The Alabama Department of Labor projects that employment in the state will increase by about 7% from 2016-2026, which would be the equivalent of roughly 147,000 new jobs. The healthcare field is projected to experience some of the most rapid expansion, adding approximately 25,000 new positions. In contrast, office administration and support employment is expected to decline slightly, while industries like farming, fishing, and forestry will likely see less than 1% overall growth in the coming years.
In 2017, the annual mean wage in Alabama was $43,171, but certain professions pay considerably more. For example, the annual mean wage for management occupations was $111,149, while architecture and engineering professionals earned almost $90,000, on average. Jobs in these lucrative fields almost always require some type of college degree.
Top 10 Online Colleges in Alabama
- The University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, AL
- University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL
- Auburn University - Auburn, AL
- Athens State University - Athens, AL
- Jacksonville State University - Jacksonville, AL
- University of Alabama in Huntsville - Huntsville, AL
- University of North Alabama - Florence, AL
- University of South Alabama - Mobile, AL
- Troy University - Troy, AL
- University of Mobile - Mobile, AL
Continuing your education can help you gain entry into or advance within a career. However, for many students, living on campus or regularly commuting to and from class is not feasible. Online programs, however, offer you the flexibility to balance a college education with personal and professional obligations. Through asynchronous coursework, students can watch lectures, participate in class discussions, and complete assignments on their own schedules. Synchronous classes require students to log in at set times each week, but still allow learners to review lessons and materials from any location with an internet connection.
Our ranking of the best online colleges in Alabama can help you decide which distance education program is right for you. For each of the schools profiled below, we provide information such as admission requirements, the types of degrees and majors available, support services for online learners, and financial aid opportunities. Finally, unless otherwise noted, all of these colleges hold regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges -- a key indicator of academic quality.
2020 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina Alabama
The University of Alabama
|Tuscaloosa, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
As the state's flagship university, the University of Alabama educates more than 38,000 students each year through an array of on-campus and online programs. Through "Bama by Distance," students can pursue fully online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in fields like criminal justice, library and information studies, public health, and social work.
Many online classes at UA are available asynchronously, though some require live participation in discussions and group projects. Students may also choose to enroll in a blended program, combining the flexibility of distance education with the structure and support of a traditional classroom experience. Students can also elect to take their exams online or at one of the university's partner testing centers.
Online applicants who graduated from high school within the last four years must have a GPA of at least 3.0, while those who graduated more than four years prior to applying must have a GPA of at least 2.5. Prospective students with a GED certificate must have scored at least 510 on that exam.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
|Birmingham, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
In addition to its status as the only public university in the state's largest metropolitan area, the University of Alabama at Birmingham reaches students around the world through its online degree and certificate programs. Fully online offerings allow students to continue their education in areas like accounting, industrial distribution, and marketing, while blended programs give learners the freedom to explore subjects like health informatics and special education, taking classes both inside and outside of the classroom.
Students can also customize their online learning by pursuing minors in areas like clinical coding and reimbursement, human resource management, and nutrition sciences. UAB also enables students to hone professional skills through certificate programs in subjects like biotechnology regulatory affairs, clinical informatics, and social media.
To apply to UAB as an online learner, you must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The average admitted first-year student has a GPA of 3.73 and an ACT score of 25.
|Auburn, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 86%||
Auburn University was founded in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College. Since then, it has grown to serve more than 30,000 men and women annually through more than 150 undergraduate majors and a host of graduate-level offerings. In addition to pursuing online bachelor's degrees in business, computer science, and nursing, distance learners at Auburn can earn their master's in fields like environmental science, real estate development, and clinical rehabilitation counseling.
All Auburn students can access a wealth of support services. Academic coaches help online and on-campus students develop skills related to academic workload management, note taking, and test preparation. The university's Study Smart program also matches learners with peer and staff tutors.
Although Auburn does not set minimum academic requirements for admission, all undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and a personal statement. Graduate requirements vary by program, but most require a bachelor's degree and scores from the GRE or GMAT.
Athens State University
|Athens, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Athens State University endeavors to provide affordable and convenient education options. Students begin by choosing one of the university's more than 50 programs of study, then decide whether to seek their degree through day or evening classes, via weekend sessions exclusively, or through fully online and asynchronous courses. In addition, all online students enrolled in a degree program are eligible for the same financial aid programs as learners studying on campus.
