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Online Degrees in Virginia (VA)

A recent study from the Lumina Foundation shows that educational attainment in Virginia is on the rise. Specifically, 45 percent of Virginia residents ages 25-64 held at least an associate degree in 2011, up from 43.4 percent in 2008. As of 2011, 7.74 percent of working age Virginia residents had earned an associate, 22.07 percent held a bachelor's degree, and 15.15 percent had a professional or graduate degree. Another 20.70 percent, or 912,363 residents, reported having some college experience, but no degree.

The fact that so many Virginia residents are interested in higher education is no coincidence. Statistics don't lie; more and more Virginia residents are realizing the importance of a high quality education and taking the steps required to earn a degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are currently 76 institutions of higher education in the state of Virginia where students can pursue a bachelor's degree. Programs vary, but many of these schools offer distance learning opportunities that savvy students can take advantage of.

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

Why Should I Earn a Degree in Virginia?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 3.6 million Virginia residents are employed in the state. According to government figures, these workers make an mean annual wage of $50,120, or $24.10 per hour. Virginia workers are spread out over nearly every industry imaginable, but the following careers support many of the state's college graduates:

Occupation

Number of Workers in 2013

Registered Nurses

60,120

General and Operations Managers

50,830

Management Analysts

46,400

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

44,280

First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers

40,670

Accountants and Auditors

39,280

Software Developers, Applications

37,990

Elementary School Teachers

35,990

Maintenance and Repair Workers

31,640

Receptionists and Information Clerks

31,240

The state of Virginia offers much more than the potential for a career -- it offers unmatched beauty from its shores on the Atlantic Ocean all the way to its scenic, mountainous landscapes. Nestled close to Washington D.C., Virginia also boasts part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area, as well as the regions surrounding the state's biggest cities -- Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke.

All of these areas offer plenty of opportunities for students seeking on-campus and online degrees in Virginia, but that's not all. According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the state of Virginia is ripe with opportunities for employment in many key industries.

For example, Virginia is reportedly home to 580 food processing companies who employ a total of 33,900 state residents. This activity makes up more than 15 percent of the state's manufacturing employment, making it the second largest manufacturing sector in Virginia.

Aerospace is also a prominent industry within the state. In fact, more than 250 aerospace firms call Virginia home and employ more than 30,000 workers in the process. Beyond general growth in this industry, Virginia also ranks first in the nation for U.S. Defense contracts -- to the tune of $55.1 billion in 2012.

As the Virginia Economic Development Partnership reports, several other key industries have taken hold across the state, including plastics and advanced materials, data centers, IT, life sciences, automotive, energy, and distribution. These industries, and others, provide plenty of career opportunities for college graduates who choose to call Virginia home.

Students seeking online degrees in Virginia won't have to look far. In fact, most colleges and universities in the state -- both big and small -- offer some of their courses online, and many of them boast a wide range of degree programs that can be completed entirely online. These programs can be especially attractive to students who work full-time or have family responsibilities. Online education can also be a less expensive route than campus-based learning. Currently, tuition and fees are fairly reasonable at most Virginia institutions of higher education. College Board statistics report that the average tuition for in-state students at four-year schools averaged out to $10,366 for the 2013-14 school year.

It's true that Virginia has a lot to offer when it comes to educational attainment and job opportunities, but there is far more to the state than meets the eye. Here are six fun facts about Virginia that most people don't know:

  • Jamestown, Virginia was home to the first English settlement in the United States. Virginia is also commonly known as the "Mother of Presidents" due to the fact that eight U.S. Presidents were born there.
  • Amazingly, about half of the entire U.S. population lives within a 500 mile radius of Virginia's capital. Talk about networking!
  • Approximately 25 percent of Virginia's working age population works for the federal government.
  • With 68,000 internal phone lines, the Pentagon, found in Arlington, is the largest office building in the world.
  • Virginia is home to a plethora of world class attractions and natural wonders, from the famous Virginia Beach Boardwalk to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, historic Jamestown settlement, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Luray Caverns.
  • Due to its wealth of skilled candidates, tech jobs, and internet-based businesses, Virginia is commonly known as the "Internet Capital of the World."

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What Makes Virginia Ideal for Online Education?

According to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, by 2018, 820,000 of the expected 1.3 million job vacancies in the state of Virginia will require a college degree. And since 20.70 percent of Virginia adults have some college experience but no degree, officials in the state hope to close this gap by making citizens aware of the many educational opportunities available to them, including online programs. Fortunately, several of the state's counties are leading the way when it comes to educational attainment. The following counties are home to a high percentage of adults who held at least an associate degree in 2011:

  • Falls Church: 78.27%
  • Arlington: 77.46%
  • Loudon: 65.55%
  • Fairfax: 65.26%
  • Albemarle: 60.23%
  • Lexington: 55.45%
  • Radford: 53.24%
  • James City: 52.84%
  • Montgomery: 52.03%

Virginia students have plenty to choose from when it comes to earning a degree online. From small, community colleges to large, public universities, many schools have chosen to embrace e-learning with open arms and implement online options for their students. However, these programs should not be taken lightly. Online students can expect to face the same rigorous studies as traditional college students, as well as additional challenges that come with learning at a distance.

According to online educator and expert Heather E. Henson of the Henson group, the main difference online students will encounter is the mode of communication.

"While some courses will include lecture recordings, much like the student would find in a large lecture style university course, quality online courses will integrate the best of the Internet and social media to facilitate an engaging experience for the student," she says. "The hope is that the best online courses will convey to the student, not that the instructor is the gatekeeper for all the knowledge related to a topic, but that the student already has access to the information, they just need to know where and how to look for it. This sets the groundwork for lifelong learning that will benefit the student in our quickly changing society."

Before students decide to pursue an online degree program, however, they should make sure they have the proper support and materials to succeed. Having the necessary technology to participate in online courses is a good place to start, says Henson, yet it is equally important to have the skills to use that technology. Furthermore, it is crucial for students to make sure all of their decisions are informed ones.

"Essentially, the online student has to be their own advocate," she adds. "It is important for a student considering taking an online course or their entire program online to consider the type of experience they want and ask enough questions to make sure that is what they will get."

