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Online Degrees in Georgia (GA)

According to a study from the Lumina Foundation, 36.4 percent of Georgia residents ages 25 to 64 held at least a two-year degree in 2011. That number includes 378,333 residents with an associate's degree, 998,793 with a bachelor's, and 525,945 individuals who have earned a graduate or professional degree. According to the Lumina Foundation, another 1,124,465 Georgia residents, or 28.37 percent, have some college credit, but no degree.

The fact that so many Georgia residents have chosen to pursue a college degree goes to show just how important educational attainment is. Fortunately, there are a wide range of colleges and universities in the state that offer students the chance to pursue a meaningful college degree that can help their career dreams come true. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that there are 76 colleges and universities in Georgia where students can earn a bachelor's degree and 99 schools that offer associate degree programs. Some of the schools included offer instruction on-campus only, but there are also many opportunities for online degree programs in Georgia as well.

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

Why Should I Earn a Degree in Georgia?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, the state of Georgia is home to 3,879,660 workers, with a mean annual wage of $44,040. Government data shows that the following industries employ a healthy population of workers in the state:

Occupation

Number of Workers in 2013

Retail Salespersons

139,310

General and Operations Managers

76,440

Registered Nurses

66,080

Elementary School Teachers

44,000

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

43,430

Accountants and Auditors

37,040

Restaurant Cooks

31,440

Management Analysts

26,520

Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses

24,350

The state of Georgia is diverse in character, with a mix of huge, sprawling cities and agricultural communities. Its major metropolitan areas include the regions surrounding the cities of Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, and Columbus. These areas of the state, and others, offer a wide range of educational options for students who want to pursue on-campus or online degrees in Georgia. Beyond graduation, however, the state of Georgia is home to many industries where students may be able to find employment.

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the state is home to 17 Fortune 500 headquarters, 440+ Fortune 500 companies, and 31 Fortune 1000 firms in key industries such as aerospace, agribusiness, big data, defense, tourism, manufacturing, and information technology. These bustling industries may make it easy for Georgia's students to transition into the workforce upon graduation, whether for a full-time job or an internship.

Recent data from the Georgia Department of Labor shows that total employment in Georgia is expected to increase 11.7 percent between 2010 and 2020. That equals out to 483,000 new jobs in the state, 97 percent of which are expected to come from service-providing industries. As the Georgia Department of Labor reports, health care and social assistance will lead all other industries in the state when it comes to job growth. However, employment in construction, education, and leisure and hospitality is also expected to grow at a significant pace.

According to Georgia Department of Labor, 25.6 percent of the new jobs created in the state through 2020 will require at least a bachelor's degree -- a statistic that shows just how important online education in Georgia will likely become. That is part of the reason it makes perfect sense to research online degrees in Georgia now; it can help you prepare for the jobs of the future.

Fortunately, a strong infrastructure already exists for distance learning in Georgia, starting with Georgia ONmyLINE -- a collaborative online education effort that includes most University System of Georgia colleges and universities. The site features 31 colleges and universities that offer a wide range of online degree programs and courses for students who desire to learn in an online, flexible format. Fortunately, tuition and fees remain reasonable at most Georgia institutions of higher education. College Board statistics report that the average tuition for in-state students at four-year schools came out to $7,823 for the 2013-14 school year.

Sure, Georgia has a lot to offer when it comes to educational attainment, but that's not all. The state of Georgia is steeped in culture and southern charm, from its east coast roots to the hot city beats of Atlanta. Some quick fun facts about the state:

  • The state of Georgia is host to many forms of wildlife, including everything from reptiles to coyotes to woodchucks -- and 350 different species of birds. Georgia also contains 65 threatened or endangered plant or animal species.
  • Georgia is home to Indian Springs State Park, the oldest state park in the nation. The 528 acre park is located near Jackson and Flovilla.
  • Wesleyan College, which is located in Macon, Georgia, was the first college in the world chartered specifically to grant degrees to women. This momentous occasion took place in 1836.
  • The state of Georgia is the largest producer of peanuts in the United States by more than 100 percent.
  • Georgia is home to Stone Mountain, one of the largest masses of exposed granite in the world. The site is near Atlanta.