The university offers roughly 20 online bachelor's and master's degrees, covering subjects like religious studies, instructional design, global logistics and supply chain management, and information assurance. To better serve learners who want to enter a new field quickly or take on additional professional responsibilities, Athens State also provides online access to certificate tracks in aviation management and project management.
As an upper-division institution, Athens State exclusively enrolls students who have already completed at least 36 credits of college-level coursework at another regionally accredited college or university. Prospective students must hold a minimum GPA of 2.0 in these courses to qualify for admission.
Jacksonville State University
|Jacksonville, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Students at Jacksonville State University can earn more than 40 degrees and certificates entirely online. JSU's distance education programs are designed for working professionals seeking skills and knowledge in subjects like computer systems and software design, emergency management, family and consumer sciences, and respiratory therapy.
Online learners who live outside of Alabama pay tuition at a rate that is approximately 40% lower than out-of-state tuition for on-campus students. The costs of graduate programs vary, but most online master's students pay the equivalent of in-state tuition. In addition, all degree-seeking students may apply for financial aid based on merit or demonstrated need.
To qualify for admission, first-year applicants must hold a high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.0. They must also earn a score of at least 20 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT.
University of Alabama in Huntsville
|Huntsville, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
The University of Alabama in Huntsville prepares students for success in the workplace. After earning one of the university's bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees, UAH alumni make an average starting salary of $54,000 -- significantly higher than the mean wage in the state. This enhanced earning power extends throughout a graduate's professional life, with UAH alumni commanding an average mid-career salary of approximately $98,500.
Through the university's College of Professional and Continuing Studies, students can earn a fully online bachelor's degree in nursing, leadership strategies, or organizational studies. UAH also offers online master's and doctoral degrees in information systems, autism spectrum disorder education, aerospace systems engineering, and cybersecurity. Most online programs require no campus visits, allowing students to watch lectures and engage with their course materials through the Canvas learning management system.
While undergraduate applicants must share high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores, UAH does not require prospective students to submit letters of recommendation or a personal essay.
University of North Alabama
|Florence, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
The University of North Alabama participates in Quality Matters -- a voluntary program that helps to ensure online programs meet stringent academic requirements. In addition, all online courses at UNA are led by the same faculty who teach on campus.
Online undergraduate learners can choose from majors like applied health science, criminal justice, and political science. They may also elect to customize their learning through an interdisciplinary studies major, drawing on business, humanities, and technology coursework. Online graduate programs give students the opportunity to earn an advanced degree in accounting, education, geographic information science, or writing.
Undergraduate applicants typically need a minimum high school GPA of 2.25, along with an ACT score of at least 18 or an SAT score of at least 960. All prospective graduate students must have a bachelor's degree and take the GRE or GMAT, though some individual programs may also require a professional resume, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
University of South Alabama
|Mobile, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
While many of this institution's 14,000 students study at its 1,200-acre campus in Mobile, the University of South Alabama also offers 15 fully online degrees. Bachelor's completion programs cater to students who have already earned an associate degree. Online master's and doctoral programs provide advanced training in early childhood education, instructional design, sport management, and nursing.
All online classes at USA are delivered asynchronously, meaning students enjoy 24/7 access to lecture recordings, readings, and discussion boards. Online learners also benefit from web-based technical support, remote academic and transfer advising, and personalized feedback on essays and research papers from the university's online writing center.
To enter a bachelor's program at USA, you must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. While the university does not set strict academic requirements, it generally prefers to admit candidates with a high school GPA of at least 2.5 and an ACT score of at least 19.
|Troy, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Originally founded in 1887 as a teachers college, Troy University now hosts undergraduate and graduate programs in fields like anthropology, exercise science, marine biology, and rehabilitation and disabilities studies. Through Troy Online, students can also seek degrees in applied computer science, hospitality management, and social work.
All online courses run for nine weeks, giving students the opportunity to focus on one subject at a time while quickly progressing through their program's graduation requirements. While learners can complete their coursework at any time of the day, they must regularly interact with their instructors and classmates through forums, virtual conferences, chat, and email. Troy also partners with NetTutor to provide supplemental instruction in most subjects.
