Thanks to the state's broad investments into higher education, degree attainment is exceptionally high in the state of New Hampshire. That news comes courtesy of the Lumina Foundation, an independent educational study group who broke down degree attainment by state for research purposes.
The Lumina Foundation notes that, as of 2013, 46.4 percent of New Hampshire adults held a two-year degree or better. That compares rather favorably to the national average, which was just 40 percent that year. Still, New Hampshire has plenty of room for improvement, as 28.3 percent of adults held just a high school diploma, and 19.98 percent had some college experience but no degree in 2013. For the sake of comparison, that same year 10.23 percent of New Hampshire adults held an associate degree, 23.79 percent had their bachelor's, and 12.42 percent possessed a graduate or professional degree.
Regardless of which level of education one wants to pursue in New Hampshire, they'll find plenty of options to choose from. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) lists 42 institutions of higher education as active in the state. That list includes all types of institutions, from public schools and community colleges, to trade schools and beauty colleges. In addition to traditional education, some schools in the state even offer hybrid and online degree programs. Continue reading to learn more about online education in New Hampshire, along with relevant data on the state's economic outlook, top cities and metropolitan regions, and cost of living.
Why Should I Earn a Degree in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire is brimming with opportunity for adults who have marketable skills. As of 2014, the state's workforce was made up of 627,000 workers in a wide range of career fields. Collectively, these workers earned a mean annual wage of $47,060.
However, some jobs for New Hampshire college graduates offered much higher potential salaries. The following chart highlights some of the professions with high levels of employment and healthy wages in 2016:
Number of Workers
|Office and Administrative Support Occupations||110,000||$37,990|
|Sales and Related Occupations||79,150||$42,210|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||58,620||$24,870|
|Education, Training, and Library Occupations||43,880||$52,930|
|Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations||39,180||$90,980|
|Transportation and Material Moving Occupations||34,140||$36,200|
|Business and Financial Operations Occupations||28,550||$72,330|
|Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations||25,000||$50,800|
|Personal Care and Service Occupations||22,180||$27,770|
|Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations||21,390||$30,160|
|Construction and Extraction Occupations||21,250||$47,250|
As a small state in New England, New Hampshire is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the West, and Maine to the east. Meanwhile, New Hampshire also opens to the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern shore, adding boating, sailing, and watersports to the many outdoor activities popular in the state.
Beyond its rugged beachfront, New Hampshire is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Large ski resorts beckon sports fans on its east coast, along with the state's White Mountain National Forest, which lures campers and hikers from all over the world.
The bulk of the state's population lives near its biggest cities -- Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Derry. Key industries in New Hampshire include manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and government. The state exacts property taxes, but has no measurable sales tax or income tax. This has helped it gain broad appeal among retirees and young families alike.
In total, state projections show that job openings in New Hampshire could increase by as much as 10.3 percent across all industries from 2012 to 2022. If that prediction comes true, that will mean 68,731 jobs will be added during that time frame.
Although the state's job prospects are enticing, there is more to New Hampshire than meets the eye. High wages also add to the state's appeal. According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the median household income in New Hampshire was $64,916 in 2013, compared to $53,046 on a national level. The median housing value reflected that change, however. That same year, average housing costs worked out to $239,900 in New Hampshire, compared to $176,700 nationwide. However, homeownership remains exceptionally popular in the state despite these high costs. Through 2013, an astounding 71.4 percent of New Hampshire residents owned their own homes.
In addition to all of these other positive attribute, the state of New Hampshire has a bustling infrastructure for higher education. Large, public schools include the University of New Hampshire, which has three main campuses throughout the state, plus Keene State College, Granite State College, and Plymouth State University.
A diverse array of community colleges also call the state home, offering anything from two-year associate degrees to technical certificates. Some schools in the state have even branched off to offer online degrees, in addition to online courses, or even hybrid degree options. Popular schools with dedicated online programs in New Hampshire include Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the University of New Hampshire, and Manchester Community College, among others.
Interesting Facts about New Hampshire
While New Hampshire has much to offer college graduates and young adults laying down roots, it has a quirky side too. Here are some interesting facts about the state you may not know:
- State residents have always loved to read. In fact, the nation's first public library was founded in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
- New Hampshire's state motto is "live free or die."
