carolina Job Outlook, 2011
Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina Economy at a Glance, 2012