A recent report from the Lumina Foundation shows that educational attainment in Connecticut is much higher than the national average. According to the study, 53.8 percent of Connecticut adults ages 25-64 held a two-year degree or better in 2016, compared to just 46.9 percent of the adult population nationwide.
Furthermore, many Connecticut residents have reached greater heights in higher education than just an associate degree. As the Lumina study, aptly named A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, points out, only 8 percent of Connecticut residents actually had an associate degree in 2016, while 24.1 percent possessed a bachelor's degree and 16.8 percent held a graduate or professional degree.
But even with this high level of educational attainment, Connecticut still has room for improvement. According to the statistics, 25.9 percent of Connecticut adults in 2016 only had a high school diploma, and another 12.6 percent had some college experience, but no degree.
Fortunately, there are plenty of schools in Connecticut for degree-seeking students to choose from. Specifically, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that 103 colleges, universities, trade schools, and technical schools currently call the state home. While some of these institutions focus only on traditional education, others offer distance learning and online degree options. Check out the guide below for more information on earning a degree in Connecticut.
Why Should I Earn a Degree in Connecticut?
In addition to plenty of educational opportunities, Connecticut also boasts a healthy job market brimming with in-demand positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut's workforce was made up of 1,666,280 individuals in 2017, with a mean annual wage of $45,877.
Although many careers in the state are promising, some jobs for college graduates offer higher pay and higher rates of employment than others. Here is a list of the most prominent jobs for degree holders in Connecticut in 2016:
Number of Workers
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||256,200||$43,810|
|Sales and Related Occupations||161,370||$47,060|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||137,430||$27,040|
|Education, Training, and Library Occupations||118,370||$64,810|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||103,500||$93,390|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||91,290||$38,420|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||90,370||$84,300|
|Personal Care and Service Occupations||70,580||$31,180|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||56,270||$34,600|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||53,360||$55,000|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||50,170||$56,790|
|Healthcare Support Occupations||49,930||$35,270|
|Computer and Mathematical Occupations||49,630||$91,740|
While these careers are certainly promising, jobs in some of Connecticut's other key industries offer plenty of potential as well. Major industries in Connecticut currently include advanced manufacturing, bioscience, digital media, green technology, and insurance and financial services. Connecticut's bioscience industry alone was responsible 500,000 jobs in 800 separate businesses in 2014. Meanwhile, when it comes to advanced manufacturing, nearly 4,500 separate businesses employed over 164,000 private sector workers that same year.
These and other businesses are spread out across the state, however many are huddled around Connecticut's major metropolitan regions, particularly the Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic metro area and the Norwich-New London metro area. Due to its close proximity to New York and Massachusetts, parts of Connecticut also fall in the New York and Greater Boston metropolitan areas.
With so many big cities, it's no wonder that Connecticut is home to many well-known colleges and universities. The University of Connecticut System, with five regional campuses statewide, boasted a total enrollment of 31,119 students during the fall 2014 semester. Meanwhile, other large schools in the state such as Southern Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University, Post University, and Yale University all raise the bar when it comes to high quality, traditional education.
Additionally, a handful of colleges and universities in Connecticut offer online and hybrid learning options to students both in the state and beyond. These schools include Southern Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University, and Quinnipiac University, among others.
Connecticut also features a fully-online school, Charter Oak State College, which is located in New Britain. According to Ed Klonoski, President of Charter Oak State College, having a public online college is a huge advantage for Connecticut students. This is partly because the school specializes in transfer students, which most adults are, but also because Charter Oak offers credit transfer options in addition to an incredibly high standard for instruction.
This way, says Klonoski, ""working adults can use more of their previous coursework as well as getting credit for learning they gained on the job or through their military service."" To make online education in Connecticut even more accessible, the school also offers programs year-round.
In addition to a bustling economy, plenty of job prospects, and an established infrastructure for both traditional and online education, Connecticut also offers close proximity to a handful of the nation's most visited landmarks, beautiful bodies of water and natural scenery, and a wide range of recreational activities for all ages. Here are some additional facts about the state you probably didn't know:
- Love nature? Nearly 60 percent of Connecticut is covered in forest. The state also features 332 miles of coastline, including bays, harbors and coves.
- Fishing is big business in Connecticut. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, over 400,000 individuals spend nearly $300,000,000 to fish in the state each year.
- Although Connecticut is 48th in terms of size in the United States, it's fourth in population density. An amazing 739 people inhabited each square mile of Connecticut on average in 2014.
- Connecticut got the nickname ""The Nutmeg State"" after its residents became known for selling wooden nutmegs in place of real ones to buyers.
- Connecticut is home to the largest maritime museum in the world, Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea.
What Makes Connecticut Ideal for Online Education?
Although Connecticut might not seem like a state that would invest in online education, that couldn't be further from the truth. According to Klonoski, Connecticut is actually the perfect setting for online college due to local demographics and the number of working adults in the state who choose to pursue higher education later in life.
""The primary audience for the state's online offerings is working adults, and their reason for choosing to pursue higher education online has little to do with technology,"" says Klonoski. ""The driver for their degree is career advancement, and they choose online programs because online programs save them time.""