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What Makes Georgia Ideal for Online Education?

Education opportunities are everywhere for those seeking on-campus and online degrees in Georgia -- and it shows. In fact, several counties in the state show significantly high numbers of adults with college degrees. According to the Lumina Foundation, the following counties in Georgia stand out when it comes to the percentage of working-age adults who have earned at least an associate's degree:

  • Fulton County: 55.0%
  • Fayette County: 54.45%
  • Forsyth County: 53.80%
  • Dekalb County: 47.22%
  • Chattahoochee County: 45.03%

When it comes to choosing a school, Georgia ONmyLINE offers information on the online degree programs available at 31 different colleges and universities within the state. But that's not all; there are plenty of other online programs that operate outside of Georgia ONmyLINE as well. However, students seeking out online degrees should take extra precautions when choosing a program, says Darren Adamson, PhD, LMFT Assistant Dean of the School of Marriage and Family Sciences at Northcentral University.

Before signing up, students should make sure they are able to manage their time well. "It takes a unique focus to succeed in an online environment," says Adamson. "Because many online programs do not have scheduled class periods, students must be able to schedule their own time to 'go to class' -- work on school."

Adamson also suggests that students prepare themselves to be deliberate with their social interactions in online programs.

"Being in an online program can be lonely, so most online schools now have places to interact virtually," he says. "Be ready to take advantage of those."

According to Adamson, students seeking online degrees in Georgia should plan on thoroughly researching any program they're interested in ahead of time in order to avoid any "surprises." He also warns students that online education may not be as easy as it looks.

"Online education may be convenient because you don't have to be at a certain place at a certain time, but legitimate schools and programs develop curriculum that is challenging," says Adamson. "You must plan to spend at least as much time as you would have had you gone to a campus-based school."


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Top 10 Degrees in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Labor predicts healthy job growth in a wide range of industries in the coming decade. using criteria such as higher than average wages and the number of expected job opportunities through 2020, they report that the following college degrees could be particularly promising:

Hospitality Management

Georgia's hospitality industry is booming, which is why it makes perfect sense for students to pursue a degree in this growing field. Students who earn a degree in hospitality management or tourism management typically do so in order to gain employment as a meeting, convention, and event planner. According to Projections Central, employment for these professionals is expected to increase an astounding 48.7 percent from 2012 to 2022. Students who desire to work in this field should consider these schools for their excellent hospitality programs, both online and on-campus:

  • Atlanta Technical College
  • Georgia State University
  • Gwinnett Technical College

Dental Hygiene

Another field with impressive predicted growth in Georgia is dental hygiene. Government data shows that employment for dental hygienists could increase as much as 48.3 percent from 2012 to 2022. Students who earn a degree in dental hygiene typically find work as dental hygienists. Consider these schools when looking for dental hygiene degree programs:

  • West Georgia Technical College
  • Middle Georgia Technical College
  • Clayton State University

Market Research or Marketing

Market research is another field with huge career potential and expected growth in the state of Georgia. Students who earn this degree typically find work as a market research analyst or marketing specialist, a career which is predicted to see a 37.8 increase in employment through 2022, according to Projections Central. The following schools offer superb programs in this field, both on-campus and online:

  • Georgia State University
  • Georgia Tech
  • Georgia College

Early Childhood Education

Students who seek out degrees in early childhood education usually do so because they want to work as a teacher in public or private elementary schools -- or even in a preschool. The good news is, elementary teachers are in high demand in the state of Georgia. Projections Central predicts that employment for elementary teachers should increase 32.8 percent from 2012 to 2022, which adds 13,870 new jobs during that time frame. The following schools offer some of the best options for students who wish to pursue a degree in this field within the state:

  • Georgia State University
  • University of West Georgia
  • Georgia Southern University

Accounting

Students who pursue a degree in accounting typically seek employment as an accountant, auditor, or bookkeeping, accounting, or auditing clerk. Fortunately, Projections Central reports that employment for accountants in Georgia is expected to increase 25.7 percent from 2012 to 2022. Students interested in pursuing on-campus or online degrees in Georgia should look no further than the following schools when it comes to accounting:

  • Southern Polytechnic State University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Georgia Perimeter College

Software Engineering or Computer Science

Technology careers have been on the rise all over the country for the last decade, and software engineering degrees have played a big part in the expansion. Individuals who earn a degree in software engineering or computer science typically go on to pursue a career as a software developer. Projections Central predicts that employment for these professionals could increase as much as 25.4 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for other careers in the state. When looking for a software engineering degree program, these schools offer a good place to start:

  • Southern Polytechnic State University
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Georgia State University

Logistics

Logistics and supply chain management are integral parts of any business plan or strategy. Students who earn a degree in logistics usually do so in order to secure a career as a logistician. Projections Central predicts healthy employment in this field in the coming decade, with an increase of as much as 24.6 predicted from 2012 to 2022. The following schools in Georgia offer exceptional programs in logistics:

  • West Georgia Technical College
  • Chattahoochee Technical College
  • Southern Polytechnic State University

Economics

Degrees in economics can lead to a wide range of in-demand careers, including a career as an economist or financial analyst. According to Projections Central, financial analysts are expected to see a higher than average increase in employment over the next decade in Georgia, with a 21.2 percent increase predicted through 2022. Many schools in Georgia offer on-campus and online degree programs in this field, but the following stand out amongst their peers:

  • Georgia Tech
  • Armstrong State University
  • University of West Georgia

Computer and Information Systems

Students interested in a career working with computers and information technology often earn a degree in computer science or information systems. Common careers in this field include computer science, information systems, and computer and information systems management. The demand for this career in Georgia is strong; Projections Central predicts that employment for computer and information systems managers will increase as much as 20.5 percent from 2012 to 2022. The following schools in Georgia offer exemplary programs in this field, some with flexible, online options:

  • West Georgia Technical College
  • Armstrong State University
  • Georgia Southern University

Public Relations

Public relations is another field with a promising future in the state of Georgia. Projections Central shows that employment for public relations specialists could increase as much as 20.4 percent from 2012 to 2022. Many Georgia schools offer degree programs in public relations and related fields, but the following programs stand out:

  • Georgia Southern University
  • University of Georgia
  • South University

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Top Cities and Metros for Georgia College Students

Atlanta

Atlanta is the largest city in the state of Georgia and the main component of the state's largest metropolitan area as well. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Atlanta is home to 447,841 residents as of 2013. Because of the city's growing population, there are many opportunities for online learning in Atlanta -- from four-year universities and colleges to technical schools. Census Bureau data shows that 46.2 percent of Atlanta's working- age population (ages 25-64) held at least a bachelor's degree from 2008-2012, in addition to the 87.4 percent of those who held at least a high school diploma. With high educational attainment and a high standard of living, it's no wonder why online students flock to Atlanta and its surrounding areas. And thanks to mild weather, an impressive social scene, and plenty of opportunities for recreation, there are few places many students would rather be.

