Nevada Online Colleges & Universities – Top Online Schools for 2016-2017

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Nevada Online Colleges and Universities: A Guide

Nevada college students seeking flexibility in their educational endeavors can take advantage of online learning opportunities through both public and private institutions. State residents interested in earning an online degree are no longer limited, as they once were, to choosing from a small number of for-profit schools — some without proper accreditation. Today, Nevada’s online education options extend to degree and certificate programs delivered by some of the most well-established and reputable colleges and universities in the state.

First and foremost among public postsecondary online schools is the University of Nevada, which has campuses in Reno and Las Vegas. Each campus offers an extensive selection of full degree programs and individual courses in a distance learning format. There are five other public colleges providing online programs and courses in Nevada, including the state’s only other public four-year institution, Nevada State College, and its largest two-year institution, the College of Southern Nevada. Although there are few private, not-for-profit colleges in Nevada, both the four-year Roseman University of Health Sciences and the Touro University Nevada graduate school offer distance learning options. Both schools are located in Henderson.

Since the Las Vegas metropolitan area is home to most of Nevada’s colleges and universities, the next two sections dive a little deeper and highlight the online learning options offered there.

Colleges and Universities in Las Vegas

What happens at college in Vegas doesn’t stay there. Area students take their learning into a wide range of successful professions after completing degrees and professional certificates at local colleges, universities and trade schools. Students have a wide array of options, from environmental research programs at the state’s Desert Research Institute to the graduate hospitality degree program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ William Harrah College of Hotel Administration.

The largest public research university in the state, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) offers students more than 220 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. It hosts the only school of dentistry and school of law in Nevada, the latter of which is ranked 76th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News also ranks UNLV 9th overall in diversity among all the nation’s colleges. Prospective graduate students seeking extensive, hands-on opportunities in environmental research should examine the Desert Research Institute, operated by the Nevada System of Higher Education. Through UNLV, the Desert Research Institute offers a water resources management graduate program that leads to a Master of Science degree.

For two-year associate degrees, transfer programs and certificates, the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) provides 190 programs at its three Las Vegas area campuses and online. It has the largest enrollment in Nevada and the third largest community college student body in the country. Other colleges and private schools in Las Vegas include the Art Institute of Las Vegas, ITT Technical Institute, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and University of Phoenix.

Online Learning in Las Vegas

For students who lack the time or resources to attend a traditional school, online schools in Las Vegas provide excellent educational options. For example, UNLV’s graduate nursing program was ranked 10th in the nation by U.S. News in 2014. Its online graduate degree programs include a Ph.D. in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Science in Nursing (nurse practitioner and nurse educator tracks). UNLV also offers undergraduate and graduate courses online in major fields such as architecture, accounting, criminal justice, computer science, special education, economics, hotel management, health care administration, informatics, management information systems, marketing and social work.

CSN offers 25 degree and certificate programs available entirely online. Associate degrees include education, communications, psychology, criminal justice, accounting, information technology and a general transfer degree. CSN’s online dental hygiene curriculum leads to a four-year bachelor’s degree. Online certificate programs are available in criminal justice, hotel and casino management and medical transcription.

A Look At Cost: Tuition, Fees & Living Expenses

No matter where they’re headed, college-bound students need a plan to cover the costs of higher education. Tuition, which varies according to each school, is the primary cost to consider. Luckily, Nevada is on the low end when it comes to college tuition — in 2012, state residents paid about $10,400 per year, placing the Silver State 20th on the national scale. Of course, tuition is not the only cost to keep in mind. Colleges and universities also charge a variety of fees each academic year to cover activities, technology, parking and other expenses. It’s important to take fees into account when budgeting for higher education.

