#1 Concordia University - Irvine
Concordia University - Irvine (CUI) is a private, Christian university that is guided by the Great Commission of Christ Jesus and the Lutheran Confessions. With an acceptance rate of 81% and a graduation rate of 65%, CUI offers online certificates, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees. CUI's online degree programs include fields such as education, Christian ministry, healthcare, and more. At CUI, students can complete a bachelor’s degree in about four years with 120 credit hours.
At CUI, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is entirely online. Almost all the coursework is asynchronous. Online courses emphasize personal attention and mentorship from faculty, and there are four required synchronous online lectures for each course. Online students have access to tutoring services, the university library, academic advising, and more.
#2 Golden Gate University
Golden Gate University (GGU) is a private institution with a graduation rate of 49%. GGU provides online degree programs at all levels in fields such as accounting, law, taxation, business, and related areas. The online bachelor’s degree programs require 120 credit hours and usually take four years to complete. However, GGU’s online programs are all transfer-friendly and may be completed faster for students with an associate degree.
Students at GGU use eLearning to access their coursework, which is 100% online and may be synchronous or asynchronous, depending on the course. At GGU, the average online class size is 17 and teachers are available via Zoom for tutoring, office hours, and review sessions. Online students have access to the university library, academic advising services, and other student services. GGU’s online courses typically include discussion boards, multimedia content, and more. GGU does not support online students from AL, AK, DE, GA, MD, MN, NM, RI, DC, or WI.
#3 Loma Linda University
Loma Linda University (LLU) is a private, Seventh-Day Adventist institution that is committed to continuing the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ. It has an online, faith-based health sciences center in California. LLU has a 90% graduation rate, and offers online programs at all levels. Students transferring with an associate degree may graduate with a bachelor’s degree in two years, and students beginning a bachelor’s degree from scratch typically graduate in four years. Online programs at LLU cover fields in healthcare and religion.
At LLU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online and asynchronous. Online courses include activities such as discussion boards, office hours and tutoring on Zoom, group projects, prayers, and bible-centered videos. LLU has resource groups for several groups, including a monthly LGBT+ group, a Black student union, and a Latino/Hispanic student club.
#4 West Coast University
West Coast University (WCU) is a private university with a 100% acceptance rate and a 74% graduation rate. WCU offers several online degrees within the nursing, healthcare, and business sectors. The online bachelor’s degree programs at WCU can be completed in 40 months with the accelerated track or 80 months in the working professional track. WCU’s online programs are created to work around students’ busy schedules and responsibilities.
At WCU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. Coursework includes video lectures, audio books, simulations, quizzes, and on-the-go resources, all of which is available in a mobile-friendly format. Online students have access to academic advisors, tutorials, and comprehensive career services. WCU also offers students free access to LinkedIn Learning.
#5 University of Massachusetts Global
The University of Massachusetts Global (UMass Global) supports working adults by offering online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as credentialing and certificate programs in pursuit of career advancement. There are over 31 bachelor’s programs to choose from — in addition to 20 master’s, two doctoral, and several associate degrees and certificate programs. Majors include leadership, organizational/industrial psychology, legal studies, marketing, supply chain management, data analytics, and social work. Students can also earn online certificates in areas such as business writing, classroom literacy, Agile project management, digital marketing, and nonprofit management. UMass provides online access to its library services, tech support, tutoring, and academic advising.
#6 California State University - East Bay
As part of a state-wide university system serving a diverse student body of almost 500,000, California State University - East Bay (Cal State East Bay) has online programs accessible to students all over the Golden State. Students can earn online undergraduate and graduate degrees in addition to California’s Single Subject Credential authorizing teaching in one subject area. Online degree programs include a range of disciplines, such as hospitality and tourism, healthcare administration, ethnic studies, human development, and business administration. Cal State East Bay has several online academic support programs, including peer tutoring, tech support, library services, and writing assistance.
#7 Pacific Oaks College
Pacific Oaks College (PO) is a private, Hispanic-Serving Institution that believes strongly in social justice, diversity, and inclusion. With a 13% acceptance rate and a 66% graduation rate, PO offers many online degrees in education, human development, business and management, social work, and teacher credentialing. Each course lasts seven weeks, and an entire 121-credit-hour bachelor’s degree program typically takes four years to complete.
At PO, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online and asynchronous. PO emphasizes inquisition, self-reliance, collaboration, and problem-solving through its online degree programs. Online students have access to the university library, tutoring services, academic advising, and more.
