In a state like West Virginia, where the is significantly higher than the national average, job-seekers may face stiff competition for open positions. Although a worker's ability to find a job or advance in their field also depends on factors like location, industry, and employer, data from the show a positive correlation between educational attainment and lower levels of unemployment/higher earning potential.
This suggests that workers can increase their overall odds of success by pursuing higher education. West Virginia supports careers in a variety of , including agriculture, manufacturing and building products, energy, fulfillment distribution, and information technology.
Unfortunately, in-person attendance at a traditional college campus is not a realistic option for everyone. Working professionals, parents, and individuals with other major obligations require greater flexibility. When common alternatives like evening or weekend classes are not accessible, prospective students often turn to distance education.
Online learning shares many of the attributes you might expect from an on-campus experience, including peer and professor interaction, support services, and rigorous academics. The greatest difference lies in flexibility. A majority of today's online courses utilize asynchronous delivery formats, which means students can access pre-recorded lectures and other material anywhere with an internet connection at their own convenience.
Affordability is another attractive element of learning online. Although tuition rates are usually similar for on-campus and online programs, distance learners can save on the overall cost of their education by avoiding commuting expenses, parking fees, and the higher prices of physical copies of books (compared to e-books).
Prospective students can use the following ranking to explore the five best online colleges in West Virginia. Details covered below include discipline and program availability, admission requirements, support services for online students, and applicable tuition discounts.
West Virginia University
Graduation Rate: 57%
is a public, land- and space-grant research university with a main campus in Morgantown and two additional campuses in Beckley and Keyser. Together, these locations enroll nearly 30,000 students. WVU also stands out as one of the best online colleges in West Virginia.
WVU Online offers over 600 courses, as well as 31 degrees, 23 minors, and 13 certificates. Bachelor's degrees are available in areas like business, child development and family studies, and nursing. Students may also select a multidisciplinary studies option or a bachelor of arts completion option, allowing participants to combine transfer credits, online classes, and practical experience to fulfill 120 credits.
Master's degrees are available in more than a dozen disciplines, including education, social work, software engineering, and music industry.
Admission requirements vary by student status and program selection. All applicants must supply applicable transcripts and a completed application. Out-of-state online students pay the same tuition as residents, with some additional fees.
Graduation Rate: 49%
More than 13,000 students attend each year. This public research university boasts a main campus in downtown Huntington, four additional campuses and centers throughout the state, and one of the best online colleges in West Virginia.
All of MU's online courses are offered in a flexible, asynchronous format. Available options include four bachelor's completion programs, 12 graduate certificates, 11 master's degrees, and a doctor of education in leadership studies. Students can pursue pathways in mathematics, journalism, nursing, counseling, geography, and several other disciplines. Most master's degrees also offer emphasis options for additional curriculum customization. All distance students receive access to academic advising and career planning services.
Admission requirements, including minimum GPA and exam scores, vary by student status and program selection. Accepted undergraduate transfer students can apply up to 72 eligible credits to their degree at MU. Online tuition costs are not impacted by state residency.
University of Charleston
Graduation Rate: 49%
The serves more than 2,500 students each year at three campus locations. The school also hosts one of the best online colleges in West Virginia. Initially affiliated with the Methodist Church, UC became an independent private university in 1940.
UC offers a variety of asynchronous online and hybrid programs. Leadership studies are a major focus of UC's online catalog, with options like a frontline leadership associate degree, an organizational leadership bachelor's degree, a strategic leadership master's degree, and an executive leadership doctorate.
Students can also pursue programs in accounting, business administration, cybersecurity, nursing, and psychology. Available support services include academic and career advising, as well as facilitated study groups with other online learners.
Undergraduate applicants should possess a minimum 2.6 high school GPA, while aspiring graduate students should possess a baccalaureate GPA of at least 3.0. State residency does not impact online tuition costs, and military students receive a discounted rate for select programs.
West Liberty University
West Liberty, WV
Graduation Rate: 48%
Founded in 1837 -- more than two decades before West Virginia was admitted into the United States -- is the state's oldest institution of higher education. Today, this public university serves more than 2,500 students each year, both on campus and online.
Each semester, WLU offers a wide selection of individual courses online, which are ideal for supplementing an on-campus schedule. Students can also pursue seven programs entirely from a distance.
Undergraduate options include a general business bachelor's degree and an RN-to-BSN pathway. Available master's degree disciplines include business administration, criminology, dental hygiene, and biology/zoo science master's -- the only program of its kind in the nation. Zoology students have the option to gain hands-on experience at a collaborating institution.
Admission requirements -- including minimum GPAs and prerequisites -- vary by student status and program. Out-of-state students pay higher tuition rates.
Alderson Broaddus University
Graduation Rate: 47%
The final school on our list of the best online colleges in West Virginia is -- a private institution affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the West Virginia Baptist Convention. More than 2,000 students attend classes at the school's Phillippi campus each year.
AB is dedicated to leadership in health-related and professional education. The university expands this dedication to distance learners, offering an 18-month RN-to-BSN degree and a 1-2-year teacher leader master of education. The RN-to-BSN pathway consists entirely of asynchronous courses, with no campus visits or hospital clinicals required. Cohorts in the education program enjoy the benefits of synchronous and asynchronous course delivery.
RN-to-BSN admission requires an unencumbered RN license, an associate degree or nursing diploma (with a minimum 2.5 GPA), transcripts, and a certified background check/drug screening. Prospective education students must submit transcripts, a letter of recommendation, and proof of state teaching licensure. State residency does not impact tuition costs.