Looking for reasons to go to school in California, but can’t actually move away? Perhaps you have a career already and need to complete a degree, or maybe you have domestic obligations that preclude you moving to another state.
If so, you should consider a digital education program from one of the best online colleges in California.
What kind of online college in California should I attend?
Some of the best online colleges are in California. With diverse program offerings from online programs at large national research universities to the parochial, private digital classrooms of Christian colleges, one can find an assortment of program offerings, from the best online MBA programs to the best online nursing programs.
How much money will you make with an online degree?
Because you can earn an array of degrees online, from nursing to engineering, fine arts to criminal justice, there’s no way to determine an average salary. However, we can say this much. A degree on your resume ups the ante. Employers will see that you’re committed to your education, that you have experience, and that you’ve developed the skills necessary to move you up the career ladder.
Plus, an online degree is often way more affordable than “traditional” education. This makes the return on investment even better. And it makes the decision to earn a degree even more incentivizing.
What can you do with an online degree?
The opportunities are as many as the state is big! With an online degree from one of these esteemed colleges in California you can find yourself in a variety of industries. Indeed, while some of the programs below are focused on professional development, others are academically oriented. It all depends on your career goals.
For example, graduates from these schools have earned degrees in:
Early Childhood Education
Psychology and Sociology
Engineering, and so much more
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What are the requirements for an online degree?
The requirements for earning an online degree from one of these California universities and colleges varies depending on the program itself. For example, an environmental engineering degree will look worlds different than a degree in clinical psychology.
However, one thing you can anticipate are due dates. With distance education, you can work flexibly through your program, but you’ll have to meet deadlines in order to progress. You’ll also be required to connect with professors online. And you may even take virtual classes or participate in online forums.
What are the best online colleges in California?
Alongside diverse programs offerings, California schools have diverse classrooms serving multi-cultural student populations. This goes for non-traditional students who take online classes. Perhaps you’re over the age of 25 or are returning to school after a significant absence or are trying to complete a degree while you support a family. All of these might make attending one of the best online colleges in California a better decision than dropping your responsibilities and enrolling in a traditional-format higher ed program.
No matter your circumstance, College Choice is committed to helping you discover the schools that best fit your needs, so take a look at our ranking of the Best Online Colleges in California to see what’s right for you. Happy hunting!
The Vanguard University of Southern California is one of the best online colleges in California. It confers a small number of online degrees that are highly respected in the professional world. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
The online portal at Vanguard is undergoing changes, and it is expected that the new portal, when unveiled, will far exceed expectations. For now, however, the school confers three degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels along with a group of online courses. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education
Master of Science in Nursing
Online courses also offer students the opportunity to access Vanguard’s online library, which currently hosts 80 databases and over 60,000 eBooks and eTextbooks. Along with 24/7 tech support and personalized coaching, students are set up for success with an online degree from Vanguard. Courses are taught in the eight-week format and are asynchronous, allowing a student to choose when what time is best for them to attend class.
Mount Saint Mary’s University is ranked as one of the top online colleges in California. The school, which confers over 10 degrees 100 percent online, is also one of the leading ranked regional university in the West by U.S. News and World Report. The online portal has its own team of advisors and support staff and offers students the traditional MSMU experience tailored to fit their needs.
The school currently confers 10 undergraduate and graduate degrees online as well as certificates and programs for professionals. Fields of study include entrepreneurship, business, health sciences, and more. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing
Bachelor of Science in Criminology
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
MSMU takes an experiential-based approach to online education. The faculty teaches using a combination of some lectures, team projects, research papers, and independent study to strengthen a student in critical reasoning and communication skills as well as give them accomplishments within their area of study. This school is a top-tier institution that believes in online education so much that the online portal is considered a sister school, not a division, to MSMU.
Hope International University is one of the best online schools in California for Christian students. By marrying Christian ideals to an online education, the school is providing students with the ability to go forward in ethical and moral service. The school offers all of its programs 100 percent online. There will never be a need for a student to attend campus; the only exception would be to walk for graduation, which all students are welcome to do.