#8 University of Southern California
The University of Southern California (USC) is a large, private university that offers several online graduate degree programs. These programs cover fields such as design, computer science, health care, social work, and more. An online master’s degree program typically takes 1-2 years to complete. USC focuses on preparing students for a successful career. For example, USC has a SkillUp program, which provides resources for career-related skill development. USC has a 13% acceptance rate and a 93% graduation rate.
At USC, students use Blackboard to access their coursework. Most coursework is online, but certain programs require one week of on-campus residencies or in-person practical hours. Classwork may be asynchronous or synchronous through live classes via Zoom. Online students at USC have access to tutoring, career services, video content made in the Marshall campus’ in-house studio, and USC’s digital library.
#9 San Jose State University
San Jose State University (SJSU) is a large, public institution with an 84% acceptance rate and a 75% graduation rate. SJSU offers online bachelor’s degree programs in anthropology, business administration, economy, information science, and education. There are three rolling admission cycles and terms last eight weeks. The university is committed to diversity and inclusion as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.
At SJSU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is 100% online and mostly asynchronous. Online students also use Zoom to connect with instructors and other students. SJSU offers online students access to LinkedIn Learning and Adobe Creative Cloud. Online student resources also include the career center, counseling and psychology services, the university library, and the writing center.
#10 National University
National University (NU) provides convenience and flexibility to remote learners across the U.S. through its 45 online degrees, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and certificate programs. Areas of study at the bachelor's level include business, education, cybersecurity, public health, psychology, and many more. NU’s four-week online courses start every month, allowing students to enroll multiple times throughout the year and complete programs at their own pace. NU supports online students by providing remote access to its bookstore, career services, the Center for Student Engagement and Activities (CSEA), the Student Academic Success Center, and wellness resources.
#11 Alliant International University
Alliant International University (AIU) is a small, private university that offers several online degree programs at all graduate levels. With a 100% acceptance rate and a 62% graduation rate, AIU’s online degree programs cover fields such as psychology, education, business, and more. The online master’s degree programs at AUI require 60 credit hours and may require clinical, or practical, in-person hours. AIU knows that its students are professionals who need flexibility and support as they earn their degrees.
At AIU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is mostly online and asynchronous. Online students have access to the university library, tutoring services, accessibility services, the student assistance program, and more. AIU believes in the importance of inclusion, mentorship, passion, communication, accountability, and teamwork (IMPACT).
#12 Pepperdine University
Pepperdine University (PU) is a private, Christian institution that integrates service, worship, and social responsibility with rigorous academic study. PU is committed to inclusion and diversity, as shown by their statements supporting both informal and official LGBT student organizations. Several online master’s degree programs are offered at PU, including business, education, law, and psychology. These programs take between one and two years to complete and require an average of 30 credit hours. Pepperdine also requires Convocation Credits, which are earned through attending services, mentorship with spiritual guidance counselors, and student-led bible groups. PU accepts 53% of applicants and 84% of their students graduate.
At PU, students use Courses, which is a learning management system, to access their coursework. Most coursework is online and asynchronous, but some online programs may require a short on-campus residency. Distance learners have access to all university resources, such as the library, tutoring services, and advising, as well as LinkedIn Learning and Coursera.
#13 University of San Diego
The University of San Diego (USD) is a private institution with a 53% acceptance rate and an 80% graduation rate. USD offers several online graduate degree programs in technology, engineering, management, theology, and healthcare. Online courses have an 18:1 student-faculty ratio, require 15-20 hours a week, and last seven weeks. USD’s online master’s programs require 30 credit hours and typically take students 20 months to complete.
At USD, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online and asynchronous. Courses include multimedia presentations, discussion forums, chats with other students, and optional office hours with instructors. Online students have access to academic advising, the university library and databases, tutoring services and more.
#14 Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University (APU) is a private, Christian university, as well as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. It has an acceptance rate of 94% and a graduation rate of 71%. APU offers online degrees at all levels, covering fields such as healthcare, criminal justice, education, and art. Several degree programs have built-in certificates and badges.
At APU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. Online coursework includes discussion forums, video conferencing, group projects, and more. APU’s online students have access to the university library, the writing and speaking center, and the academic success center.
#15 University of Redlands
The University of Redlands (UR) is a private, Hispanic-Serving Institution with an 83% acceptance rate and a 76% graduation rate. UR offers online degree programs in education and business, which typically take 2-3 years to complete. At UR, students should be motivated, dedicated, organized, and determined. UR believes that these traits lead to success in its students, both in their education and careers.
