Online Schools in Utah

Hybrid and Online Degree Programs: Accessible Education

Utah students pursuing a postsecondary education have a wide range of options when it comes to selecting a degree or discipline. However, the majority of postsecondary institutions in the state of Utah are located near densely-populated areas, including Provo and Salt Lake City. As a result, students may want to turn to non-campus based alternatives to seek their degrees.

Fortunately, many new and growing opportunities can be found through online schools in Utah. Online and hybrid degree programs can benefit students living in rural areas of the state, helping remove geographic restrictions and breaking down barriers to higher education. Online degrees in Utah may also be beneficial to students seeking job skills or the postsecondary training that can be advantageous in procuring a job.

Distance Learning Can Help Fill Utah Jobs

Utah online colleges can help prepare students to fill high-growth positions in the state. Offerings from Weber State University (weber.edu), based in Ogden, include an online Bachelor’s of Science in Health Information Management that gives opportunities for health practitioners, students in health disciplines and others to prepare themselves for managerial, technical and health promotion roles in both traditional and nontraditional health care settings. Coursework may include the study of biomedical research, epidemiology, health communication and health care systems analysis. The occupational field is expected to grow by 36 percent from 2008 to 2018 in Utah, according to CareerOneStop (careerinfo.net), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. This may be because of the need to covert medical records to digital format and an increasing need for individuals trained in healthcare administration.

Aiming to fill roles in the aviation industry, Provo-based Utah Valley University (uvu.edu) has established an online Bachelor’s of Science in Aviation program. Within this degree, students can choose from two specializations: 1) the aviation administration emphasis targeted toward those interested in managerial careers or non-fixed wing flight training and 2) the professional pilot emphasis aimed at those wanting to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. Online students who choose the professional pilot specialization can select any flight school near their home location to compete their in-flight training. Students considering this field may want to know that positions for airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers are expected to grow by 11 percent in Utah from 2008 to 2108, according to CareerOneStop. As well, occupational growth for commercial pilots in the state from 2008 to 2018 in Utah is predicted to increase by 24 percent.

Online Degree Programs: Educating Working Professionals

Many online degree programs are designed with working professionals in mind, allowing them to advance their education while maintaining full-time employment. Utah State University (usu.edu), in Logan, offers a hybrid Master’s of Engineering degree program that is geared toward working engineers. While coursework is completed online, the program includes set times for student participation through communication software that allows for real-time interaction. Through this program, students can choose to specialize in either computer engineering or electrical engineering that can prepare them for careers in computer systems design, electrical component engineering or software publishing. CareerOneStop projects job positions for electrical engineers in Utah may increase by 12 percent percent between 2010 and 2020. Comparatively speaking, the projected nationwide occupation growth for the field is just 7 percent.

Utah’s Largest Universities Lack Distance Learning Programs

Utah’s two largest universities – the University of Utah and Brigham Young University – currently offer online courses, but neither institution has a full selection of online degree programs in place. BYU, located in Provo, does offer a Bachelor’s of General Studies through its continuing education department. Students can complete their degree in a variety of ways including through distance learning that is not location dependent, but that may require an occasional appearance at an approved testing site. The lack of both undergraduate and graduate online degree programs at these schools can keep students from pursuing their education goals at these postsecondary institutions. Since these universities are largely confined to on-campus instruction, other online colleges in Utah may help to fill the educational gap by catering to students remotely.

Industries for Job Growth in Utah

Nearly 1.3 million working professionals were employed in Utah in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2012). The state’s leading employment industry was trade, transportation and utilities, which accounted for more than 239,000 jobs. Government positions made up approximately 221,000 jobs, making it the second-highest industry for employment in Utah.

Utah online colleges can assist individuals looking for career opportunities in marketing and psychology—two primary areas of job growth in the state. CareerOneStop estimates jobs for marketing research analysts and marketing specialists could increase by 38 percent in Utah from 2008 to 2018. Likewise, jobs for mental health counselors in Utah are projected to undergo a strong growth of 44 percent from 2008 to 2018. Career growth for clinical counseling and school psychologists in Utah could increase 26 percent during that time. Online coursework, available through departments such as Continuing Education with the University of Utah, could be helpful to obtaining knowledge in these fields.

Sources:
State of Utah
Utah State University
Weber State University
Utah Valley University
University of Utah
Brigham Young University
Utah Department of Workforce Services, Utah Occupation Projections 2010-2020, 2010
CareerOneStop, Commercial Pilots: Utah
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah Economy at a Glance, 2012

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