- New Hampshire is commonly referred to as "The Granite State" due to the vast granite resources tucked away in the state's quarries and hillsides.
- Famous people from New Hampshire include comedian Sarah Silverman, novelist J.D. Salinger, and singer/actress Mandy Moore.
- New Hampshire's state government is steeped in colonial history. Its state constitution, adopted in 1784, is the second-oldest in the entire nation.
What Makes New Hampshire Ideal for Online Education?
Just like any other state, New Hampshire has plenty of reasons to celebrate the many online degree and learning options it offers. Further, there are plenty of reasons distance learning in New Hampshire is worth considering for any type of student.
First off, online degrees in New Hampshire are often a better deal -- and much more feasible -- for adults who are already in the workforce. Jeff Francoeur, Distance Learning Director at Porter and Chester Institute, feels that the greatest impact made by online education has been with this growing demographic.
Thanks to online learning programs, Francoeur says "people with busy schedules can now attend any hour of the day or night. These asynchronous courses allow work to be done when time is available."
The flexibility online degrees offer is especially crucial for workers who may have unreliable work schedules or children to care for. And this is another reason online education works so well in the real world, says Francoeur.
"The 9-5 work day doesn't exist for most workers in the United States anymore," he notes. "Work hours often vary and aren't conducive to traditional, on-campus, set class hours."
Another reason online education in New Hampshire and other states continues to surge in popularity is basic geography. While some students cluster in big cities with plenty of brick-and-mortar schools to choose from, others live in remote areas where commuting to school isn't always possible. Still, many others live in areas where heavy traffic might make attending a traditional school a stressful and time-consuming proposition. Online education takes both geography and traffic out of the equation by allowing students to earn their degrees from the comfort of their own homes.
Because of online education, some school districts in low population areas of the country have even been able to increase their course offerings to their students, says Francoeur,
At the end of the day, online education is a valuable concept for students who need some flexibility while they continue their education. Meanwhile, the technology students use to access online education could prove helpful to their future careers. Since so many jobs now require a basic understanding of technology, earning an online degree could help in that respect.
"Employers want workers who are capable of learning new things on a regular basis," he adds. "Online learning helps students to be more involved in their education."
Popular Degrees in New Hampshire
Investing in a college degree is almost always a smart move, but some majors are poised to pay off better than others in the long run. Relying on employment projections from the U.S. Department of Labor and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we created this list of top degrees in New Hampshire based on demand and performance:
The use of foreign languages is on the rise all over the United States, and that's especially true in New Hampshire. Because of this fact, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that interpreters and translators will see a 48 percent surge in job opportunities from 2012 to 2022. The fact that these workers earned mean annual wages of $44,780 in 2014 doesn't hurt the popularity of this degree choice, either.
Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Like many other fields in health care, the use of diagnostic medical sonography is on the rise. With this degree, students learn how to use special imaging equipment, like ultrasound machines, to assess and diagnose medical conditions. Employment for diagnostic medical sonographers in New Hampshire could increase by as much as 44 percent through 2022. These workers also earned mean annual wages of $74,940 in 2014, which is exceptional for a two-year degree.
Physical Therapy Assisting
Physical therapy assisting is growing in popularity due to its reputation as a cheaper and less intrusive alternative to surgery or more extensive rehabilitative methods. Due to this demand, the U.S. Department of Labor predicts that job openings for physical therapy assistants could increase by as much as 34 percent through 2022. As of 2014, these workers earned a mean annual wage of $51,170 in New Hampshire.
With New Hampshire's reputation as a tourist destination, earning a degree in hospitality management or a related field could really pay off. That's especially true if one hopes to work as a meeting, convention, or event planner, a career path projected to see employment growth of 33 percent from 2012 to 2022. Since meeting, convention, and event planners in New Hampshire earned mean annual wages of $46,080 in 2014, this degree might be an excellent investment.
Students who love animals should consider a degree in veterinary technology. With this degree option, one could find work as a veterinary technologist or technician -- a career that is expected to see 33 percent job growth between 2012 and 2022.
