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Online Schools in Tennessee

Article Sources

"10 Top-Notch Community Colleges in Tennessee," Schools.com, Accessed January 2, 2017, http://www.schools.com/articles/community-colleges-in-tennessee

Best Online Bachelor's Programs, Rankings, Education, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed December 27, 2016, http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/bachelors/rankings

Colleges in Tennessee, Higher Education, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed January 2, 2017, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/tn

"Health-Related Occupations Fastest Growing in Tennessee," Department of Labor & Workforce Development, State of Tennessee, Accessed December 29, 2016, https://www.tn.gov/workforce/news/39711

Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, Accessed January 2, 2017. https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

"Tennessee Business and Economic Lookout," Matthew N, Murray, Lawrence M. Kessler, Bod Center for Business and Economic Research, Haslam College of Business, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Accessed January 2, 2017, http://cber.haslam.utk.edu/tefs/spr16.pdf

Tennessee Office of Economic and Community Development, State of Tennessee, Accessed December 29, 2016,http://www.tnecd.com/

U.S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop, State Profile, Labor Market Information, Tennessee, Accessed December 29, 2016, https://www.careerinfonet.org/state1.asp?next=state1&id=11&nodeid=12&soccode=&menuMode=&stfips=47&x=30&y=12

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, Accessed January 1, 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

College websites, Accessed December 29, 2016: 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/;

Tennessee Technological University, https://www.tntech.edu/; Tennessee Wesleyan College, http://www.tnwesleyan.edu/; Sewanee - University of the South, http://www.sewanee.edu/; Milligan College, https://www.milligan.edu/; Rhodes College, https://www.rhodes.edu/; Chattanooga State Community College, https://www.chattanoogastate.edu/; Fisk University, https://www.fisk.edu/

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Tennessee colleges and universities run the gambit from public community colleges and universities to private colleges and liberal arts schools. One thing that remains consistent, however, is the state's drive to invest in them. According to the Tennessee Office of Economic and Community Development, (ECD), the state's low cost of living and business-friendly policies are but two of many features that attract new companies to Tennessee.

Maintaining this kind of momentum means producing a steady pipeline of skilled workers, and that means producing more college graduates. The Drive to 55 program aims to increase Tennessee's higher educational attainment to 55 percent by the year 2025 through incentives like the Tennessee Promise, which offers students two years of tuition-free education through state community or technical colleges. These initiatives — and continued growth in online programs in Tennessee — improve educational access and career prospects statewide.

Snapshot: Tennessee colleges, on-campus and online

Tennessee's dynamic higher education landscape is another major piece of the state's economic success. According to the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) College Navigator, there are at least 182 colleges and universities in the Volunteer State offering a multitude of degree programs. A breakdown:

Distribution of Tennessee colleges and universities

Institution type

No. offering associate degrees

No. offering bachelor's degrees

No. offering advanced degrees

No. offering certificates

State total

Public

15

10

10

42

42

Private nonprofit

24

38

31

10

90

Private for-profit

28

11

5

75

83

State total

67

59

46

127

182

Source: College Navigator, NCES

Tennessee college towns: Culture and careers

Tennessee colleges and universities are important centers of research and innovation. This, and the fact that many employers want easy access to an education workforce, make major Tennessee college towns economic and professional hotspots. They also offer a unique vibe not found in areas with lower student populations. Some examples:

Major Tennessee college towns

City

Student share of population

Pop. w/ 4+-year degrees

Colleges in 10 mi. radius

Major institutions

Nashville

9.1%

36.7%

45

Vanderbilt University

Tennessee Technological University

Belmont University

Knoxville

23.2%

29.3%

24

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Pellissippi State Community College

Memphis

7.0%

25.2%

31

University of Memphis

Rhodes College

Chattanooga

19.3%

27.2%

14

University of Tennessee - Chattanooga

Lee University

Sources: Integrated Postsecondary Education State System, NCES, Census Bureau: Quick Facts

Notable Tennessee colleges and universities

Tennessee is home to many respected schools and programs, campus-based or otherwise. No two institutions are ever truly alike: Degrees, costs and enrollments can vary considerably from one to the next. There are also various types of institutions, including public and private universities, liberal arts colleges and more. The following table highlights some of the top-ranked schools in Tennessee by category:

Top Tennessee colleges and universities

Category

College

Type

Ranking

(U.S News, 2017)

Enrollment

(2016)

Tuition, fees

(2016)

National Universities

Vanderbilt University

(Nashville)

Private, not-for-profit

No. 15

6,883

$45,610

Public Schools

(National)

University of Tennessee

(Knocksville)

Public university

No. 46

42,863

$12,668

Liberal Arts Colleges

(National)

Rhodes College

Private not-for-profit

No. 4

2,063

$44,942

Community College

(Statewide)

Chattanooga State Community College

Public two-year

No. 1

(Schools.com)

9,332

$3,973

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

(National)

Fisk University

(Nashville)

Private not-for-profit

No. 8

854

$21,480

Best Value Colleges, Universities

(Southern Region)

Tennessee Wesleyan College

(Athens)

Private not-for-profit

No. 8 Best Value College

1,048

$23,000

Milligan College

(Milligan College)

Public University

No. 4 Best Value University

9,335

$4,178

Sources: U.S. News & World Report, 2017; IPEDS, 2015-6

Online schools in Tennessee

While pop culture outlets tend to depict stereotypical college experiences, think: dorm culture and Greek life, factors like affordability and accessibility are much more likely to make or break students' long-term success. This is where online programs in Tennessee shine. Here's how:

  • Online schools extend college accessibility to time-strapped students and the state's notable rural population.
  • Online programs expand one's major and degree options considerably.
  • Tennessee online schools give students more budget-friendly options.
  • Online colleges mean students can attend their preferred schools without sacrificing low living costs.

At least 73 Tennessee colleges offer some form of learning, such as classes, certificates, degrees and other non-degree awards. An overview of students' options:

Online colleges in Tennessee

Institution type

No. offering associate degrees

No. offering bachelor's degrees

No. offering advanced degrees

No. offering certificates

State total

Public

12

8

9

35

38

Private nonprofit

9

20

21

23

27

Private for-profit

6

6

3

7

8

State total

27

34

33

34

73

Source: College Navigator, NCES

Top online schools in Tennessee

Just as with campus-based programs, not all online colleges in Tennessee share the same programs and strengths.The following table showcases some of the state's top schools based on U.S. News & World Report's 2017 ranking of online programs. Note that not all excellent programs are showcased, and the schools that are may thrive in more than one category. Vanderbilt University, for instance, ranked in almost all of them:

Top online programs in Tennessee

Ranking category

(U.S. News, 2017)

Top schools

Enrollment

(2016)

Tuition, fees

(2016)

Featured online programs

Online Bachelor's Programs

Lee University

5,041

$17,770

BA or BS in Liberal Studies

BA or BS in Christian Studies

Online MBAs

University of Tennessee - Martin

13,697

$47,665

MBA in Financial Services

Online Business Programs

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

27,845

$12,668

Full-Time MBA

(Accelerated)

Online Teaching Programs

Lipscomb University

4,680

$29,756

EdD

MEd in Technology Integration

Online Nursing Programs

Vanderbilt University

12,567

$45,610

Advanced Practice Specialty - Healthcare Leadership

Source: U.S. News & World Report, 2017

Tennessee Industries, Careers to Watch

Tennessee's efforts to produce skilled workers and attract new job appears to be working. According to a report from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville's Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Tennessee's economy growth rate surged ahead national rates during 2016 — a trend it projected would continue through at least 2018. Jobs and income grew while unemployment dropped. The following table highlights state industries that seem especially hopeful for new and future college graduates:

Tennessee: Promising industries, key employers

Industry

Why it's hot

Major employers

Health care

The Tennessee ECD calls the state "a hub of the nation's healthcare industry," and the Tennessee Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development reports the industry contributes nearly $30 billion and 210,000 jobs in Nashville alone. Major employers include university medical and research facilities; medical device companies; pharmaceutical manufacturers and managed care providers, among others.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Vanderbilt Children's Hospital

Medical Healthcare Memphis

BlueCross BlueShield of Tenn.