Unconditional admission into a bachelor's program requires a minimum high school GPA of 2.0, as well as an ACT score of at least 20 or an SAT score of at least 1030. Transfer applicants must have previously earned at least 24 credits from a regionally accredited college or university.
University of Mobile
|Mobile, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 74%||
As a Christ-centered institution, the University of Mobile aims to support the intellectual and spiritual development of its students. Along with distance education programs in theological studies and Christian leadership, the university caters to working professionals and adult learners through online offerings in organizational leadership, higher education administration and policy, and psychology. Other degrees, such as a doctor of nursing practice, can be completed through hybrid study.
Through its Freshman Academy, UMobile allows high school students to take an introductory-level college course completely free of charge. Additional courses in English, history, and math are also available at a substantially discounted tuition rate. To qualify for the program, students must be currently enrolled in high school and hold a GPA of 2.75 or above.
Regular undergraduate admission requires high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must receive a composite ACT score of at least 21 to enroll in a bachelor's program. Graduate applicants can typically waive entrance exam requirements if they have a college GPA of 2.5 or above.
Heritage Christian University
|Florence, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Nationally accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education, Heritage Christian University offers online associate and bachelor's degrees in biblical studies. Online learners may also pursue a master's degree in divinity or ministry, with concentrations available in areas such as theological history, ministerial care, and ministerial counseling.
Although the bulk of coursework in the program can be completed through the university's web-based learning management system, graduate students should prepare to visit campus at least twice during their studies. In addition to a mandatory orientation session, all master's students must take their final comprehensive exams in person.
Undergraduate applicants must have a high school diploma and share at least three personal references. Those under the age of 31 must also submit scores from the ACT or SAT. Graduate applicants must submit transcripts, letters of recommendation, and entrance exam scores, as well as a personal statement outlining their academic qualifications and goals. Online students are not eligible for institutional scholarships.
|Birmingham, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
With a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1, Samford University creates intimate learning environments for its enrollment of approximately 5,700 students. The high availability of faculty expertise helps prepare learners for academic and professional success. As a result, 96% of undergraduate alumni report finding a job or continuing their education within six months of earning their bachelor's.
The university hosts fully online graduate programs in areas such as design studies, healthcare administration, public health, and educational leadership. A bachelor's degree completion program in organizational leadership also serves adult learners looking to develop enhanced managerial skills. As a Christian university, all online programs at Samford also feature cocurricular spiritual growth opportunities.
First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, an academic letter of recommendation, and a 250-word personal essay. Prospective students with a strong record of academic achievement may apply for several merit-based financial awards. The Crosland Scholarship, for example, offers up to $15,000 in support each year.
University of West Alabama
|Livingston, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
Founded in 1835, the University of West Alabama currently serves the educational needs of more than 20,000 students annually. The university continues to expand its reach around the world, offering more than 50 online degrees in areas like early childhood development, adult continuing education, experimental psychology, and conservation biology.
More than 80% of online students at UWA receive some form of financial aid. For example, current and aspiring teachers working towards an online degree in education can receive a $50-per-credit scholarship. Military personnel, veterans, and their families may qualify for a scholarship of up to $100 per credit. In addition, the university's Community College Connect Scholarship provides $1,500 in aid to students who hold an associate degree from a partner college in the state.
Applying to an online bachelor's program at UWA requires a high school diploma or GED certificate, but the university does not require prospective students to take the ACT or SAT. Master's applicants must have a bachelor's degree and can transfer up to nine credits from another accredited graduate school.
|Montgomery, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Since launching its first distance learning program in 1993, Amridge University has steadily transitioned into a fully online university. At this Christian institution, students can pursue online degrees in more than 40 fields of study, including human resource leadership, marriage and family therapy, criminal justice, and information systems management.
Over 90% of students at the university receive some form of financial aid, including a variety of institutional scholarships. First-time undergraduates pay discounted tuition as long as they maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA in their college-level coursework, as do law enforcement and emergency services personnel. Amridge also awards scholarships to homeschooled students, transfer applicants, and learners who elect to pursue their degree on an accelerated basis.
To apply to the university as an undergraduate, you must hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. First-year applicants must also submit ACT or SAT scores. Master's applicants must have a bachelor's degree, and prospective doctoral students must share an academic writing sample.
