Online Schools in Texas
You've probably heard the saying, "Everything is bigger in Texas." And it's true, but not just from a geographical standpoint — in a lot of ways, it also applies to college options and job opportunities.
Texas is long past its days of being home to just cowboys. It's the second-largest (after Alaska), second-most populous (after California) state in the United States, and it's filled with top-notch colleges and career opportunities in many fields. If you're considering attending college, you have lots of options for getting an education between the wide array of four-year schools and community colleges in Texas. Plus, there are plenty of companies you can aspire to work for after graduation, from NASA to Dell.
To find out about different options for studying and working in Texas, check out the different sections of this guide:
• Online education
• Major industries & cities
• What degrees to get in Texas
• Texas colleges
One of the great things about getting an education in Texas is you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to options. Texas has more colleges than almost anywhere, and among those schools, there's a major that suits pretty much everyone. That includes prospective students who either prefer or need distance-learning options. Texas is a great state for online education — and here's why.
1. Variety & affordability
Many colleges in Texas offer either fully online degrees or hybrid programs, which include some online and some traditional, campus-based courses. If you attend one of these colleges as a Texas resident, you'll likely receive in-state tuition. And even if you get an online degree from a school based elsewhere, such as Arizona State University, you still get to enjoy Texas' lack of income tax and low unemployment rate, both of which can be a huge boost for working students.
Plus, with the Lone Star State's array of towns, cities and landscapes, there's a place in Texas for everyone, making it a great place to live in general.
Need more proof of the educational options here? Check out this map of all the schools located in Texas, based on 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics. It can help prospective students locate campuses near them and start identifying which Texas schools they're interested in exploring for online, hybrid or traditional degrees. (Mobile users will need to visit the full Schools.com site to see the map.)
2. Flexibility (and no traffic)
The beauty of online education is that you can complete the work wherever and often whenever you want. And while Texas has many campus options, you can avoid the traffic in the bigger cities by being an online student. Austin, Dallas and Houston are among the worst traffic cities in the United States, according to INRIX Traffic Scorecard. Win for online students!
There are plenty of great online colleges in Texas. A number of well-regarded colleges offer degrees fully online, including West Texas A&M University, the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Tyler.
Many of these degrees can be completed online or on campus, in case you decide to eventually attend college on campus. You can earn degrees entirely online at the undergraduate and graduate level at any of these schools, in subjects ranging from organizational leadership to English.
Pretty much every kind of industry has a presence in Texas. But there are some subjects that may be more beneficial to study in Texas than others, especially if you plan to stay after graduation.
Many types of businesses thrive here, and anyone who knows anything about Texas' economy is familiar with the state's oil industry. But that's far from the only option for a career track. According to the Texas section of Business Climate, which is sponsored by the state Economic Development & Tourism Division, some of the top industries include:
- Agriculture and food production
- Biotechnology and life sciences
- Communications and information technology
- Aerospace and aviation
- Sports and recreation
- Plastics and chemicals
- Film production
In addition, many large national or international companies within those industries are based in Texas. According to a report from the Economic Development & Tourism Division, the five largest companies overall headquartered here are:
- Exxon Mobil Corp.
- Phillips 66
- Valero Energy Corp.
- AT&T Corp.
The five largest private companies headquartered in Texas are:
- Dell Inc.
- H.E.B. Grocery Company
- Michaels Stores, Inc.
- Gulf States Toyota, Inc.
- Republic National Distributing Company
Because the Lone Star State is so large — around 269,000 square miles, incidentally — it has several major urban areas that have their own economic strengths as well. These are the four biggest cities in Texas and their major industries, according to Forbes:
- Houston: This is the largest city in Texas and the fourth largest in the United States. Located in the southeastern region of the state, Houston's major industries are energy, aerospace & defense and bio-science.
- San Antonio: The major industries in San Antonio, which is located in southwestern Texas, are defense, health care and tourism. Downtown San Antonio has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, and the city is becoming popular among tourists.
- Dallas: The major industries in Dallas, which is located in north-central Texas, are technology, financial services and defense. The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area rivals Houston for population, and it has the sixth-largest economy in the U.S.
- Austin: Austin is the state capital, which means there are a number of government jobs available. In addition to that, the major industries in Austin include technology, pharmaceutical and biotechnology. It's also a great city for students and one of the most popular destinations in the state.
Among the many schools in Texas are options for nearly every type of degree, and all of them have their own appeal. But given the state's thriving industries, here are five fields of study especially worth checking out:
Because biotechnology is such a major field in Texas, earning a degree in it can help make you an attractive candidate for local jobs. And you better believe it: there are plenty of colleges in Texas that offer the degree, at the undergraduate and graduate level.
