A recent study from the Lumina Foundation shows that approximately 33.8 percent of the working age population (ages 25-64) in Indiana held at least a two-year degree in 2011. Unfortunately, that figure is only up slightly from 2008, when 33.3 percent of the adult population held an associate's degree or higher. So, what gives?
The truth is, a large percentage of adults in Indiana got stuck somewhere along the path toward degree attainment. In fact, according to the Lumina Foundation, a full 21.96 percent of working age adults in the state, or 746,283 residents, had some college experience but no degree in 2011. When you compare that number to the 305,782 adults with an associate's degree and 561,959 adults with a bachelor's, it's easy to see that a large percentage of the population wants to earn a college degree, but had to put their dreams on hold.
Fortunately, there are plenty of colleges and universities that offer on-campus and distance learning in Indiana. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics counts 68 colleges and universities in the state where students can earn a bachelor's degree. These top notch schools offer all kinds of educational opportunities to students, including the option for pursuing higher education in a flexible, online format.
Why Should I Earn a Degree in Indiana?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Indiana is home to approximately 2,854,250 workers who earned a mean annual wage of $40,780 in 2013. Although many industries call Indiana home, certain fields are more prominent than others. The following careers employ a comparatively high percentage of the state's college graduates:
Number of Workers
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||416,870||$34,310|
|Sales and Related Occupations||288,350||$37,090|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||282,680||$21,170|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||258,650||$34,590|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||185,940||$72,880|
|Education, Training, and Library Occupations||160,400||$48,000|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||133,920||$44,010|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||118,250||$62,880|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||112,860||$48,260|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||88,590||$25,780|
|Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food||85,810||$18,390|
Major metropolitan areas in the state of Indiana include the Indianapolis-Carmel metro, and the areas surrounding cities such as Gary, Fort Wayne, Evansville, and South Bend. However, opportunities for higher education exist all over the state. For example, Indiana is home to many public universities that boast multiple campuses, such as Indiana University, Purdue University, and Ball State University. The state also contains a large community college system known as the Ivy Tech Community College System. According to College Board figures, Indiana residents paid an average of $8,916 for in-state tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for the 2013-14 school year.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development reports that Indiana boasts several key industries, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture, energy, information technology, life sciences, logistics, and defense and national security. However, certain industries are expected to see larger gains in employment than others in the coming years. For example, long-term industry projections show that employment is expected to surge in the following fields through 2020:
- Social Assistance: 48.8%
- Ambulatory Health Care Services: 44.5%
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers 42.5%
- Specialty Trade Contracting: 35.5%
- Construction: 33.2%
- Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction: 31.1%
- Health Care and Social Assistance: 31.1%
- Education and Health Services: 24.1%
- Professional and Business Services: 22.3%
- Trade, Transportation, and Utilities: 13.6%
The fact that so many industries are expected to see employment growth is nothing but good news for the state's college students. After all, these industries and others provide the jobs that will employ future graduates and provide economic security for all Indiana residents.
Now that we've learned about the educational opportunities and industries you can find in Indiana, let's explore some interesting facts about the state itself. From the downtown wonder of Indianapolis to the rolling hills of the southern part of the state, Indiana is full of surprises. Here are a few:
- Indianapolis is home to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Race fans from around the world travel here for many world-renowned races, such as the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400.
- Indiana residents are crazy about college-level and professional basketball. Fort Wayne was also home to the first ever professional basketball game in 1871.
- The state of Indiana has more square miles of interstate highway than any other state in the nation, making it the perfect place for businesses to set up shop and expand.
- Indianapolis hosts Gen Con, the largest role-playing convention in the United States, every summer.
- The city of Indianapolis is also home to countless historical sites and museums, including the Children's Museum, which is the largest museum of its kind in the world.
What Makes Indiana Ideal for Online Education?
Although Indiana is relatively small, its online educational offerings do not reflect its size. In fact, many of the state's bigger colleges and universities offer online degrees and programs or options for hybrid education. Schools like Indiana State University, Indiana University, and Indiana Wesleyan University lead the way in the state when it comes to online degree options, and many community colleges have joined the fray of schools offering these programs as well.
But that doesn't mean that all online schools are created equal. In fact, according to the experts, there are plenty of things students should look for (and look out for) when it comes to distance learning in Indiana.
Emad Rahim, Associate Professor and Program Director at Bellevue University, says students should make sure the college or university offering the program has the technology to support it. For example, do they have a dynamic LMS system? Is their online programming compatible with mobile devices? Do they have departments focused on serving technology needs around the clock? Also, do they have an online library filled with resources students can access?
According to Rahim, students should also check to make sure any school they are considering is accredited, and whether it has received good or bad marks from former students.
Once students do choose the right school, however, they have plenty to gain. For example, adult learners who want to earn an online degree without leaving their career can typically do so by completing their studies during the evenings and on weekends. And as Rahim points out, students who travel a lot and those who serve in the military may also benefit, since they can learn on the road as long as they have a valid internet connection, some time to kill, and the determination to make it happen.
