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Online Degrees in Connecticut (CT)

A recent report from the Lumina Foundation shows that educational attainment in Connecticut is much higher than the national average. According to the study, 47.8 percent of Connecticut adults ages 25-64 held a two-year degree or better in 2013, compared to just 40 percent of the adult population nationwide.

Furthermore, many Connecticut residents have reached greater heights in higher education than just an associate degree. As the Lumina study, aptly named A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, points out, only 8.07 percent of Connecticut residents actually had an associate degree in 2013, while 22.54 percent possessed a bachelor's degree and 17.19 percent held a graduate or professional degree.

But even with this high level of educational attainment, Connecticut still has room for improvement. According to the statistics, 25.56 percent of Connecticut adults in 2013 only had a high school diploma, and another 18.31 percent had some college experience, but no degree.

Fortunately, there are plenty of schools in Connecticut for degree-seeking students to choose from. Specifically, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 103 colleges, universities, trade schools, and technical schools currently call the state home. While some of these institutions focus only on traditional education, others offer distance learning and online degree options. Check out the guide below for more information on earning a degree in Connecticut.

  1. Why Should I Earn a Degree in Connecticut?
  2. What Makes Connecticut Ideal for Online Education?
  3. Top 10 Degrees in Connecticut
  4. Top Cities for Connecticut College Students
  5. College Roadmap
  6. Scholarships and Financial Aid
  7. Discover Degree Opportunities

Why Should I Earn a Degree in Connecticut?

In addition to plenty of educational opportunities, Connecticut also boasts a healthy job market brimming with in-demand positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut's workforce was made up of 1,646,510 individuals in 2014, with a mean annual wage of $55,060.

Although many careers in the state are promising, some jobs for college graduates offer higher pay and higher rates of employment than others. Here is a list of the most prominent jobs for degree holders in Connecticut in 2014:

Occupation

Number of Workers in 2014

Mean Annual Wage in 2014

Registered Nurses

33,780

$76,370

General and Operations Managers

31,660

$141,750

Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education

16,510

$70,820

Accountants and Auditors

15,020

$77,020

Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education

14,580

$70,240

Financial Managers

13,130

$140,980

Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education

9,850

$71,690

Management Analysts

9,480

$93,880

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

8,750

$55,170

Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics

8,600

$43,070

While these careers are certainly promising, jobs in some of Connecticut's other key industries offer plenty of potential as well. Major industries in Connecticut currently include advanced manufacturing, bioscience, digital media, green technology, and insurance and financial services. Connecticut's bioscience industry alone was responsible 500,000 jobs in 800 separate businesses in 2014. Meanwhile, when it comes to advanced manufacturing, nearly 4,500 separate businesses employed over 164,000 private sector workers that same year.

These and other businesses are spread out across the state, however many are huddled around Connecticut's major metropolitan regions, particularly the Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic metro area and the Norwich-New London metro area. Due to its close proximity to New York and Massachusetts, parts of Connecticut also fall in the New York and Greater Boston metropolitan areas.

With so many big cities, it's no wonder that Connecticut is home to many top colleges and universities. The University of Connecticut System, with five regional campuses statewide, boasted a total enrollment of 31,119 students during the fall 2014 semester. Meanwhile, other large schools in the state such as Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University, Post University, and Yale University all raise the bar when it comes to high quality, traditional education.

Additionally, a handful of colleges and universities in Connecticut offer online and hybrid learning options to students both in the state and beyond. These schools include Southern Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University, and Quinnipiac University, among others.

Connecticut also features a fully-online school, Charter Oak State College, which is located in New Britain. According to Ed Klonoski, President of Charter Oak State College, having a public online college is a huge advantage for Connecticut students. This is partly because the school specializes in transfer students, which most adults are, but also because Charter Oak offers some of the best credit transfer options out there in addition to an incredibly high standard for instruction.

This way, says Klonoski, "working adults can use more of their previous coursework as well as getting credit for learning they gained on the job or through their military service." To make online education in Connecticut even more accessible, the school also offers programs year-round.

In addition to a bustling economy, plenty of job prospects, and an established infrastructure for both traditional and online education, Connecticut also offers close proximity to a handful of the nation's most visited landmarks, beautiful bodies of water and natural scenery, and a wide range of recreational activities for all ages. Here are some additional facts about the state you probably didn't know:

  • Love nature? Nearly 60 percent of Connecticut is covered in forest. The state also features 332 miles of coastline, including bays, harbors and coves.
  • Fishing is big business in Connecticut. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, over 400,000 individuals spend nearly $300,000,000 to fish in the state each year.
  • Although Connecticut is 48th in terms of size in the United States, it's fourth in population density. An amazing 739 people inhabited each square mile of Connecticut on average in 2014.
  • Connecticut got the nickname "The Nutmeg State" after its residents became known for selling wooden nutmegs in place of real ones to buyers.
  • Connecticut is home to the largest maritime museum in the world, Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea.

