Best Online Colleges in Alaska

by Blake Huggins

Updated August 15, 2022 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The best online colleges in Alaska offer multiple paths to degrees that prepare students to work in some of the state's top industries.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, online education offers new and returning learners flexibility while ensuring safety and health. In Alaska, organizations like the Society for Technology in Education support innovations and increased accessibility in online learning. The best online colleges in Alaska provide several ways for students to receive the training to pursue employment in the state.

This ranking lists programs using criteria like affordability, convenience, flexibility, quality of programming, and accreditation. This page explores some of the key benefits of online learning for Alaskans and highlights how earning online degrees in fields like business and science can prepare learners to land jobs after graduation.

The Best Online Colleges in Alaska

  1. University of Alaska Fairbanks

    Fairbanks, AK



    The University of Alaska Fairbanks, founded in 1917, is one of a handful of land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant colleges in the United States. The university also contributes to Oregon State University’s sun-grant program. The university offers 190 degree programs in over 120 disciplines. University of Alaska Fairbanks is home to nine academic schools.

    The university offers a variety of bachelor, master and associate’s degrees online, as well as a number of professional certificates and occupations endorsements. Bachelor’s degree offerings include business, criminal justice and homeland security. Available master’s degree programs include business and design. Obtainable associate’s degrees include arts and accounting, while available certificate programs include bookkeeping, medical billing and medical coding.

    Online students have access to an online information directory, writing center, math lab and two extensive collections of video tutorials on how to use various computer programs. Students also have access to online library services, including several academic journals and databases.

  2. University of Alaska Southeast

    Juneau, AK



    The University of Alaska Southeast was established when the University of Alaska Juneau, Islands Community College and Ketchikan Community College all unified in 1987. The University has nearly 4,000 students, 4 academic colleges, which are the colleges of arts and sciences, career education, management and education, 41 degree programs including undergraduate and graduate offerings, 18 certificate programs and 16 occupational endorsements.

    The University of Alaska Southeast’s online offerings cover a wide swath of academia. Online associate’s degree options include science, business administration and law enforcement. Available bachelor’s degrees include liberal arts, special education and human resources. The university provides master’s degrees in several subjects in education, as do many of its certification programs. It also offers occupational endorsements in finance and the maritime industry.

    Online students have access to a substantial database of academic journal articles online. They also have access to free online tutoring.

  3. University of Alaska Anchorage

    Anchorage, AK

    The University of Alaska Anchorage is a more recently established university founded in 1954. The campus includes these academic colleges: Education, health, arts and sciences, business, engineering and a technical college. It boasts over 15,000 students and features a 3 + 3 program for law school students.

    The University of Alaska Fairbanks currently offers 20 online degree programs, including associate, bachelor, and master’s degrees as well as certificate and post-baccalaureate programs, some of which have a face-to-face component. Associate’s degrees include general education and occupational health and safety. Certificates available online include corrections, medical coding and pharmacy. Available post-baccalaureate programs include psychiatry, education and nursing.

    Online students have access to Distance Student Services, which conducts online test proctoring and acts as an advocate and liaison for all online students. There is also online academic advising, tutoring, disability services, an online library and an article database.

  4. Alaska Pacific University

    Anchorage, AK



    Alaska Methodist University was founded in 1957 and restructured in 1978 to become Alaska Pacific University. Located on a 175-acre campus in a forested area of Anchorage, the school boasts proximity to the city's award-winning trail system. Just under 600 students attend APU, 250 of them undergraduates. Fewer students has resulted in smaller class sizes and a low 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.

    This online school in Alaska is currently expanding its distance learning options. Several APU programs offer online courses to serve the needs of working and rural students. APU created an 18-credit undergraduate certificate in rural management to build networks of leaders in Alaska's rural communities. This program features synchronous evening courses. APU also offers an online master's in counseling psychology and an online business degree.

Best Online Colleges

Online Alaska Colleges Ranking Guidelines

We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at, 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.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

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, 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.