Top 10 Degrees in Indiana
U.S. Department of Labor data shows that certain careers are expected to grow particularly fast in Indiana over the next decade. Fortunately, the right college degree can help you begin a career in one of these flourishing industries. Using employment projections from the U.S. Department of Labor and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we've created this list of the top 10 degrees in Indiana:
Growing demand for dental care in Indiana is expected to lead to additional jobs in this field. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment of dental hygienists could increase 35 percent in Indiana between 2012 and 2022. Meanwhile, demand for dental assistants is expected to rise 34 percent during the same timeframe.
Indiana is expected to see an increase in the need for social assistance in the coming decade, which means plenty of opportunity for professionals in social work. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts employment of mental health and substance abuse social workers to increase 28 percent from 2012 to 2022. At the same time, social and community services managers in Indiana are expected to see job openings surge as much as 19 percent.
Occupational Therapy Assistant
Students who pursue a degree in occupational therapy assisting usually do so in order to begin a career as an occupational therapy assistant. And thanks to the growing demand in this field, job opportunities should be plentiful over the next decade. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts demand for occupational therapy assistants to rise 27 percent between 2012 and 2022, opening the door for many new students to transition into the workforce.
Physical Therapy Assistant
Earning this degree can put you on the fast track toward a career as an assistant to a licensed physical therapist. Because of the growing need for rehabilitative services in Indiana, physical therapy jobs are in demand. Specifically, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that employment of physical therapy assistants could increase 27 percent from 2012 to 2022.
Early Childhood Education
Many students who earn a degree in childhood education do so in order to work as a preschool teacher or in a daycare setting. Thanks to an overall increase in children needing preschool and daycare services, job openings for these workers are expected to increase considerably in Indiana. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that demand for preschool teachers should grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, while employment of preschool teachers with special education credentials could increase by as much as 21 percent.
Earning a degree in educational leadership can help you begin a career as an education administrator, school principal, or school system business manager. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that education administrators in particular will see a surge in employment opportunities through 2022, including an increase in jobs by as much as 22 percent.
A degree in medical technology can prepare you to work in a clinical laboratory or medical laboratory setting. However, most people pursue this degree in order to gain employment as a medical or clinical laboratory technologist or technician. Thanks to general growth in life sciences in Indiana, employment opportunities for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians are expected to increase between 21 and 24 percent through 2022.
Students who pursue a degree in health administration or health care administration typically do so in order to work as an administrator in a health care setting, such as a hospital, long-term care facility, or clinic. Students who earn this degree often end up gaining employment as a medical or health service manager. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts job growth for these professionals to increase by as much as 21 percent in Indiana from 2012 to 2022.
Sonography/Diagnostic Medical Sonography
A degree in sonography could prepare you for a career as a diagnostic medical sonographer or even a cardiovascular technologist or technician. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the outlook in Indiana is bright for both of these careers. Specifically, projections show that demand for diagnostic medical sonographers could grow as much as 21 percent in Indiana between 2012 and 2022. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians, on the other hand, are projected to see an increase of around 18 percent.
A degree in architecture can prepare you for a career in building design, planning, and customization. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment opportunities for architects are expected to increase as much as 20 percent in Indiana from 2012 to 2022.
Top Cities for Indiana College Students
U.S. Census figures from 2013 show that Indianapolis was home to approximately 843,393 residents that year. Furthermore, 27.5 percent of working age adults ages 25-63 held at least a bachelor's degree in the period from 2008-2012, and 84.2 percent had a high school diploma or higher. The city of Indianapolis has plenty to offer students from all age groups, with everything from eclectic museums to beautiful parks within its borders. And since Indianapolis plays host to numerous sporting events and conventions throughout the year, there is never a shortage of happenings going on in the state's capital. Plenty of options exist for Indianapolis students as well, from large public universities to small private colleges. Here are a few of the top notch schools that call Indianapolis home:
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
IUPUI combines the best that two of the state's biggest schools have to offer into one convenient downtown location. With 200 degree programs to choose from, IUPUI boasts plenty of options for its over 30,000 students. And with one in four tenured or tenure-tracked faculty members being minorities and a 21.5 percent minority student rate, IUPUI also offers a diverse campus with students from many different backgrounds. Here are a few of the degree programs that IUPUI is known for:
- Master of Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Energy Engineering
Ivy Tech Community College
Although Ivy Tech has campuses all across Indiana, the school's main campus is in Indianapolis. The Ivy Tech system serves more than 200,000 students annually, and offers associate degrees and certificate programs in a wide range of subjects. Even better, Ivy Tech is one of the most affordable colleges in the state, with tuition as low as $3,860 per year. The following degree programs are some of Ivy Tech's most popular:
- Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
- Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Administration
- Associate of Applied Science in Mortuary Science