Occupational Therapy Assisting
Occupational therapy is a popular form of therapy that is less intrusive than many operational alternatives. Because this field is thriving, job openings for occupational therapy assistants are expected to increase 32 percent from 2012 to 2022. These workers also earned a relatively high mean annual wage of $52,010 in 2014, which makes this major even more enticing.
A degree in finance could lead to a number of growing careers, including personal financial advisor. Since so many people need help managing their finances and estates, job openings in this field are expected to surge 32 percent through 2022. As of 2014, these professionals earned a mean annual wage of $97,350 in New Hampshire.
A degree in marketing will most likely lead to a fast-paced career as a marketing specialist or market research analyst. In the state of New Hampshire, employment in this field is expected to increase 31 percent from 2012 to 2022. Mean annual wages for these professionals worked out to $67,060 in 2014, which only adds to the value of this degree choice.
Advances in technology have meant that nearly every job involving in-depth knowledge of computers is on the rise. As such, a degree in computer science could be an especially good investment for students in New Hampshire. Several related careers are expected to see exceptional growth in the state through 2022, including: information security analyst (31 percent), software developer of applications (28 percent), and computer systems analyst (24 percent).
A degree in medical technology could put you on the fast track towards a career as a medical or clinical laboratory technician. Because of the ongoing demand in this industry, job openings for these workers are expected to increase 27 percent between 2012 and 2022. As of 2014, medical technicians in New Hampshire earned a mean annual wage of $41,720.
Top Cities for New Hampshire College Students
With 110,448 residents in 2014, Manchester is New Hampshire's largest city. Consistently ranked for its livability, business-friendly environment, and tax-friendly policies, Manchester is known as a city where upward mobility is constant.
Key industries in Manchester include manufacturing, banking, and construction. Opportunities for recreation abound in the city, as it is home to the Verizon Wireless Arena and numerous plazas, museums, and theatres.
The median household income in Manchester was $54,496 through 2013, which is considerably lower than the average household income of $64,916 reported statewide. Nine institutions of higher education are located in the area, including these top schools:
Manchester Community College
Manchester Community College is one of the area's most affordable schools, with in-state tuition of just $6,848 for the 2014-15 school year. Approximately 3,455 students were enrolled in 2014, each enjoying small class sizes with an average student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1. Associate degrees offered by the school make it easy to enter the workforce quickly or transfer to a four-year school. Popular program options include:
- Associate of Science in Accounting
- Associate of Science in Computer Science
- Associate of Science in Cybersecurity Investigations
Southern New Hampshire University
With a population of 43,274 in 2014 (29,353 undergraduate), SNHU is one of the region's biggest schools. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to $29,604, and students pursued everything from associate degrees to doctorates. In addition to its traditional offerings, SNHU offers a wide range of degrees that can be earned entirely online. Here are a few of their most popular programs:
- Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Online Master of Science in Data Analytics
- Associate of Science in Computer Information Technology
Saint Anselm College
Saint Anselm College is a Catholic, Benedictine liberal arts college with a focus on spiritual education. Approximately 1,968 students were enrolled in 2014, and the school prides itself on intimate instruction with an average student-to-faculty ratio of just 11:1. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year averaged out to $36,546, and the school is known for the following programs:
- RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Home to 87,259 residents in 2014, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Nashua is New Hampshire's second-largest city. The area is known for its vast commercial areas, as well as its reputation as a dining and entertainment destination. Key industries in Nashua include banking, retail, defense, and computer technology.