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Top 10 Degrees in Virginia

The Virginia Employment Commission predicts exceptional job growth for many careers in Virginia over the coming decade. Those projections, in combination with higher than average wages, prompted the creation of this list of the top 10 degrees in Virginia:

Occupational Therapy

Our growing need for health care services means plenty of opportunities for careers in the many facets of this industry, and occupational therapy is no exception. Students who pursue a degree in this field typically do so in order to begin a career as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant. According to Projections Central, employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 62.1 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2022, while demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow 32.8 percent during the same timeframe. Students looking to get into this exciting field should look into these top Virginia schools:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Virginia College
  • Radford University

Veterinary Technology

Students who want to work with animals usually pursue a career as a veterinarian or veterinary technologist or technician. Fortunately, business is booming in this industry and Projections Central estimates that employment of veterinary technologists and technicians should increase 56.6 percent in the state from 2012 to 2022. Those who want to turn their love of animals into a career should look into these top programs:

  • Blue Ride Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants play a crucial role in the rehabilitation of patients recovering from injury or illness. And much like most health care jobs in Virginia, employment in this field is on the rise. Specifically, Projections Central predicts that demand for physical therapy assistants will increase 54.9 percent from 2012 to 2022. Likewise, they expect job openings for physical therapists to increase 48 percent during the same timeframe. Virginia students looking for the best programs in this field should check out the following schools:

  • Tidewater Community College
  • South University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University

Audiology

A career as an audiologist typically begins with earning a bachelor's degree in any field, then pursuing a doctoral degree in audiology. Thanks to the growing demand in this field, Projections Central predicts that employment of audiologists could increase as much as 51.3 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2022. The top three schools offering audiology degrees in the state are as follows:

  • University of Virginia
  • West Virginia University
  • James Madison University

Dental Hygiene

Students who pursue a degree in dental hygiene typically do so in order to gain the qualifications required to become a dental hygienist. Fortunately, that move may pay off for many students in Virginia. Projections Central predicts that demand for dental hygienists will grow 48 percent statewide from 2012 to 2022. The following Virginia schools offer excellent programs in this field:

  • Old Dominion University
  • Virginia Western Community College
  • Germanna Community College

Sonography

Students who pursue a degree in sonography usually go on to work as diagnostic medical sonographers. Thanks to an increase in the overall demand for ultrasound services, Projections Central predicts that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers will increase 44.7 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2022. Those who want to pursue this in-demand degree should look no further than the following top schools:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College
  • Virginia College

Hospitality Management

Pursuing a degree in hospitality management can lead to a number of careers in hotel management, resort management, and event planning. In fact, one of the most common career paths for this degree is meeting, convention, and event planning. Projections Central estimates that demand for meeting, convention, and event planners could increase as much as 44.1 percent from 2012 to 2022. The following top schools can help you begin a career in this field:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Virginia Tech
  • West Virginia University

Marketing

Marketing professionals work in a wide range of industries and across all mediums. Fortunately, many businesses in Virginia continue to turn to marketing professionals for help in creating campaigns that sell their products or services. Because of this, Projections Central predicts that job opportunities for market research analysts and marketing specialists in Virginia will increase 38.7 percent between 2012 and 2022. Students looking for a top notch marketing degree can check out the following programs:

  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia State University
  • West Virginia University

Biomedical Engineering

Life sciences is one of the key industries in Virginia, and that shows in the many job opportunities this field has to offer. Biomedical engineering, for example, is one career on the rise in the state. Projections Central expects demand for biomedical engineers to increase 30 percent statewide from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations combined. The following Virginia schools offer the best biomedical engineering programs in the state:

  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech

Marriage and Family Therapy

Pursuing an advanced degree in marriage and family therapy is usually the fastest way to begin a career as a marriage and family therapist. Because highly-trained therapists are always in demand, Projections Central predicts that employment of these professionals could increase 29 percent statewide from 2012 to 2022. Virginia students who want to learn more about this field should look into the following top programs:

  • Virginia Tech
  • College of William & Mary
  • Liberty University

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Top Cities and Metros for Virginia College Students

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, Virginia is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area and home to 448,479 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates. Reportedly, 32.3 percent of the city's population in 2008-2012 held at least a bachelor's degree, and 93.1 percent of the city's working age population had their high school diploma. With mild winters and plenty of nightlife and natural wonders, Virginia Beach is a wonderful place to work and play. The city's oceanfront boardwalk also provides a fun place for students to relax, which is another reason so many call Virginia Beach home.

According to the City of Virginia Beach webpage, 10 separate institutions of higher education are located in the Virginia Beach area, including:

Tidewater Community College

As part of the Virginia Community College System, Tidewater Community College pledges to offer high quality education that can help students transition out of college and directly into the workforce. Because of its huge enrollment and focus on career preparedness, Tidewater Community College has grown to become the 11th largest public community college in the entire United States. Currently, credit hours cost approximately $164.35 each, including costs for tuition and fees. Tidewater Community College is known for the following two-year degrees:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
  • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Development
  • Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Regent University

Regent University currently offers over 65 undergraduate and graduates degrees both on-campus and online, and consistently receives top marks from college rankings sites such as U.S. News and World Report. The school had a total enrollment of 5,928 students during the Fall 2014 semester, and awarded 1,459 degrees that same year. Some of Regent's most popular degree programs are as follows:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis on Accounting
  • Online Associate of Arts in information Systems
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication

Stratford University

Stratford University is a private university with campuses all over the state, including Virginia Beach. By providing competency-based degree programs both on-campus and online, Stratford strives to prepare students for real careers upon graduation. Undergraduate tuition currently costs $370 per quarter credit hour. Stratford University boasts many popular degree programs, including the following:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Master of Science in Accounting
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Norfolk

Also found in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, Norfolk, Virginia is home to approximately 246,139 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates. Roughly 25.4 percent of Norfolk's working age population held a bachelor's degree in 2008-2012, and 85.3 percent had earned at least a high school diploma. Norfolk is home to the largest Navy base in the world, and borders with several bodies of water that play a strategic part in military defense and logistics. The city also contains several colleges, universities, and trade schools, including:

Virginia Wesleyan College

Virginia Wesleyan College's 300-acre campus offers degrees in 34 different majors spread across several disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. And with more than 70 student organizations, VWC offers a community-based educational concept that relies heavily on student support and collaboration. Full-time tuition at Virginia Wesleyan College was $32,636 for the 2013-14 school year, and the school is known for the following popular degree programs:

  • Engineering Dual-Degree Program
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Criminal Justice

