For those looking for distance learning options, there are many online universities in Iowa, as well as brick-and-mortar schools offering online programs to earn degrees accredited institutions. Iowa has more than 88 post-secondary institutions, of which 37 offer online programs. A total of two are public four-year colleges or universities and 15 are public community or technical colleges and 20 are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 305 online certificate programs, 2,098 online associate programs, 4,155 online bachelor's programs, 1,067 online master's programs, 1,444 online professional programs, and 377 online doctoral programs. Carpentry, graphic design, and business management are examples of subjects offered by these programs.
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The unemployment rate in Iowa stands at 4.7 percent as of April 2013. While this number is significantly lower than the national average of 7.5, it possibly is deceiving, as the small population of Iowa makes the job market particularly competitive. Employers within trade, transportation, and utilities continue to be the largest job producers, with around 307,000 filled positions. Government and education/health services are also major industries in the state, employing around 500,000 people. The manufacturing sector has seen recent growth also, expanding 3.4 percent between November 2012 and April 2013.
In Iowa, the average in-state tuition at the public four-year colleges and universities was $6,108 per year. Public community and technical colleges charged students an average of $3,563 per year. Annual tuition at private accredited online colleges ranged from $7,425 to $26,400.
Online colleges and universities in Iowa must be accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, or another recognized accrediting body. Accreditation is the process where an institution is evaluated against certain academic standards to ensure they are providing a quality education for their students. If an online degree is accredited, it will be valid in the eyes of employers and other educational institutions.
Named from the Iowa River, which was named after the Ioway Indian tribe, Iowa is located in the Upper Midwest region of the United States. The state, which has an area of 56,273 square miles, is the 26th smallest in the country. The average annual temperature in the state is approximately 46°F.
Of the states in the country, Iowa has the 22nd smallest population. It has an estimated population of 3,046,355 residents residing in its 99 counties. About 40 percent of Iowa’s population is under the age of 30. Also, it has one of the least diverse populations in the country. An estimated 11 percent of the state’s population identifies itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group.
Iowa’s capital city is Des Moines, which is the largest city in the state, with a population of 203,433 residents. Approximately 14.97 percent of the state’s residents live in the Des Moines metropolitan area. Some of the other populous cities in Iowa are Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, and Waterloo.
Iowa residents generally have a higher than average level of education as compared to those around the nation. According to the 2010 Census, an estimated 22.4 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have graduated from high school, 8.2 percent have at least an associate degree, 6.2 percent have degrees at the bachelor;s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.