Approximately 34.5 percent of Nashua adults held a bachelor's degree or higher through 2013. Meanwhile, the median household income in the area was $64,661. Four institutions of higher learning exist within Nashua city limits, including these top schools:
Daniel Webster College
Daniel Webster College is a private institution that offers everything from associate degrees to master's programs. Approximately 732 students were enrolled in 2014, a year when tuition and fees averaged out to $15,630. Students can pick from degrees offered through the school's arts and sciences, aviation sciences, business and management, or engineering and computer sciences programs. Popular degrees at Daniel Webster College include:
- Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Management
- Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management
- Bachelor of Science in Game Design and Development
Nashua Community College
Nashua Community College is a two-year, public school that offers a wide range of degrees and technical training programs. Approximately 2,184 students were enrolled in 2014, and each enjoyed small class sizes with an average student-to-faculty ratio of just 10:1. Tuition and fees were just $6,912 for in-state students during the 2014-15 school year. The school currently offers 30 associate degree programs, including these popular options:
- Associate of Science in Automotive Technology
- Associate of Science in Computer Networking
- Associate of Science in Nursing
Rivier University is a private, for-profit school that offers degree options for both undergraduate and graduate students. The school prides itself on small class sizes and experience-based learning in a Catholic, spiritual environment. Approximately 2,349 students were enrolled in 2014, a year when tuition and fees at the school worked out to $28,900. In addition to its on-campus programming, Rivier Univeristy offers a wide range of online degrees in New Hampshire. Their most popular programs include:
- Online RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Online Master of Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology
Concord is the capital of New Hampshire, as well as the county seat of popular Merrimack County. Approximately 42,444 residents called Concord home in 2014, which also made it the state's third most populous city.
Key industries in Concord include government, health care, and the public school system. Meanwhile, the city is known for its quirky state landmarks and opportunities for recreation. Popular venues include the Capital Center for the Arts, New Hampshire Historical Society, and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Historic speeches from Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and other popular politicians have taken place at landmarks in the area.
Approximately 34.4 percent of Concord adults held a bachelor's degree in 2013, while 92.3 percent possessed a high school diploma or better. These three institutions of higher education call the Concord area home:
Granite State College
Granite State College is an institution that offers various opportunities for lifelong learners. In addition to flexible schedules, the school boasts online courses and even hybrid education options. Approximately 2,209 students were enrolled in 2014, and in-state students paid just $7,065 for tuition and fees that year. Popular degree options include:
- Bachelor of Science in Marketing
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance
- Bachelor of Science in Business Management
NHTI - Concord's Community College
As a two-year, public community college, NHTI offers career-oriented associate degrees and certificate programs. Approximately 4,284 students were enrolled in 2014, a year when in-state tuition and fees cost just $7,104. Currently, the school offers 38 associate degrees, two professional certificates, and 32 separate certificate programs. The school is known for the following degree programs:
- Associate of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Associate of Science in Computer Engineering Technology
- Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
University of New Hampshire School of Law
University of New Hampshire School of Law offers both advanced law degrees and graduate degrees in related fields. Approximately 271 students were enrolled in 2014. Tuition and fees for the 2014-15 school year were $37,100 for in-state students. Popular degree options include:
- JD Degree
- Master of Commerce and Technology
- Master of International Criminal Law and Justice
Scholarships and Financial Aid
According to figures from College Board, tuition and fees at two-year schools in New Hampshire averaged out to $6,512 for the 2015-16 school year. Meanwhile, tuition worked out to approximately $15,160 at public, four-year schools that same year. These numbers earn New Hampshire the #1 spot for the highest college tuition prices in the nation, which is yet another reason New Hampshire college students should explore all aid options that may be available to them.
Fortunately, plenty of opportunities exist for students who meet certain criteria. Types of federal aid can include, but are not limited to: Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, or Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.
The New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation (NHHEAF) also lists a number of resources available to students in the state. According to their data, New Hampshire college students might qualify for loan forgiveness programs, financial aid for veterans, or special tax-advantaged savings options. Tuition reimbursement programs may also be available for students who study specific college majors or agree to work in the public sector.
No matter what, students in New Hampshire should explore all of their financial aid options before entering school. The best way to do this is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form, and inquire with your school about any state or institution-based aid that might be available.
A Stronger Nation through Higher Education, Lumina Foundation, New Hampshire, http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/#new-hampshire
College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
Employment Projections, New Hampshire Employment Security, http://www.nhes.nh.gov/elmi/products/proj.htm
May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Hampshire, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nh.htm
New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation, http://www.nhheaf.org/index.asp?page=events_nh93
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, New Hampshire, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/33000.html
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, Manchester, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/33/3345140.html
State & County QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, Concord, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/33/3314200.html
Tuition and Fees by Sector and State Over Time, College Board, http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-fees-sector-state-over-time