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Best Online Colleges in Washington

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/11/2020
2020 Best Online Colleges in Washington Badge

The schools on this list are the best online colleges in Washington state based on the tuition rate and the median salary reported by alumni. Seattle University is ranked #1 and has the highest reported alumni salary at $100,200. Washington State University, in second place, offers over 70 online degree options, such as a BA in Integrated Strategic Communication or a BS in Economic Sciences. With an annual tuition rate of only $6,006 and 37 online bachelor's degrees to choose from, Central Washington University offers a range of options at an affordable cost.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Seattle University $45,765 $100,200
# 2 #2 Washington State University $10,368 $91,500
# 3 #3 Western Washington University $8,342 $89,500
# 4 #4 City University of Seattle $20,520 $87,000
# 5 #5 Central Washington University $6,006 $84,900
# 6 #6 Eastern Washington University $6,542 $72,900
# 7 #7 Northwest University $13,350 $71,100
# 8 #8 Bellevue College $6,610 $66,400
# 9 #9 North Seattle College $6,615 $48,700
# 10 #10 Heritage University $17,988 $49,800
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

Online Colleges in Washington Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

#1 Seattle University

  • Annual Tuition: $45,765
  • Median Salary: $100,200
  • Locations: Seattle
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Founded in 1891, Seattle University is a private Jesuit university and the largest independent university in the northwest United States. The institution offers four online master’s degrees in business administration, analytics, educating non-native English speakers, and legal studies in compliance and risk management. Two online bachelor’s degrees are also available: one in organizational leadership and one in digital technology and cultures. Additionally, five online certificate programs are offered in web development, crime analysis, and leadership in faith and economics. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system. Programs feature both synchronous and asynchronous learning, and some residency may be required for certain programs.

#2 Washington State University

  • Annual Tuition: $10,368
  • Median Salary: $91,500
  • Locations: Pullman
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Located in the city of Pullman, Washington State University was founded in 1890 and is one of the oldest land-grant universities in the western United States. The robust online learning curriculum comprises 50 undergraduate degree programs, over 20 graduate programs, and 22 certificate programs. Graduate degrees are offered in five different disciplines: agriculture, business, communication, education, and science and technology. Popular graduate degrees include health communication and promotion, special education, and electric power engineering. Undergraduate degrees are divided into five categories: business, communication interdisciplinary, science and technology, and social/behavioral sciences. Students can earn a bachelor’s degree in such subjects as anthropology, history, marketing, English, biology, psychology, sociology, and criminal justice. All degree programs are 100 percent online.

#3 Western Washington University

  • Annual Tuition: $8,342
  • Median Salary: $89,500
  • Locations: Bellingham
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Western Washington University, a public university located in the city of Bellingham, was founded in 1893 and is the northernmost university in the contiguous United States. A Bachelor of Arts in Human Services is offered online; core coursework is delivered via web-based learning, and three internships are required at specified field sites in Washington state. Additionally, a TESOL certificate program is available as a fully online course, a hybrid course, face-to-face at the university, or as a summer study abroad option in Queretaro, Mexico. More than 130 online courses are offered by the university, and students can choose a term-based or self-paced learning schedule. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system.

#4 City University of Seattle

  • Annual Tuition: $20,520
  • Median Salary: $87,000
  • Locations: Seattle
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Established in 1973, City University of Seattle is a private university headquartered in Washington’s largest city. The institution has 17 other campuses spread throughout seven countries that include China, Slovakia, and Vietnam. Online programs are offered in six categories: business and management, teaching and education, project management, health and human services, professional leadership, and computer and info systems. Over 50 online associate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees are available, as well as several online graduate certificate and endorsement programs. Popular degrees include those in special education, business administration, criminal justice, psychology, healthcare administration, and cybersecurity. Students can choose performance-based or mixed-mode learning options. CityU’s career center features workshops that provide students with resume and interview tips as well as job search help.

#5 Central Washington University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,006
  • Median Salary: $84,900
  • Locations: Ellensburg
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Located about 110 miles east of Seattle in Ellensburg, Central Washington University is a public university comprising four colleges: College of Arts and Humanities, College of Business, College of Education and Professional Studies, and College of the Sciences. The university’s vigorous distance learning program features more than 30 online graduate and undergraduate degrees. Graduate degrees include English, school psychology, higher education, athletic administration, and information technology. Undergraduate students can choose from such programs as aviation management, professional and creative writing, information technology (five different specializations), paramedicine, and psychology. Some programs are entirely online, while others are available in a hybrid format. An online student resource center is available to provide assistance and support.

#6 Eastern Washington University

  • Annual Tuition: $6,542
  • Median Salary: $72,900
  • Locations: Cheney
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Located in the city of Cheney, Eastern Washington University is academically divided into six colleges: Arts, Letters, and Education; Business and Public Administration; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; Social Sciences; Health Science and Public Health; and University College. Five online standard graduate and five online bachelor’s completion programs are offered, as well as two accelerated master’s in education and business administration. Popular degrees include addiction studies (MA and BA), dental hygiene (MS & BS), children’s studies (BA), and health sciences (BS). A Master of Social Work is offered as a hybrid program. Resources for online students include a bookstore, test proctoring, IT help desk, support for students with disabilities, a library, writer’s center, study groups, e-tutoring, financial aid, and a veteran resource center.

#7 Northwest University

  • Annual Tuition: $13,350
  • Median Salary: $71,100
  • Locations: Kirkland
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Established in 1934, Northwest University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university located in the city of Kirkland, just across Lake Washington from Seattle. Several fully accredited degrees are offered 100 percent online, including associate, bachelor’s, and master’s programs. Popular degree fields include business management, ministry leadership, psychology, nursing, Bible and theology, clinical mental health counseling, and international community development. Every course at NU features a unique component that helps students understand how the subject relates to their faith. Online programs include video lectures, class discussions via message boards, assignments, tests, instructor feedback, and full access to campus facilities such as sporting events and NU’s Career Development Center. IT assistance is available 24/7.

#8 Bellevue College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,610
  • Median Salary: $66,400
  • Locations: Bellevue
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Established in 1966, Bellevue College is a public college and the largest of the 34 institutions that make up the Washington Community and Technical Colleges system. It is the third-largest institution of higher education in Washington. Two online degrees are offered at BC: a Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Informatics and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Healthcare Management & Leadership. Both bachelor’s degrees are available 100 percent online. Some courses are offered in a hybrid format. Online courses are completed via the Canvas online learning management system. Most tests are online, but local locations can be found for proctored exams. Distance learners have access to an academic advisor throughout the period of study.

#9 North Seattle College

  • Annual Tuition: $6,615
  • Median Salary: $48,700
  • Locations: Seattle
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

North Seattle College is one of the three colleges comprising the Seattle Colleges District and is also part of the Washington Community and Technical Colleges system. Founded in 1970, it is known for its comprehensive science, engineering, and technology programs. A Bachelor of Science in international business is available as a fully online or hybrid program. Additionally, more than 30 online continuing education courses are offered in four categories: business skills, computer basics, design, and K-12 educators. Coursework is delivered via the Canvas online learning management system.

#10 Heritage University

  • Annual Tuition: $17,988
  • Median Salary: $49,800
  • Locations: Toppenish
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Founded in 1907 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Heritage University is a private university in the city of Toppenish, on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Approximately 25 degrees — both graduate and undergraduate — are available at HU, and three of the programs are offered fully online: a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in English, and a Master of Arts in Multicultural English Literature and Language. Learning is asynchronous; course material is available 24/7, allowing students to study at a pace and time that is convenient for them.


This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.

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