In a densely-populated state like Connecticut, the allure of flexible degrees that can be completed from the comfort of one's home is very strong. And as Klonoski notes, online education in Connecticut is, simply put, a huge time-saver.
""The time to drive to school, park the car, attend class, and then drive home is just impossible when combined with the responsibilities associated with family life and employment,"" he says. ""So Connecticut has grown its online offerings in service of adult students who are chasing education goals that improve their income, but who must integrate that learning into busy adult lives.""
Because distance learning in Connecticut has become so popular, Klonoski notes that the state recently enrolled an additional 500 online students in a very short period through a state program called Go Back to Get Ahead.
""The program encouraged adults to take advantage of a special offer of up to three free courses to help them complete their degrees,"" explains Klonoski, adding that ""over 1,500 enrolled, and 500 of those chose to finish their degrees online with Charter Oak State College.""
That just goes to show how important -- and how popular -- online education has become in Connecticut. In a state where adults need higher education to move forward in their respective careers, online degrees are opening the door for more people to get ahead.
Featured Degrees in Connecticut
Although many on-campus and online degrees in Connecticut could prove to be a wise investment, some may pay off more than others. Using data from the Connecticut Department of Labor, we compiled this list of featured degrees and related careers for Connecticut college students:
Many students who earn a degree in a foreign language go on to work as an interpreter or translator. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, employment for interpreters and translators could increase by as much as 24.1 percent in Connecticut from 2014 to 2024. High wages also add to the value of this degree. As of 2017, interpreters and translators in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $51,321.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Majoring in diagnostic medical sonography can help you begin a career in this growing field. According to the most recent predictions, job openings for diagnostic medical sonographers are expected to increase 15.4 percent in Connecticut from 2014 to 2024. And along with this above average job growth comes a pretty big pay check. As of 2017, diagnostic medical sonographers in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $76,758.
Physical Therapy Assistant
A degree in physical therapy assisting from an accredited school can help you begin a career as a licensed physical therapy assistant. And according to Connecticut Department of Labor data, this degree could pay off. Specifically, they predict that employment of physical therapy assistants in the state could increase by as much as 29 percent from 2014 to 2024. Even better, these workers pulled in a mean annual wage of $63,201 in Connecticut in 2017.
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Earning a degree in occupational therapy assisting is the best way to find work as an assistant to a licensed occupational therapist. As with almost all jobs in health care, this career is in demand. According to government data, job openings for these professionals could increase by as much as 27.6 percent in Connecticut from 2014 to 2024. A high mean annual wage of $64,177 in 2017 also adds to the value of this degree.
Physician assistants perform a wide range of functions under the supervision of a licensed physician. And by earning a degree in the field, you could enter a profession that is expected to see 19 percent growth in Connecticut from 2014 to 2024. Even better, physician assistants in the state earned a mean annual wage of $118,144 in 2017.
With a degree in statistics, you could begin a career in logistics and supply, or as a statistician. The latter option is expected to see growth in Connecticut over the coming years, specifically a 35 percent increase in employment from 2014 to 2024. Statisticians can expect to earn a mean annual wage of $110,438, as of 2017.
If you love animals, a degree in veterinary technology might be the perfect fit. Veterinary technologists and technicians assist licensed veterinarians in treating sick or injured animals by performing laboratory tests, administering medications, and preparing patients for surgery. According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, employment of veterinary technologists is expected to increase 17.5 percent in the state from 2014 to 2024. Veterinary technologists can expect to earn a mean annual wage of $39,483, as of 2017.
A degree in marketing can lead to a career as a market research analyst or marketing specialist. Because businesses continue to rely on marketing professionals to sell their products and services, these careers remain highly in demand. Specifically, the Connecticut Department of Labor predicts that job openings for market research analysts and marketing professionals will increase 18.5 percent in the state from 2014 to 2024. Furthermore, this degree could come with a great return-on-investment. As of 2017, market research analysts and marketing specialists in Connecticut earned a mean annual wage of $73,052.
Featured Cities for Connecticut College Students
Located in Fairfield County, Bridgeport is Connecticut's most populous city and the cornerstone of the Greater Bridgeport metropolitan area. With its own symphony orchestra, Downtown Cabaret Theater, outdoor theater, memorial auditorium, and sports venue, Bridgeport offers plenty in terms of culture and entertainment.