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What Makes Connecticut Ideal for Online Education?

Although Connecticut might not seem like a state that would invest in online education, that couldn't be further from the truth. According to Klonoski, Connecticut is actually the perfect setting for online college due to local demographics and the number of working adults in the state who choose to pursue higher education later in life.

"The primary audience for the state's online offerings is working adults, and their reason for choosing to pursue higher education online has little to do with technology," says Klonoski. "The driver for their degree is career advancement, and they choose online programs because online programs save them time."

In a densely-populated state like Connecticut, the allure of flexible degrees that can be completed from the comfort of one's home is very strong. And as Klonoski notes, online education in Connecticut is, simply put, a huge time-saver.

"The time to drive to school, park the car, attend class, and then drive home is just impossible when combined with the responsibilities associated with family life and employment," he says. "So Connecticut has grown its online offerings in service of adult students who are chasing education goals that improve their income, but who must integrate that learning into busy adult lives."

Because distance learning in Connecticut has become so popular, Klonoski notes that the state recently enrolled an additional 500 online students in a very short period through a state program called Go Back to Get Ahead.

"The program encouraged adults to take advantage of a special offer of up to three free courses to help them complete their degrees," explains Klonoski, adding that "over 1,500 enrolled, and 500 of those chose to finish their degrees online with Charter Oak State College."

That just goes to show how important -- and how popular -- online education has become in Connecticut. In a state where adults need higher education to move forward in their respective careers, online degrees are opening the door for more people to get ahead.

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Top 10 Degrees in Connecticut

Although many on-campus and online degrees in Connecticut could prove to be a wise investment, some may pay off more than others. Using data from the Connecticut Department of Labor, we compiled this list of top degrees and related careers for Connecticut college students:

Foreign Language

Many students who earn a degree in a foreign language go on to work as an interpreter or translator. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, employment for interpreters and translators could increase by as much as 43.1 percent in Connecticut from 2012 to 2022. High wages also add to the value of this degree. As of 2014, interpreters and translators in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $49,624. If you're interested in learning more, check out these Connecticut schools:

  • Southern Connecticut State University
  • Connecticut College
  • Sacred Heart University

Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Majoring in diagnostic medical sonography can help you begin a fast-paced career in this growing field. According to the most recent predictions, job openings for diagnostic medical sonographers are expected to increase 38.3 percent in Connecticut from 2012 to 2022. And along with this above average job growth comes a pretty big pay check. As of 2014, diagnostic medical sonographers in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $76,179. The following schools can help you get started:

  • Quinnipiac University
  • Gateway Community College
  • American Institute

Physical Therapy Assistant

A degree in physical therapy assisting from an accredited school can help you begin a career as a licensed physical therapy assistant. And according to Connecticut Department of Labor data, this degree could pay off. Specifically, they predict that employment of physical therapy assistants in the state could increase by as much as 37.4 percent from 2012 to 2022. Even better, these workers pulled in a mean annual wage of $53,504 in Connecticut in 2014. Learn more by checking out these schools:

  • Naugatuck Valley Community College
  • Manchester Community College
  • Capital Community College

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Earning a degree in occupational therapy assisting is the best way to find work as an assistant to a licensed occupational therapist. As with almost all jobs in health care, this career is in demand. According to government data, job openings for these professionals could increase by as much as 35.4 percent in Connecticut from 2012 to 2022. A high mean annual wage of $61,107 in 2014 also adds to the value of this degree. The following Connecticut schools offer top-notch programs in the field:

  • Lincoln College of New England
  • Goodwin College
  • Housatonic Community College

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants perform a wide range of functions under the supervision of a licensed physician. And by earning a degree in the field, you could enter a profession that is expected to see 32.3 percent growth in Connecticut from 2012 to 2022. Even better, physician assistants in the state earned a mean annual wage of $108,251 in 2014. These Connecticut schools can help you learn more about this degree:

  • Sacred Heart University
  • University of Bridgeport
  • University of Connecticut

Statistics

With a degree in statistics, you could begin a career in logistics and supply, or as a statistician. The latter option is expected to see huge growth in Connecticut over the coming years, specifically a 31.2 percent increase in employment from 2012 to 2022. If you're interested in pursuing a degree in statistics, these schools can help:

  • University of Connecticut
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Quinnipiac University