HIU offers a dozen degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as professional certificates and a vast array of online courses from all departments. Students can find online programs for just about anything, including business, theology, education, and psychology. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies: Teacher Preparation
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Master of Business Administration, Non-Profit Management Concentration
Students will also be treated to a tailored study program and one-on-one attention with their faculty. The school also provides online tutoring and advising services, access to library resources, and 24/7 online support. That’s why this school is so highly respected by current students and alumni.
California State University at Fullerton believes that online education should be accessible for everyone. That’s why it’s considered one of the best online schools in California. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
Fullerton offers two bachelor’s degrees and nine master’s degrees as well as a variety of credentials and certificates for professionals and educators. The majority of the programs are focused on education and STEM subjects, making the school a great choice for students who are interested in either field of study. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
Fullerton students are treated to a few unique features. The school uses the cohort model for these degrees, pairing students together based on estimated graduation date. This helps students build a tight-knit community and engage more in online discussions and team projects. Courses are also taught asynchronously with lax due dates on exams and assignments, allowing students the opportunity to study when it is best for them.
California State University at Chico offers students the chance to learn from one of the top online colleges in California. This university offers a variety of online degrees, certificates, and courses through the Distance and Online Education division. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
This university currently confers four bachelor degrees and two masters degrees. These programs are of a general nature but are great foundations for a career or further education at the graduate level. There are hundreds of courses as well that can be taken. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Agricultural Education
CSU Chico is part of CSU Online, the virtual college that encompasses all 23 campuses within the California State University system. The university takes online education seriously, so all degrees were designed in partnership with eLearning professionals and created to be as flexible as the students who study the programs.
Fresno Pacific University is one of the best online colleges in California for students who are looking for flexible degrees. The school has a good array of online degrees and is poised to help every student find a way towards graduation. This university holds regional accreditation by the WASC SCUC.
FPU currently confers four bachelor’s degrees and eight masters degrees. The school also has various credential programs and certificates at the graduate level. The fields of study vary and include education, health management, bible studies, and leadership. All courses and degrees listed are 100 percent online. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership, and Culture
Bachelor of Arts in Business Management
Master of Arts in Leadership and Organizational Studies
This school knows that an online degree should mean exactly that: a student earns the degree entirely online. While some of these degrees may require an internship or a practicum, the school works with students to ensure all requirements happen in the student’s community, eliminating the need to ever step foot on campus. However, just because a student isn’t on the FPU campus doesn’t mean they won’t get the FPU experience. Courses are generally taught by the same faculty that teaches the subject on campus and students will have the opportunity to speak with their instructors if they need to. Classes are also taught asynchronously, allowing a student to study on their own time and work on projects that strengthen their skill set and see them shine.
California Baptist University is easily among the top online colleges in California. This university offers more than 40 fully online degrees at all levels of education and continues to be one of the most affordable as well.CBU is one of the most flexible colleges when it comes to online learning. Designed with working professionals in mind, this university allows students to transfer in with little trouble, can fit around any schedule, and is affordable enough to make it worth a student’s time and energy. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
The university currently confers undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees. It is an amazing school for students looking for online doctorates, as these degrees are rare to be found wholly online. From education to business to public policy, the CBU Online portal is where a student can find these programs.
The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology
Master of Business Administration in Accounting
Doctorate of Public Administration
The school offers students the chance to learn on their own schedule. Using online apps built just for the school and an asynchronous schedule, students can choose to study when they have time, relieving the stress of having to attend class at a certain time. The school also has a dedicated online student support services desk, ensuring that students will always find the answer to their question.
California State University at Monterey Bay is one of the best online colleges in California for students. It is a particularly great choice for underserved and low-income students who need extra help to get their degree. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
The school currently confers one bachelor and two master degrees online; however, the school has already announced that more are on the way. With skilled instructors who are trained in online learning and a friendly and helpful tech support team, students will be well on their way to making their educational dreams come true. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Master of Science in Instructional Science and Technology
Master of Business Administration
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
CSUMB prides itself on making online education affordable and accessible to everyone. This school has some of the lowest tuition rates for online students and has exceeded all expectations by providing financial aid specifically for this demographic.