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University offers degree programs that exemplify high quality instruction and teamwork, with a focus on diversity and equal opportunity. Tuition and fees vary, but average out to $8,088 per semester including room and board for full-time, in-state undergraduate students. Students at Norfolk State University can choose to pursue several types of degrees in any one of the majors or minors they offer, including the following popular degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University boasts a total enrollment of 24,670 as of the Fall 2014 semester. Currently, the school offers 70 bachelor's degree programs, 54 master's degrees, and 42 doctoral degrees for students to choose from, with 70 of those degrees available in a flexible, online format. Tuition currently costs approximately $285 per credit hour for in-state undergraduate students. Those interested in Old Dominion University should look into a few of their popular degree programs first:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences- Bioengineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

Chesapeake

With a population of 230,571 according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates, Chesapeake is the third largest city in the state of Virginia. Surprisingly, like the other large cities on this list, it is also part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. U.S. Census data shows that 28.4 percent of Chesapeake's working age population held a bachelor's degree in 2008-2012, and 89.6 percent held a high school diploma. Named the 21st Best City in American by Bloomberg in 2011, Chesapeake is home to hundreds of square miles of protected farmland, forests, and wetlands. The following Chesapeake schools are particularly noteworthy:

Cambridge College-Virginia

Cambridge College of Virginia enrolls over 5,600 adult learners each year, boasting an average student age of 37. And with flexible, high quality degree programs and courses, Cambridge College leads the pack when it comes to educating adult students in the Chesapeake area. Here are few of the school's most popular degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Management Studies

Everest College

Everest College has campus locations all over the country, including a large one in Chesapeake, Virginia where students can pursue any one of the many degree programs they have to offer. In addition to their on-campus offerings, Everest offers online courses and hybrid degree programs that can help students earn their degree faster and more efficiently. Some of Everest's most popular degree options include:

  • Associate of Science in Accounting
  • Dental Assisting Diploma
  • Associate of Science in Business

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College Roadmap

Now that you've decided to earn a degree in Virginia, you're probably wondering what to do next. If you're up for it, consider taking a short road trip to see the many college campuses around the state and what they have to offer. This college roadmap can help:

Start your journey at the northern part of the state in Alexandria. There you can explore the campuses of several smaller schools including Northern Virginia Community College. Then work your way Southwest on Highway 81, taking time to explore the mountainous terrain and beautiful scenery offered in Virginia. Once you get to Roanoke, you can visit the campus of Western Virginia Community College, Hollins University, and Skyline College. Next, you'll head west to the state's capital of Richmond, where you can explore the state government buildings and take in all the big city has to offer. Colleges you should visit in Richmond include larger schools like the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others.

Next you'll head east to Newport News then Norfolk, where you can tour the world's largest Navy base if you'd like or sit in the harbor and watch the big ships come and go. Of course, there are also plenty of schools to visit in the area, including Thomas Nelson Community College, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University. End your journey in Virginia Beach where you can visit Tidewater Community College, Regent University, and Stratford University before heading to the beach to reflect on all you've learned.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students in Virginia should fill out a FAFSA form to see if they qualify for financial aid. Those pursuing distance learning in Virginia could qualify for a number of different aid programs, including Pell grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. Virginia college students may also apply for one of the many scholarships available in the state. The following list provides a sample of those scholarships, although students should conduct their own research to learn about additional scholarships that may be available:

  • Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation Scholarship Program
  • Virginia Commonwealth Awards
  • VSGA Scholarship Program
  • Virginia Higher Education Teacher Assistance Program
  • Virginia State Bar Law in Society Essay Competition
  • L. Phil Wicker Scholarship
  • Granville P. Meade Scholarship
  • Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition

Prospective students should check with any schools they're considering to see if scholarships are available and learn more about how to apply.

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View Campus and Online Colleges in the State

The following list of schools in Virginia has been sourced from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). These schools may offer one or more online classes, degree programs or hybrid courses. Please contact each school to determine the availability of online programming offered.

Degrees Offered include Certificates [C], Associate Degrees [A], Bachelor's Degrees [B], Master's Degrees [M], and Doctorate Degrees [D]