At UR, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online and synchronous. Remote students must attend a weekly live class via Zoom, and they are expected to log into Canvas several times a week. Coursework includes assignments, discussion forums, in-class activities, and more. Online students have access to the university library, tutoring services, counseling, and more.
#16 California State University - San Marcos
California State University - San Marcos (CSUSM) is a public, Hispanic-Serving Institution that offers several online degree programs at all levels. Online bachelor’s degree programs take about four years to complete, unless a student already has an associate degree. In that case, a bachelor’s degree program can be completed in two years, requiring 57 credit hours. CSUSM’s online degree programs cover fields such as criminology, wildfire science, and reading, to name a few. CSUSM has a 95% acceptance rate and a 66% graduation rate.
At CSUSM, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. Some programs, however, may require an internship or capstone project that requires in-person activity. Online students have access to the university library, academic advising, tutoring, and more.
#17 California State University - Sacramento
California State University - Sacramento (CSUS) is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, with a 94% acceptance rate and a 69% graduation rate. CSUS (also known as Sac State) offers online degrees in nursing, education, criminal justice, and psychology. The online bachelor’s degree programs at CSUS are made for returning students who have already completed credit hours and work experience. CSUS offers credit hours for work experience and prepares students for graduate programs. CSUS’ online bachelor’s degrees can be completed in 2-4 years.
At CSUS, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. CSUS provides online students with access to the university library, academic advising, and tutoring services. The online degree programs at CSUS are designed to allow students flexibility and self-regulation.
#18 California Baptist University
California Baptist University (CBU) is a faith-based, military-friendly institution offering online degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Students can finish many of these degrees faster than traditional programs and save some money in doing so. For example, CBU students may complete an online bachelor’s degree in two years, an online master’s in one, and an online doctorate in three. Online majors include graphic design and digital media, education, kinesiology, public administration, and strategic communication. Distance learners can access online veterans’ services, buy their textbooks through CBU’s partnership with Amazon, access career services and the library online, and receive text support remotely.
#19 Trident University International
Trident University International (TUI) is a private, for-profit institution that is part of the American InterContinental University System (AIU). With an acceptance rate of 49% and a graduation rate of 11%, TUI offers online degree programs at all levels in fields such as IT management, homeland security, computer science, and more. Online bachelor’s degree programs require 120 credit hours and can typically be completed in four years. However, TUI offers credit for previous work experience and allows students to transfer any previous credit hours. Through the Trident Fastrac accelerated schedule, students can graduate in as little as one year.
At TUI, students use the Trident Learning Community system to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. Online students have access to the university library, tutoring services, academic advising, and more. TUI believes that an online degree program is just as valuable and impressive as an in-person degree.
#20 California State University - Chico
Located in Northern California, California State University - Chico (Chico State) offers online undergraduate and graduate programs in disciplines such as nursing, liberal studies, religion, and sociology. For example, registered nurses can earn an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing or an online Master of Science in Nursing. These programs can help accommodate work schedules while helping those seeking career advancement. Similarly, students interested in earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can attend online and finish in as few as 18 months through Chico State’s accelerated program. Chico State’s distance learners have online access to library services, tutoring, tech support, and purchasing supplies through Wildcat Computing Support.
#21 University of La Verne
The University of La Verne (ULV) is a private institution with a 72% acceptance rate and a 63% graduation rate. ULV offers online degree programs at all levels in fields such as education, nursing, information technology, and criminal justice. These online programs are only available in 29 states, but the university is working on becoming available everywhere. ULV’s online bachelor’s degree programs are aimed at students who have already completed an associate degree. The bachelor’s degree programs consist of 44 credit hours and are typically completed in 1-2 years.
At ULV, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is entirely remote and asynchronous. Online students have access to academic advising, the university library, study abroad programs, and more. ULV has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and fosters its students’ creativity, communication, and integrity.
#22 California State University - Fullerton
California State University - Fullerton (CSUF) is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, with a 59% acceptance rate and a 78% graduation rate. CSUF offers online certificate programs, online degree-completion programs, and online degree programs for educators, covering fields such as technology, education, business, and the humanities. The online bachelor’s programs take around three years to complete with a full-time schedule.
At CSUF, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. Online students have access to the university library, tutoring services, academic advisors, and more. CSUF also uses Zoom for student-instructor communication. Online coursework includes discussion boards, video lectures, group activities, reading, and writing assignments.
