2015 Directory of Online Colleges and Universities in Washington State

Washington offers a wide variety of accredited online schools. These range from large, state-run schools to smaller private schools. Washington state has more than 107 post-secondary institutions. Of these, 25 offer online programs. A total of five are public four-year colleges or universities and 10 are public community or technical colleges and 10 are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 686 online certificate programs, 3,403 online associate programs, 3,008 online bachelor's programs, 1,635 online master's programs, 1,975 online professional programs, and 340 online doctoral programs. ESL, counseling, and organizational psychology are examples of subjects offered by these programs. Read More



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Of the online colleges in Washington, Washington State University, a 4-year research university, has the greatest number of programs online. Washington State University offers 75 online programs.

Job Outlook

Washington’s unemployment rate as of April 2013 is 7 percent, almost level with the national average. There are 2.7 million employed workers in the state. Trade, transportation and utilities are the largest non-farm employers in the state (551,900 employed as of April 2013), followed closely by government (542,500 employed during the same period). No industry in Washington has grown more than 3.6 percent over the last year, indicating a sluggish general job growth. The fastest-growing jobs for employees with a bachelor’s degree or higher in Washington include marketing research analyst, software developer, and computer systems analyst.

The average wage of Washington employees is more than the average wage for employees across the nation. The national average annual income is $42,871, while employees in Washington earn an average annual income of $48,940. The median income for employees is $39,030 per year. But, the top 10 percent of the state’s employees earn over $89,820 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earn under $19,980.

Tuition

Depending on factors such as the type and location of the institution as well as the program, tuition for online college courses may vary. In Washington, the average in-state tuition at the public four-year colleges and universities was $7,274 per year. On average, tuition at public community and technical colleges was $2,860 per year. Tuition for students at private accredited online colleges ranged from $11,160 to $30,440 per year.

Accreditation

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) accredits most brick-and-mortar and online schools in Washington. Look for certification from this regional body when applying to one of the many Washington online schools. School accreditation ensures that employers will recognize your degree, and other schools will accept your academic credits. Avoid any of the online universities in Washington that do not have accreditation from NWCCU or a regional equivalent. When in doubt, refer to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to see if the school you are applying to has received accreditation.

Distance Learning Resources

More Information

Named in honor of George Washington, Washington state is located in the Northwest region of the United States. It is the 18th largest state in the country, and has an area of 71,298 square miles. Approximately 52°F is Washington’s average annual temperature.

Of the states in the country, Washington has the 13th largest population. It has 39 counties with a reported population of 6,724,540 residents. An estimated 40 percent of Washington’s population is under the age of 30. With approximately 27 percent of its population identifying itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group, the state has one of the least diverse populations in the US.

Washington’s capital city is Olympia. However, the state’s largest city is Seattle, which has a population of 608,660 residents. Of the state’s residents, an estimated 11.05 percent reside in the greater Seattle area. Washington’s other big cities are Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue.

As compared to residents in other states around the US, Washington residents normally have a lower than average level of education. According to the 2010 Census, a reported 16 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have completed high school, 3.9 percent have at least an associate degree, 2.8 percent have degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.