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North Carolina earned the number one spot on the Forbes Best States for Business list three years in a row from 2017 to 2019. The state boasts relatively low business costs and regulatory policies. Large companies, including Microsoft, Carvana, and Pfizer, plan to expand in North Carolina due to the state's business-friendly environment and well-educated labor force — many of whom attended one of North Carolina's 53 colleges and universities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and finance, education, and healthcare are some of North Carolina's largest employment sectors. The average annual wage for professionals in these fields ranges from about $51,00-$76,000. These positions typically require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions, although a graduate degree may qualify candidates for further advancement and better job opportunities.
To help prospective students make informed decisions about their academic future, we ranked the best online colleges in North Carolina. Read on to learn more about top programs and admission requirements.
What Are the 2021 Best Online Colleges in North Carolina? Here Are Our Top 10:
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|1||North Carolina State University at Raleigh||Raleigh, NC|
|2||Western Carolina University||Cullowhee, NC|
|3||Appalachian State University||Boone, NC|
|4||University of North Carolina Wilmington||Wilmington, NC|
|5||Cabarrus College of Health Sciences||Concord, NC|
|6||University of North Carolina at Greensboro||Greensboro, NC|
|7||North Carolina A & T State University||Greensboro, NC|
|8||Winston-Salem State University||Winston-Salem, NC|
|9||North Carolina Central University||Durham, NC|
|10||Elizabeth City State University||Elizabeth City, NC|
- How We Rank Schools
At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.
Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.
2021 Best Accredited Online Colleges in North Carolina
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North Carolina State University at Raleigh
|Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 81%||
A public university based in Raleigh, NC State's Online and Distance Education division offers more than 100 online programs, including doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degrees. NC State delivers asynchronous, fully online courses, as well as hybrid programs that mix online and onsite learning. Some programs require limited visits to campus to complete projects or exams.
Available online doctoral programs include a doctor of design and a doctor of education in education administration and supervision. Master's options include programs in accounting, animal science, and aerospace engineering. The university also offers one bachelor's program entirely online: a bachelor of arts in leadership in the public sector. Other online offerings include various undergraduate and graduate certificate programs and teaching licensure courses.
Western Carolina University
|Cullowhee, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 62%||
Based in Cullowhee, WCU's distance and online learning options include more than 20 undergraduate and graduate programs in a completely online or hybrid format. WCU started as a teaching college in 1889, and the public institution now serves more than 12,000 students annually.
Online undergraduate options include degree completion programs in criminal justice, emergency medical care, and business administration and law. The school also offers an RN-to-BSN program online. Most undergraduate offerings require students to possess an associate degree to enroll.
Online graduate programs include options like entrepreneurship, elementary and middle grades education, and sports management. WCU also offers several certificates online, including credentials related to culturally based native health, project management, and nurse education.
Appalachian State University
|Boone, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 72%||
Located in Boone, App State Online offers several degree completion programs in an online format for students working toward an undergraduate degree. Online programs include a BS in communication studies, an RN-to-BSN option, and a BS in career and technical education. App State Online offers a handful of hybrid programs as well, including a BS in elementary science.
The school also offers several master's degrees, such as programs in health administration, social work, library sciences, and business administration. Some graduate programs, such as reading education, feature a hybrid delivery format. App State Online also provides an online doctor of education in educational leadership. Furthermore, students can choose from several online certificate options, including college and university teaching, sociology, and nursing education.
University of North Carolina Wilmington
|Wilmington, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 73%||
Based in Wilmington, UNCW Online offers several online programs, including four doctoral degrees, seven undergraduate degrees, and 28 master's degrees. The public university joined the UNC System in 1969 and currently serves nearly 18,000 students.
Undergraduate options include programs in criminology, elementary education, and nursing. Graduate programs include master's degrees in chemistry, public administration, and healthcare administration. The school also offers several graduate programs in education, including elementary education and art education.
UNCW also offers three Ed.D. degrees in educational leadership, as well as a doctor of nursing practice. Students may also pursue certificate and licensure programs online, such as clinical research operations and teaching English as a second language.
Online programs offer classes in a mix of synchronous and asynchronous formats. Some hybrid programs require a portion of instruction to take place in a face-to-face setting.
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences
|Concord, NC||Graduation Rate: 69%||
A private institution based in Concord, Cabarrus College's distance education options include three degree programs and a variety of individual courses.
Online programs include a bachelor of science in nursing, a bachelor of science in medical imaging, and a master of occupational therapy (MOT). The MOT program offers two tracks: one for individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree and a combined program that includes a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary health studies. Both feature hybrid courses that require on-campus classes every third weekend.
The college also offers several online courses through its distance education program, including fundamentals in neuroscience, functional kinesiology, nutrition for healthy living, health services supervision, and sociology of health and illness.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
|Greensboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Based in Greensboro, UNCG Online offers several bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, as well as graduate certificate programs and teaching licensure opportunities.
Online bachelor's programs include philosophy, entrepreneurship, and business administration. Some undergraduate programs serve as degree completion pathways, such as the bachelor of arts in peace and conflict track, which requires a minimum of 30 transfer credits. Students should check with individual programs to verify requirements.
UNCG also offers various online master's programs, including options in education, nursing, and music. Specific programs include a master's in sustainability and environment, gerontology, and music education. The university also offers an online doctor of education in kinesiology and a doctor of philosophy in business administration. Online programs at UNCG typically follow an asynchronous format.