#23 California State University - Dominguez Hills
California State University - Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is a public, Hispanic-Serving Institution. CSUDH has an acceptance rate of 90% and a graduation rate of 65%. The university offers several online master’s degree programs, including public administration and nursing, along with a Bachelor of Science completion program. CSUDH also has a connection with Southwestern University Law that allows students to earn an online JD.
At CSUDH, students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is 100% online and asynchronous. However, students may use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to speak with instructors and other students. Coursework also includes discussion boards, assignments, and recorded lectures. Online resources include access to the university library, academic advising, career services, and tutoring.
#24 Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University (AAU) is a private, for-profit institution with a 100% acceptance rate and a 28% graduation rate. AAU offers online degree programs at all levels in fields such as advertising, media, fashion, design, and music. Online bachelor’s degree programs require 120 credit hours and typically take approximately four years to complete. At AAU, students build a portfolio, network with professionals, and gain experience with current trends and tools. Online coursework includes on-demand demonstrations, lectures, writing, recorded audio, interactive slideshows, and hands-on experience.
At AAU, students use Brightspace to access their coursework, which is fully online. Distance learners can choose either a synchronous or asynchronous version of the degree programs. AAU offers a virtual live path, which functions the same as an in-person course, and a traditional online path, which is self-paced. Online students have access to the university library, the music library, tutorials, and accessibility services.
#25 California State University - Northridge
The California State University - Northridge (CSUN) is a large, public university that offers several online degrees. The school has an 88% acceptance rate and a 70% graduation rate. At CSUN, several online master’s programs are offered in fields such as communicative disorders, diversity community development, and public health, and typically take two years to complete. CSUN also offers an online bachelor of arts in public sector management that requires 60 credit hours and expects students to have already completed 60 transferable credit hours. Some programs may also require in-person practical hours.
At CSUN, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online and synchronous. Instructors use Zoom to host classes, and online students can review recordings of previous lectures. Online students have access to the university library, the learning resource center, and academic advising. CSUN prides itself on inclusion and flexibility.
#26 Fresno Pacific University
Fresno Pacific University (FPU) is a private, Christian institution rooted in Mennonite Brethren Anabaptist beliefs. With an acceptance rate of 78% and a graduation rate of 67%, FPU offers several online bachelor’s degree completion programs, such as business management, organizational leadership, and psychology, as well as several online graduate degrees. Students can complete these online degree programs in around two years if they maintain a full-time pace.
At FPU, students use the digital platform Moodle to access their coursework, which is 100% online and may be either synchronous or asynchronous, depending on the course. Online students have access to all university resources, such as the library, tutoring services, and career services. FPU is an evangelical and ecumenical institution.
#27 The Master's University
The Master’s University (MU) is a private, Christian university that is committed to Christ, biblical fidelity, moral integrity, intellectual growth and lasting contribution to the Kingdom of God worldwide. MU has a 67% acceptance rate and a graduation rate of 63%. MU offers online degree programs at all levels, including bachelor’s degree programs in fields such as biblical studies, journalism, and finance. Core courses for the bachelor’s degree programs can typically be completed in 16 months, but completing general requirements may take longer.
At MU, students use Canvas to access their coursework, which is entirely online and asynchronous. In order to pursue an undergraduate degree, students must provide a clear profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Online students have access to the university library, tutoring, and academic advising.
It's important to note that MU is not an LGBT-friendly school. MU believes that "homosexuality… is subject to God’s wrath of abandonment ... and epitomizes man’s ungrateful rebellion against God."
#28 Touro University Worldwide
Touro University Worldwide (TUW) is a small, private university with an acceptance rate of 100% and a graduation rate of 43%. TUW is a Jewish-sponsored institution that focuses on social justice, integrity and purpose, and philanthropic duty. An entirely online university, TUW offers online degree programs at all levels in fields such as business, psychology, health, and human services. The online bachelor’s degree programs typically take students around four years to complete, but transferring previously earned credits allows students to graduate sooner.
At TUW, remote students use Blackboard to access their coursework, which is entirely online and asynchronous. Students participate in discussion boards, group activities, and more. Online students can also access the university library, tutoring services, and academic advising.