Dominion School of Hair Design

C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
1755 George Washington Memorial Highway, Gloucester Point, Virginia 23062
College
Degrees Offered
Profit/NonProfit
Location
Advanced Technology Institute
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
5700 Southern Blvd Ste 100, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Appalachian College of Pharmacy
D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1060 Dragon Road, Oakwood, Virginia 24631
Appalachian School of Law
D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1169 Edgewater Drive, Grundy, Virginia 24614-2825
Argosy University-Washington D.C.
B, M, D
4-year, Private for-profit
1550 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600, Arlington, Virginia 22209
Averett University
A, B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
420 W Main St, Danville, Virginia 24541
Averett University-Non-Traditional Programs
A, B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
420 W Main St, Danville, Virginia 24541
Avi Career Training
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
10130-B Colvin Run Rd, Great Falls, Virginia 22066
Aviation Institute of Maintenance-Chesapeake
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
2211 S Military Hwy, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Aviation Institute of Maintenance-Manassas
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
10640 Davidson Place, Manassas, Virginia 20109
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond
M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
3400 Brook Road, Richmond, Virginia 23227-4536
Bar Palma Beauty Careers Academy
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
3535 D Franklin Rd SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24014
Bethel College
A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private not-for-profit
1705 Todds Ln, Hampton, Virginia 23666
Blue Ridge Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
1 College Lane, Weyers Cave, Virginia 24486-0080
Bluefield College
A, B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
3000 College Dr, Bluefield, Virginia 24605
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
B
4-year, primarily associate, Private not-for-profit
8550 Magellan Parkway Suite 1100, Richmond, Virginia 23227-1149
Bon Secours St Mary's Hospital School of Medical Imaging
C
2-year, Private not-for-profit
8550 Magellan Pkwy Ste 700, Richmond, Virginia 23227
Bridgewater College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
402 E College St, Bridgewater, Virginia 22812-1599
Bryant & Stratton College-Hampton
A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
4410 East Claiborne Square, Suite 233, Hampton, Virginia 23666
Bryant & Stratton College-Richmond
A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
8141 Hull St Rd, North Chesterfield, Virginia 23235
Bryant & Stratton College-Virginia Beach
A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
301 Centre Pointe Dr, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Career Training Solutions
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
10304 Spotsylvania Ave, Suite 400, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408
Cayce Reilly School of Massotherapy
C
< 2-year, Private not-for-profit
215 67th Street, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451
Central School of Practical Nursing
C
< 2-year, Public
1330 N Millitary Hwy, Norfolk, Virginia 23502
Central Virginia Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
3506 Wards Rd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502-2498
Centura College-Alexandria
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
6295 Edsall Rd Ste 250, Alexandria, Virginia 22312
Centura College-Chesapeake
A
2-year, Private for-profit
932 B Ventures Way, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Centura College-Newport News
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
616 Denbigh Blvd, Newport News, Virginia 23608
Centura College-Norfolk
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
7020 North Military Highway, Norfolk, Virginia 23518-4833
Centura College-Richmond Main
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
7914 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, Virginia 23235-5250
Centura College-Richmond Westend
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
7001 W. Broad St., Richmond, Virginia 23294
Centura College-Virginia Beach
A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
2697 Dean Dr Ste 100, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452-7431
CET-Alexandria
C
< 2-year, Private not-for-profit
6295 Edsall Rd, Plaza 500, Ste. 220, Alexandria, Virginia 22312
Christopher Newport University
B, M
4-year, Public
1 Avenue of the Arts, Newport News, Virginia 23606-3072
College of William and Mary
B, M, D
4-year, Public
200 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187-8795
Columbia College
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
5940 Centreville Crest Lane, Centreville, Virginia 20121-2342
Columbia College
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
8300 Merrifield Ave 3F, Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Cosmopolitan Beauty & Tech School
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
4201 John Marr Drive, Suite 206, Annandale, Virginia 22003-3204
Court Reporting Institute of Arlington
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
4300 Wilson Blvd Ste 140, Arlington, Virginia 22203
Culpeper Cosmetology Training Center
C
< 2-year, Public
311 South East Street #120, Culpeper, Virginia 22701-1055
Dabney S Lancaster Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
1000 Dabney Drive, Clifton Forge, Virginia 24422-1000
Danville Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
1008 S Main St, Danville, Virginia 24541-4004
Danville Regional Medical Center School of Health Professions
C
2-year, Private for-profit
142 S Main St, Danville, Virginia 24541
Eastern Mennonite University
C, A, B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22802-2462
Eastern Shore Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
29300 Lankford Hwy, Melfa, Virginia 23410
Eastern Virginia Medical School
M, D
4-year, Public
700w. Olney, Norfolk, Virginia 23507
ECPI University
C, A, B, M
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
5555 Greenwich Rd Ste 300, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
2265 Kraft Dr, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060
Emory & Henry College
B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
30461 Garnand Drive, Emory, Virginia 24327-0947
Empire Beauty School-Midlothian
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
10807 Hull Street Rd, Midlothian, Virginia 23112
Empire Beauty School-Richmond
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
9049 West Broad St. #3, Richmond, Virginia 23294
Empire Beauty School-Virginia Beach
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
116 South Independence Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462-6779
Everest College-Arlington
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
801 N Quincy St-Ste 500, Arlington, Virginia 22203
Everest College-Chesapeake
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
825 Greenbrier Circle Suite 100, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Everest College-McLean
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
8620 Westwood Center Dr., Vienna, Virginia 22182
Everest College-Newport News
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
803 Diligence Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606
Everest College-Woodbridge
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
14555 Potomac Mills Rd, Woodbridge, Virginia 22192
Ferrum College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
215 Ferrum Mountain Road, Ferrum, Virginia 24088-9000
Fortis College-Norfolk
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
6300 Center Dr Bldg 22, Norfolk, Virginia 23502-4101
Fortis College-Richmond
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
2000 Westmoreland Street, Suite A, Richmond, Virginia 23230
George Mason University
B, M, D
4-year, Public
4400 University Dr, Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444
Germanna Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
2130 Germanna Hwy, Locust Grove, Virginia 22508-2102
Global Health College
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
25 S Quaker La 1st Fl, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Graham Webb International Academy of Hair
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
1621 N. Kent St, Suite 1617 Ll Rosslyn Plaza, Arlington, Virginia 22209-2131
Hampden-Sydney College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
College Road, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia 23943-0128
Hampton University
C, A, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
E Queen Street, Hampton, Virginia 23668-0099
Henrico County-Saint Marys Hospital School of Practical Nursing
C
< 2-year, Public
7850 Carousel Lane, Henrico, Virginia 23294
Hollins University
B, M, C
4-year, Private not-for-profit
7916 Williamson Rd NW, Roanoke, Virginia 24020
Institute for the Psychological Sciences
M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
2001 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 511, Arlington, Virginia 22202
Institute of Advanced Medical Esthetics
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
8527 Mayland Dr Suite 108, Richmond, Virginia 23294-4701
J Sargeant Reynolds Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
1651 E Parham Road, Richmond, Virginia 23228-2327
James Madison University
B, M, D
4-year, Public
800 South Main Street, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
C, A, B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
101 Elm Avenue SE, Roanoke, Virginia 24013
John Tyler Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
13101 Jefferson Davis Hwy, Chester, Virginia 23831-5316
Kaplan College-Chesapeake
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
1987 South Military Highway, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Liberty University
C, A, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502
Longwood University
B, M, C
4-year, Public
201 High St, Farmville, Virginia 23909
Lord Fairfax Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
173 Skirmisher Lane, Middletown, Virginia 22645
Lynchburg College
B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1501 Lakeside Dr, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501-3113
Lynchburg General Hospital School of Nursing
C
2-year, Private not-for-profit
1901 Tate Springs Rd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501
Mary Baldwin College
B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
New & Frederick St, Staunton, Virginia 24401
Marymount University
C, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, Virginia 22207-4299
Medtech Institute
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
6565 Arlington Boulevard, Falls Church, Virginia 22042
Miller-Motte Technical College
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
4444 Electric Rd SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24018
Miller-Motte Technical College-Lynchburg
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
1011 Creekside Lane, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502
Mountain Empire Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
3441 Mountain Empire Road, Big Stone Gap, Virginia 24219
National College-Salem
C, A, B, M
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
1813 E Main St, Salem, Virginia 24153
New River Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
5251 College Drive, Dublin, Virginia 24084-1127
Norfolk State University
A, B, M, D
4-year, Public
700 Park Avenue, Norfolk, Virginia 23504-8000
Northern Virginia Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, Virginia 22003-3796
Northern Virginia School of Therapeutic Massage
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
200 Little Falls Street, Suite 303, Falls Church, Virginia 22046-4302
Old Dominion University
B, M, D
4-year, Public
5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, Virginia 23529
Patrick Henry Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
645 Patriot Avenue, Martinsville, Virginia 24112
Paul D Camp Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
100 N College Dr, Franklin, Virginia 23851
Paul Mitchell the School-Mclean
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
8041-L Tysons Corner Ctr, McLean, Virginia 22102
Piedmont Virginia Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
501 College Drive, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902-7589
Potomac College-VA Campus
C, A, B
4-year, Private for-profit
2070 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, Virginia 22182-2536
Radford University
C, B, M, D
4-year, Public
801 East Main Street, Radford, Virginia 24141-0672
Randolph College
B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
2500 Rivermont Ave, Lynchburg, Virginia 24503-1555
Randolph-Macon College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
204 Henry St, Ashland, Virginia 23005-5505
Rappahannock Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
12745 College Drive, Glenns, Virginia 23149-2616
Regency Beauty Institute-Manassas
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
11740 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20109-0000
Regency Beauty Institute-Newport News
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
12365 Hornsby Lane, Suite C, Newport News, Virginia 23609-0000
Regency Beauty Institute-Roanoke
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
5002 Cross Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24012-0000
Regent University
A, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1000 Regent University Dr, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464
Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary
A
2-year, Public
11301 Johnson Rd, Petersburg, Virginia 23805
Richmond School of Health and Technology
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
751 WEST HUNDRED ROAD, CHESTER, Virginia 23836
Riverside School of Health Careers
C, A
2-year, Private not-for-profit
316 Main St., Newport News, Virginia 23601
Roanoke College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
221 College Lane, Salem, Virginia 24153-3794
Rudy & Kelly Academy of Hair and Nails
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
1920 Centerville Turnpike, Suite 114, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464
Saint Pauls College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
115 College Drive, Lawrenceville, Virginia 23868
Sanford-Brown College-Tysons Corner
C, A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
1761 Old Meadow Road, McLean, Virginia 22102-4301
Sentara College of Health Sciences
C, A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private not-for-profit
1441 Crossways Blvd, Suite 105, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320
Shenandoah University
C, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1460 University Dr, Winchester, Virginia 22601-5195
Skyline College-Roanoke
C, A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
5234 Airport Rd, Roanoke, Virginia 24012
South University–Richmond
A, B, M
4-year, Private for-profit
2151 Old Brick Rd, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060
South University–Virginia Beach
A, B, M
4-year, Private for-profit
301 Bendix Rd, Ste 100, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452
Southeast Culinary & Hospitality College
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
100 Piedmont Ave, Bristol, Virginia 24201
Southern Virginia University
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
One University Hill Drive, Buena Vista, Virginia 24416
Southside Regional Medical Center Professional Schools
A
2-year, Private for-profit
737 South Sycamore Street, Petersburg, Virginia 23803-5133
Southside Virginia Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
109 Campus Dr, Alberta, Virginia 23821
Southwest Virginia Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
369 College Road US Rt. 19, 6 Miles S. Claypool Hill, Richlands, Virginia 24641-1101
Springfield Beauty Academy
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
4223 Annandale Rd, Annandale, Virginia 22003
Staunton School of Cosmetology
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
128 E Beverley St, Staunton, Virginia 24401
Stratford University
C, A, B, M
4-year, Private for-profit
3201 Jermantown Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Suffolk Beauty Academy
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
860 Portsmouth Blvd, Suffolk, Virginia 23434-3020
Suffolk Public Schools-Sentara Obici Hospital School of Practical Nursing
C
< 2-year, Public
2800 Godwin Blvd, Suffolk, Virginia 23434
Suwannee-Hamilton Technical Center
C
< 2-year, Public
1460 University Dr, Winchester, Virginia 22601-5195
Sweet Briar College
B, M
4-year, Private not-for-profit
134 Chapel Drive, Sweet Briar, Virginia 24595-9998
Sylvain Melloul International Hair Academy
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
3405 Candlers Mountain Rd. #G360, Lynchburg, Virginia 24502-2652
The Art Institute of Virginia Beach
C, A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
Two Columbus Center, 4500 Main St Ste 100, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
The Art Institute of Washington
C, A, B
4-year, Private for-profit
1820 N Fort Myer Dr, Arlington, Virginia 22209-1802
The Art Institute of Washington-Dulles
C, A, B
4-year, primarily associate, Private for-profit
The Corporate Office Park at Dulles Town Center, 21000 Atlantic Blvd Ste 100, Sterling, Virginia 20166
The University of Virginia's College at Wise
B
4-year, Public
1 College Avenue, Wise, Virginia 24293-4400
Thomas Nelson Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
99 Thomas Nelson Drive, Hampton, Virginia 23666
Tidewater Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
121 College Place, Norfolk, Virginia 23510
Tidewater Tech-Trades
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
5301 E Princess Anne Rd, Norfolk, Virginia 23502
Tomorrow's Image Barber Academy of Virginia
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
13641 Warwick Boulevard, Suite C, Newport News, Virginia 23602-5532
Union Presbyterian Seminary
M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
3401 Brook Rd, Richmond, Virginia 23227
University of Management and Technology (The)
C, A, B, M, D
4-year, Private for-profit
1901 Fort Myer Drive, Suite 700, Arlington, Virginia 22209-1609
University of Mary Washington
C, B, M
4-year, Public
1301 College Ave, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401-5300
University of Richmond
C, A, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
28 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, Virginia 23173
University of Virginia-Main Campus
B, M, D
4-year, Public
1827 University Avenue, Charlottesville, Virginia 22903-2628
Virginia Beach City Public Schools School of Practical Nursing
C
< 2-year, Public
2925 N Landing Rd, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23456-2499
Virginia College-Richmond
C, A
2-year, Private for-profit
7200 Midlothian Turnpike, Richmond, Virginia 23225-5502
Virginia Commonwealth University
C, B, M, D
4-year, Public
910 W Franklin St, Richmond, Virginia 23284-2512
Virginia Highlands Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
100 VHCC Drive, Abingdon, Virginia 24212-0828
Virginia Intermont College
A, B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1013 Moore Street, Bristol, Virginia 24201
Virginia Military Institute
B
4-year, Public
VMI Parade, Lexington, Virginia 24450-0304
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
A, B, M, D
4-year, Public
222 Burruss Hall, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0131
Virginia School of Hair Design
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
101 West Queens Way, Hampton, Virginia 23669
Virginia School of Massage
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
153 Zan Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
Virginia State University
A, B, M, D
4-year, Public
1 Hayden Drive, Petersburg, Virginia 23806
Virginia Union University
B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1500 N Lombardy St, Richmond, Virginia 23220
Virginia University of Lynchburg
C, A, B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
2058 Garfield Ave, Lynchburg, Virginia 24501
Virginia Wesleyan College
B
4-year, Private not-for-profit
1584 Wesleyan Dr, Norfolk, Virginia 23502-5599
Virginia Western Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
3093 Colonial Ave, Roanoke, Virginia 24015
Wards Corner Beauty Academy-Norfolk
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
7525 Tidewater Dr Ste 200, Norfolk, Virginia 23505-3700
Wards Corner Beauty Academy-Virginia Beach
C
< 2-year, Private for-profit
544 Newtown Rd #160, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462
Washington and Lee University
B, M, D
4-year, Private not-for-profit
204 West Washington Street, Lexington, Virginia 24450-2116
Washington County Skill Center
C
< 2-year, Public
848 Thompson Dr, Abingdon, Virginia 24210
Westwood College-Annandale
C, A, B
4-year, Private for-profit
7619 Little River Turnpike, 5th Floor, Annandale, Virginia 22003
Westwood College-Arlington Ballston
C, A, B
4-year, Private for-profit
4420 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, Virginia 22203
Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center
C
< 2-year, Public
64 James Anderson Road, Fishersville, Virginia 22939-1500
Wytheville Community College
C, A
2-year, Public
1000 E Main Street, Wytheville, Virginia 24382-3308