California State University at Sacramento has one of the largest selections of online degrees and programs. It is one of the best online schools in California and it continues to be a premier example of what online education should look like. It is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
CSUS offers a dozen degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as professional certificates and programs. These span the range of fields of study but generally include those degrees that are most in demand from both students and employers. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Master of Science in Accountancy
Bachelor of Science in Career and Technical Studies
The university’s online portal is supported by CSU online, the home for the California State University System virtual college. Together with the department, CSUS has designed an engaging online curriculum for all programs that are asynchronous and flexible.
California State University at Northridge is one of the largest universities in the country. It is also one of the best online colleges in California. This school provides students with a variety of options in online education. It is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
CSUN offers nine undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as a variety of professional certifications. From public health to speech-language pathology, this school focuses on making health and management degrees available online for the growing number of students who are demanding them. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Master of Social Work
Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science, Assistive Technology Studies and Human Services
Master of Arts in Humanities
The university carefully designed each program to ensure that the degrees are helpful and useful to the working professional who earns it. CSUN teamed with leading practitioners in each field as well as eLearning professionals to build an asynchronous and interactive online portal that was built to meet every student’s needs, from 24/7 technical support to a list of approved proctored exam sites.
Concordia University at Irvine is one of the top online colleges in California for Christian-minded students. This university confers over 15 degrees online or in a hybrid format, all taught in the Christian tradition. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
There are 15 degrees available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. All of them can be earned entirely online, although some do have hybrid options for students who live close to campus. From general education to professional degrees, this is a great school to get an online education. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Leadership
Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership
Master of Science in Counseling
Concordia University at Irvine stands out among the rest of the programs in that synchronous, or real-time, courses are required as part of the degree. Far from being arbitrary, this allows students to connect with classmates and faculty as well as reinforce the skills and knowledge they have already learned. Combined with team projects and independent study, this is one of the best ways to learn while continuing with your busy lifestyle.
Azusa Pacific Online University is a strong contender for being one of the best online colleges in California. With over 30 degrees and certificates available, this school has a masterful online presence that every student should consider. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
There are dozens of online degree programs and certificates available online at the undergraduate and graduate levels. From art to education to library resources, the selection is as diverse as it is comprehensive. And all of these degrees can be completed 100 percent from home. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Master of Arts in Modern Art History
RN to BSN
Master of Art in Psychology
As one of the top online programs in California, APU has created an online portal that is staffed by specially trained advisors and faculty members, many of which teach the same courses online. Students have access to their courses, their instructors, and other students, regardless if the class is in session or not. And for all internet troubles, students just have to look to the 24/7 help desk for answers.
California State University at Channel Islands is known as the youngest of the campuses within the California State University system, but it is by no means the one with the least to offer online students. In fact, it is one of the top online colleges in California who are interested in postgraduate degrees in education. The university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
This university confers one undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees, as well as several online courses. As part of the CSU Online portal, the school also allows students the ability to get online credit hours from any member institution, leaving them open to participating in thousands of courses. The most popular online programs for this school include:
EdD in Educational Leadership, CSU EdD-Community College
EdD in Educational Leadership, CSU EdD-P-12
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
CSU Channel Islands is also expanding its online programs, ensuring that students will soon be able to take hundreds of more classes on the school’s own online portal. The school currently utilizes Blackboard as its online learning management system, offering students interactive and asynchronous courses available to them whenever they’re ready to go to class.
California State University at Easy Bay, known as Cal State East Bay, is home to one of the best online schools in California. The programs span a wide range of disciplines and allow students to get a degree 100 percent online. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
Cal State East Bay currently confers five undergraduate and four graduate degrees 100 percent online. There are also hundreds of classes that can be found online, enabling students to take their education with them wherever they go. From ethnic studies to recreation and tourism, students will find the degree or course that fits their needs. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism
Master of Science in Health Care Administration
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
The online learning experience at Cal State East Bay is highly interactive. Students are graded on participation, meaning students must engage ideas and work in groups in order to satisfy this requirement. Courses are also asynchronous and built for students with various learning styles, ensuring that all degrees are within reach, no matter how a student studies best.
California State University at Dominguez Hills, known as CSUDH, is one of the top online colleges in California. This school provides students with access to the Online and Distance Learning Portal, one of the strongest online teaching systems in the country. The school is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
This university confers 16 degrees and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels, all of which are available entirely online. These degrees span the range of academic study, from applied studies to business administration, ensuring that students who need a flexible degree to fit their schedule can find it at this school. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Master of Business Administration
Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
CSUDH utilizes DHTV, the school’s television network, to broadcast live and interactive courses to online students. This goes hand-in-hand with Blackboard, one of the top online learning management systems used by universities for online learning. Through a mix of asynchronous and synchronous courses, team projects, and one-on-one office hours with the award-winning faculty, CSUDH is one of the best online schools in California.
