Best Online Colleges in Montana for 2020

Montana online colleges offer important benefits to students, particularly since it is one of the largest and least populated states in the United States. Even though the population is climbing in five counties, there are still just over seven people estimated to reside in the state for every one square mile of land. With such a concentrated area of growth, job opportunities have grown by 20% in five years.

Population growth, large swathes of rural communities, and the growth of jobs have created and supported demand for online colleges in Montana. Online colleges are the best solution for working adults who live in rural areas, science there just is no other way to easily access training or programs. 

Ranking the Best Online Colleges in Montana

The Value Colleges ranking of the Best Online Colleges in Montana focuses on undergraduate degrees that students can obtain 100% online. The schools below are ranked not by tuition costs, but instead by the number of fully online degree programs they offer. However, each institution meets Value Colleges baseline standards for return on investment and institutional accreditation.

1. Montana State University Northern

When you’re looking for the best online colleges in Montana, you want to consider the online programs at Montana State University Northern. The school offers six online bachelor’s degree programs that allow students to focus on their long-term goals. Students can study leadership, nursing, or criminal justice, as well as other majors, based on personal interests and plans for the future. Montana State University in Northern Havre offers seven minors online that enhance a bachelor’s degree and help students develop useful skills for their career goals.

A key way Montana State University in Northern Havre stands apart from other programs is the focus on user-friendly tools for online courses. The online programs encourage students to keep up with courses through a variety of devices and an Internet connection. It does not require a complicated process to log into the online courses or to communicate with professors when concerns or questions arise during a class. 

Number of Online Programs: 6

2. University of Montana

The University of Montana is one of the best online colleges in Montana to help students with their goals. The school offers three online bachelor’s degree programs. Students can study art, media art, or social work through online programs. It gives students the flexibility to focus on long-term goals. It also allows students to develop creative skills when working on their degree programs.

The University of Montana at Missoula differs from other programs by following a 2+2 program for the online social work degree. Students can transfer credits into the program from other schools for general education courses. It allows students to finish the last two years of a social work degree online to simplify the process of moving into a career. The University of Montana at Missoula offers two minors and a variety of certifications to improve student skills and capabilities in a career.

Number of Online Programs: 3

3. University of Providence

The University of Providence is an excellent online college in Montana to help with a student’s long-term career goals. The school offers three undergraduate degree programs online to help with student goals. Students can study nursing, criminal justice, or addiction counseling through the online program. It offers a flexible option for students who are planning to work in the healthcare or criminal justice industries.  The online degree programs at the University of Providence in Great Falls emphasizes hands-on experience and encourages students to pursue internships while working on a degree.

A key way the University of Providence in Great Falls stands apart is the variety of online master’s degree programs. When students complete an undergraduate degree, they have the option to continue into a higher level of education. It also offers a flexible approach to an undergraduate degree that allows students to maintain a current job or address other obligations that may limit their time during normal school hours.

Number of Online Programs: 3

What is the Value of Online Colleges in Montana 

For many students, attending a four- or two-year college on campus, full time is not a possibility. With so many students working full or part time, or having other commitments like family or perhaps even health constraints, colleges today more than ever before are offering degree programs online. Students can earn undergraduate and graduate degrees fully online from highly respected and accredited universities and colleges across the nation.

Non-traditional students in particular face unique situations that make it even more difficult to participate in and complete a degree if they were required to attend a college campus full-time. These students are returning to college after taking time off, they often have families and other responsibilities, and they also have full-time jobs and other responsibilities. Approximately 31% of Montana residents have attained at least a Bachelor’s degree.

Montana has taken a unique approach to job training. They’re facilitating collaboration between the Department of Labor and Industry, private colleges, etc. to determine what colleges should teach to fulfill the needs of Montana businesses. The goal is to continue to support the trend of Montana graduates finding jobs in the state when they’ve finished their programs of study. 

What Kinds of Degrees Can I Earn Online in Montana?

There are 22 colleges and universities offering courses toward Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Doctorate online degrees in Montana, with programs ranging from Agricultural Education, Gerontology, Addiction Counseling, Liberal Studies, Math, Science Education, School Library Media, Nursing, and beyond. Online degrees in Montana are also further supported by the state’s membership in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which facilitates the sharing and collaboration of resources and information in higher education across the western United States. Via the cross-section of universities, students can access some 268 Associate’s,  with an additional 170 Bachelor’s and 193 Master’s degrees. Montana online degrees are an important focal area for the state’s higher education consortium as well as university research. 

How Can I Save Money on an Online Degree in Montana?

Montana community colleges online are a great way for students to save time and money while earning the college credits they need toward a degree. For students who have already attended online high school, the jump to college is not really a leap at all. Some online college courses allow for dual-enrollment while students are still finishing high school. Montana community colleges online options allow students to earn Associate’s degrees, certifications, and other training while taking the General education course and requirements they need for more advanced degrees and certifications. Starting at a community college level is a great introduction. It eases the students into the mindset and prepares them for the responsibilities and course load requirements of more advanced education. 

Employer reimbursement is also a great option for those students who are taking coursework to support the advancement of skills and leadership training for their work. The courses could be for personal enrichment or the classes are preparing the student to take on new responsibilities, greater leadership, or a conversion to an upgraded software platform. Employer reimbursement usually requires that the student sign up for the Montana online college courses, and then they receive a full or partial reimbursement when the course is complete. The reimbursement makes sense for employers because it’s a way to encourage employees to continue their education and extend their current skillsets. Employer reimbursement also makes sense for students who are working full-time. It’s an opportunity to put the skills they are learning to use in the workplace, but it can be rewarding and encouraging when their boss is applauding the effort to continue their education. 

In addition to the options for Montana community colleges online, students can tap into money-saving options via financial aid. Based on financial need, students can access loans and grants, as well as work-study options. With online programs, there are fewer opportunities for work-study situations, but the lower overall cost of the online coursework helps to make the experience more economically feasible. In whatever form the financial aid takes for the student, it allows them that level of flexibility and access to education that supports their career advancement goals.

Students can find a plethora of other degree-specific grants, loans, and scholarships that are available from social organizations, clubs, and companies. While some are merit-based, the goal of grants and scholarships is to support the educational advancement of students in specific areas of study, often with a geographical requirement in Montana.

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