Audiology

A degree in audiology can help you find work as an audiologist, a health care professional who deals with medical issues surrounding hearing loss and ear health. Due to growing demand in this field, job openings for audiologists in Connecticut are expected to increase 30 percent from 2012 to 2022. Furthermore, these professionals earned a mean annual wage of $79,313 in 2014. The following Connecticut schools offer audiology programs:

  • University of Connecticut
  • Southern Connecticut State University

Hospitality Management

Majoring in hospitality management could lead to a number of fast-paced careers in the hotel and lodging industry, including meeting, convention, and event planner. Because conventions continue to pour into Connecticut, employment of these professionals is expected to surge by as much as 29.5 percent from 2012 to 2022. A mean annual wage of $62,491 in 2014 also adds to the value proposition of this career path. If you want to learn more about degrees in hospitality management, check out these schools:

  • Lincoln College of New England
  • Gateway Community College
  • Southern Connecticut State University

Veterinary Technology

If you love animals, a degree in veterinary technology might be the perfect fit. Veterinary technologists and technicians assist licensed veterinarians in treating sick or injured animals by performing laboratory tests, administering medications, and preparing patients for surgery. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, employment of veterinary technologists is expected to increase 29.1 percent in the state from 2012 to 2022. If you want to get started in this field, these Connecticut schools can help:

  • Middlesex Community College
  • Norwalk Community College
  • Northwestern Connecticut Community College

Marketing

A degree in marketing can lead to a career as a market research analyst or marketing specialist. Because businesses continue to rely on marketing professionals to sell their products and services, these careers remain highly in demand. Specifically, the Connecticut Department of Labor predicts that job openings for market research analysts and marketing professionals will increase 28.1 percent in the state from 2012 to 2022. Furthermore, this degree could come with a great return-on-investment. As of 2014, market research analysts and marketing specialists in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $69,619. If you want to learn more about earning a marketing degree, check out these schools:

  • Southern Connecticut State University
  • University of Connecticut
  • Sacred Heart University

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Top Cities for Connecticut College Students

Bridgeport

Located in Fairfield County, Bridgeport is Connecticut's most populous city and the cornerstone of the Greater Bridgeport metropolitan area. With its own symphony orchestra, Downtown Cabaret Theatre, outdoor theatre, memorial auditorium, and sports venue, Bridgeport offers plenty in terms of culture and entertainment.

Approximately 147,612 residents called Bridgeport home in 2014, according to U.S. Census figures. Meanwhile, the median housing value through 2013 was an affordable $188,000. The National Center for Education Statistics lists six colleges and trade schools as active in the Bridgeport area. Here are a few of the most prominent:

University of Bridgeport

The University of Bridgeport is a private, four-year institution with a focus on small class sizes and global diversity. Approximately 5,191 students attended in 2014, a year when tuition and fees averaged out to $29,920. However, the school reports that 96 percent of its population received federal and/or state student aid that year. The University of Bridgeport is known for these popular degree options:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting

Housatonic Community College

Housatonic Community College is a two-year, public school aimed at preparing students for quick entry into the workforce. In 2014, 5,286 students were enrolled in the school's various certificate, associate degree, and transfer programs. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to just $3,866. Here are a few of their most notable degrees:

  • Associate of Science in Accounting
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in Nursing

St. Vincent's College

St. Vincent's College is a small, private institution that offers a variety of undergraduate degrees and certificate programs. Enrollment was made up of 731 students in 2014, and the school boasted a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. Average tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year came out to $16,200, and some of St. Vincent's popular programs include:

  • Associate of Science in Nursing
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Science in Radiography

New Haven

With a population of 130,282 in 2014, New Haven is Connecticut's second-largest city, as well as the principal municipality in Greater New Haven. Due to the many top colleges and universities in the New Haven area, the city is hopping with signs of young, hip culture. Top restaurants surround the city's downtown area, as do entertainment venues, bars, theatres, and museums.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, five colleges and universities call the New Haven region home. Here are the most prominent:

Yale University

As one of the premier institutions of higher education in the nation, Yale University boasts a plethora of awards and is consistently recognized for excellence in research and instruction. Approximately 12,336 students attended Yale in 2014, including a large percentage of international students. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $45,800, and 96 percent of students graduated on time in 2008, which was the last year Yale reported this data. The school is known for the following top degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering

Southern Connecticut State University

Located near downtown New Haven you'll find Southern Connecticut University, a vibrant four-year, public school that offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Approximately 10,825 students enrolled in 2014, and tuition and fees averaged out to $9,157 for in-state students. Here are a few of the school's most popular programs:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Economics
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Albertus Magnus College

Albertus Magnus College is a private, four-year Catholic school that offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, plus eight graduate programs. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year came in at $28,930 and the school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. These programs are a few of the school's most notable:

  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management
  • Pre-Medicine

Hartford

Although Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, it is the state's third most populous city. Approximately 124,705 residents called Hartford home in 2014, and the city serves as the historic national center of the insurance industry. Hartford is home to dozens of points of interest and historic landmarks including Bulkeley Bridge, Bushnell Park, the Cathedral of St. Joseph, and the Comcast Theater.

