Online Colleges in Alabama 2021

October 6, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Colleges in Alabama 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Alabama is home to a thriving workforce. In May 2019, 1,974,170 individuals worked in the state, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many of these individuals worked in office and administrative support, production occupations, and sales positions. 

Learners who want to establish a career in Alabama can get a headstart by attending one of the best colleges in Alabama. In-state residents typically pay the most affordable tuition at Alabama online colleges. However, learners do not need to live in the state to earn a degree from an Alabama school.

Selecting an online college in Alabama is an important decision, requiring a lengthy research process. To make the decision easier, we formed these rankings by considering factors like affordability, quality, and accessibility. The following guide highlights these and other notable features of the best online colleges in Alabama.

Consider These Factors taking Online Classes in Alabama

Q. Do online credits cost more or less in Alabama?

The cost varies by institution. In 2017-18, the average undergraduate tuition in Alabama was $9,827, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The national average was $9,037 for the same year.

Q. What is the most affordable college in Alabama?

Community colleges and public state schools such as University of Alabama, Jacksonville State University, and Auburn University offer some of the state's lowest tuition rates.

Q. How long do you have to live in Alabama to get in-state tuition?

To qualify for in-state tuition, learners must live in Alabama for purposes other than just attending college. However, some universities offer exceptions for veterans and permanent full-time employees. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Why Choose Alabama for Online Higher Education?

Alabama features many growing industries. Aspiring aerospace and aviation, automotive, farming, and bioscience professionals may benefit from attending one of the many quality Alabama online colleges. The BLS also offers data on other thriving occupations in the state. Professors at Alabama colleges can often connect learners with local experts in these industries.

Common Online Bachelor's Programs in Alabama

Degree-seekers can explore programs in a variety of fields at online colleges in Alabama. The list below highlights some of the state's most common bachelor's programs. Keep in mind that the exact curriculum varies by program.

[tabs] [tab-item title="Business"]

Business students learn the ins and outs of running an organization. Most business programs offer a brief overview of leadership and management styles, financial basics, marketing, communication, and campaign management. Graduates earn jobs as entrepreneurs and entry-level business professionals. Most business degrees allow students to select a minor.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Communication"]

These majors learn how to effectively communicate verbally and through the written word. Some communication professionals work on an organization's internal communications while others focus on external communications. This versatile degree prepares graduates to work at large corporations, nonprofits, and small businesses in varying industries.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Education"]

Learners majoring in education can select a specialty and a desired age group to teach. Enrollees study theories that guide teaching principles. They learn how to create lesson plans and address various learning styles. Graduates earn jobs as teachers at public and private elementary, middle, and high schools. Some education majors work as private tutors.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Engineering"]

This multi-subject degree involves business, math, and science. Learners discover how to design structures like roads, bridges, buildings, and machines. Students can choose one engineering concentration, like aerospace, agriculture, biomedical, civil, or chemical engineering. Learners should review a program's course descriptions before applying to ensure it aligns with their specific area of interest in engineering.

[/tab-item] [tab-item title="Nursing"]

This degree prepares learners to work as nurses in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and doctors' offices. Most nursing programs teach students how to administer medications, draw blood, keep detailed records, and assist with daily patient care. A bachelor's in nursing requires both traditional coursework and in-person clinical rotation hours.

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Cost of Attending an Online College in Alabama

In-state and out-of-state learners can save money by attending an online college in Alabama. Online students do not incur fees for parking or living on campus. They can also complete assignments at their convenience, allowing them to continue working while earning their degree. 

The exact cost for Alabama online colleges varies. The chart below highlights how private four-year colleges and public two-year colleges vary in price. Public colleges often feature large class sizes, but they receive government funds to subsidize students' costs. 

Private colleges typically offer courses with smaller student-to-professor ratios, but the credits tend to cost more. Additionally, public two-year colleges usually cost less, so some students complete an associate degree at one of these institutions and then transfer it to a different school.

Average Undergraduate Tuition in Alabama
Public Four-Year College Private Four-Year College Public Two-Year College
In-State $10,138 $16,119 $4,770
Out-of-State $25,782 N/A $9,612

Source: NCES

Career and Salary Outlook for Students in Alabama

When selecting a major, students should consider their interests and the potential career's salary and job outlook. See below for six common careers in Alabama, according to the BLS.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Principals at elementary, middle, and high schools monitor their school's daily operations. They oversee the school's curriculum, faculty, finances, administrative functions, and educational resources. Most principals began their careers as teachers, later earning a degree in educational leadership or administration. Principals in public schools need state licensure.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

These professionals oversee an organization's computer-related activities. They suggest technological upgrades to enhance efficiency, ensure computer security software stays current, and delegate tasks to other information technology professionals. Types of computer and information systems managers include chief information officers, information technology directors, and chief technology officers.

Petroleum Engineers

These engineers design and oversee engineering methods for extracting gas and oil. They also maintain oil site machines to ensure they run safely and correctly. Petroleum engineers complete their work at drilling sites and in offices. Most employers require at least a bachelor's degree in engineering or petroleum engineering to qualify, but some accept a bachelor's degree in mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering.

Financial Managers

These managers oversee investment activities and generate income reports for businesses. They work closely with other employees who create departmental budgets and seek ways to reduce company costs. Financial managers also study market trends to increase profits and determine expansion opportunities. Companies hire different types of financial managers, like treasurers, credit managers, and insurance managers.

Aerospace Engineers

These engineers design machines for spacecraft and aircraft purposes. They also construct satellites and missiles and ensure these products maintain quality and safety standards. Aerospace engineers typically specialize in one topic, like aerodynamics, celestial mechanics, flight mechanics, or guidance and control systems. This career requires analytical, critical thinking, business, and math skills.

