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Western Governors University

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By the OnlineU team | Updated 1/19/2023



Western Governors University (WGU) is a private, nonprofit, online university offering remote degrees in four high-demand fields. Students can choose from online programs in business, information technology, education, or healthcare. WGU is known for being the largest online school and the largest university in the country, with more than 200,000 students enrolled online. Students at WGU earn their degree through competency-based education, where they take a competency test to pass their class and move through their program. Students who already have experience or knowledge in their field can benefit from this model, which allows them to skip classes they already know the material for and save money on their degree.

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Salary Score for Online Degrees at Western Governors University

Bachelor's Degrees

Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management Not Reported $92,789 100
Health and Medical Administrative Services Not Reported $63,296 99
Computer and Information Sciences, General Not Reported $78,685 99
Business Administration, Management and Operations Not Reported $62,137 96
Accounting and Related Services Not Reported $55,241 95
Marketing Not Reported $51,925 94
Special Education and Teaching Not Reported $42,651 83
Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing Not Reported $77,591 81
General Sales, Merchandising and Related Marketing Operations Not Reported $85,662 76
Education, General Not Reported $38,778 45

Master's Degrees

Teaching English or French as a Second or Foreign Language Not Reported $61,159 95
Health and Medical Administrative Services Not Reported $89,980 90
Educational Administration and Supervision Not Reported $67,698 89
Computer/Information Technology Administration and Management Not Reported $108,760 86
Curriculum and Instruction Not Reported $58,354 84
Management Information Systems and Services Not Reported $95,091 80
Accounting and Related Services Not Reported $67,924 78
Business Administration, Management and Operations Not Reported $77,163 75
Special Education and Teaching Not Reported $53,400 74
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Subject Areas Not Reported $54,153 63
Educational/Instructional Media Design Not Reported $58,366 59
Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing Not Reported $92,294 35
Education, General Not Reported $46,912 24

FAQs About Western Governors University

Is Western Governors University Legitimate?

WGU is a legitimate, accredited college. It has accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. NWCCU evaluates colleges and universities in states throughout the Northwest and regularly reviews their faculty and staff, facilities, and degree programs to make sure they meet academic standards.

Accreditation is one of the best ways to tell the difference between a legitimate online university and a diploma mill. Legitimate colleges are evaluated by accreditors approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Diploma mills are scam schools that sell degrees or certificates without offering much class work. They may have fake accreditation from an organization not authorized to evaluate colleges.

At OnlineU, we only display accredited universities on our website to help students find legitimate online colleges that provide a quality education.


Today, there are many accredited colleges offering respected online degrees, often in high-demand fields where employers need trained professionals.

What Is WGU Known For?

WGU is largely known for three things: (1) competency-based education, (2) affordable flat-rate tuition, and (3) degrees in high-demand fields.

Competency-based Education

WGU is the first college to engage in large-scale, competency-based education (CBE). In CBE programs, students learn at their own pace and pass competency tests to move onto the next class. Students who already have knowledge in a specific subject area from previous education or work experience can test out of the class and spend their tuition dollars and time on new material. This is especially important for working adults — or those with prior college experience but no degree — who don't need to spend extra time and money learning something they already know.

Flat-rate Tuition

While most colleges charge tuition per credit, WGU charges a flat tuition rate per semester, and students can take as many or as few classes in that time period. Most programs at WGU cost between $3,000 to $5,000 per semester. Students who want to fast-track their degree can squeeze more classes in for the same cost, making WGU a more affordable college for these students.

Degrees in High-demand Fields

All of WGU's degrees are focused in four high-demand fields: healthcare, business, information technology, and education. These programs are developed in collaboration with industry professionals to make sure students are gaining the most up-to-date skills necessary for the field. WGU caters to working adults; those employed in their industry while pursuing their degree can put those skills to work right away.

What Are the Career Outcomes and Top Employers for WGU?

WGU only offers online degrees in healthcare, information technology, education, and business. As a result, career outcomes for alumni tend to focus in those areas as well. The most popular occupation for recent graduates with an online bachelor's degree is as a registered nurse. Many graduates also become software engineers, computer support specialists, cyber analysts, and network administrators. Graduates with an online master's degree often become registered nurses, healthcare administrators, teachers, and managers.

Some of the largest employers overall for WGU graduates are focused in healthcare, tech, and public administration. Top healthcare employers include Kaiser Permanente, Hospital Corporation of America, Intermountain Healthcare, and Providence Health and Services. The largest tech employers for WGU are Amazon, Microsoft, and AT&T. Many graduates also work for the Air Force, Army, or Department of Veterans Affairs after graduation.

How Difficult Is It To Get Into WGU?

Western Governors University has a 100% acceptance rate, according to federal data from College Scorecard. In other words, all students who apply are accepted. However, students will need to live in the U.S.; speak fluent English; and have a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent to get into a bachelor's program. Some programs have minimum GPAs and other requirements for admission as well. If they don't already qualify, students can also complete relevant preparatory coursework at WGU Academy before enrolling in a WGU degree program.

What Are the Admission Requirements for WGU?

Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or GED to apply and must live in the U.S. Some programs have more specific requirements. To apply, students need to submit some basic information, including where they previously went to school.

WGU will also need access to your transcripts. They offer a free transcript service, which partners with many other universities, to gather transcripts for students with no additional fees. If a student's former school is not a partner, they will need to request that their official transcripts are sent to WGU. This can take a few weeks, so it's best to do this ahead of time. Transcripts need to be received by the first day of the month that a student plans to start classes.

Next, students will create a WGU student account and apply for financial aid. Aside from the WGU financial aid application, it's best to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well. This application goes to the federal and state governments and can help students access free grant aid, scholarships, and optional student loans if they qualify.

Finally, students will do a 20-30 minute intake interview with their enrollment counselor, make their first tuition payment, and complete an orientation.

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