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Sources:
"A Stronger Nation through Higher Education," Lumina Foundation, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation/report/#virginia
"A Stronger Nation through Higher Education," Lumina Foundation, Virginia, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation_2013/downloads/pdfs/virginia-brief-2013.pdf
"Colleges, Universities & Trade Schools," City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, http://www.vbgov.com/residents/learning/Pages/colleges-universities-and-trade.aspx
"Connecting Classrooms to Careers," Virginia Department of Education's Office of Career and Technical Education Services, http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/career_technical/career_clusters/ru_ready/ru_ready_magazine.pdf
"Key Industries," Virginia Economic Development Partnership, http://www.yesvirginia.org/KeyIndustries
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=VA&l=93&ic=1
"Long-term Projections," Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
"State and County QuickFacts," Virginia Beach, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/51810.html
"State and County QuickFacts," Chesapeake, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/51550.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

Discover Degree Opportunities

A recent study from the Lumina Foundation shows that educational attainment in Virginia is on the rise. Specifically, 45 percent of Virginia residents ages 25-64 held at least an associate's degree in 2011, up from 43.4 percent in 2008. As of 2011, 7.74 percent of working age Virginia residents had earned an associate's, 22.07 percent held a bachelor's degree, and 15.15 percent had a professional or graduate degree. Another 20.70 percent, or 912,363 residents, reported having some college experience, but no degree.

The fact that so many Virginia residents are interested in higher education is no coincidence. Statistics don't lie; more and more Virginia residents are realizing the importance of a high quality education and taking the steps required to earn a degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are currently 76 institutions of higher education in the state of Virginia where students can pursue a bachelor's degree. Programs vary, but many of these schools offer distance learning opportunities that savvy students can take advantage of.

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

Why Should I Earn a Degree in Virginia?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 3.6 million Virginia residents are employed in the state. According to government figures, these workers make an mean annual wage of $50,120, or $24.10 per hour. Virginia workers are spread out over nearly every industry imaginable, but the following careers support many of the state's college graduates:

Occupation

Number of Workers in 2013

Registered Nurses

60,120

General and Operations Managers

50,830

Management Analysts

46,400

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

44,280

First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers

40,670

Accountants and Auditors

39,280

Software Developers, Applications

37,990

Elementary School Teachers

35,990

Maintenance and Repair Workers

31,640

Receptionists and Information Clerks

31,240

The state of Virginia offers much more than the potential for a career -- it offers unmatched beauty from its shores on the Atlantic Ocean all the way to its scenic, mountainous landscapes. Nestled close to Washington D.C., Virginia also boasts part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area, as well as the regions surrounding the state's biggest cities -- Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Richmond, and Roanoke.

All of these areas offer plenty of opportunities for students seeking on-campus and online degrees in Virginia, but that's not all. According to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the state of Virginia is ripe with opportunities for employment in many key industries.

For example, Virginia is reportedly home to 580 food processing companies who employ a total of 33,900 state residents. This activity makes up more than 15 percent of the state's manufacturing employment, making it the second largest manufacturing sector in Virginia.

Aerospace is also a prominent industry within the state. In fact, more than 250 aerospace firms call Virginia home and employ more than 30,000 workers in the process. Beyond general growth in this industry, Virginia also ranks first in the nation for U.S. Defense contracts -- to the tune of $55.1 billion in 2012.

As the Virginia Economic Development Partnership reports, several other key industries have taken hold across the state, including plastics and advanced materials, data centers, IT, life sciences, automotive, energy, and distribution. These industries, and others, provide plenty of career opportunities for college graduates who choose to call Virginia home.

Students seeking online degrees in Virginia won't have to look far. In fact, most colleges and universities in the state -- both big and small -- offer some of their courses online, and many of them boast a wide range of degree programs that can be completed entirely online. These programs can be especially attractive to students who work full-time or have family responsibilities. Online education can also be a less expensive route than campus-based learning. Currently, tuition and fees are fairly reasonable at most Virginia institutions of higher education. College Board statistics report that the average tuition for in-state students at four-year schools averaged out to $10,366 for the 2013-14 school year.

It's true that Virginia has a lot to offer when it comes to educational attainment and job opportunities, but there is far more to the state than meets the eye. Here are six fun facts about Virginia that most people don't know:

  • Jamestown, Virginia was home to the first English settlement in the United States. Virginia is also commonly known as the "Mother of Presidents" due to the fact that eight U.S. Presidents were born there.
  • Amazingly, about half of the entire U.S. population lives within a 500 mile radius of Virginia's capital. Talk about networking!
  • Approximately 25 percent of Virginia's working age population works for the federal government.
  • With 68,000 internal phone lines, the Pentagon, found in Arlington, is the largest office building in the world.
  • Virginia is home to a plethora of world class attractions and natural wonders, from the famous Virginia Beach Boardwalk to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, historic Jamestown settlement, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Luray Caverns.
  • Due to its wealth of skilled candidates, tech jobs, and internet-based businesses, Virginia is commonly known as the "Internet Capital of the World."

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What Makes Virginia Ideal for Online Education?

According to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, by 2018, 820,000 of the expected 1.3 million job vacancies in the state of Virginia will require a college degree. And since 20.70 percent of Virginia adults have some college experience but no degree, officials in the state hope to close this gap by making citizens aware of the many educational opportunities available to them, including online programs. Fortunately, several of the state's counties are leading the way when it comes to educational attainment. The following counties are home to a high percentage of adults who held at least an associate's degree in 2011:

  • Falls Church: 78.27%
  • Arlington: 77.46%
  • Loudon: 65.55%
  • Fairfax: 65.26%
  • Albemarle: 60.23%
  • Lexington: 55.45%
  • Radford: 53.24%
  • James City: 52.84%
  • Montgomery: 52.03%

Virginia students have plenty to choose from when it comes to earning a degree online. From small, community colleges to large, public universities, many schools have chosen to embrace e-learning with open arms and implement online options for their students. However, these programs should not be taken lightly. Online students can expect to face the same rigorous studies as traditional college students, as well as additional challenges that come with learning at a distance.

