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Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ

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Great Value Colleges - Top Online Degrees in Phoenix

Some of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, AZ, are also the top colleges in the state. It should come as no surprise, then, that students would be clamoring for a chance to be accepted into these online programs. With flexible options and the chance to earn an affordable degree, all from renown institutions, this ranking is coming to students at the right time.

Not all online programs make it easy to find the information that is necessary for students. A quick rundown of tuition costs, the types of degrees available and accreditation is needed so that students can look at only the schools that meet their needs. This ranking has all of this information and more packed in one list so that students can use it as a starting point for their research.

Methodology

As a points-based ranking, this list has been fully researched to provide only the most pertinent information to students. It began as a search for the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, AZ on the National Center for Education Statistic’s College Navigator database. Once all the corresponding schools were compiled, each school’s website was researched for more information. Points were awarded to schools based on the following factors:

Types of online degree options available (associate, bachelor, master’s, doctorate): 1 point per degree level.

Cost per credit hour:
Under $250 – 4 points
$251 – $350 – 3 points
$351 – $450 – 2 points
Over $451 per credit hour – 1 point

Regional Accreditation:
Present – 1 point

Student to faculty ratio:
10:1 or less – 3 points
11:1 to 15:1 – 2 points
Greater than 15:1 – 1 point

The final 10 schools can be found within a 100-mile radius of Phoenix, AZ. They are listed below based on the total number of points the school accrued during the research process.

10. Northern Arizona University

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Northern Arizona University offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.

Website

One of the best places to earn an online bachelor’s degree comes from Northern Arizona University. This school delivers an incredible array of both undergraduate and graduate programs, certificates, and endorsements. Students can study anything from education and psychology to business and nursing. Emphases and specializations are also available in numerous fields, making it a great choice for students who have a set career path. This school has a dedicated online staff to help students with the fully functional online portal. Services include academic and career advising, office hours, an online bookstore and access to the school’s online library resources.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $459
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 5

9. Arizona Christian University

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Arizona Christian University offers bachelor’s degrees online.

Website

Arizona Christian University is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, Arizona. This school confers degree from a Christian perspective, ensuring that all students are ready and qualified to lead the world in their respective fields. Students will find that there are a variety of bachelor’s degrees available at this school that includes programs in education, family studies, or business administration. All courses are taught in an eight-week format, making it possible to complete the degree faster than a traditional online program. Services at this school include academic advising, online registration, tutoring, a bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s
Cost per credit hour: $330
Student to Faculty Ratio: 16:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 5

8. The University of Advancing Technology

Tempe, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
The University of Advancing Technology offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.

Website

Located just a short drive from Phoenix, Arizona, is the University of Advancing Technology, which provides students with amazing online programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students in this school can take on unique programs, including fields such as game design, cybersecurity, and technology leadership. As STEM-focused school, it should come as no surprise that the university has spared no expense to create a full suite of online services. Students at this school can expect to have 24/7 technical support, academic advising, and access to the school’s online bookstore and library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $700
Student to Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 6

7. Arizona State University

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Arizona State University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees online.

Website

Arizona State University is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, Arizona. This school confers a wide variety of undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs through ASU Online, the school’s virtual branch. Students will find a variety of programs available; fields of study include anthropology, engineering, business, forensic psychology, and more. All degrees have several start dates throughout the year and terms are just eight weeks in length. This makes it a great choice for students who wish to accelerate their knowledge. Students will have access to a wide variety of online services, including technical support, academic advising, office hours, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $520
Student to Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 6

6. Brookline College

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Brookline College offers associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees online.

Website

Some of the best online programs come from Brookline College. Students will find both undergraduate and graduate online programs, all taught by the very same faculty that teach the courses online. Some of these programs come with professional accreditation, making them great choices for students who need licensure or certification for their careers. While online learning is the big draw at this school, Brookline knows how important it is to have substantial support services, which is why they offer 24/7 technical support for students. Features include academic advising, online tutoring, online registration, a bookstore, and a library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s
Cost per credit hour: $333.33
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 6

5. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Grand Canyon University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees online.