Spring Hill College
|Mobile, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
As the third-oldest Jesuit college in the United States, Spring Hill College prepares students to excel academically and be of service to others. In addition to the college's 381-acre campus in Mobile, SHC allows students to earn a bachelor of science in business and professional studies remotely. This online degree features concentrations in supply chain management, management and marketing, computer information systems, and sport management.
In addition, the college offers hybrid versions of some graduate degrees, combining online instruction with traditional classroom learning.
To qualify for unconditional admission, you need at least 12 college credits earned with a minimum 2.5 GPA from another regionally accredited institution. Students with only a high school diploma, as well as those who do not meet all GPA and college credit requirements, may still receive conditional admission.
Active-duty military personnel and their spouses receive a tuition discount of nearly 40%. Online learners may also apply for academic and service-based scholarships that provide up to $28,000 in aid each year.
|Montgomery, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Faulkner University offers 23 fully online degrees in fields like health and rehabilitation psychology, justice administration, and computer and information science. All undergraduate and graduate classes at the university are taught from a Christian worldview and emphasize the importance of faith, fellowship, and service.
Online associate programs at Faulkner provide both a liberal arts foundation for continued study and preparation for entry-level professional roles. Through the university's executive master of business administration program, graduate students can earn their MBA in a year, taking one five-week-long course at a time.
Undergraduate applicants typically need to submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The university offers regular admission to prospective students who receive a score of at least 18 on the ACT or at least 970 on the SAT. All applicants must also demonstrate good character and agree to uphold the university's code of conduct.
|Talladega, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
Although the majority of the college's offerings are only available on campus, Talladega College does host an online master's program in computer information systems and an online bachelor's degree completion program in organizational management. Some of the classes in these online programs feature synchronous instruction, meaning students must log in at set times each week to participate in discussions and activities.
The FASTtrack program in organizational management serves adults ages 23 and older who have previously earned at least 45 college-level credits from another regionally accredited institution. Applicants must also hold a minimum GPA of 2.0 in their prior college coursework. Once enrolled, students can advance through coursework at their own pace, potentially earning their degree in as few as two years. Admission into the college's online graduate program requires a bachelor's degree.
While all incoming undergraduate students receive automatic consideration for several academic scholarships, Talladega does not offer institutional awards to master's students.
|Huntsville, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
The mission of Oakwood University is to equip students with the tools they need to serve God and humanity. To expand the reach of that mission, the university offers four online degree completion programs that allow adult students to earn their bachelor's in as little as 18 months. Undergraduate majors currently available online include information technology, organizational management, church leadership, and general studies.
Outside of these degree programs, the university hosts a growing number of individual online courses in areas such as accounting, microeconomics, computer applications, and New Testament studies.
To enter a degree completion program at Oakwood, you must be at least 25 years old and hold a minimum of 30 transferable credits from another accredited institution. While applicants must submit official copies of their college transcripts, the university does not require prospective students to take the ACT or SAT.
|Marion, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Judson College -- a Christian college located in Marion -- boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 9-to-1, helping all learners receive direct access to highly trained and expert instructors. This commitment to developing supportive learning environments has led to 96% of Judson alumni finding work or entering a graduate program within one year of earning their degree.
While only female students can enroll in Judson's on-campus programs, the college's online offerings are open to both men and women. Distance education students can pursue bachelor's degrees in fields like business administration, elementary education, psychology, and religious studies. Online learners work at their own pace and have 2-4 months to complete each of their classes.
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Prospective students who hold an associate degree may transfer up to 64 credits towards a bachelor's. While Judson does not limit the number of credits that can be transferred from another four-year institution, students must complete at least 32 credits at the college to earn an undergraduate degree.
Alabama A & M University
|Normal, AL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
Founded in 1875, Alabama A&M University is a historically black institution dedicated to academic excellence. The university makes four of its degrees available online in an asynchronous format, giving students the freedom to study at their convenience. Along with an online bachelor's degree in management, AAMU offers online master's degrees in computer science, early childhood education, and educational leadership.
Undergraduate applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Prospective students must have a high school GPA of 2.0 or above, as well as an ACT score of at least 18 or an SAT score of at least 1290. Graduate applicants must have a bachelor's degree, a satisfactory score on the GRE, and two letters of recommendation.
The university's Normalite Opportunity Scholarship provides $8,100 in funding each year to full-time undergraduate students who live outside of Alabama, including those pursuing a degree online.