According to online educator and expert Heather E. Henson of the Henson group, the main difference online students will encounter is the mode of communication.

"While some courses will include lecture recordings, much like the student would find in a large lecture style university course, quality online courses will integrate the best of the Internet and social media to facilitate an engaging experience for the student," she says. "The hope is that the best online courses will convey to the student, not that the instructor is the gatekeeper for all the knowledge related to a topic, but that the student already has access to the information, they just need to know where and how to look for it. This sets the groundwork for lifelong learning that will benefit the student in our quickly changing society."

Before students decide to pursue an online degree program, however, they should make sure they have the proper support and materials to succeed. Having the necessary technology to participate in online courses is a good place to start, says Henson, yet it is equally important to have the skills to use that technology. Furthermore, it is crucial for students to make sure all of their decisions are informed ones.

"Essentially, the online student has to be their own advocate," she adds. "It is important for a student considering taking an online course or their entire program online to consider the type of experience they want and ask enough questions to make sure that is what they will get."

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Top 10 Degrees in Virginia

The Virginia Employment Commission predicts exceptional job growth for many careers in Virginia over the coming decade. Those projections, in combination with higher than average wages, prompted the creation of this list of the top 10 degrees in Virginia:

Occupational Therapy

Our growing need for health care services means plenty of opportunities for careers in the many facets of this industry, and occupational therapy is no exception. Students who pursue a degree in this field typically do so in order to begin a career as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant. According to Projections Central, employment of occupational therapy assistants is expected to increase 62.1 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2022, while demand for occupational therapists is expected to grow 32.8 percent during the same timeframe. Students looking to get into this exciting field should look into these top Virginia schools:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Virginia College
  • Radford University

Veterinary Technology

Students who want to work with animals usually pursue a career as a veterinarian or veterinary technologist or technician. Fortunately, business is booming in this industry and Projections Central estimates that employment of veterinary technologists and technicians should increase 56.6 percent in the state from 2012 to 2022. Those who want to turn their love of animals into a career should look into these top programs:

  • Blue Ride Community College
  • Northern Virginia Community College

Physical Therapy

Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants play a crucial role in the rehabilitation of patients recovering from injury or illness. And much like most health care jobs in Virginia, employment in this field is on the rise. Specifically, Projections Central predicts that demand for physical therapy assistants will increase 54.9 percent from 2012 to 2022. Likewise, they expect job openings for physical therapists to increase 48 percent during the same timeframe. Virginia students looking for the best programs in this field should check out the following schools:

  • Tidewater Community College
  • South University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University

Audiology

A career as an audiologist typically begins with earning a bachelor's degree in any field, then pursuing a doctoral degree in audiology. Thanks to the growing demand in this field, Projections Central predicts that employment of audiologists could increase as much as 51.3 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2022. The top three schools offering audiology degrees in the state are as follows:

  • University of Virginia
  • West Virginia University
  • James Madison University

Dental Hygiene

Students who pursue a degree in dental hygiene typically do so in order to gain the qualifications required to become a dental hygienist. Fortunately, that move may pay off for many students in Virginia. Projections Central predicts that demand for dental hygienists will grow 48 percent statewide from 2012 to 2022. The following Virginia schools offer excellent programs in this field:

  • Old Dominion University
  • Virginia Western Community College
  • Germanna Community College

Sonography

Students who pursue a degree in sonography usually go on to work as diagnostic medical sonographers. Thanks to an increase in the overall demand for ultrasound services, Projections Central predicts that employment of diagnostic medical sonographers will increase 44.7 percent in Virginia between 2012 and 2022. Those who want to pursue this in-demand degree should look no further than the following top schools:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College
  • Virginia College

Hospitality Management

Pursuing a degree in hospitality management can lead to a number of careers in hotel management, resort management, and event planning. In fact, one of the most common career paths for this degree is meeting, convention, and event planning. Projections Central estimates that demand for meeting, convention, and event planners could increase as much as 44.1 percent from 2012 to 2022. The following top schools can help you begin a career in this field:

  • Northern Virginia Community College
  • Virginia Tech
  • West Virginia University

Marketing

Marketing professionals work in a wide range of industries and across all mediums. Fortunately, many businesses in Virginia continue to turn to marketing professionals for help in creating campaigns that sell their products or services. Because of this, Projections Central predicts that job opportunities for market research analysts and marketing specialists in Virginia will increase 38.7 percent between 2012 and 2022. Students looking for a top notch marketing degree can check out the following programs:

  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia State University
  • West Virginia University

Biomedical Engineering

Life sciences is one of the key industries in Virginia, and that shows in the many job opportunities this field has to offer. Biomedical engineering, for example, is one career on the rise in the state. Projections Central expects demand for biomedical engineers to increase 30 percent statewide from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations combined. The following Virginia schools offer the best biomedical engineering programs in the state:

  • University of Virginia
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Virginia Tech

Marriage and Family Therapy

Pursuing an advanced degree in marriage and family therapy is usually the fastest way to begin a career as a marriage and family therapist. Because highly-trained therapists are always in demand, Projections Central predicts that employment of these professionals could increase 29 percent statewide from 2012 to 2022. Virginia students who want to learn more about this field should look into the following top programs:

  • Virginia Tech
  • College of William & Mary
  • Liberty University

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Top Cities and Metros for Virginia College Students

Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach, Virginia is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area and home to 448,479 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates. Reportedly, 32.3 percent of the city's population in 2008-2012 held at least a bachelor's degree, and 93.1 percent of the city's working age population had their high school diploma. With mild winters and plenty of nightlife and natural wonders, Virginia Beach is a wonderful place to work and play. The city's oceanfront boardwalk also provides a fun place for students to relax, which is another reason so many call Virginia Beach home.