Real estate in Hartford remains affordable for a capital city, with the median housing value pegged at $168,700 in 2013. The city is also home to six colleges and universities, including these prominent schools:

Trinity College

Trinity College is a private, four-year school that offers a variety of degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Enrollment included 2,408 students in 2014, and tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to $49,056. The school currently offers 39 majors, 26 minors, and more than 900 individual courses. The following degree programs are some of Trinity's most popular:

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Capital Community College

Founded in 1992, Capital Community College is a two-year, public school that helps students enter career-ready fields or earn the credits they need to transfer to a four-year school. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were just $3,982 for in-state students, and the student population was 4,075 that year. Here are few of their top programs:

  • Associate of Science in Accounting
  • Associate of Science in Construction Management
  • Online Associate of Science in Computer and Information Systems

Lincoln Technical Institute-Hartford

Lincoln Technical Institute is a technical/vocational college that focuses on preparing students for careers in automotive, business and information technology, spa and cosmetology, health sciences, culinary, or skilled trades. The Hartford campus enrolled 450 students during the 2014-15 school year, and tuition and fees were around $27,500. A few of Lincoln Technical Institute's most popular programs include:

  • Culinary Arts
  • International Baking and Pastry
  • Italian Culinary Arts

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College Roadmap

So, you've decided to pursue a degree in Connecticut. Now what? If you're serious about furthering your education and actually moving to the state, it might be wise to set up a road trip to see each college campus for yourself. This itinerary can help:

Begin your journey at the beautiful oceanfront near Bridgeport. Start things off right by exploring all the coastline has to offer, plus top schools such as the University of Bridgeport, Housatonic Community College, and St. Vincent's College. A quick jaunt north to Danbury will also allow you to check out Western Connecticut State University as well.

Next, head southeast to New Haven. After spending more time on the beach or at the city's famous restaurants, you can explore Albertus Magnus College, Gateway Community College, Southern Connecticut State University, and Yale University.

Continue driving east to New London. As the final oceanfront destination you'll visit, New London boasts popular schools such as Mitchell College, Connecticut College, and the United States Coast Guard Academy.

As you make your way northwest to Hartford, stop in Middletown and see the campuses at Middlesex Community College and Wesleyan University. Once in the state capital, you can stop and enjoy the big city before touring the campuses at schools like Capital Community College, Hartford Seminary, and Trinity College.

If you have time, you can also branch off to see some of the state's smaller towns and schools. Either way, you'll enjoy your time in Connecticut -- and hopefully find a school that fits both your personality and academic needs.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

According to College Board figures, the average cost of earning a degree in Connecticut has risen considerably over the last decade. Here are college tuition figures for the most recent school year:

  • Public, Two-Year (2014-15): $3,866
  • Public, Four-Year (2014-15): $10,620
  • Private Nonprofit, Four-Year (2014-15): $40,017

It's important to note, however, that many students pursing on-campus and online degrees in Connecticut will qualify for some type of student aid. Federal aid opportunities can include, but are not limited to: Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. Students may also qualify for state-specific aid, such as:

  • Governor's Scholarship
  • CT Minority Teacher Incentive Grant
  • CHESLA Loan Program
  • Veterans Benefits

The Connecticut Office of Higher Education offers resources on both state and federal aid options for prospective students. In addition to these programs, students may also qualify for school-specific aid. To find out more about financial aid and scholarship opportunities, contact your school's financial aid office.

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Sources:
A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, Lumina Foundation, Connecticut, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/#connecticut
Connecticut Office of Higher Education, http://www.ctohe.org/sfa/
Fastest Growing Occupations in Connecticut, Connecticut Department of Labor, http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/WhatsHotWhatsNot_results.asp
Industries, Connecticut's Official State Website, http://portal.ct.gov/Business/Industries/
Interesting Connecticut Facts, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=2688&Q=322362
Interview with Ed Klonoski, President of Charter Oak State College, August 12, 2015
May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, Bridgeport, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/0908000.html
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, New Haven http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/0952000.html
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, Hartford, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/0937000.html
Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Over Time, College Board, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-time