Best Online Colleges in Colorado for 2020

Obtaining a degree or certificate while working full or part time, or while balancing family and other commitments, as more and more students are today, seeking a degree or certificate online is becoming a real, viable option for advantageous students around the globe. Today colleges and universities across the country offer many, if not all, programs fully or partially online, programs that mirror most of the campuses’ traditional learning environments.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Colleges in Colorado

Value Colleges furthers this mission of online learning by listing top fully online universities and colleges in the United States, using our best ranking methods to identify schools with solid ROIs and institutional accreditations. This Top 10 Best Online Colleges in Colorado list highlights institutions that offer discounted tuition for online enrollment, boast state-of-the-art technology, and offer flexible learning options.

1. Colorado Christian University

Colorado Christian University has over 33 online programs including associates, bachelor’s, master’s and one doctoral program. These programs range from accounting and business administration to information systems management, logistics and supply chain management to nursing. Designed to provide flexibility for students with varied schedules, students can still participate in classroom environment from any location. The college accepts transfer credits from prior schools with accreditation and may offer credit for life experience. Contact a counselor today to find out more about one of the best online colleges in Colorado today.

Colorado Christian University began in 1914 and is ranked as one of the top universities in the nation. They are a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities; Council of Independent Colleges; Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability; and National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. The college is also regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Number of Online Programs: 33

2. University of Colorado Denver

The University of Colorado Denver offers online bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and certificate programs in a number of fields, including Communication; English, Nursing; Psychology; Criminal Justice and Information Systems. This gives students the opportunity to work toward their goals and prepare to enter the professional market or enhance their current skills. Courses are designed with collaboration and academic goals in mind. Students engage with faculty who have industry experience for personal insight and development.

The University of Colorado Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the business school is accredited by AACSB International as being among the top 5%. Their nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), making it one of the best online colleges in Colorado.

Number of Online Programs: 19

3. Colorado State University

Colorado State University has 14 online degrees including Agricultural Business; Anthropology; Computer Science; Economics; Fire and Emergency Services; Horticulture; Human Development and Family Studies; Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts; Journalism and Media Communication; Natural Resource Tourism and Psychology. Designed to allow students the opportunity to work and attend school from any location, these programs aid individuals looking to start new careers or advance in their current profession.

Colorado State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Contact an advisor to see how you can become a student at one of the best online colleges in Colorado.

Number of Online Programs: 14

4. University of Colorado Colorado Springs

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs has eight online undergraduate degree programs, including Communication; Criminal Justice; Sociology; Philosophy; Business Administration; Health Sciences; RN to BSN and Sociology and Criminal Justice (dual degree).  These programs are designed for individuals who have demanding work and personal schedules. Taught by experienced faculty, students get real-world insight on how to compete in a global society.

The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and named a “Best Workplace” in El Paso County by The Gazette in 2018.

Number of Online Programs: 9

5. University of Northern Colorado

The University of Northern Colorado has a number of online undergraduate degrees, including American Sign Language English Interpretation; Communication Studies; Dietetics; Early Childhood Teaching; Elementary Education; RN to BSN; Psychology; Sociology and Special Education. A number of these programs have licensure components to accommodate those who are looking to further their careers in that concentration. Students are also offered field experiences through internships and workshops.

A flexible and affordable option for students with busy schedules, The University of Northern Colorado prides itself on faculty who have industry experience and can share insights and current topics in real-time. The university has offered distance education since 1902, and are early adopters of online education. Contact an advisor today and enroll in one of the best online colleges in Colorado today.

Number of Online Programs: 8

6. University of Denver

The University of Denver is unique in that every undergraduate and graduate program can be completed entirely online. Their programs are designed to be able to obtain a degree from the University from anywhere in the world. There is full access to course content, direct email to instructors and live chat with peers. Their faculty fully integrates online, being accessible to students via Skype or Zoom; phone calls; meetups on Canvas Chat or in person. Areas of study include Communication Arts; Global Commerce and Transportation; Global Studies; Healthcare Administration; Information Technology and Leadership and Organization Studies. With a career-driven focus, skills learning in the curriculum are immediately applicable on the job.

The University of Denver is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association, as well as the business school and MSW schools by their governing accreditation agencies. For more information on one of the best online colleges in Colorado, contact an advisor today.

Number of Online Programs: 6

7. Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University has six online undergraduate degree programs, including an Associate of Arts in Social Science and Bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts Elementary Education; RN to BSN; Radiologic Sciences; Sports Management and Business Administration in Management. These programs offer flexibility but is rigorous in content. Faculty are industry taught and offer a wealth of experience to students, investing in their success and future careers. Students become part of a broader network where they can apply real-world knowledge to current careers for advancement or apply foundational knowledge into a new career choice.

Colorado Mesa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). For more information on attending one of the best online colleges in Colorado, contact the school and enroll today.

Number of Online Programs: 6

8. Metropolitan State University of Denver

The Metropolitan State University of Denver has the following online degree programs: Anthropology; Human Development and Family Studies; Master of Social Work; RN to BSN and Technical Communication. These courses are designed to enhance the level of prior knowledge students currently have to apply to their everyday careers for advancement. With a strong focus on career-mindedness, the curriculum taught by faculty addresses critical issues while developing workforce pipelines for industries in demand.

Founded in 1963, the Metropolitan State University of Denver has the distinction of being ACSB accredited; is ranked one of the top Colorado colleges for veterans by Military Times; ranked 67th in the U.S. due to its Yellow Ribbon Certified campus and programs; and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Contact an advisor today to find out why Metropolitan State University is one of the best online colleges in Colorado.