Tuition and fees represent a college student’s primary education expenses, but there are additional costs to consider. Students must pay room and board if they plan to sleep and eat on campus or cover their own off-campus housing and food. The overall cost of living in Nevada is about 1 percent higher than the national average. Take a detailed look at the cost of living in Nevada’s metropolitan areas compared to the national average:

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Reno-Sparks 1.1% 1.5% 5.4% -8.8% 7.3% 1.8% 0.0%
Las Vegas 1.9% -5.9% 6.8% -2.3% 4.9% 9.0% 6.2%

College is an investment. When analyzing any investment, students need to think about the potential return. The colleges below have the highest documented return on investment (average lifetime earnings for graduates minus cost of attendance) in the state:

  1. University of Nevada, Reno (UNR)
  2. University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

Accreditation Standards for Online Colleges in Nevada

While accreditation doesn’t top most students’ college checklists, it’s a critical factor in higher education. A college that hasn’t earned the proper accreditation can’t offer financial aid, which can be a deal breaker for most students. When you’re researching colleges in Nevada, make sure your schools of interest have been accredited by an approved regional, national or programmatic accrediting organization. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities ( is the main regional accrediting body for higher education institutions in Nevada. Schools in Nevada may also hold multiple accreditations through specialized accrediting agencies. For instance, select engineering and mine programs at UNR are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., while its school of business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Best Online Colleges In Nevada For 2016-2017

Nevada’s geography used to make it difficult for anyone outside of an urban area to pursue a college education. Today, however, online education has made a college degree possible for any Nevada resident with a high-speed Internet connection. To help prospective students find the best online programs, we’ve put together a list of the top online colleges in Nevada based on program quality, subject variety, range of services and more. See who made the list of 2016 – 2017’s Best Online Colleges in Nevada.

Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Truckee Meadows Community College
95.31 22% 34 19:1 21%

Many of the web-based classes offered by Truckee Meadows Community College's WebCollege program can be counted for associate degree programs like general studies, anthropology, business, criminal justice, education, English, computer information technology, and paralegal studies, among others. The school also offers online certificate programs such as bookkeeping, fire technology, power plant operation and solar energy. While these programs conduct most of their courses online, students should note that classes are not self-paced and students are encouraged to log-in on a regular basis.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Score Tuition & Fees Financial Aid % #ONLINE PROGRAMS Student-teacher RatioGrad Rate
Great Basin College
99.66 40% 27 17:1 24%

Great Basin College covers multiple counties and 86,500 miles across Nevada. GBC offers 48-week associate programs in five areas, as well as bachelor's degrees and certificates in dozens of program areas including business administration and nursing. Many classes are offered online or via interactive video which incorporated online elements with on-campus video conferencing. Classes are offered on the main Elko campus, as well as four campuses in Battle Mountain, Winnemucca, Lovelock, Pahrump and Ely. Many bachelor and associate programs are offered 100 percent online and taught via GBC's WebCampus learning management software. More than 3,000 students enroll in online classes each year.

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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University of Nevada-Las Vegas
97.98 38% 4 22:1 39%

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers more than 350 degrees in 146 academic programs. Each year UNLV enrolls more than 28,000 students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNLV offers professional schools in medicine, law and dental medicine with many classes being offered online. The Office of Online Education offers 11 online and degree certificates including bachelor, master and doctorate programs, as well as 200 online and hybrid courses. Online courses are taught using WebCampus an online learning management system. UNLV also uses Turnitin, a tool that ensures students are handing in original work and prevents plagiarism.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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College of Southern Nevada
97.69 20% 3 24:1 9%

The College of Southern Nevada is one of the only comprehensive, four-year public institution in Nevada and offered online, in-class and hybrid classes. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, NSC offers more than 45 major and minors, where students can earn bachelor degrees in a number of different fields. Classes are offered on campus or online through Webcampus, which is operated by the learning management software Canvas. Online classes are not the only classes offered for non-traditional students. The school also offers evening classes that meet once a month, helping meet the needs of students with jobs or other commitments

  • Credit for ExperienceYes
  • Placement ServicesYes
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Nevada State College
86.00 43% 3 18:1 14%

Nevada State College was founded in 2002 and offers 45 majors and minors to more than 3,500 students. Bachelor and minor degrees are offered in degrees from biology to visual arts, both online and on campus. Catering to the non-traditional student, NSC offers classes on evening and weekends as well as online. Online classes use the learning management system Canvas. Classes can be taken during the fall, spring, winter and summer semesters. Many online classes are offered in mini four-week and eight-week terms, allowing students to finish their degree at an accelerated rate, through NCS's online course offerings.