Butler University offers degree programs in over 60 major academic fields that span across the school's six colleges. And with an average class size of 18 and student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, Butler proves that its focus is truly on intimate, hands-on education with excellent outcomes for students. According to Butler's website, the school's Class of 2013 has a success rate of 96 percent. Tuition for the 2013-14 school year came in at $33,490 for non-pharmacy students. Butler University is known for the following degree programs:
- Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science and Management
- Master of Business Administration
Indiana's second largest city, Fort Wayne, was home to approximately 256,496 residents in 2013, according to U.S. Census estimates. Only slightly more than a quarter of the city's working age adults held a bachelor's degree in 2008-2012, compared to the 88 percent that had earned at least a high school diploma. Fort Wayne's economy relies heavily on industries such as health care, logistics, distribution, and professional and business services. However, it has a lot to offer those who seek culture and entertainment, including 15 art galleries and museums. Fort Wayne is also known for being home to the following colleges and universities:
University of Saint Francis
As a small, private school, the University of Saint Francis has an enrollment of only 2,300 students. However, those students are spread across its 70 academic majors in a wide range of disciplines. In addition to its traditional offerings, the school also has a virtual campus that offers options for students seeking online education in Indiana. The University of Saint Francis is known for the following popular degree programs, among others:
- Online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Online Master of Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
Indiana Tech started as a small engineering college, but grew to offer degree programs in many disciplines over the years. With a total enrollment of around 6,300 students and a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1, Indiana Tech has maintained a relatively small size while offering exemplary degree and learning options for its students. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year came in at around $24,450, and the school is known for the following popular degree programs:
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Management
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Evansville, Indiana is the state's third largest city and home to approximately 120,310 residents, as of 2013. According to U.S. Census figures, only 17.9 percent of Evansville's working age adults held a bachelor's degree from 2008-2012. However, 85.6 percent of the adult population had a high school diploma or higher. The city of Evansville is known for its many parks, nature preserves, walking trails, and greenways, and is home to several top notch universities:
University of Evansville
With 2,643 students from 46 countries and almost every state in the U.S., the University of Evansville offers a splash of culture and activity in a relatively simple part of Indiana. According to the school's website, its average class size is 18, its student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1, and 87 percent of their faculty members hold the terminal degree in their field. Average tuition for the 2014-15 school year came in at $31,776, not including room and board. The following degree programs are a few of the school's most popular:
- Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
- Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
University of Southern Indiana
The University of Southern Indiana sits on a beautiful 1,400 acre campus surrounded by trees, lush greenery, and all that Evansville, as a town, has to offer. And with 80 academic majors to choose from, the school has plenty to offer its nearly 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Tuition for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to $221.22 per credit hour for Indiana residents. The University of Southern Indiana is known for the following degree programs:
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
- Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
Harrison College has campuses all over Indiana and Ohio, yet hasn't lost its small town charm. The school currently offers associate and bachelor's degrees in a wide range of disciplines, in addition to a handful of certificate and diploma programs. Some of Harrison College's most popular degree programs are as follows:
- Associate of Science in Nursing
- Associate of Science in Logistics
- Associate of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology
Scholarships and Financial Aid
All students should fill out a FAFSA (free application for federal student aid) form to see what kind of federal aid they may be entitled to. Federal aid can include Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, and more. Students should also check with their potential school to see if any specific types of aid are available for incoming students.
Many scholarships are also available specifically to Indiana residents. Although options change every year, the following list provides a sample of the scholarships that are currently available:
- Benjamin Moulton Geography Scholarship
- Valparaiso University Board of Directors Scholarship
- Purdue University College of Technology Scholarship
- Dr. & Mrs. Edward L. Probst, Jr. Scholarship
- St. Joseph's College Family Tuition Scholarship
- Hurley C. & Fredine (Wynn) Goodall Scholarship
- Indiana University at Fort Wayne Alumni Association Scholarship
- IUPUI International Experience Scholarship
- Ivy Tech-Prosser School of Technology Scholarship Fund
- Alice McCaffery Raridan Scholarship
- Allen County Scholarships
- Allied Builders Scholarship (Indiana)
- Andrew Finley Scott Scholarship
- Andrew Sprigler Memorial Scholarship
- Bank One Merrillville Scholarship
"A Stronger Nation through Higher Education,"" Lumina Foundation, Indiana, http://www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation_2013/downloads/pdfs/indiana-brief-2013.pdf
"CareerOneStop,"" U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.careerinfonet.org/oview1.asp?next=oview1&Level=edu3&optstatus=&jobfam=&id=1&nodeid=3&soccode=&ShowAll=&stfips=18
"Industry Projections,"" Indiana Department of Workforce Development, http://www.hoosierdata.in.gov/dpage.asp?id=57&view_number=2&menu_level=&panel_number=2
"May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates,"" Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?s=IN&l=93
"State and County QuickFacts,"" U.S. Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/18/1836003.html
"Tuition and Fees by Sector and State over Time,"" College Board, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-sector-and-state-over-time