Number of Online Programs: 5

9. Adams State University

Adams State University offers four online undergraduate programs: Business; Sociology; Teacher Education and Media Industry and Communication. With a focus on preparing students for careers in the global market, student gain insight and hands-on learning opportunities through internships, workshops and volunteer activities. The faculty teach from real-world industry experience, and are instrumental in providing off-campus mentors to enhance their current or future career progression. Students have a detailed curriculum to follow, including a first-year seminar; writing-intensive courses; ePortfolio, and senior capstone projects. Contact an advisor to discuss enrolling in one of the best online colleges in Colorado today.

Adams State University Alamosa is named one of the Best Colleges in Social Mobility 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, individual programs at the university are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Number of Online Programs: 4

10. University of Colorado Boulder

The University of Colorado Boulder has a number of online programs, primarily focused on the master’s degree, certificates, and post-baccalaureate degrees. Their program is unique in that they also offer on-demand courses to enhance current professionals or provide insight for individuals looking to make a career transition. Degree programs include Accounting and Taxation; Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences; Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering; Art & Art History; Business Administration; Computer Science; French; Journalism and a host of others to further professional careers and provide the foundation to compete in a consistently changing global society. Find out more by speaking to an advisor at one of the best online colleges in Colorado today.

Known to be a top research university and a world-class provider of online education, the University of Colorado Boulder holds the #1 spot for four-year graduation rates in Colorado public universities. This university is one of 36 public research institutions in the Association of American Universities (AAU). Students attending this institution have received the Rhodes Scholarship, and is known to award the most degrees of any university in Colorado. According to Business Insider in 2016, this university is in the top 25 for students who want to change the world. The graduate school has been named for 2020 as #2 in the nation for Atomic/Molecular/Optical Physics; #5 in the nation for Ceramics; #8 in the national in Environmental Law; #9 in the nation for Geology; #6 in the nation in Quantum Physics, and #10 in the nation in Aerospace Engineering Sciences by U.S. News and World Report.

Number of Online Programs: 2

What Makes Online Education Valuable for Colorado Students and Working Adults?

Online education offers up the perfect opportunity for those looking to advance their careers while still working at their current jobs and meeting any family obligations. Colorado distance learning opportunities are available throughout the state at both public and private colleges. Once enrolled in an online program, students will complete course assignments during times that are most convenient for them such as evenings and weekends. The total cost for college will be less since online tuition rates are very affordable and students are still eligible to apply for financial aid. As long as the online college is accredited, students will fill out FAFSA forms to determine eligibility for federal grant and loan programs. Savings are also found at distance programs because students don’t have to spend money on college housing or commuting.

Additionally, there is added convenience if the Colorado distance learning program is at a college a significant distance away from the student’s location. An online college has a larger course catalog with more major options for the student to decide on. The student body will also be diverse within a Colorado distance learning program—likely including enrollees from all over the country.

Distance programs are usually self-placed—allowing the student to choose the timeframe to meet degree requirements. Instead of needing to complete at least four to five classes per semester, a distance program is usually flexible enough for the student to enroll in one or two courses at a time. Conversely, the distance learning student may want to graduate at an accelerated rate and take more courses per semester. With an online schedule, it is easier to attend classes year-round instead of only enrolling for fall and spring semesters. Many Colorado distance learning students fit in classes during winter and summer breaks.

Why Does Colorado Have So Many Online Colleges?

Colorado’s public college and universities have made a commitment to further the education of state residents. By giving the option for residents to attend Colorado universities online, they are investing in the state’s future workforce. Through the expanded offering of distance learning programs, it is expected that there will be an upward trend in the number of Colorado residents with higher degrees. Colorado consistently ranks as one of the most educated states. Through 2000 Census data, Colorado was determined as having the highest percentage of bachelor degree holders in the country. The state is also consistently one of the top three states with residents who obtain advanced degrees.

Moreover, the state has some of the top-ranked colleges in the country including the University of Denver, Colorado State University, University of Colorado, and the United States Air Force Academy. Many students can attend the preceding Colorado universities online or even follow a hybrid format for their schedules. With a hybrid schedule, the student will take only a few of their classes on campus with the rest being accessed online. State colleges and universities recognize that the online format appeals to working adults and those located in rural areas of the state.  

The important thing to search for is accredited online colleges in Colorado. Regional accreditation is done through the Higher Learning Commission. This commission regulates accredited online colleges in Colorado that award associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees. Accreditation ensures that the college provides the resources to students to help them succeed professional. The accrediting agency reviews the programs and staff at the online college to make sure their standards are consistently met year after year.

What Kinds of Degrees Can I Get Online in Colorado?

Online degrees in Colorado are vast. Students may choose to pursue associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees through distance learning programs. Online colleges in Colorado offer major options in the field of business, science, and liberal arts. Once a degree is conferred, the student can continue to attend online courses in Colorado to complete continuing education credits or certification programs.

Most popular in the state are online bachelor degree programs in Colorado. Although many traditional bachelor programs take four years to complete, distance learning programs can be done at an accelerated pace with graduation requirements completed in less time. Colorado State University has the highest-ranking of all online bachelor degree programs in Colorado. Bachelor degrees from the virtual Colorado State University campus include computer science, agricultural business, psychology, horticulture, human development and family, and economics.

Masters and doctoral programs from online Colorado colleges are also widely available. Online degrees with the highest return on investment include data science, nurse practitioner, economics, engineering, statistics, and computer science. Graduate-level degrees earned online are not regarded as being less valuable as a degree earned by taking courses in-person. Employers will only want to confirm that the online degree was earned through a reputable and accredited college or university.

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