#29 San Diego State University
San Diego State University (SDSU) is a public university offering online degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. SDSU is an Asian American, Native American Pacific Islander, and Hispanic-Serving Institution. Popular online bachelor’s degrees at SDSU include business administration, criminal justice, and computer engineering. Online bachelor’s degrees at SDSU typically require a minimum of 30 credit hours to be completed at the university, which can take full-time students one or more years to complete. SDSU’s acceptance rate is 38%, with a graduation rate of 79%
At SDSU, online students complete courses delivered asynchronously on Canvas. The student-to-faculty ratio at SDSU is 26:1. Potential financial aid opportunities for online students are scholarships, loans, veteran benefits, and grants. Online student resources are career services, a student accessibility center, financial aid support, and a veteran’s center. Online students who work for Amazon can use the company’s Career Choice to earn’s bachelor’s degrees free of charge.
#30 Biola University
Biola University (Biola) is a Christian private nonprofit institution that offers online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Biola is undenominational and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. According to Biola’s policies on sexuality, gender, and relationships, they do not support students who identify as part of the LGBTQ community. Some of the online bachelor’s degree programs available are psychology, bible, theology, and apologetics, and business management. At a minimum, online students can expect to take 60-64 credit hours, lasting four or more years, with a full schedule of classes. The university accepts 61% of applicants, with 72% graduating.
Biola facilitates asynchronous online learning on the learning management system Canvas. The student-to-faculty ratio is 13:1. Online students may be eligible for financial aid such as scholarships, grants, and loans. Online student support includes tutoring, a career center, academic advising, disability services, a writing center, counseling, and spiritual services. Biola’s online bachelor’s degree programs are offered year-round in seven-week formats and are one-third the tuition of the school’s traditional programs.
Higher Education in California
California has more residents than any other state — close to 40 million people — and a significant number of higher education institutions to match. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), California is home to more than 500 colleges. Future college students can earn every type of college degree in this state, from associate degrees to doctorates.
The state government operates three collegiate systems:
- The California State University system is not only the largest four-year university system in the country, it's also one of the most affordable. Cal State has 23 campuses in cities such as Long Beach, Fullerton, Chico, and San Bernardino.
- The University of California system, which is considered more prestigious, is made up of 10 campuses, including UCLA, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine. Several UC campuses are known for their research facilities.
- The California Community College system is the largest higher education system in the U.S. It has 115 accredited campuses that offer mostly associate degrees.
Between these public schools and hundreds of additional private colleges, more than 2.6 million students were enrolled in California's universities for the most recent academic year.
Online Colleges in California
Even before the pandemic began, many colleges in the state were offering online courses and fully online degree programs. Now, distance learning is even more common. This enables a greater number of students to attend California colleges online.
Our list of the best online colleges in California is based on bachelor's degrees. However, these and many other schools may also offer master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and a wide range of additional options. Some programs are 100% online and others are hybrid, meaning that some coursework is conducted online and some is completed on campus.
Online courses are usually asynchronous, allowing students to log in at any time. Conversely, some courses are synchronous and require students to log in at specified times to participate in live streaming lectures and class discussions.
Completing an online bachelor's degree in California generally takes full-time students four to five years to complete. Part-time students may need five to six years. Meanwhile, an online master's program typically takes two years of full-time study or longer for part-time attendance.
Depending on the major and school, some programs may be degree completion programs that require students to finish their general education courses before enrolling. Also, some online California schools are divided into shorter terms of seven or eight weeks, allowing students to finish a degree in an accelerated time frame.
Admissions requirements for both on-campus and online programs are similar across schools. They generally include high school and college transcripts, a 2.5-3.0 minimum GPA, and an application fee. Applicants may also be asked for college entrance exam scores, personal essays, letters of recommendation, and resumes.
Students looking for the best online degree programs in California may want to check a school's accreditation status before applying. Accreditation means that a school meets national standards of excellence. Enrollment in an accredited college may be required to qualify for financial aid, transfer credits among schools, gain acceptance into a graduate program, or obtain a license to practice a specific profession.
All of the schools featured on our rankings list are accredited, most likely by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College & University Commission (WSCUC) or the Distance Education Accreditation Commission (DEAC).
Popular Online Degree Programs in California
The convenience and flexibility of online degree programs make distance learning a smart choice for many students, especially those who are trying to fit college into their busy lives. Graduate students often opt for online programs so they can pursue a graduate degree without changing jobs, relocating, or disrupting their families. Some of the more popular online master's programs include business administration, business management, elementary education, accounting, and social work.
While California schools confer more bachelor's degrees in business than any other subject, most of the other popular bachelor's degrees focus on liberal arts subjects. Many of these undergraduate degrees can be earned through online colleges in California:
For many degrees, graduation requirements may include internships, externships, labs, and various types of fieldwork. In the online environment, students typically complete these learning activities at professional facilities near their home. For example, a student pursuing an online RN-to-BSN program may accrue practicum hours at a nearby hospital.
