The Best Online Colleges in Colorado 2021
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Studying online in Colorado can simultaneously open up prospects in your career and in the great outdoors.
Online colleges in Colorado offer undergraduate and graduate degrees on a flexible, convenient schedule. Students may also find an online degree more affordable than on-campus options.
Online students can study through one of the four campuses within the University of Colorado (CU) System or through Colorado State University (CSU), which offers online programs through CSU-Global. CSU-Global is as the first independent, fully online public university in the United States. Online students can also attend technical and two-year institutions.
Online colleges in Colorado provide educational programs in disciplines that align with the state's employment needs and opportunities. Manufacturing, health and wellness, and outdoor recreation are all big employers in the state, so many online programs in Colorado cater to those sectors.
The rankings below offer insight into what the best online colleges in Colorado are and how they can work for you.
|#1||Colorado State University-Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO|
|#2||University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO|
|#3||University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO|
|#4||Colorado Mesa University Grand Junction, CO|
|#5||Metropolitan State University of Denver Denver, CO|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Colleges in Colorado
Online Colleges in Colorado Ranking Guidelines
We selected the online schools in Colorado based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, and faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.
Employment in Colorado
With 14 major industrial sectors, Colorado offers employment opportunities across academic disciplines. Half of the top industries in Colorado incorporate an aspect of STEM, while recreation and tourism careers are also popular. Colorado ranked in the top five of states for start-up activity in 2015, and it is the top employer in the private aerospace sector in the United States.
While the cost of living index in Colorado is above the national average, health, grocery, and utility costs are comparable with those found throughout the United States. Housing remains the top expense for individuals living in Colorado — a cost that varies by region.
In Colorado, unemployment remained relatively consistent through 2020, topping out at 7% in August. In January 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported unemployment was down to 6.6%.
Below are a few of the highest paying roles employing more than 2,500 individuals in Colorado. Salary information applies specifically to Colorado, while job growth data pertains to the United States as a whole.
|Career||Annual Mean Salary (2020)||Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)||Education Required|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$178,120||3%||Bachelor's|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$118,220||10%||Bachelor's|
The following data reflects the highest paying roles employing more than 10,000 professionals in Colorado. Salary figures apply specifically to Colorado, 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||$144,390||4%||Bachelor's|
Online Associate and Graduate Degrees
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges and universities have expanded online education options for students. This holds true for undergraduate and graduate learners alike. Online colleges in Colorado offer programs that mirror on-campus degrees. Some online programs incorporate hybrid components to supplement online coursework or include both asynchronous and synchronous learning options.
Common online associate degrees in Colorado include business administration, management, accounting, and health administration services. The foundational knowledge and skills built through an online associate degree can prepare graduates for entry-level careers, like accounting assistant and office manager. Colorado students can earn statewide guaranteed transfer degrees in areas such as biology, economics, and English — ideal for individuals who plan to transfer to a bachelor's program.
Online graduate programs in Colorado tend to correspond with the top industries in the state. This meets the needs of working professionals, traditional students, and employers in the state. For example, CSU-Global offers online master's degrees in 10 areas, including agricultural sciences, communication, business, and engineering.
Similarly, students at CU Online can earn online master's degrees in areas like business analytics, nursing, and information systems. Master's degrees in management and organization, financial and risk management, and supply chain management prepare individuals for top-paying and in-demand roles, like construction manager and management analyst.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best colleges in Colorado include public schools, like the CU and CSU systems, and private institutions, like the University of Denver.
Colorado is home to good two- and four-year colleges. Specialized technical institutions include the Colorado School of Mines and the United States Air Force Academy.
Online programs in Colorado typically hold accreditation through their host institutions' regional or national accreditation status. Learners should also check to see if individual programs have specialized accreditation.
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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