Website

Grand Canyon University is once again one of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, AZ. This school offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels; certificates and endorsements are also available. Students will have access to a flexible and affordable degree that is taught by a fully trained faculty that understands online education. In addition, there are several resources and services, including 24/7 technical support, eBooks, forums, academic advising, an online bookstore, and a library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $470
Student to Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

4. Paradise Valley Community College

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Paradise Valley Community College offers associate degrees online.

Website

Students interested in some of the best online programs available in Phoenix, AZ, should check out Paradise Valley Community College. Part of the Maricopa Community College system, this school confers a variety of associate’s degrees and certificates; fields of study include education, business, and nursing. Students will have access to the school’s online learning management system and complete the majority of their coursework there. Support services include academic advising, tutoring, an online bookstore, an online library, and technical support.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s
Cost per credit hour: $85
Student to Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

3. Scottsdale Community College

Scottsdale, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Scottsdale Community College offers associate degrees online.

Website

Scottsdale Community College is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, AZ. Just a short drive from the city, this college is part of the Maricopa Community College system which enables students to take courses at different colleges within the system in order to complete their associate’s degree. This school offers students the chance to transfer in and out of the school, affordable tuition, and a quality faculty that cares about the students. Online options include 100 percent online and hybrid degrees, all of which are offered in eight-week terms. Services include technical support, academic advising, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s
Cost per credit hour: $85
Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

2. Phoenix College

Phoenix, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix College offers multiple online associate degrees.

Website

Students interested in a quality online program should look to Phoenix College. This school offers a variety of online associate’s degrees and certificates which can then be transferred to a four-year college. This school is part of the Maricopa Community College system, which enables students to take courses at any of the member institutions for graduation. Fields include general studies and administration of justice. All students can expect to have access to academic advising, tutoring, an online bookstore, and an online library.

Types of Degrees Available:
Associate’s
Cost per credit hour: $85
Student to Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 7

1. Prescott College

Prescott, Arizona

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ
Prescott College offers online bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees.

Website

Prescott College is one of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, AZ. This school confers a variety of online degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate levels; certificates are also available. Students can earn degrees in fields such as education, nursing, and business. This school offers a variety of flexible options, including online and hybrid degrees. Support services include academic advising, online tutoring, an online bookstore, an online library, and technical support.

Types of Degrees Available:
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate
Cost per credit hour: $598
Student to Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
Total Points: 8

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Online Degree?

Online programs offer students access to most careers. With the sheer number and wide variety of programs available all over the country, there are very few professions closed to students who choose to earn online degrees. In fact, students will find that they can work in every sector and in every field with an online degree.

The exceptions to this rule include medical and law professions. While online degrees may exist for these professions outside of the country, students in this country must attend a physical medical or law school in order to earn a license to practice in the country. In fact, many foreign professionals must also do the same, as the United States has strict guidelines for these professions.

Why Do Some Online Programs Hold accreditation but Others Do Not?

Accreditation is relatively new to online programs. This is because traditional campuses have long been the only way to earn a higher education degree. Accrediting online programs have been a struggle for a lot of schools because there are guidelines that exist for online degrees that do not exist for on-campus programs.

There are also different types of accreditation. Regional accreditation is considered the mark of approval from the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This is the lowest set standard for accreditation for colleges and universities; it is by no means, however, easy for a school to obtain.

Professional accreditation is awarded to specific programs within a school. In the majority of cases, professional accreditation is only provided to schools that already hold regional accreditation. This is the type of accreditation that students will want to look for if they have chosen to complete a program that leads to certification or licensure after graduation.

As stated above, online programs have struggled to earn recognition and approval from both types of accrediting bodies. Although it is becoming easier with the massive number of physical campuses providing online education, it can still be difficult for online programs.