Academics - 75%
Affordability - 15%
Online Enrollment - 10%

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 Alaska Colleges

Employment in Alaska

Major industries in Alaska include oil, fishing, and tourism, followed by other sectors like agriculture, mining, and timber. Several of the most common and highest-paying careers in the state are in these fields.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 30% of Alaskans hold college degrees. As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a mean annual wage of $61,760 for the state. This figure outpaces the national mean of $56,310 and correlates with the high cost of living index in Alaska, which is at 125.8. The national average cost of living index is 100.

The unemployment rate in Alaska is 6.6% as of June 2021, according to the BLS. Those numbers exceed the national unemployment rate for the same period by nearly one percentage point, but they reflect unprecedented conditions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following information explores the highest-paying roles employing more than 1,000 individuals in Alaska. Salary information applies specifically to Alaska, while job growth data pertains to the entire United States.

Highest-Paying Careers in Alaska
Career Annual Mean Salary (2020) Projected Job Growth (2020-2030) Education Required
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $180,100 13% Bachelor's
Chief Executives $166,360 8% Bachelor's
Medical and Health Services Managers $122,430 32% Bachelor's
Lawyers $116,440 9% Law Degree
Financial Managers $111,200 17% Bachelor's
General and Operations Managers $110,170 8% Bachelor's
Construction Managers $103,570 11% Bachelor's
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

The following data reflects the highest-paying roles employing more than 1,500 professionals in Alaska. Salary figures apply specifically to Alaska, while job growth data pertains to the United States as a whole.

Most Common Careers in Alaska
Career Annual Mean Salary (2020) Projected Job Growth (2020-2030) Education Required
General and Operations Managers $110,170 8% Bachelor's
Registered Nurses $95,270 9% Associate
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education $74,720 7% Bachelor's
Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists $86,700 6% Bachelor's
Accountants and Auditors $80,520 7% Bachelor's
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education $75,790 8% Bachelor's
First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers $88,420 -3% High School Diploma
Civil Engineers $100,160 8% Bachelor's
Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Associate Degrees and Community Colleges in Alaska

Alaska has two community colleges with options for online learning. Each school offers two-year programs in fields that align with some of the state's top industries. An online associate degree in hospitality or business, for example, could qualify students for entry-level work in the tourism or oil industries.

Online learning at this level continues to expand amid the pandemic, giving learners the opportunity to graduate, enter the workforce, and contribute to the state's economy. Individuals interested in further study or advancement can earn transfer credits to switch to four-year institutions throughout the state.

Online Graduate Degrees in Alaska

For students pursuing graduate-level study, the best online colleges in Alaska offer convenient pathways to further your career, especially in areas like science and engineering. Most schools deliver their coursework through learning methods that blend self-paced study with structured, interactive experiences with faculty and peers.

These schools feature several options for internships, practicums, and other capstone projects. Some may provide virtual lab experiences that simulate real-world work conditions, while others may work with students to identify work placements in their local areas.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Alaska

Is Online College Cheaper in Alaska?

Yes — in some cases. As an in-state resident, you may qualify for reduced tuition rates. Some of the best online colleges in Alaska offer flat-rate tuition for virtual programming.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Degree in Alaska?

Earning an online degree in Alaska takes less time than traditional, in-person instruction in most cases. You can earn an associate degree in about 18 months. Other degrees may take longer, but transfer credits can help you complete your studies faster.

What Is the Most Popular Degree in Alaska?

Business, science and engineering, and agriculture or environmental fields are some of the most common college majors in Alaska.

Portrait of Blake Huggins

Blake Huggins

Blake Huggins is a Boston-based writer and researcher with roots in north Texas and southern Oklahoma. He holds degrees in religion and philosophy and writes widely on higher education, healthcare, and the humanities broadly conceived. He earned a PhD from Boston University and has taught college courses in philosophy, writing, and composition.

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