Online Schools in Tennessee

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs: Advancing Education

Offering hundreds of certificate and degree programs, more than 75 post-secondary institutions are based in the Volunteer State, including dozens of community colleges in Tennessee as well. Several of these institutions are clustered around urban centers such as Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, but colleges and universities are peppered throughout the state, from the Mississippi River on the western border to the Appalachian Mountains in the east. However, nearby schools might not be well-suited for working professionals or those who wish to enroll in a specific degree program. Thankfully, online schools in Tennessee can help serve working professionals who desire the flexibility to attend to career or family responsibilities while they work toward a degree, or full-time students who want to reach specific educational goals while staying close to home.

Distance Learning: Meeting Tennessee Employment Needs

Online degree programs can help prepare students to fill high-growth positions in Tennessee. The University of Tennessee offers an online master of science degree in environmental engineering, which focuses on applying scientific principles in order to make sound engineering decisions. The curriculum covers air pollution engineering, waste treatment, flood management and hydrology, training students to work to protect the environment and human health. Coursework can be completed online, and a weekly environmental engineering seminar is held in the fall and spring semesters. Demand for environmental engineers is projected to be on the upswing in Tennessee, according to the state’s Department of Labor & Workforce Development, which expects the occupation to increase by 19.9 percent between 2008 and 2018.

As technology advances, computer engineering positions are expected to rank among the fastest-growing in the state. The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development projects that software application engineers and systems software engineers should increase 28.9 percent and 22.7 percent, respectively, between 2008 and 2018. Online colleges in Tennessee are helping to educate students to fill those positions. An online master of science degree in applied computer science is available through the University of Memphis. All aspects of the program are web-based, and coursework includes a variety of computer science topics, including software engineering, database systems, network design and information technology. The program aims to ensure that graduates are well-versed in advanced computer science and information technologies in order to conceive, develop, evaluate and implement state-of-the-art applications.

Educating Working Professionals Through Hybrid and Online Study

Some online degree programs are specifically designed for working professionals, allowing them to pursue a degree while they maintain full-time employment. Based in Nashville, Vanderbilt University offers an online master of science in nursing degree, with a specialty in health systems management. Featuring an online format, the program allows students to participate on message boards, receive feedback and submit assignments at any time. The program aims to prepare nurses at the graduate level to manage the delivery of nursing and health care services, providing them with the management skills required to assume leadership positions in health care delivery organizations. The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development projects that the number of medical and health services managers will increase 14.5 percent between 2008 and 2018, adding more than 1,000 positions.

Austin Peay State University, Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University collaboratively offer a master of social work degree program, which allows working professionals to attend evening courses in a three-hour block once per week, with the remainder of the coursework offered online. Students determine their home campus, where they apply for admission, take their on-campus courses and pay tuition. Online courses enable students to interact with students from all three institutions, and the curriculum helps prepare individuals for social work positions, assisting individuals, families and communities. Positions for counselors and social workers are expected to increase 19.8 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development.

Industries for Job Growth in Tennessee

Nearly 2.8 million working professionals were employed in Tennessee in August 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Trade, transportation and utilities was the state’s leading employment industry, with the majority of the approximately 584,000 jobs falling into the retail trade category. Government positions accounted for nearly 412,000 jobs, making it the second-highest industry for employment in Tennessee in 2013. Comprising high-growth positions including registered nurses and elementary school teachers, education and health services made up approximately 400,000 occupations, ranking third among state industries.

Programs offered by online colleges in Tennessee can prepare students for growing occupations in the state. According to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the number of post-secondary communications teachers is projected to increase by 29.1 percent between 2008 and 2018. In turn, those teachers can help instruct a new wave of public relations specialists, a role that is expected to grow by 21.4 percent over the same time. Finance positions are also on the increase: financial examiners are estimated to increase 36.8 percent, while accountants and auditors are projected to grow 22.3 percent.


Austin Peay State University, http://www.apsu.edu/

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Tennessee Economy at a Glance, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.tn.htm

Middle Tennessee State University, http://www.mtsu.edu/

State of Tennessee, http://www.tennessee.gov/

Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx

Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Jobs to 2018—Tennessee, 2011, http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/outlooks/statewide.pdf

Tennessee State University, http://www.tnstate.edu/

University of Tennessee, http://www.utk.edu/

University of Memphis, http://www.memphis.edu/

Vanderbilt University, http://www.vanderbilt.edu/

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