Best Online Colleges in West Virginia

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by Staff Writers

Updated July 20, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
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Coal generally comes to mind when you think of West Virginia, but that's not necessarily where the future of jobs lies in the state.

While mining will always be a hallmark of West Virginia, there are opportunities in other thriving industries. According to the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, those industries include aerospace, information technology, defense, and manufacturing.

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West Virginia offers an extensive list of online learning opportunities to prepare for these and other fields. Students wanting an online education in a high-demand field can even get a discount or free education in West Virginia.

Even if you don't live in the state, there are options for certain out-of-state candidates to get a discounted education. The college or university must prove their standards for online courses are the same as their on-campus classes.

Top Online Degree Programs in West Virginia

West Virginia Employment Outlook

West Virginia provides a great example of "don't judge a book by its cover."

West Virginia is often ranked as one of the states with the highest poverty rates. That has been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are exploring ways to help the hardest-hit industries adapt and recover from the crisis.

Job seekers should explore job training and educational opportunities available in the state.

New data shows the manufacturing field in West Virginia has the lowest turnover rate, suggesting when you get a job here, you are more likely to stay than in any other state.

Companies that bring jobs to the state may be eligible for substantial tax benefits and financial assistance. Those choosing to establish businesses in distressed communities are eligible to be exempt from corporate and personal taxes for a decade.

5 West Virginia Jobs in Demand

Couriers and Messengers

What was once an optional job transformed into a necessity with the pandemic. People who didn't leave home relied on couriers and messengers for delivering everything from a gallon of milk to a critical work project. This job is in demand nationwide as more people work at home or for those who just enjoy the convenience of deliveries. Couriers sometimes get tips, which would increase their salary based on individual performance.

Mean Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $27,940


Social Assistance

Social workers can provide a lifeline to struggling Americans. The projected job growth in the community and social service field is higher than the average of all other U.S. occupations. A bachelor's degree may help you get a job in this field. To pursue upper-level positions that offer high salaries in this field, a master's degree will likely be needed.

Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $36,000-$52,000


Data Processing/Hosting

Tech-savvy workers are in demand nationwide. The tech industry brings a $2.4 billion impact to West Virginia. Did you know that NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Justice, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health all have locations in West Virginia? A wide variety of private companies make this state home as well.

Mean Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $79,210


Management

The Infrastructure Bill passed in November 2021opens the door for many management and operations jobs, especially in the transportation sector. The management occupations group includes dozens of job possibilities, from CEO to real estate manager.

Mean Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $92,270


Waste Management

This field includes protecting the state's watersheds from pollution and also helping to crack down on illegal meth lab dumping. Waste management jobs span from the daily pickup of trash to protecting the state's environment through strict rules and regulations.

Mean Annual Salary (as of May 2020): Varies greatly, depending on role


Popular Career Paths in West Virginia

Best Accredited Online Colleges in West Virginia

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Best Online Colleges in West Virginia

  1. West Virginia University
    Location

    Morgantown, WV

    Tuition

    $11486

    West Virginia University 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.

  2. Marshall University
    Location

    Huntington, WV

    Tuition

    $9057

    More than 13,000 students attend Marshall University 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.

  3. University of Charleston
    Location

    Charleston, WV

    Tuition

    $12786

    The University of Charleston 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.

  4. West Liberty University
    Location

    West Liberty, WV

    Tuition

    $12293

    Founded in 1837 -- more than two decades before West Virginia was admitted into the United States -- West Liberty University 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.

  5. Alderson Broaddus University
    Location

    Philippi, WV

    Tuition

    $17794

    The final school on our list of the best online colleges in West Virginia is Alderson Broaddus University -- 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in West Virginia

How many online colleges are in West Virginia?

Eight colleges are listed as partner institutions in the West Virginia Remote Online Collaborative System (WVROCKS). On its website, you can search by location for a higher learning institution or by field of study. Other colleges and universities in the state also offer online programs.

Does West Virginia have good online colleges?

State policy requires that online learning options must be on par with the options at brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. They must also meet all standards with the regional accrediting agency. West Virginia universities joined the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements to help streamline online learning between qualified states.

How much does it cost to go to college online in West Virginia?

The price of online tuition is the same as the general tuition price listed for each college or university, unless otherwise noted. West Virginia is part of the Southern Regional Education Board, which offers in-state tuition for out-of-state students, with restrictions, to specific schools and/or programs.

What is the cheapest online college in West Virginia?

Among the schools in the state with the lowest rates for distance learners is Marshall University. The cost per credit for undergraduates is about $269, for the 2021-2022 academic year. The University of Charleston charged $380 per credit. You can also apply for special funding for online college through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

Who qualifies for free college in West Virginia?

West Virginia Invests is a good path to start. The state-funded grant pays the full cost of tuition at certain colleges in the state with priority given to high-demand fields. You do have to be a West Virginia resident for the past year to qualify. You also must undergo a drug screening.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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