North Carolina A & T State University
|Greensboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 53%||
Based in Greensboro, A&T Online offers several undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs to distance learners.
Bachelor's options include programs in information technology, geomatics, economics, and agriculture education. The school offers some undergraduate options as degree completion programs, which require students to complete lower-division coursework prior to enrollment.
The school also offers several master of arts in teaching programs, including biology education, family and consumer sciences, and elementary education. Online students can also pursue a master of science in technology management or a Ph.D. in leadership studies. Most online program coursework follows an asynchronous format.
Winston-Salem State University
|Winston-Salem, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Based in Winston-Salem, WSSU's distance learning options include one doctoral, one post-master's, three master's, and four bachelor's programs, which can be completed online.
Bachelor's options include programs in clinical laboratory science, nursing, and birth to kindergarten education, as well as a bachelor of interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in integrative studies. Graduate-level choices include a master of healthcare administration, a master of science in rehabilitation counseling, and a master of science in nursing advanced nurse educator. The school also offers a doctor of physical therapy program and a post-master's certificate for advanced nurse educators.
Undergraduate applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores. Students pursuing graduate admissions should check with individual programs to verify requirements.
North Carolina Central University
|Durham, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Based in Durham, NCCU Online offers a variety undergraduate and graduate programs that may appeal to students looking for a flexible education. The school's online programs offer learners an interactive and community-driven learning experience.
Bachelor's options include programs in kinesiology, environmental and geographic sciences, and criminal justice. Master's programs cover topics like library science, clinical mental health counseling, and business administration. Students can also pursue graduate certificate offerings in health informatics and information policy and management.
Admitted undergraduate students possess an average high school GPA of 3.1 and an average SAT score of 888. Applicants to graduate programs should contact specific departments to verify admission requirements.
Elizabeth City State University
|Elizabeth City, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
A public university based in Elizabeth City, ECSU Online offers five programs that students can complete at a distance.
The school offers four online bachelor's programs, including two degree completion options in criminal justice and business administration. These programs require applicants to possess an associate degree or approximately 60 credits of college credits.
ECSU also offers two fully online bachelor's programs: a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies and a bachelor of science in homeland security. Graduate students can pursue an online master's in elementary education.
Distance learners access classes asynchronously, allowing them to fit their education into their busy schedules. Applicants to undergraduate programs must hold a minimum GPA of 2.5 and submit ACT or SAT scores.
St. Andrews University
|Laurinburg, NC||Graduation Rate: 32%||
A private university based in Laurinburg, St. Andrews offers several undergraduate programs completely online.
Online bachelor's programs include business administration, psychology, and interdisciplinary studies. The school also oversees several undergraduate programs that focus on education, including elementary education, middle grades education, and special education.
Both first-year college students and transfer students may apply. Applicants without at least 15 credits of college courses must submit SAT or ACT scores and official high school transcripts. Transfer students must hold a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.
|Montreat, NC||Graduation Rate: 43%||
A Christian college located in Montreat, Montreat College offers more than 20 undergraduate and graduate programs to online learners. Students prepare for in-demand careers while receiving a Christ-centered education.
Learners can pursue online associate degrees in business, cybersecurity, and general studies. Bachelor's options include programs in criminal justice, cybersecurity, marketing, and kinesiology. Graduates students seeking an online education can earn master's degrees in organizational leadership, public health, and business administration. The school also offers online certificate programs in cybersecurity management, secure systems, and network defense.
|Buies Creek, NC||Graduation Rate: 53%||
A Christian university located in Buies Creek, Campbell Online oversees several undergraduate and graduate programs. Faculty deliver online classes in an eight-week, accelerated format.
The school offers eight online associate degrees in fields such as behavioral sciences, Christian studies, and criminal justice. Bachelor's programs include elementary education, homeland security, psychology, and special education. Campbell also provides an online RN-to-BSN program, and distance learners can pursue several BAS programs, including information technology security and accounting.
Campbell's online graduate offerings include a doctor of health sciences and a master of business administration. In addition, Campbell offers a certificate in botanical and holistic health that covers nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, and the use of botanicals in integrative health.
|Banner Elk, NC||Graduation Rate: 37%||
A private college located in Banner Elk, Lees-McRae offers undergraduate and graduate options to online learners.
Students seeking a bachelor's degree can pursue one of five online degree completion programs. The college offers bachelor of applied arts and sciences degrees in business administration, criminal justice, and human services. Students can also pursue a bachelor of science in elementary education and an RN-to-BSN program. Applicants must hold an associate degree or 64 eligible transfer credits to enter.
The school also offers one graduate program online: a master of arts in teaching. Upon completion of this program, students receive a license in secondary education with a concentration in history and social studies, biology, or English.
William Peace University
|Raleigh, NC||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Based in Raleigh, WPU offers accelerated, online undergraduate degree programs for working professionals.
The school's 10 online bachelor's programs include options in business administration, strategic communication, and criminal justice. Students can also pursue a bachelor of arts in elementary education, earning regular licensure or dual licensure with a special education component. Other online degrees include a bachelor of science in leadership and nonprofit administration and an RN-to-BSN program.
Fully online courses feature asynchronous delivery. Students may transfer in up to 90 credits towards the completion of their bachelor's degree.