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Online Colleges in
TEXAS

Online Colleges in Texas

Article Sources
  • College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed August 26, 2016, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  • QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, accessed August 26, 2016, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/00
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  • U.S. News & World Report, accessed August 26, 2016: Texas Colleges, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/tx?_sort=tuition&_sort-direction=desc; Rice University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rice-3604; University of Texas -- Austin, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-texas-3658/overall-rankings; Texas A&M University -- College Station, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/texas-am-college-station-10366; Trinity University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/trinity-university-texas-3647; Texas Lutheran University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/texas-lutheran-university-3641; University of Houston, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-houston-3652; Sam Houston State University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/sam-houston-state-3606; University of Texas -- Dallas, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/university-of-texas-dallas-9741; West Texas A&M University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/west-texas-am-3665; Texas Tech University, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/texas-tech-university-3644
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Six of the 20 largest cities in the country can be found in Texas, as well as the second-highest overall state population, so it stands to reason that the higher education scene in The Lone Star State contains a little something for everyone. Wherever you're hoping to work, learn and play during your college experience, you might just find what you're looking for at one of the campus-based or online schools and colleges in Texas.

Snapshot of Education in Texas

The list of Texas schools offering postsecondary or career education topped out at 454 in 2016, according to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data. here is how many institutions of various types in the state offer the four main categories of degree:

Institution type No. offering bachelor's degrees No. offering associate's degrees No. offering certificates and other non-degree awards No. offering advanced degrees (master's, Ph.D., etc.)
Public50709249
Private nonprofit54374849
Private for-profit418924712

The overall student presence in a city, combined with the percentage of educated people who choose to call the area home, can give you a pretty good idea of the degree to which local policymakers and economic markets may seek to prioritize your academic needs. Here's some NCES and the U.S. Census Bureau data to paint that picture for seven Texas cities:

City Total estimated population
(U.S. Census, 2015)
No. of enrolled students
(NCES, 2016)
No. of students as a percentage of total population % of residents with bachelor's degrees
(U.S. Census, 2015)
Houston2,217,706161,2087.27 percent 30.4 percent
Austin887,061100,37111.32 percent 46.9 percent
Dallas1,260,68872,6035.76 percent 30.2 percent
El Paso676,32561,7899.14 percent 23.2 percent
Fort Worth796,61455,5686.98 percent 27.3 percent
College Station101,14145,09144.58 percent 54.4 percent
Arlington379,71634,4569.07 percent 29.3 percent

Now, it's important to note that the low student presence percentage in cities like Dallas and Houston doesn't mean that you can't have a great student experience there. Particularly if you do a little extra legwork to find truly student-focused services, or if you narrow your lifestyle focus to just certain neighborhoods or areas of town that lean more academic than others, big cities like these can be highly enriching environments in which to study and earn a degree.

Average yearly tuition for four-year schools in Texas was $9,117 in 2015-16, according to The College Board, but that figure includes quite a few high and low outliers that show a wide range of tuition costs in the Lone Star State. Southern Methodist University in Dallas took the prize for costliest tuition, according to U.S. News & World Report, with a 2016 price tag of $48,190 for one year, while Brazosport College in Lake Jackson and South Texas College in McAllen came away as the most affordable of the year with reported annual tuition of $2,295 and $3,590 (respectively) for in-state students.

Online Education in Texas

The numerous online programs in Texas can be a strong alternative for prospective students who live in very rural areas or might otherwise have difficulties pursuing traditional education. Here's a quick chart showing just how many options for online education can be found at Texas schools:

Institution type No. offering 4-year degrees No. offering 2-year degrees No. offering certificates and other non-degree awards No. offering advanced degrees (master's, Ph.D., etc.)
Private nonprofit5 - 14
Private for-profit4352
Public10 - 712

Certain upsides to earning an online degree go beyond the schedule flexibility and broad range of programs typically available. Tuition is often lower at online schools and colleges in Texas than it is at traditional institutions, also, thanks to the use of e-textbooks and other cost-cutting measures.

Globally Ranked Traditional and Online Colleges in Texas

Educational rankings agencies the Center for World University Rankings and U.S. News & World Report have listed several Texas schools among their top-ranked regional, national and global universities for 2016. Here's the data on a few of the colleges and universities that made the grade:

Rice University
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 18 (tie) National Universities U.S. News & World Report
Rice University
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 14 (tie) Best Colleges for Veterans U.S. News & World Report
University of Texas at Austin
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 32 Global Universities Center for World University Rankings
University of Texas at Austin
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 42 Best Colleges for Veterans U.S. News & World Report
Texas A&M University
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 98 Global Universities Center for World University Rankings
Trinity University
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 1 Regional Universities (West) U.S. News & World Report
Texas Lutheran University
Rank Category Ranking agency
No. 2 Regional Universities (West) U.S. News & World Report

Top Degree Programs at Online Colleges in Texas

Digital distance education is becoming more and more mainstream with every passing year, and online programs in Texas happen to be among some of the nation's best. Here are a few of the online degree ranking highlights for Texas schools in 2016:

University of Houston
Rank Degree program Notes
No. 1 (tie) Education The top spot nationally for online graduate programs in education isn't the only accolade awarded to this Houston school — it also made the lists of top national universities and best colleges for veterans.
Sam Houston State University
Rank Degree program Notes
No. 3 Criminal justice

Online students at this Huntsville institution can also enroll in several ranked graduate business programs and the nation's No. 6 online information technology degree.