According to the Atlanta Convention and Visitor's Bureau, there are currently 57 colleges and universities in the Atlanta region. The following Atlanta schools still manage to stand out:

Atlanta Metropolitan State College

As part of the University System of Georgia, Atlanta Metro College offers a wide range of fully accredited online courses and programs in addition to its on-campus programs. With a focus on high quality and affordability, Atlanta Metropolitan State College hopes to help students achieve a liberal arts education that is applicable to a career in the real world. The school is known for the following degree programs:

  • Online A.S. Teacher Education (Early Childhood Education)
  • Online A.A.S. in Business Management
  • Online A.S. in Computer Science

Atlanta Technical College

Atlanta Technical College sets itself apart by focusing on associate degree, diploma, and certificate programs created for career-minded adults. These types of credentials not only prepare students for a career in their chosen field, but also prove competency and ability that is backed up by the Atlanta Technical College name. As a school who caters to working adults, the following programs stand out:

  • Online Associate Degree in Business Management
  • Online Associate Degree in Marketing Management
  • Associate Degree in Business Administrative Technology

Georgia State University

As a premiere university in the state, Georgia State University is known for its diversity, both in its student culture and its academic offerings. The school currently boasts 250 degree programs within 100 separate areas of study, some of which can be studied in a hybrid or flexible, online format. With a student body of more than 32,000 and a student/faculty ratio of 21/1, you can rest assured that your financial investment will go far at Georgia State. When it comes to academics, the following programs are some of their most popular:

  • B.B.A. in Accounting
  • B.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education
  • B.A. in Economics

Columbus

Columbus is the second largest city in the state with a population of 202,824, according to 2013 U.S. Census data. The city is part of the Columbus-Phenix City metropolitan area, and is home to Fort Benning, a major employer, as well as a variety of parks and museums. In addition to having a moderate and comfortable climate, students in Columbus can relish in the area's natural scenery and southern charm. Columbus is also known as Fountain City due to the many fountains which were installed throughout the city in the 20th century. When it comes to higher education, Columbus isn't lacking in that department either. These schools are a good place to start if you're considering on-campus or online education in Columbus:

Columbus State University

As part of the University System of Georgia, Columbus State University has been educating students since 1958. The school currently offers 46 undergraduate and 42 graduates degrees, some of which can be completed entirely online. Tuition for in-state students currently averages out to $3,202 for undergraduates taking 15 credit hours. However, out-of-state students should expect to pay $9,190. Columbus State University is known for the following degree programs, among others:

  • Online B.S.N. in Nursing (R.N. to B.S.N.)
  • Online M.B.A. Master of Business Administration
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice

Columbus Technical College

Columbus Technical College offers high quality education to career-minded adults. During the 2010 school year, the school claims to have had a 96 percent job placement rate among graduates, with 76 percent placed in their chosen field. The school's popularity within the Columbus region is so prevalent that as many as 1,200 people are currently waiting to get into a specific healthcare program at CTC, according to their website. Students who take 15 credit hours at Columbus Technical College should expect to spend $1,589 for the fall 2014 semester. The following programs are some of the most popular at the school:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • LPN to RN Mobility
  • Associate Degree in Early Childhood Care and Education

Virginia College

Virginia College focuses on offering college degrees that can help students transition out of college and into the workforce. To support this effort, the school offers financial aid for those who qualify, day and night classes, and career placement upon graduation. Students at Virginia College can choose from associate, bachelor's, master's or certificate programs in many fields of study, including the following popular programs:

  • Associate's Degree in Culinary and Pastry Arts
  • Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal Studies

Augusta

Augusta is the principal city in the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area and the third largest city in Atlanta. Educational offerings in the city include the Medical College of Georgia, which was founded in 1828, and Paine College, a college that opened in 1882 with the goal of enrolling minorities. Students who migrate to Augusta might be surprised by the beauty and cultural relevance of this riverside city. The city's nickname -- the Garden City -- was chosen due to the prevalence of large, private gardens within the city limits. Augusta is also home to a wide range of cultural venues and museums including the Augusta Symphony Orchestra, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, and the Natural Science Center's Fort Discovery. When it comes to academics, Augusta also offers high quality institutions of higher education, such as these:

Georgia Regents University

As one of the four public comprehensive research institutions of higher education in the state of Georgia, Georgia Regents University is home to the eighth largest medical school in the United States and Georgia's only dental college. Enrollment as of fall 2013 included 8,995 students, 4,924 of which were undergrads. Georgia Regents University conferred over 1,900 degrees at the end of the 2013-14 school year in a wide range of majors and fields of study. However, the following degrees are some of the most popular:

  • B.S. in Early Childhood Education
  • B.S. in Biochemistry
  • B.S. in Clinical Laboratory Science

Paine College

Founded in 1882, Paine College was established to provide a high quality liberal arts education to African Americans and other minorities. Students can choose to earn either a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree from a total of 16 majors offered. Tuition for the 2011-2012 school year came out to $18,594, including tuition, fees, and room and board. However, the school claims that 90 percent of its students receive aid to defray the costs. The following degree programs help Paine College stand out:

  • B.S. in Chemistry
  • B.A. in English
  • B.A. in Sociology

Augusta Technical College

Augusta Technical College is a two-year vocational school focused on preparing its students for marketability in the workforce. They currently offer Associate of Applied Science degrees, diplomas, and technical certificates in vocational careers ranging from surgical technology to marketing. However, some of their most popular degree programs are as follows:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Medical Assisting
  • Radiologic Technology


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College Roadmap

So you've decided to pursue online education in Georgia, but what now? In order to find out where you truly belong, it might be wise to take a short road trip around the state to see some schools, sights, and sounds for yourself. If you're up for it, this route can help:

Start your journey near Rome, Georgia, where you can experience the small town charm of the region and visit schools such as Georgia Northwestern Technical College and Georgia Highlands College. Then you're off to Atlanta, where you will likely want to explore the city and all it has to offer, such as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Piedmont Park, and the historical Oakland Cemetery. Once you've soaked in the culture of the Atlanta area, you can't miss the enchanting campus at Georgia State University or the many other smaller campuses nearby. After Atlanta, the obvious next destination should be Macon -- home of Mercer University and Wesleyan College, among others. Then it's on to the waterfront majesty of Savannah, with its beautiful, historic buildings and old Oak trees. Of course, you'll want to visit Savannah State University and Armstrong State University while you're there, along with several other schools such as Savannah Technical College and Troy University. After hitting the coast, you should head back west and work your way toward Columbus to see Columbus State University and the many other schools that call the region home.

If you're up for it, this road trip might help you discover exactly where you belong as you pursue distance learning in Georgia and follow your own roadmap toward the future.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Types of federal aid 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. Beyond federal aid, the state of Georgia and its institutions have plenty to offer students when it comes to financial aid. An example of some of the scholarships and financial aid options available in Georgia:

  • Georgia HOPE Grant Program

  • COAG Scholarship

  • Georgia Mining Foundation Scholarship Program

  • The B. Phinizy Spalding & Hubert B. Spalding Scholarships

  • Julian and Jan Hester Memorial Scholarship

  • Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant

  • Georgia Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant

  • Georgia Governor's Scholarship

  • Georgia's HERO Scholarship Program

  • Georgia's HOPE GED Grant

  • Georgia State University Alumni Trust Presidential Scholarship

Since additional scholarships come and go, and aid tends to be school-specific, students pursuing online degrees in Georgia should spend some time researching aid options and exhausting all resources in the process. Specific financial aid may also be available depending on the school and program chosen, so it is always wise to check with your schools' financial aid office for more information.

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Sources:
"A Stronger Nation through Higher Education," Lumina Foundation, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation/report/#georgia
"Georgia's Hot Careers to 2020," Georgia Department of Labor, http://explorer.dol.state.ga.us/mis/current/hot_careers_current.pdf
"Georgia Workforce Trends," Georgia Department of Labor, http://explorer.dol.state.ga.us/mis/Current/gaworkforcecurrent.pdf
"Industries in Georgia," Georgia Department of Economic Development, http://www.georgia.org/industries/
"Long Term Occupational Projections," Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=GA&l=93&ic=1
"State and County QuickFacts," Atlanta, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/1304000.html
"Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Over Time," College Board, https://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time