The Best Online Colleges in Alabama
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Alabama is home to some of the best online colleges in the country. These schools meet the needs of students and top employment sectors alike.
The best online colleges in Alabama provide opportunities for students to earn affordable and accessible degrees. Home to institutions that offer online associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees, Alabama colleges and universities foster innovation and growth within its technology and transportation sectors.
Schools in the University of Alabama (UA) System rank among the top online colleges in the state. Additional public institutions like Auburn accompany private historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Alabama. Despite relatively high tuition rates, schools within the UA system did not increase costs for students during the 2021-2022 year.
To find out more about the best online colleges in Alabama, along with their academic offerings and available student resources, scroll down for our rankings.
The Best Online DEGREE Programs
Online DEGREE Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.
The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.
Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.
Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.
We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.
In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.
If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.
We thank you for your readership and trust.
Featured Online DEGREE Programs
Employment in Alabama
With about 25% of the population in Alabama possessing a college degree, students who pursue higher education can stand out in the state's job market. Individuals looking to work at large corporations, small businesses, or as entrepreneurs can thrive in Alabama.
Top industries in Alabama include aerospace and aviation, agriculture, and transportation. Alabama is also home to specialized enterprises in cybersecurity, corporate operations, and distribution.
Additional benefits of working and living in Alabama include its cost of living index of 82.3. With the national average at 100, housing costs in Alabama fall well below those around the country, at just under 56. Transportation, groceries, and miscellaneous expenses similarly land below the national average.
Unemployment in Alabama saw a steady decline in early 2021, reaching a rate of 3.3% as of June 2021. The mean annual wage in Alabama sits at nearly $47,000, but managerial positions report wages of more than twice that figure. These figures indicate a strong outlook for individuals with college degrees in the state.
The following figures include the highest-paying roles employing more than 1,000 individuals in Alabama. Salary information applies specifically to Alabama, while job growth data pertains to the United States as a whole.
|Career||Annual Mean Salary (2020)||Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)||Education Required|
|Physicians and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric||$213,410||3%||Doctorate|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$150,770||4%||Bachelor's|
|Personal Financial Advisors||$133,020||5%||Bachelor's|
The data below reflects the highest-paying roles employing more than 6,000 professionals in Alabama. Salary figures apply specifically to Alabama, while job growth data refers to the United States as a whole.
|Career||Annual Mean Salary (2020)||Projected Job Growth (2020-2030)||Education Required|
|General and Operations Managers||$121,800||8%||Bachelor's|
|Accountants and Auditors||$71,940||7%||Bachelor's|
|Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers||$102,920||22%||Bachelor's|
|Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists||$89,390||6%||Bachelor's|
|Medical and Health Services Managers||$93,330||32%||Bachelor's|
|Insurance Sales Agents||$82,340||7%||High School Diploma|
Online Associate Degrees and Community Colleges in Alabama
Alabama's extensive community college system includes 24 schools throughout the state. Many community colleges have expanded online opportunities due to limitations and challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each community college in Alabama offers associate degrees that can lead to employment opportunities. Additional transfer options feature pathways to earning four-year degrees. Community colleges in Alabama also offer job training and certification programs, adult learning opportunities, and dual-enrollment coursework.
Top associate degrees in Alabama include business, engineering, and law enforcement. Individual programs vary, but the overall outcomes meet the employment needs of the state.
Online Graduate Degrees in Alabama
Online graduate programs provide an affordable, convenient option for working professionals who want to advance their education and employment opportunities. Earning an online graduate degree can also facilitate a career change. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities have expanded their online offerings to meet the needs of their students.
Online graduate degrees at schools within the UA System span disciplines like communication, education, and business — comparable to those found at institutions throughout Alabama. The University of West Alabama offers a one-year online MBA, and the University of South Alabama offers five online master's degrees in education.
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Alabama
Is Online College Cheaper in Alabama?
The cost of online college in Alabama is comparable to tuition in other states. Resident learners benefit from lower tuition rates than their non-resident counterparts at some schools, but many institutions provide the same tuition to in-state and out-of-state learners.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Degree in Alabama?
The length of an online program in Alabama depends on the type of degree. Students can earn associate degrees in two years, bachelor's degrees in four years, and master's degrees in two years or less.
What Is the Most Popular Degree in Alabama?
The science and engineering disciplines rank among the most popular college degrees in Alabama. Business is the second-most popular major in Alabama.
Melissa Sartore holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her BA and MA in history are from Western Illinois University. A medievalist by training, she has published on outlawry in medieval England with additional publications on outlaws in popular culture and across geographic and historical boundaries.
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