2016 Directory of Online Colleges and Universities in California

California has more than 619 post-secondary institutions, of which 131 offer online programs. Of these accredited online colleges, 21 are public four-year colleges or universities and 20 are public community or technical colleges and 90 are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 3,544 online certificate programs, 19,044 online associate programs, 11,906 online bachelor’s programs, 7,821 online master’s programs, 9,869 online professional programs, and 2,048 online doctoral programs. Fashion, ESL, and business writing are examples of subjects offered by these programs.


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    Of the online colleges in California, National University, a 4-year research university, offers 86 online programs.The UC school system, long seen as the weathervane for global trends in higher education, provides UCOnline, offering classes to students seeking the prestige and faculty that UC provides. Governor Jerry Brown has even pledged $37 million toward online initiatives.

    Job Outlook

    The state has approximately 14 million employed workers. The average wage in California is more than the national average. Employees in California earn an average annual income of $50,730 while the national average annual income is $42,871. The median income for employees is $37,870 per year, with the top 10 percent earning over $98,420 per year and the bottom 10 percent earning under $18,750 per year.

    Job opportunities in professional and business services, information-based work, construction, financial activities, education and health services, and hospitality and government have all increased. In fact, California continues to add jobs at a faster pace than the national rate, particularly in Southern California. Because high home costs come with living in the state, many of these recent gains are skewed toward higher-earning workers, particularly educated and trained laborers residing in urban settings.


    Tuition for online college courses varies based on factors including the type and location of the institution as well as the program. The average in-state tuition at the public four-year colleges and universities in California was $6,406 per year. On average, tuition at public community and technical colleges was $769 per year. Yearly tuition at private accredited online colleges ranged from $4,320 to $40,384.

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      California online schools are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. One of six institutional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, it’s a federally recognized body providing assurance to students and parents that participating schools meet clear quality standards for educational and financial performance. It’s also the criterion students need to be eligible, apply for, and receive federal financial aid to subsidize the costs of your education.

      Distance Learning Resources

      • Is Online Right for Me? Produced by CSU East Bay, this guide contains reflection questions prospective students to think about before embarking on their online education. It also includes a video presentation for “students who are serious about their success.”
      • California Career Resource Network is California’ college and career planning system. Use this information to handle the nuts and bolts of your work life, including planning budgets, identifying your professional interests and career pathways, and familiarizing yourself with the state’s employment data.
      • California Reality Check plans and manages your budget, especially as you start a degree program and its significant expenses related to your education.
      • California Career Zone  is an online database customizable to your unique interests. Use this guide to help organize your career goals and identify the academic plan of action best able to help you achieve them.
      • More Information

        California, named from a book, “Las Sergas de Esplandian,” by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, is located in the Western region of the United States. The 3rd largest state in the country, it has an area of 163,695 square miles. It has an average annual temperature of about 53°F.

        California has the largest population in the nation. It has an estimated population of 37,253,956 residents residing in its 58 counties. Approximately 43 percent of those living in California are less than 30 years old. With approximately 60 percent of its population identifying itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group, the state has one of the most diverse populations in the US.

        The capital city of California is Sacramento. However, with a population of 3,792,621 residents, Los Angeles is the state’s largest city. Approximately 9.82 percent of the state’s residents live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Other large cities in the state include San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Fresno.

        As compared to residents in other states around the US, California residents normally have a lower than average level of education. According to the 2010 Census, approximately 13.5 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have completed high school, 3.9 percent have at least an associate degree, 2.9 percent have degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.