  • Credit for ExperienceNo
  • Placement ServicesNo
  • Counseling ServicesYes
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Search Accredited Nevada Online Colleges

Success in any distance learning program begins with matching the right online program with the right student. Factors such as cost, work, family, field of interest and ultimate career goal all play important parts in the selection process, but how these factors are balanced depends on the individual. Fortunately, convenience and flexibility are hallmarks of most online degree programs. The search tool below is designed to let prospective students easily navigate through the numerous program options to find a good fit for them.

Degree Level:
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Best Online Colleges in Nevada for 2015

RANK COLLEGE Tuition And Fees Enrollment Accredited MORE INFO
1 Western Nevada College$2,7005,938YES
Western Nevada College provides numerous online courses to students interested in distance learning. As an online college in Nevada, the school provides learning through the Canvas Web-based protocol. E-learning is available in subjects that include accounting, politics, real estate, sociology, and more. The college also offers flex classes through which students can either attend class in person or watch instruction remotely, or alternate between the two.
2 College of Southern Nevada$2,70035,678YES
The College of Southern Nevada provides various online programs to students who want to pursue education through an online college in Nevada. Certificates and an extensive number of associate degrees are available through the college, which is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Students can pursue e-learning in areas that include elementary education, general studies, ophthalmic dispensing, sociology, and others.
3 Nevada State College$4,4984,362YES
Nevada State College offers an online RN-to-BSN degree for students who want to advance their nursing knowledge through a distance-learning format. The degree program offered through this online college in Nevada is available to registered nurses motivated to take additional online courses to obtain a bachelor's degree. Students must already have an associate degree or diploma from an accredited nursing college to apply.
4 University of Nevada-Reno$6,60216,864YES
The University of Nevada in Reno provides more than 200 courses in distance learning to students seeking flexibility and portability in their learning. As an online college in Nevada, the school delivers instruction through the WebCampus online course management system. In additional to single courses, online master's degrees are offered through the university's College of Education, and the school also administers an online executive MBA.
5 University of Nevada-Las Vegas$6,70525,706YES
The University of Nevada at Las Vegas provides online courses and degrees to students who seek the portability of distance education. E-learning courses are available through the online college in Nevada in areas that include architecture, economics, healthcare administration, hotel management, marriage and family therapy and many others. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees as well as graduate-level certificates are also available through distance learning.
6 Sierra Nevada College$8439615YES
Sierra Nevada College is an online college in Nevada that provides teacher education programs to students through an online format. Many of the core courses can be taken online, but students need to complete more advanced courses and student teaching in person. Online degree completion programs are also available to students who have already obtained an associate-level degree.

Online Colleges in Nevada Spotlight: University of Nevada, Reno

Online Departments in Nevada

University of Nevada-Reno

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

The University of Nevada, Reno has used a strategic approach in the adoption of online learning as a format to help students advance towards degree completion. The option of online learning is offered for many key courses necessary for students to stay on track towards degree completion. The University also offers seven degree and certificate programs entirely online, including the online executive MBA taught by faculty from the University’s part-time MBA program which is ranked by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as one of the nation’s best.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

Feedback from our students indicates they appreciate the convenience and flexibility of online courses and programs in helping with the completion of degrees and/or certificate programs. For many students, blending online and face-to-face courses helps them complete their programs in a more timely manner.

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

The trend for online programs will continue to increase over the next five years and beyond. As the number of adult learners increases their need for degrees and certificates, all indications lead to greater use of online programs to fulfill these needs. Traditional age students will also place a greater demand on having the flexibility of taking online courses/programs to accelerate their degree process.

Great Resources for Online Students in Nevada

Whether students are new to distance learning or not, becoming comfortable with online educational tools and resources is essential to their academic success. In fact, students don’t even have to be enrolled in a distance education program to take advantage of most of the educational resources available online. The number and range of those resources is tremendous, and many of them are free to use. Below is a small sample of some of the most useful resources for students in Nevada.