Online Degrees and Classes in Alabama

Alabama was one of the very first states to recognize the importance of online education even if it hasn’t done a terrific job of allowing online learning to grow within the state since. All the way back before the start of the 2009-10 school year, Alabama passed a law requiring all high school students to take one online/technology-enhanced course in order to graduate from high school. Dozens of other states around the country have since adopted a similar law placing Alabama squarely at the forefront of the online education revolution whether it wanted to be there or not. Alabama’s colleges and universities offered distance learning opportunities long before the state officially recognized online learning in 2008, but what was once just a few online classes available to students dealing with special circumstances has now grown in to a robust and diverse set of online degree and course options for college students interested in online education. The online degree paths have become so popular that the Alabama Commission on Higher Education now lays out its formal policy on distance education in Alabama which both recognizes the importance of online learning at institutions of higher learning and sets forth rules and regulations that schools must adhere to if they offer online learning opportunities.

The growth has been rapid and now a sizable portion of the total number of college students in Alabama are enrolled in some form of distance education. The National Center for Education Statistics last crunched the numbers in 2012 and that data showed that more than 100,000 students (roughly 34.6%) enrolled at Title IV institutions were enrolled in some distance education courses. The study also broke down what types of institutions those students were enrolled in with the results being that more than 40,000 students taking some distance learning classes were enrolled at a four-year public institution, more than 20,000 were enrolled at a less-than-four-year institution, almost 2,000 students were enrolled at a private, non-profit four-year institution and nearly 20,000 were enrolled at private, for-profit, four-year institutions. This data isn’t meant to help interested students make a judgment call on whether online education is right or wrong for them, it is only meant to show that online education is a significant part of the higher education landscape in Alabama and that opportunities are robust and diverse. There has even been a push within the state to ensure that the quality of online education in the state is high as well as state schools enrolling students in online courses are required to provide students with “the appropriate technology, adequate supervision, and technical assistance, in accordance with State Department of Education (SDE) online technology requirements for local implementation.”

The growth of online education in Alabama is a boon for students interested in online art schools in the state as a number of four-year institutions and community colleges now offer online arts-related degrees and classes. Not only is the state home to more than 80 Title IV degree-granting institutions, at least half of which are public universities, but Alabama also has eight institutions accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Featured Schools:

Online Schools

Programs available:
  • See Areas of study Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • See Areas of study Computer Animation, Bachelor of Science (Online)

Programs available:
  • See Areas of study Video Game Design
  • See Areas of study Photography

Online Art Schools in Alabama

The landscape for online art students in Alabama offers a number of different and unique opportunities, but for the most part, there are two choices for students interested in online art education in Alabama. They can either enroll in one of the state’s many nonprofit, traditional institutions where they may be able to find a fully online arts-related degree program but are more likely to just find online arts classes, or they can enroll in one of the nationally recognized for-profit universities that operate within the state and offer a wider selection of online art degrees.

Those interested in attending a nonprofit institution have limited options if they are looking for a fully online or even hybrid degree program. Jacksonville State University offers an online Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and multiple online Master’s degrees in Computer Science and Software Design. Also, the University of Alabama, Huntsville offers a hybrid degree program that is mostly online in software engineering as well.  Both of those schools are accredited by NASAD as is Auburn University, which offers fully online certificate programs in digital arts. The state’s flagship university, the University of Alabama, offers online courses to students who are already enrolled at the University. As does the University of Montevallo, Alabama State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. All of the aforementioned schools have been accredited by NASAD, but there are other nonprofit four-year schools in the state that offer online arts degrees, including Athens State, which offers an online minor in Instructional Design and an online Bachelor’s degree in Technology Management.

The offerings from for-profit colleges are far most plentiful, at least in terms of fully online degrees. Students interested in online architecture programs can look at Strayer University or Brown Mackie College, both of whom have campuses within the state. Students interested in the Culinary Arts should consider Virginia College, which offers online degrees in the subjects and has multiple locations throughout Alabama. Meanwhile, students interested in more technical art subjects such as drafting and design should look into ITT Tech Institute, which also has multiple campuses spread throughout the state and a plethora of design-related degrees programs that are fully online.

Studying the arts in Alabama has future employment benefits as well because the state is home to a bustling and thriving arts community. As of January 2012, the state was home to more than 9,000 arts-related businesses that employed nearly 32,500 people, quite an expansive list for an aspiring art professional looking for work in Alabama. These businesses may opt for a graduate of a local arts school they have experience with and so students who are considering a career in Alabama should at least consider getting their education in the state as well.