North Dakota has over 29 post-secondary institutions, of which 14 offer online programs. A total of seven are public four-year colleges or universities and four are public community or technical colleges and three are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. 128 online certificate programs, 761 online associates programs, 1,233 online bachelors programs, 425 online masters programs, 561 online professional programs, and 136 online doctoral programs are offered at these schools. In these programs, students may study subjects ranging from business management to personal training to legal assisting.
Based on the total gross state product for North Dakota, which was $35.56 billion in 2010, North Dakota has the 2nd weakest economy amongst the states in the nation.
The state has a total workforce of approximately 355,710 employees. North Dakota enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, well below the national average at 3.2 percent as of April 2013. The state’s largest industries are:
- Educational and healthcare services: 25 percent
- Wholesale trade: 3 percent
- Information: 2 percent
The average wage of North Dakota employees is less than the average wage for employees across the nation. Employees in North Dakota earn an average annual income of $37,040 while the national average annual income is $42,871. The median income for employees is $30,170 per year, with the top 10 percent earning over $63,670 per year and the bottom 10 percent earning under $17,050 per year.
Tuition may vary for online college courses based on factors including the type and location of the institution as well as the program. On average, public four-year colleges and universities in North Dakota charge students approximately $4,673 per year. Tuition at public community and technical colleges was $3,164 per year on average. Annual tuition at private accredited online colleges ranged from $3,040 to $13,500.
Online colleges in North Dakota receive school accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is a commission associated with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS), which is the regional institutional accrediting agency for the state. The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes the HLC and the NCACS as legitimate accrediting institutions. Online universities in North Dakota without accreditation from the HLC should be regarded with caution.
Distance Learning Resources
- North Dakota State Library, Online Library Resources provides a comprehensive list of online resources for students and professionals of all ages, with links to free courseware, academic databases, and health services.
- Online Dakota Information Network (ODIN):, operated by the North Dakota University System, is a collection of more than 5 million texts gathered from public libraries and university libraries throughout the state.
- North Dakota’s Economy at a Glance , provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides useful information if you want to plan your academics around a growing industry.
- North Dakota Career Resource Network helps those who want to know about career options, associations, resources, and contacts available to them as North Dakotan students.
Named from a Sioux tribe named “Dakota”, meaning “allies”, North Dakota is located in the Northern Rockies and Plains region of the United States. The state, which has an area of 70,698 square miles, is the 19th largest in the country. It has an average annual temperature of about 40°F.
Of the states in the country, North Dakota has the 4th smallest population. It has 53 counties with a reported population of 672,591 residents. Approximately 42 percent of North Dakota’s population is under the age of 30. Additionally, it has one of the least diverse populations in the nation with about 11 percent of the population identifying itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group.
North Dakota’s capital city is Bismarck. However, the state’s largest city is Fargo, which has a population of 105,549 residents. Of the state’s residents, an estimated 6.37 percent reside in the greater Fargo area. Other large cities in the state are Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, and Dickinson.
As compared to residents in other states around the nation, North Dakota residents generally have a lower than average level of education. According to the 2010 Census, about 17.8 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have finished high school, 6.2 percent have at least an associate degree, 5 percent have degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.