If an online program doesn’t have accreditation, it does not mean that the program isn’t academically sound. Many schools are in review for regional and/or professional accreditation and cannot hold the distinction until the process is over. While this is good news for prospective students, it will not help current students who have already undertaken the degree.

Online programs often state that they are “under review” for accreditation in the case that they are seeking the distinction. Some programs, however, are not eligible for accreditation and will not have any signs of being under review on their websites. In this case, students should research the school to determine how important accreditation is for them in the program they are seeking to attend.

What is Required to Complete an Online Program?

Online programs have different requirements than on-campus programs. This is because online programs are self-motivated and require technology. On-campus programs have nearly everything a student will need at their disposal at the school, meaning that online students will need to have some things in order to complete their program. This is especially true for online STEM students.

The first, and most obvious, requirement is regular access to a computer or laptop. A tablet may also be used, but most students find it easier to answer questions and turn in assignments on a computer. Most computers will work fine, but specialty students may need something faster, which will be discussed further below.

The second requirement is regular access to the internet. As courses are delivered online, having regular access to a computer connected to the internet is critical. Students who do not have a computer at home may find that going to their local library is an option, provided they can get to the computer every day. Working professionals generally have access to the internet at work, so it is not really a concern for them. A smartphone may also work provided the student can get to the internet on it.

The third and final requirement is a browser. While this may seem obvious, some online learning management systems require the use of a particular browser, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. The type of browser is usually stated on a program website to make it easier for students to choose the one they need. As most browsers needed for coursework are free, it should be easy to download the correct one if a student does not already have access to it.

The above requirements may be considered to be general in nature, as specialty students may require other technology. For example, STEM students may need a powerful computer with a lot of memory so that they can download the information necessary to complete their assignments. Art students may also need special software, such as Photoshop or graphic design software, as well as a tablet that is used for their profession. Access to a printer so they can send in their work is also a necessity for these students.

If a School Has No Residency Requirements, is it Possible to Attend Graduation On-Campus?

Graduation attendance is dictated by the school. While most schools make on-campus graduation an option or even highly encourage it, it is not required by most programs. This is because the degree is sent directly to the student after they have successfully graduated.

Many students want to experience graduating on campus. This is understandable; they have worked hard to complete their degree and want the satisfaction of walking across the stage and having their diploma handed to them. It is also a memory that they may want to have in the future.

However, schools understand that most students cannot attend graduation, which is why so many programs make it an option. Traveling to the school can take time and money, especially if a student is traveling with loved ones. It is not feasible to assume that all students will be able to make that commitment.

Schools have a policy on whether an online student can attend graduation or not. Some institutions do not provide the option at all as it would be more expensive for the school. It may also be a policy for online students to have an online graduation ceremony, which may be a better fit for most students.

Many schools do offer the option to attend graduation. If students wish to attend, they must declare this intention when the option is provided to them. This ensures that they will be able to walk for their degree. More information on whether a school offers the option to attend campus for graduation can be found within the program options or by calling the school.

Dissertations Require an Oral Defense. Must This Be Completed On Campus Even if it’s Part of an Online Program?

Dissertations, which may also be known as a thesis, are often required by graduate programs. In some cases, they are also required by undergraduate programs. Regardless of the delivery method, all students will be required to complete it in order to graduate.

In the case of online students, the decision to require residency for the oral defense lies with the school. Since it is a major requirement for graduation, finding a way to properly defend a dissertation is not to be taken lightly. Students will need to be dedicated to completing the program, regardless of residency requirements.

In some cases, an undergraduate program will require a thesis or dissertation, which leaves open the question of whether a trip to campus is required. For students who simply cannot attend, it is possible that they could set up a web conference, via the school’s learning management system, to orally defend their dissertation live with the dissertation committee. This requires that a student have access to completing this requirement with the appropriate technology and have a strong signal. Again, this is an option that must be approved by the school prior to completing the dissertation.