Cost of Online Colleges in California
The cost of earning a college degree varies widely in California. In-state students at public schools may enjoy relatively low fees, while some prestigious private colleges may charge substantially higher fees.
Aside from choosing a more affordable school, prospective students can save money in other ways. For example, many colleges charge lower tuition fees for their online programs than they do for their on-campus programs. Online students also save money by living at home and reducing transportation costs.
California's in-state community college tuition rates are the lowest in the nation. So, another way to make college more affordable is to earn an associate degree through one of California's online community colleges. Two-year schools can also serve as a stepping stone to bachelor's degree programs. Earning an associate degree or general education credits at a community college and then transferring to a bachelor's degree program is yet another way to save.
California residents may also want to consider enrolling in online programs from schools in nearby states. Since California is a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, students may be eligible for reduced tuition rates when they enroll in an undergraduate or graduate program in a participating state.
Financial Aid for Students in California
Of course, one of the most important methods of reducing college expenses is to obtain grants and scholarships. These types of financial aid are preferred because, unlike student loans, they generally don't have to be repaid. However, student loans can also be a useful tool in helping students earn a degree. All students should submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal, state, and school-sponsored financial assistance.
The state also offers several aid programs to help students cover college expenses. These awards include the following:
Active duty military members, veterans, and their families may be entitled to education benefits through the GI Bill®. Some online California colleges, such as Pepperdine University, are also military-friendly Yellow Ribbon schools that may provide tuition discounts.
Job Outlook for California College Graduates
California is undoubtedly the most significant driver in the U.S. economy, contributing more to the nation than any other state. In fact, recent statistics show that the state is projected to become the fourth largest economy in the world. College graduates are needed in this environment.
Some of the California industries experiencing the highest growth in demand include renewable energy, technology, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, education, and health. Some top employers in these industries include Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, and UCLA Health. College graduates may also find work in one of the state's many Fortune 500 companies, such as Apple, Alphabet (Google), Wells Fargo, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Netflix, and Amgen.
Wages throughout California tend to be higher than other states and the national average. For example, the annual mean wage in San Jose and the South Bay area is $112,460, which is significantly higher than the national mean of $61,900. Similarly, the San Francisco and East Bay Area has a mean wage of $94,370, while the Los Angeles and Long Beach area is at $69,540.
However, California's cost of living index is 149.9 — as compared to the national average of 100 — mainly due to exceptionally high housing and transportation costs. This may offset any financial advantages from higher incomes.
With all of this in mind, we've identified several in-demand jobs in California predicted to grow faster than the 5% national average, many of which involve lucrative salaries. These occupations require only a bachelor's degree:
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers
Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers have different responsibilities within an organization. As a group, however, they promote brands and products, design advertising campaigns, and oversee market research.
Using all types of financial data, financial managers look for ways to minimize costs and expand profits for their organizations. They often work with top executives, advising them on financial matters.
General and Operations Managers
General and operations managers are usually considered mid- or high-level managers. Often responsible for overseeing multiple departments or locations, these professionals manage day-to-day operations, set policies, and determine the best use of resources.
Software developers create software programs. After studying the users' needs, they design and produce the appropriate software programs.
FAQs About Online Colleges in California
How Many Colleges Are in California?
The NCES reports that there are just over 500 colleges and universities in California. Some students may opt for an on-campus experience at small colleges with only a few hundred classmates or at massive universities with thousands of enrollees. On the other hand, some learners may find that distance education is the best choice for their needs.
Does California Have Good Online Colleges?
Many online universities in California have outstanding reputations in academia. These include several of the University of California campuses, such as Los Angeles, Davis, and San Diego, as well as private universities like the University of Southern California.
How Many Private Colleges Does California Have?
According to the NCES, California has more than 300 nonprofit and for-profit private colleges, several of which are widely recognized names like Stanford University. The state is also home to many smaller private institutions of higher education, some of which offer a wide range of degrees and others that specialize in particular fields, such as the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and the Palmer College of Chiropractic. You'll also find plenty of faith-based schools, such as Providence Christian College and Saint Mary's College of California.
Are Online Colleges Worth It in California?
Yes, many Californians find earning an online degree to be worth the time and effort. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms that getting a college education typically results in higher incomes and lower unemployment for most people. Pursuing a degree online may make it easier to accomplish this milestone and may be more affordable.
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