West Virginia has more than 68 post-secondary institutions. Of these, 13 offer online programs. Of these accredited online colleges, three are public four-year colleges or universities and 10 are private colleges, universities, or career and vocational schools. These schools offer 175 online certificate programs, 1,311 online associate programs, 1,984 online bachelor’s programs, 565 online master’s programs, 691 online professional programs, and 126 online doctoral programs. In these programs, students may study subjects ranging from creative writing to language to veterinary technology.
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The state has about 688,170 workers employed in the state. The economic outlook in West Virginia is middling at best. The state’s unemployment rate remains a full percentage point below the national average, but only logging and mining, two professions that do not require a college degree, have a rate of growth over 4 percent. Many of the fastest growing occupations in West Virginia are in the health field, including registered nurses, health educators, social workers, and radiologic technicians. Software developers round out the top five fastest-growing professions in the state, though no field will add as many jobs by 2020 as nursing.
The average wage in West Virginia is less than the national average. Employees in West Virginia earn an average annual income of $35,370 while the national average annual income is $42,871. The median income for employees is $27,420 per year. But, the top 10 percent of the state’s employees earn over $62,420 per year, while the bottom 10 percent earn under $16,220.
Based on factors including the type and location of the institution as well as the program, tuition for online college courses may vary. On average, public four-year colleges and universities in West Virginia charge students approximately $5,072 per year. Tuition for students at private accredited online colleges ranged from $5,400 to $23,950 per year.
The accrediting body for online schools in West Virginia is the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), via the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Look for school accreditation from this governing body when you are applying to one of the online degree programs in West Virginia. It’s best to avoid any school that does not list its accreditation. School accreditation ensures your academic credits are transferable and valid.
Distance Learning Resources
- College Foundation of West Virginia provides information, planning resources, and research materials for students looking to attend college in West Virginia. This includes high school planning, college planning, financial aid, and more.
- West Virginia Association of Financial Aid Administrators can link you to financial aid opportunities around the state, region and country.
- West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission provides information about the state’s public four-year colleges and universities. The Policy Commission covers the legislative aspects of West Virginia’s higher education and will provide you with links and news.
- Work Force West Virginia allows you to search job listings for the whole state and provides you with job market information.
- Online Readiness Tool helps students gauge whether they are a good fit for an online education.
West Virginia, which is located in the Ohio Valley region of the United States, is named in honor of Elizabeth, “Virgin Queen” of England. It is the 11th smallest state in the nation, and has an area of 24,230 square miles. Approximately 55°F is West Virginia’s average annual temperature.
West Virginia has the 15th smallest population in the nation. It has 55 counties with a reported population of 1,852,994 residents. An estimated 36 percent of those living in West Virginia are less than 30 years old. Also, it has one of the least diverse populations in the country. An estimated 7 percent of the state’s population identifies itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group.
West Virginia’s capital city is Charleston, which is the largest city in the state, with a population of 51,400 residents. Of the state’s residents, an estimated 36.05 percent reside in the greater Charleston area. Some of the other populous cities in West Virginia include Huntington, Parkersburg, Morgantown, and Wheeling.
West Virginia residents normally have a higher than average level of education as compared to those around the US. According to the 2010 Census, about 29.1 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have finished high school, 4.1 percent have at least an associate degree, 3.2 percent have degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.