Graduate and doctorate programs, as a rule, require that the student physically attend the campus in order to orally defend their dissertation. Video conferencing is rarely an option as these dissertations may require a great deal of the student’s time to explain their findings and discuss their results. Most of these programs are considered low-residency programs because one of the requirements is to take residence on campus for this process.

If an online program is considered to be low-residency and has a requirement for a dissertation or thesis, students can reasonably assume that they will be required to attend campus for the oral defense. If this information is not immediately apparent on a school’s website, it is incumbent upon the student to confirm this information. This is the only way for students to be certain about whether their presence on campus is required for graduation.

Why Won’t Some Schools Take Out-of-State Online Students?

Online education is still sorting itself out; as a relatively new addition to higher education, many schools have not yet figured out how to ensure that all students, regardless of state residency, are being provided with the programs that they need. This is especially true for licensure and certification programs, which are dictated by a state’s licensing board and the United States Department of Education.

Licensure and certification online degrees are professional programs; they lead to a professional track that requires that students earn qualifications from national professional associations, licensing boards, and, in some cases, the Department of Education. While certifications are earned at a national level, licensure is often done on a state-by-state basis. This means that states determine what the requirements are for licensure.

Licensure is complicated in the United States; there are very few national licensing options for students. In the fields of psychology, nursing and education, the requirements vary by state. Even though some states have reciprocal agreements with bordering states, it is not always the case. This can lead to online programs offering a pathway to licensure in one state but not in any other.

To combat confusion, schools have taken it upon themselves to restrict access to licensure programs to out-of-state students. This is deliberate, as most licensure programs will not lead to qualifications in any other state except the one in which it was conferred. Out-of-state students do not meet the residency requirements for these programs, meaning that they are not eligible to apply for the program.

If a school restricts access to an online program to out-of-state students, it is for a good reason. Not only will an out-of-state student pay for a degree that cannot be used as a requirement for licensure in their home state, but they will also be forced to complete another program that will meet the requirements.

In addition, schools also restrict these programs to students who have stated their intention to move in-state. If the student is not already a resident of the state, then applying for the program should be delayed until they are a resident.

Do All Online Programs Have an app That Can Be Used to Access Coursework?

Not all online programs have an app that can be used on a smartphone or tablet. This could be because the school has not yet set up their entire learning management system or they do not have the time or funds to maintain the application. However, most schools do have apps that can help online students.

There are generally two types of apps. One is an app that is connected directly to the school. All students can access this app to receive grades, look up course schedules, or email different departments to get help or set up appointments. This is something that most schools have begun using to help students get the answers they need without having to go to campus.

The second app is one that is connected to the school’s learning management system. This is also known as the online portal; it refers to the type of online education system that the school is using. There are different types of systems and they usually come with an app that enables students to access coursework online.

These apps hold the entire online portal in a mobile setting and can be accessed on any smart device when a student does not have access to a computer or laptop. This is where online students log in for lectures, turn in quizzes, chat with their classmates, ask professors questions, and more. It is a convenient way for students who are busy to stay connected to their studies.

Not all schools utilize the app. Most of the time it is because they do not have a dedicated online staff that can help students with any technical problems. Sometimes they are at the beginning of their online education process and simply do not have enough online students to make the cost of operating the application worth it to the school.

Students will find that as online education technology advances that all schools will have an app for online students. At this time, it is uncommon to find a program that does not, but if a student does find that their program does not have an app, they can rest assured that they will still be able to access their coursework.

Earning an online degree is a convenient way for dedicated students to complete their education. With so many options, including licensure programs, it makes sense that students would opt for a flexible and affordable degree. This ranking of the top colleges for an online degree in Phoenix, AZ, is a great place for students to begin their search for the program that is right for them.

GVC Staff
April 2019

This concludes our ranking of the Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Phoenix, AZ, for 2019.