There's no way around Texas' major technology industry, making computer science graduates among the most sought-after in the state. All the major universities in the state offer the degree, and it's also well-suited to distance learning, meaning it's available through many of the online universities Texas students can attend.
Texas ranks No. 1 nationally for jobs in the air transportation industry, employing hundreds of thousands of people.
According to the Economic Development & Tourism Division of the governor's office, Texas ranks No. 1 nationally for jobs in the air transportation industry, employing hundreds of thousands of people. That makes studying it in Texas all the more useful.
Information technology (IT) is one of the top industries in the state, which means, hello job opportunities after graduation! Apple recently expanded its campus in Texas, software makers are headquartered here, and the large energy companies often boast their own data centers. The defense industry may offer opportunities for IT grads as well.
According to the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas leads the U.S. in cotton, hay, cattle, sheep, goats and mohair production, and in the number of ranches and farms located in the state. So if you want to join that industry, it'd be wise to study for it in Texas, where there may be the potential for hands-on training during your education.
Although there are several great community colleges in Texas, there are several incredible four-year colleges and universities worth checking out. These are just five examples of top-quality universities based in the Lone Star State.
University of Texas
The University of Texas System, with its 10 universities and six health institutions, is one of the largest in the country. The flagship campus — the University of Texas at Austin — is one of the top public colleges in America, ranked No. 53 in America by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, several of its business and engineering programs are in the top 10. There's just no going wrong with UT, no matter what you want to study.
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest in the world, with more than 125,000 students across its 11 universities, health science center and online. Its flagship campus is in College Station, praised for its school spirit and ranked No. 68 for public colleges in America by U.S. News & World Report. Go Aggies!
Texas is full of educational options, including 160 four-year institutions and 178 community colleges, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Texas Tech University, located in Lubbock, has more than 35,000 students and a strong research tradition in subjects such as epidemiology, power and wind energy, and atmospheric sciences. But don't be deceived by the name: It's not all tech. The school has an especially strong business program. And you'll get to experience small-town Texas, as well as one of the beautiful Spanish Renaissance-inspired architecture.
University of Houston
The University of Houston System has four universities, mostly in and around Houston. Its flagship campus, located downtown, has more than 30,000 students and boasts an 82.8 percent satisfaction rate among them, according to U.S. News & World Report. It also ranks No. 1 nationally for the best online graduate education programs, according to U.S. News.
Baylor University is a private university located in Waco, about halfway between Dallas and Austin. There are more than 270 student organizations and an emphasis on student research. Baylor has an especially strong biology program and is ranked No. 71 for best national universities by U.S. News & World Report. It also has several highly rated programs, including graduate degrees in health care management (No. 11 nationally) and physical therapy (No. 5 nationally).
Interested in finding out more about educational opportunities in Texas? Contact institutions that interest you, or try using the SchoolFinder to see which colleges offer the degree you're looking for, whether it's online or on-campus.
1. Texas: Top Industries, Business Climate, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, http://businessclimate.com/texas-economic-development/top-industries
2. Places: Texas, Forbes.com, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/places/tx/
3. Traffic Scorecard, INRIX, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, http://www.inrix.com/scorecard/
4. "Top State Income Tax Rates in 2014," Lyman Stone, Joseph Henchman and Richard Borean, Tax Foundation, April 24, 2014, http://taxfoundation.org/blog/top-state-income-tax-rates-2014
5. Texas A&M University System, http://www.tamus.edu/
6. Texas Ag Stats, Texas Department of Agriculture, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, https://www.texasagriculture.gov/About/TexasAgStats.aspx
7. "The Largest Companies Headquartered in Texas," Texas Wide Open for Business, Office of the Governor: Economic Development and Tourism Division, 2014, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, http://gov.texas.gov/files/ecodev/Texas_Largest_Companies.pdf
8. "The Texas Aviation and Aerospace Industry," Texas Wide Open for Business, Office of the Governor: Economic Development and Tourism Division, 2014, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, http://gov.texas.gov/files/ecodev/Aerospace_Report.pdf
9. "The Texas IT Services Industry," Texas Wide Open for Business, Office of the Governor: Economic Development and Tourism Division, 2013, Accessed March 4, 2015, https://texaswideopenforbusiness.com/sites/default/files/11/13/14/it_report.pdf
10. University of Houston System, http://www.uhsystem.edu/
11. University of Texas System, http://www.utsystem.edu/
12. Online Education, University of Texas at Tyler, https://www.uttyler.edu/online/
13. Economy at a Glance: Texas, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Accessed Jan. 9, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.tx.htm
14. Best Colleges, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed March 4, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges
15. Distance Education, West Texas A&M University, http://www.wtamu.edu/academics/distance-education.aspx