St. Jude Children's Hospital

Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp.

Cumberland Pharmaceuticals

Energy

According to the ECD, more than 24.000 Tennesseans work in energy technology - an industry that grows larger each year as the state attracts new green and renewable energy investments and employers: The Solar Industries Association reports that the number of state solar companies alone approaches 150. Nuclear power and uranium processing employers are also abundant.

Oak Ridge National Lab

U.S. Department of Energy

Uranium Processing Facility

B & W

Aerospace and defense

Tennessee's aerospace and defense prowess has lasted more than half a century, an achievement the ECD credits to major research and advanced manufacturing facilities; capital investments; educational support and a skilled workforce. The sector is anchored in the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Complex where the U.S. Dept. of Defense tests nearly all high-performance aircraft and missile systems.

Vought Industries

Beretta USA

Eaton Corp.

The AEDC

Honeywell

Standard Aero Alliance

Business

Tennessee's business-friendly tax code, central location and skilled workforce draw a fair share of employers: several major U.S, companies have headquarters in the state. Other major facilities include data centers, call centers, new technologies, and research and development institutions like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Vanderbilt University, the AEDC and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

FedEx

Hospital Corp. of America

AutozZone

Nissan North America

Regal Entertainment Group

Bridgestone

Source: CareerOneStop, Department of Labor; Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

By the numbers: High-demand jobs and degrees in Tennessee

Another important trend captured in the UTK report is Tennessee's continued personal income growth, which grew by 5 percent in 2016 alone. Researchers projected similar growth throughout 2017. Tennesseans entering high-demand professions could stand to benefit from the trend as competition for qualified employees grows. The U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop lists the following careers (and related degrees) among the state's fastest growing:

Fastest-growing careers in Tennessee - by degree, percent

Occupation

Projected growth,

2014-2024

Minimum degree-level required

Recommended Programs

Physical Therapist Assistant

56 percent

Associate

Physical therapy assistant

Diagnostic Medical Sonographer

52 percent

Associate

Ultrasound technology

Occupational Therapy Assistant

44 percent

Associate

Occupational therapy assistant

Interpreter or Translator

45 percent

Bachelor's

English

Communications

Foreign Language

Market Research Analyst

40 percent

Bachelor's

Marketing

Operations Research Analyst

40 percent

Bachelor's

Operations Management

Statistics

Business Intelligence

Nurse Midwife

51 percent

Master's

Nursing

Physical Therapist

47 percent

Doctorate

Doctor of Physical Therapy

Physician Assistant

44 percent

Master's

Physician Assistance

Source: CareerOneStop, Department of Labor

How to enroll in campus-based and online programs in Tennessee

Online education is a relatively new way to earn a degree, but admissions processes are not. Prospective students must submit all applications and related materials on time no matter how you will attend class. The same is true for financial aid applications and paperwork. We recommend researching a range of Tennessee programs in order to find the one that suits you best. Check out the following featured colleges and others listed below to get started.

Featured colleges in Tennessee

These schools represent just a sliver of Tennessee colleges and universities. Keep scrolling to find others and our helpful map tool:

Featured schools: Tennessee colleges

School

(City)

Institution type

Tuition,

fees

(2016)

Students receiving financial aid (2016)

Popular areas of study

Online learning?

Vanderbilt University

(Nashville)

Private nonprofit

$45,610

48%

Economics

Social Sciences

Political Science

Neuroscience

Yes

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Public university

$12,668

59%

Business

Engineering

Psychology

Social Sciences

Yes

Tennessee Technological University

(Cookeville)

Public university

$16,300

70%

Teacher Education

Mechanical Engineering

Business

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Yes

Tennessee Wesleyan College

(Athens)

Private nonprofit

$23,000

67%

Business

Healthcare

Fitness Studies

Education

Yes

Sewanee - University of the South

(Sewanee)

Private nonprofit, liberal arts

$42,400

48%

English Language, Lit.

Biological Sciences

History

Psychology

Yes

Sources: U.S. News & World Report, 2017; IPEDS 2015-16

Article Sources
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