Personal Financial Advisors

These professionals work with clients to help them achieve financial goals. They explain investment opportunities and the risks associated with each one. Personal financial advisors also monitor accounts for their clients and decide what changes to make to ensure they possess enough money in savings for education or retirement purposes.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Computer and Information Systems Managers $129,860 10%
Petroleum Engineers $129,460 3%
Financial Managers $129,090 15%
Aerospace Engineers $119,890 3%
Personal Financial Advisors $118,950 4%

Source: BLS, Projections Central

Alabama Scholarships and Grants

Even students enrolled in the most affordable programs can benefit from scholarships, which do not require repayment. Most scholarships require essays, recommendation letters, official transcripts, and test scores. Learners should apply for multiple scholarships to increase their chances of earning one. See below for three scholarships available for students enrolled in colleges in Alabama.

Police Officer's and Firefighter's Survivors Educational Assistance Program

Who Can Apply: This grant assists Alabama students whose spouse or parent died while on police or firefighter duty. The award covers tuition, fees, books, and supplies.

Amount: Varies

Airgas - Terry Jarvis Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students earning a degree in welding engineering or welding technology in Alabama, Georgia, or Florida can apply. This scholarship requires at least a 2.8 GPA and prioritizes applicants with financial needs.

Amount: $2,500

David Womack Memorial Alabama and West Virginia LGBT Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate students in Alabama who identify as LGBTQ+ can apply. This award requires an essay no longer than three pages explaining the applicant's goals and why they deserve the scholarship.

Amount: $1,000

Best Online Colleges in Alabama 2021

Jacksonville State University View School Profile Jacksonville, AL $12243

Like many Alabama colleges, Jacksonville State University began as a teacher-training institution. Founded in 1883 with just 25 students, JSU currently serves more than 9,200 undergraduate and graduate enrollees. It offers over 95 academic programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, including approximately 40 online degrees.

Online learners at JSU receive the same quality education as on-campus students since they are taught by the same faculty and enroll in the same courses. Only the mode of delivery differs. JSU offers online degrees in several fields including engineering, public administration, and nursing.

JSU supports its online enrollees by giving them access to scholarships, grants, fellowships, and work-study programs. Online learners can also use support services such as tutoring, academic and career counseling, and research and technical assistance.

JSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Alabama in Huntsville View School Profile Huntsville, AL $15437

UAH began in 1949 as an extension center of the University of Alabama. From an original enrollment of 137 students, this Alabama college now serves a population of approximately 10,000 students. It offers more than 100 areas of study across nine academic colleges, including 23 hybrid and online programs.

Students can pursue a bachelor's or a master's degree in business, education, engineering, nursing, and professional studies. UAH offers many of its student services online These include academic advice, tutoring, technical support, and library services. In addition, online enrollees can apply for many of the scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.

The university offers several individual courses online each semester. Some courses are 100% online. Others follow a hybrid delivery format. Many students pursuing a traditional degree on campus often enroll in a few online classes each semester.

UAH is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The University of Alabama View School Profile Tuscaloosa, AL $20465

Established in 1820, the University of Alabama is the state's oldest institution of higher learning. Now serving a population of approximately 37,800 students, UA offers more than 200 programs across 13 colleges and schools.

To date, students can pursue more than 70 online and hybrid degrees at the bachelor's, master's, specialist, and doctoral levels. Some of the fields offering online programs include criminology and criminal justice, human development and family studies, nursing, social work, and engineering.

UA supports its online enrollees by offering a variety of student services. Online students can avail of tutoring and technical assistance, academic and career counseling, and library services. In addition, UA gives online enrollees access to several of the scholarship and grant programs they administer. Nonresident online learners pay one low tuition regardless of where they live.

UA is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Alabama at Birmingham View School Profile Birmingham, AL $16636

The 1969 merger of two Alabama colleges resulted in the establishment of UAB as an independent institution. The university currently enrolls an average of 22,000 students and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees across 10 academic schools and colleges.

Students can pursue several degrees completely online including a bachelor's in accounting, a master's in business administration, and a specialist degree in education. Some online programs and classes include on-campus requirements, which are clearly indicated ahead of matriculation. Many students pursuing an onsite degree enroll in online classes as well.

Online enrollees can access many of the support services available to on-campus students. These include tutoring, academic counseling, and career guidance. UAB also makes the resources of its extensive library system and the services of the University Writing Center available online.

UAB is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Troy University View School Profile Troy, AL $12114

Troy University began in 1887 as a training school for teachers and was originally called the Troy State Normal School. Today, the university offers more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across several fields of study.

Students can currently pursue 97 degrees online. These include a bachelor of science in criminal justice, a master of social work, and a doctor of nursing practice degree. Online classes typically follow nine-week delivery schedules. The accelerated pace allows many students to earn their degree and enter the workforce sooner than enrollees enrolled in on-campus programs.

Online students can use support services such as tutoring, technical assistance, and academic and career counseling. The university also offers online proctoring services and makes its extensive library resources accessible to off-campus enrollees.

Troy University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Tessa Cooper

Tessa Cooper is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to international and regional publications focused on education and lifestyle topics. She earned a bachelor’s in public relations from Missouri State University and is passionate about helping learners avoid high student loan debt while pursuing their dream major. Tessa loves writing about travel and food topics and is always planning her next meal or vacation.

Emma Yenko

With an undergraduate degree in communications and a master's in education, Emma finds writing for the education vertical to be the perfect niche.

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