The University of Texas at Dallas
Rank Degree program Notes
No. 4 (tie) Business Non-MBA graduate degrees in business may stand especially tall at the Dallas location of the University of Texas system, but the MBA program here is also ranked in the top 10 nationally.
West Texas A&M University
Rank Degree program Notes
No. 11 (tie) Bachelor's degrees Once business students at WTAMU are finished with their online bachelor's degree, they can move into a No. 12-ranked graduate business department that offers an MBA ranked in the national top 40.
Texas Tech University
Rank Degree program Notes
No. 11 (tie) Information technology

Texas Tech offers online students an array of other technical graduate degrees as well, in subjects such as healthcare engineering, horticulture, software engineering and instructional technology.

Industries and Degrees to get in Texas

Texas has experienced job growth in 15 of the past 16 months, according to the Texas Labor Market and Career Information Department (LMCI), and certain occupations in the state are poised to see especially rapid growth between 2014 and 2024. Here's a table of some of the fastest growing jobs in Texas, according to LMCI numbers, along with some contextual data from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

Texas: Promising industries, key employers
Statistician
Why it's hot
Degree information
As members of the fastest growing job category in Texas — 52.3 percent employment growth is projected by 2024, nearly 20 points faster than the national average — statisticians have a pretty high likelihood of strong employment chances. Not only are hundreds of jobs expected to open up across the state, but the BLS reported a comfortable statewide annual salary average of $77,740 in May 2015. Most statisticians study statistics directly at the master's level before finding work in the field, but degrees in mathematics, computer science or another field with a heavy quantitative emphasis may also qualify you for certain statistical jobs. If you're thinking to work toward a statistics career but haven't yet earned your bachelor's, try to pick up some traditional or online courses in linear algebra, experiment design, survey methodology, probability and other statistical principles.
Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
Why it's hot
Degree information
The health care field is experiencing an overall employment surge over the last several years, thanks to a generally aging population and expansions in access to care, and technical fields like sonography are leading the way in some states. Texas sonographers are forecast to see job growth of 45.5 percent between 2014 and 2024, nearly twice as much as the national projection, and the state's average sonographer's wage of $74,640 works out to nearly $4,000 more than the national mean. According to the BLS, an associate degree in diagnostic medical sonography is the most widely accepted educational requirement for the position. Some employers will accept the successful completion of a one-year certificate program and a qualifying amount of clinical experience in place of a full-fledged degree. What's more, the high demand for health technology jobs has led to an uptick in the availability of online programs in the field, so be sure to look into those if a traditional program doesn't fit into your schedule.
Biomedical Engineer
Why it's hot
Degree information
Biomedical engineers in Texas earned a median annual wage of $85,870 in 2015, according to the BLS, with the top 10 percent of earners taking home more than $124,600 for the year, and that's only the beginning of the state's impressive statistics on this cutting-edge occupation. Career opportunities in biomedical engineering are expected to increase 37 percent over the next several years, and multiple top universities in the state offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in the field. A bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering is typically necessary before you can be considered seriously as an employment candidate, but there are other avenues as well. It's also possible, according to the BLS, for graduates who pursued other disciplines of engineering during their bachelor's degree work to qualify for biomedical careers by pursuing post-baccalaureate coursework that helps to align their essential engineering skills with the particular demands, methods and technologies of the biomedical field.
Cartographer or Photogrammetrist
Why it's hot
Degree information
Real estate development and oil and gas extraction are two of the biggest industries in Texas, and accurate cartographic, aerial and satellite data can be a tremendous asset to companies in these industries looking to get big projects underway. Employment in this field is projected to increase 29 percent nationwide by 2024, which is no slouch, but the Texas career market expects a growth rate of 42 percent in the same period and reported a mean annual wage of $62,630 in May 2015. Both cartography and photogrammetry rely heavily on general principles of geography, and most bachelor's degrees that can lead to jobs in the field are likely to be offered through university geography departments. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, is becoming an essential part of the field, also, so some training in computer science can be an asset as well. Select institutions offer online certification programs in GIS and other fundamentals, to help working students who already hold a bachelor's degree but are looking to change careers.

Featured Online Schools in Texas

There are numerous nationally competitive traditional and online schools and colleges in Texas, and some of them offer degree programs that ranking agencies have found to be a cut above the rest. Here's a list of some of the top traditional and online programs in Texas:

Institution name
Online degrees?
Top Programs
The University of Texas at Austin
Business, accounting, information systems, marketing, finance, law, pharmacy, petroleum engineering, civil engineering, teacher education, public affairs, ecology, nursing, nursing administration, social work, computer science, chemistry, geology, economics, English, fine arts, Latin American history, library and information studies, mathematics, psychology, sociology, political science
Texas A&M University
Biological engineering, aeronautical engineering, nuclear engineering, petroleum engineering, Earth sciences, veterinary medicine, public administration, teacher education (on campus and online), mathematics, statistics, political science, economics, physics, chemistry, part-time law, clinical psychology, part-time MBA
Rice University
Computer science, biomedical engineering, business, Earth sciences, English, history, math, physics, statistics, chemistry, political science, economics, part-time MBA, biological sciences
Texas Tech University

Computer science, information technology (online), engineering (on campus and online), teacher education (on campus and online), Earth sciences, math, chemistry, physics, psychology, physician assisting, law

The University of Texas at Dallas
Audiology, speech-language pathology, graduate business (on campus and online), MBA (on campus and online), operations management, criminology, public affairs, political science, engineering
University of Houston

Teacher education (on campus and online), health care law, intellectual property law, pharmacy, social work, speech-language pathology, political science, math, fine arts

Sam Houston State University
Criminal justice (online), criminology, information technology (online), graduate business (on campus and online), MBA (online), teacher education (on campus and online)
Article Sources