According to the City of Virginia Beach webpage, 10 separate institutions of higher education are located in the Virginia Beach area, including:

Tidewater Community College

As part of the Virginia Community College System, Tidewater Community College pledges to offer high quality education that can help students transition out of college and directly into the workforce. Because of its huge enrollment and focus on career preparedness, Tidewater Community College has grown to become the 11th largest public community college in the entire United States. Currently, credit hours cost approximately $164.35 each, including costs for tuition and fees. Tidewater Community College is known for the following two-year degrees:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
  • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Development
  • Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Regent University

Regent University currently offers over 65 undergraduate and graduates degrees both on-campus and online, and consistently receives top marks from college rankings sites such as U.S. News and World Report. The school had a total enrollment of 5,928 students during the Fall 2014 semester, and awarded 1,459 degrees that same year. Some of Regent's most popular degree programs are as follows:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis on Accounting
  • Online Associate of Arts in information Systems
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication

Stratford University

Stratford University is a private university with campuses all over the state, including Virginia Beach. By providing competency-based degree programs both on-campus and online, Stratford strives to prepare students for real careers upon graduation. Undergraduate tuition currently costs $370 per quarter credit hour. Stratford University boasts many popular degree programs, including the following:

  • Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Master of Science in Accounting
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Norfolk

Also found in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, Norfolk, Virginia is home to approximately 246,139 residents, according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates. Roughly 25.4 percent of Norfolk's working age population held a bachelor's degree in 2008-2012, and 85.3 percent had earned at least a high school diploma. Norfolk is home to the largest Navy base in the world, and borders with several bodies of water that play a strategic part in military defense and logistics. The city also contains several colleges, universities, and trade schools, including:

Virginia Wesleyan College

Virginia Wesleyan College's 300-acre campus offers degrees in 34 different majors spread across several disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics. And with more than 70 student organizations, VWC offers a community-based educational concept that relies heavily on student support and collaboration. Full-time tuition at Virginia Wesleyan College was $32,636 for the 2013-14 school year, and the school is known for the following popular degree programs:

  • Engineering Dual-Degree Program
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Criminal Justice

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State University offers degree programs that exemplify high quality instruction and teamwork, with a focus on diversity and equal opportunity. Tuition and fees vary, but average out to $8,088 per semester including room and board for full-time, in-state undergraduate students. Students at Norfolk State University can choose to pursue several types of degrees in any one of the majors or minors they offer, including the following popular degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University boasts a total enrollment of 24,670 as of the Fall 2014 semester. Currently, the school offers 70 bachelor's degree programs, 54 master's degrees, and 42 doctoral degrees for students to choose from, with 70 of those degrees available in a flexible, online format. Tuition currently costs approximately $285 per credit hour for in-state undergraduate students. Those interested in Old Dominion University should look into a few of their popular degree programs first:

  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences- Bioengineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

Chesapeake

With a population of 230,571 according to 2013 U.S. Census estimates, Chesapeake is the third largest city in the state of Virginia. Surprisingly, like the other large cities on this list, it is also part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. U.S. Census data shows that 28.4 percent of Chesapeake's working age population held a bachelor's degree in 2008-2012, and 89.6 percent held a high school diploma. Named the 21st Best City in American by Bloomberg in 2011, Chesapeake is home to hundreds of square miles of protected farmland, forests, and wetlands. The following Chesapeake schools are particularly noteworthy:

Cambridge College-Virginia

Cambridge College of Virginia enrolls over 5,600 adult learners each year, boasting an average student age of 37. And with flexible, high quality degree programs and courses, Cambridge College leads the pack when it comes to educating adult students in the Chesapeake area. Here are few of the school's most popular degree programs:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Management Studies

Everest College

Everest College has campus locations all over the country, including a large one in Chesapeake, Virginia where students can pursue any one of the many degree programs they have to offer. In addition to their on-campus offerings, Everest offers online courses and hybrid degree programs that can help students earn their degree faster and more efficiently. Some of Everest's most popular degree options include:

  • Associate of Science in Accounting
  • Dental Assisting Diploma
  • Associate of Science in Business

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College Roadmap

Now that you've decided to earn a degree in Virginia, you're probably wondering what to do next. If you're up for it, consider taking a short road trip to see the many college campuses around the state and what they have to offer. This college roadmap can help:

Start your journey at the northern part of the state in Alexandria. There you can explore the campuses of several smaller schools including Northern Virginia Community College. Then work your way Southwest on Highway 81, taking time to explore the mountainous terrain and beautiful scenery offered in Virginia. Once you get to Roanoke, you can visit the campus of Western Virginia Community College, Hollins University, and Skyline College. Next, you'll head west to the state's capital of Richmond, where you can explore the state government buildings and take in all the big city has to offer. Colleges you should visit in Richmond include larger schools like the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others.

Next you'll head east to Newport News then Norfolk, where you can tour the world's largest Navy base if you'd like or sit in the harbor and watch the big ships come and go. Of course, there are also plenty of schools to visit in the area, including Thomas Nelson Community College, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University. End your journey in Virginia Beach where you can visit Tidewater Community College, Regent University, and Stratford University before heading to the beach to reflect on all you've learned.

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

Students in Virginia should fill out a FAFSA form to see if they qualify for financial aid. Those pursuing distance learning in Virginia could qualify for a number of different aid programs, including Pell grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. Virginia college students may also apply for one of the many scholarships available in the state. The following list provides a sample of those scholarships, although students should conduct their own research to learn about additional scholarships that may be available:

  • Lee-Jackson Educational Foundation Scholarship Program
  • Virginia Commonwealth Awards
  • VSGA Scholarship Program
  • Virginia Higher Education Teacher Assistance Program
  • Virginia State Bar Law in Society Essay Competition
  • L. Phil Wicker Scholarship
  • Granville P. Meade Scholarship
  • Mary Graham Lasley Scholarship Competition

Prospective students should check with any schools they're considering to see if scholarships are available and learn more about how to apply.

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Sources:
"A Stronger Nation through Higher Education," Lumina Foundation, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation/report/#virginia
"A Stronger Nation through Higher Education," Lumina Foundation, Virginia, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation_2013/downloads/pdfs/virginia-brief-2013.pdf
"Colleges, Universities & Trade Schools," City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, http://www.vbgov.com/residents/learning/Pages/colleges-universities-and-trade.aspx
"Connecting Classrooms to Careers," Virginia Department of Education's Office of Career and Technical Education Services, http://www.doe.virginia.gov/instruction/career_technical/career_clusters/ru_ready/ru_ready_magazine.pdf
"Key Industries," Virginia Economic Development Partnership, http://www.yesvirginia.org/KeyIndustries
"May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates," Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 1, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=VA&l=93&ic=1
"Long-term Projections," Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
"State and County QuickFacts," Virginia Beach, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/51810.html
"State and County QuickFacts," Chesapeake, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/51550.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