The Best Online Colleges in Kentucky | TheBestSchools
Updated August 22, 2022
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Home to outstanding private and public institutions of higher learning, Kentucky offers online programs that meet the needs of employers around the world.
Earning an online bachelor's degree in Kentucky is a convenient, flexible option for first-year and returning students. Working professionals and individuals looking to change career paths also benefit from the programs found at accredited online colleges in Kentucky. Kentucky offers undergraduate and graduate programs through roughly 70 community and technical colleges and universities.
Nationally ranked schools, like University of Kentucky (UK) and University of Louisville (UofL), provide online undergraduate and graduate degrees in healthcare, manufacturing, and technical fields. Other leading colleges and universities in Kentucky have outstanding academic programs that train enrollees for careers in the automotive industry, agritechnology, and aerospace design and production.
Local students at online colleges in Kentucky benefit from the state's low cost of living, historic parks, and sports and music traditions. This guide ranks the best online colleges in Kentucky and provides salary and career data.
|#1||University of Louisville Louisville, KY|
|#2||Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY|
|#3||Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY|
|#4||Brescia University Owensboro, KY|
|#5||Asbury University Wilmore, KY|
|#6||Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY|
|#7||Midway University Midway, KY|
|#8||University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY|
|#9||Murray State University Murray, KY|
|#10||Campbellsville University Campbellsville, KY|
Featured Online Schools
The Best Online Colleges in Kentucky
Online Colleges in Kentucky 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.
Employment in Kentucky
The top industries in Kentucky include manufacturing, healthcare, and agritechnology. Kentucky also hosts major aerospace and automotive design and assembly plants, which provide thousands of local jobs each year.
Kentucky has received $555 million in investments into the healthcare industry since 2014, adding nearly 6,500 jobs. Manufacturing companies in the commonwealth maintain facilities across Kentucky, while its location makes it a hub for logistics and distribution services that span the country.
The Kentucky unemployment rate continues to decline as COVID-related restrictions ease. The unemployment rate in Kentucky reached 5% in March 2021, which is close to the pre-COVID low of 4.1% in January 2020. The mean annual wage in Kentucky was about $46,000 in May 2020, with those in managerial and administrative positions earning higher pay.
The cost of living in Kentucky sits significantly lower than the national average. While the overall cost of living index is 83.6 (based on a national average of 100), residents benefit from a housing cost index at 63.3 and lower-than-average expenses for transportation, utilities, groceries, and healthcare.
The following information details the highest-paying roles in Kentucky employing more than 1,000 individuals that are available to bachelor's degree-holders. Salary information is specific to Kentucky, while job growth data pertains to the United States as a whole.
|Career||Annual Median Salary (2020)||Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)|
|Architectural and Engineering Managers||$123,620||3%|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$122,360||10%|
The following data reflects the highest-paying roles employing more than 15,000 professionals in Kentucky. Salary figures apply specifically to Kentucky, while job growth data refers to the entire United States.
|Career||Annual Mean Salary (2020)||Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)||Education Required|
|General and Operations Managers||$92,650||6%||Bachelor's|
|Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives||$69,130||2%||High School Diploma or Bachelor's Degree|
|Project Management Specialists||$71,880||6%||Bachelor's|
|First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers||$62,610||0%||High School Diploma|
|Accountants and Auditors||$70,710||4%||Bachelor's|
Online Associate and Graduate Degrees
An online associate degree prepares students to continue on to bachelor's degrees, and bachelor's degrees provide a pathway to graduate programs. With the transition to online-only education during the COVID-19 pandemic, online degrees have expanded in scope and breadth.
Students can access over 140 online degree programs through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Online associate degrees include business administration programs with tracks in human resource management and general management.
Learners can also earn online associate degrees in criminal justice, with concentrations in corrections, law enforcement, or security and loss prevention. Additional online associate degrees include logistics and operations management and medical information technology, both of which align with careers in Kentucky's major industries.
Online graduate programs integrate synchronous and asynchronous components to meet the needs of learners from diverse backgrounds. For example, prospective students looking to earn an online master's degree in business administration can apply to Western Kentucky University (WKU) or UK. The criminal justice online master's degree at UofL allows enrollees to explore criminal punishment, cybercrime, and juvenile justice.
Accreditation for Online Programs of Study
Always ensure that your prospective school holds national or regional accreditation. Accreditation attests to the quality and types of programs an institution offers. This recognition is important for all programs, including those found online.
Students should look into the accreditation status of potential institutions as they explore their options. Accreditation status can affect financial aid, transfer opportunities, and reputability to potential employers. National accreditation often indicates a school provides more technical and career-oriented programs, while regional accreditation is conferred to institutions with more academically rigorous offerings.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the Best College in Kentucky?
The best college is the one that meets your needs for personal fulfillment and professional growth. However, University of Louisiana and University of Kentucky rank among the best state programs.
Which Public Colleges Are in Kentucky?
Kentucky is home to public colleges such as University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Kentucky State University. Additional public colleges include Western Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Murray State University.
Is Kentucky a Good Place to Go to School?
Colleges and universities in Kentucky offer outstanding academic programs. If its schools provide programs that suit your personal and professional aspirations, Kentucky is a great place to be.
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