Approximately 147,612 residents called Bridgeport home in 2014, according to U.S. Census figures. Meanwhile, the median housing value through 2013 was an affordable $188,000. The National Center for Education Statistics lists six colleges and trade schools as active in the Bridgeport area. Here are a few of the most prominent:
University of Bridgeport
The University of Bridgeport is a private, four-year institution with a focus on small class sizes and global diversity. Approximately 5,191 students attended in 2014, a year when tuition and fees averaged out to $29,920. However, the school reports that 96 percent of its population received federal and/or state student aid that year. The University of Bridgeport is known for these popular degree options:
- Online Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
- Online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Housatonic Community College
Housatonic Community College is a two-year, public school aimed at preparing students for quick entry into the workforce. In 2014, 5,286 students were enrolled in the school's various certificate, associate degree, and transfer programs. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to just $3,866. Here are a few of their most notable degrees:
- Associate of Science in Accounting
- Associate of Science in Business Administration
- Associate of Science in Nursing
St. Vincent's College
St. Vincent's College is a small, private institution that offers a variety of undergraduate degrees and certificate programs. Enrollment was made up of 731 students in 2014, and the school boasted a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. Average tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year came out to $16,200, and some of St. Vincent's popular programs include:
- Associate of Science in Nursing
- RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Associate of Science in Radiography
With a population of 130,282 in 2014, New Haven is Connecticut's second-largest city, as well as the principal municipality in Greater New Haven. Due to the many well-known colleges and universities in the New Haven area, the city is hopping with signs of young, hip culture. A number of restaurants surround the city's downtown area, as do entertainment venues, bars, theaters, and museums.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, five colleges and universities call the New Haven region home. Here are the most prominent:
As one of the premier institutions of higher education in the nation, Yale University boasts a plethora of awards and is consistently recognized for excellence in research and instruction. Approximately 12,336 students attended Yale in 2014, including a large percentage of international students. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $45,800, and 96 percent of students graduated on time in 2008, which was the last year Yale reported this data. The school is known for the following degree programs:
- Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
Southern Connecticut State University
Located near downtown New Haven you'll find Southern Connecticut University, a vibrant four-year, public school that offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Approximately 10,825 students enrolled in 2014, and tuition and fees averaged out to $9,157 for in-state students. Here are a few of the school's most popular programs:
- Master of Business Administration
- Bachelor of Arts in Economics
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Albertus Magnus College
Albertus Magnus College is a private, four-year Catholic school that offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations, plus eight graduate programs. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year came in at $28,930 and the school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. These programs are a few of the school's most notable:
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management
Although Hartford is the capital of Connecticut, it is the state's third most populous city. Approximately 124,705 residents called Hartford home in 2014, and the city serves as the historic national center of the insurance industry. Hartford is home to dozens of points of interest and historic landmarks including Bulkeley Bridge, Bushnell Park, the Cathedral of St. Joseph, and the Comcast Theater.
Real estate in Hartford remains affordable for a capital city, with the median housing value pegged at $168,700 in 2013. The city is also home to six colleges and universities, including these prominent schools:
Trinity College is a private, four-year school that offers a variety of degree programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Enrollment included 2,408 students in 2014, and tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to $49,056. The school currently offers 39 majors, 26 minors, and more than 900 individual courses. The following degree programs are some of Trinity's most popular:
- Bachelor of Science in Biology
- Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
Capital Community College
Founded in 1992, Capital Community College is a two-year, public school that helps students enter career-ready fields or earn the credits they need to transfer to a four-year school. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were just $3,982 for in-state students, and the student population was 4,075 that year. Here are few of their programs:
- Associate of Science in Accounting
- Associate of Science in Construction Management
- Online Associate of Science in Computer and Information Systems
Lincoln Technical Institute-Hartford
Lincoln Technical Institute is a technical/vocational college that focuses on preparing students for careers in automotive, business and information technology, spa and cosmetology, health sciences, culinary, or skilled trades. The Hartford campus enrolled 450 students during the 2014-15 school year, and tuition and fees were around $27,500. A few of Lincoln Technical Institute's most popular programs include:
- Culinary Arts
- International Baking and Pastry
- Italian Culinary Arts
Scholarships and Financial Aid
According to College Board figures, the average cost of earning a degree in Connecticut has risen considerably over the last decade. Here are college tuition figures for the most recent school year:
- Public, Two-Year (2014-15): $3,866
- Public, Four-Year (2014-15): $10,620
- Private Nonprofit, Four-Year (2014-15): $40,017
Many students pursing on-campus and online degrees in Connecticut may qualify for some type of student aid. Federal aid opportunities can include, but are not limited to: Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants. Students may also qualify for state-specific aid, such as:
- Governor's Scholarship
- CT Minority Teacher Incentive Grant
- CHESLA Loan Program
- Veterans Benefits
The Connecticut Office of Higher Education offers resources on both state and federal aid options for prospective students. In addition to these programs, students may also qualify for school-specific aid. To find out more about financial aid and scholarship opportunities, contact your school's financial aid office.
A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, Lumina Foundation, Connecticut, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/#connecticut
Connecticut Office of Higher Education, http://www.ctohe.org/sfa/
Fastest Growing Occupations in Connecticut, Connecticut Department of Labor, http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/WhatsHotWhatsNot_results.asp
Industries, Connecticut's Official State Website, http://portal.ct.gov/Business/Industries/
Interesting Connecticut Facts, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?A=2688&Q=322362
Interview with Ed Klonoski, President of Charter Oak State College, August 12, 2015
May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, Bridgeport, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/0908000.html
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, New Haven http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/0952000.html
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, Hartford, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/0937000.html
Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Over Time, College Board, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-time