Biola University fits the bill as one of the best online schools in California for teachers. This university confers nearly 20 programs that can be completed entirely online or with hybrid classes. This university, and its online programs are all regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
The university’s internet portal focuses primarily on teaching, although it is possible to get a psychology degree and a certificate in biblical studies. Most of the degrees listed are graduate degrees, so students are advised that they may have to be licensed and credentialed in the state of California in order to apply for the degrees. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Science in Applied Psychology
Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education
Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies
The school’s programs may have on-campus requirements, but they are clearly listed on the program overview page. The majority of these programs, since they are only available to California residents, require a practicum that can be taken in a student’s community. All other courses are taken online through asynchronous or live classes, and assignments are delivered electronically. In the case of an exam, students can get an approved proctor in their area to oversee the administration.
California State University at San Marcos, known as CSUSM, is among the top online colleges in California. It confers a large number of degrees and certificates that give students a wide range of career options. This university is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
The school is best known for having a strong focus on health and business-related online programs. However, students will also find it possible to get specific certificates as a Pharmacy Technician, a Paralegal, or a designer. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Global Teacher Studies: International Baccalaureate
RN to BSN
Master’s of Business Administration with a Specialization in Hospitality and Tourism Management
All of the courses available on CSUSM have different online requirements, with some programs having small residency requirements. However, the vast majority of these programs don’t require students to ever visit campus, making them a great choice for all students. Courses, like other top online schools, are taught asynchronously are supported by an online student services team.
National University exceeds all expectations of what an online school can do. It is among the best online schools in California for its comprehensive listing of degrees as well as the flexibility of the programs. National University is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
National University offers more than 115 degrees with online options. Over 70 of those degrees are offered 100 percent online. From health and business to criminal justice and psychology, every student can find a degree that fits their needs at this university. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Arts in Sport Psychology
Bachelor of Business Administration
The Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
When the school says a degree is wholly online, it means it. Courses are taught asynchronously so a student can study when and where they choose. There are discussion forums where they can talk with faculty and other students. And assignments are interactive and engaging and completed online. All these factors, plus the 24/7 help desk and the team of NU online advisors makes this one of the best online colleges in California.
Humboldt University is fast becoming one of the best online colleges in California. This school offers online courses, degrees, and certificates through the eLearning virtual portal. Humboldt is regionally accredited through the WASC SCUC.
Humboldt has some of the most interesting online programs in the state. From Ecology and Sustainable Tourism Planning and Management to a Rosetta Stone Interactive Language Learning course, these programs were designed to help working professionals get an extra education without ever having to step foot on campus. The most popular online programs for this school include:
MA in Applied Anthropology
Leadership Studies Online Interdisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree Completion Program
Social Work Online MSW Degree Program
One of the reasons that Humboldt is counted among the top online colleges in California is the fact that the courses are constantly changing and being updated for online education. With the help of Moodle, the school’s online learning management system, and a dedicated online support desk, students are being offered the best education available, right in the comfort of their own home.
Antioch University at Los Angeles is known for having a growing suite of online degrees available for students. It is one of the best online schools in California and is continuing to expand its offerings. This school is regionally accredited by WASC SCUC.
One of the best things about Antioch Connected, as the online portal is known, is the fact that although degrees are limited, they are available wholly online with no on-campus residencies required. Additionally, undergraduate students pay a flat tuition rate of $350 per credit hour, no matter what they major in or what their residency status is. The most popular online programs for this school include:
MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
BA in Human Services Administration
BS in Applied Technology and Business Leadership
What makes Antioch one of the best online colleges in California it is one of the few schools that offers a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, a customizable degree to fit a student’s interests and career goals. This is difficult to find in an online school, so interested students are encouraged to call Antioch to learn more about the program.
Golden Gate University has a strong online portal that focuses on business and management. It is one of the best online schools in California and has recently revealed plans to add even more programs to the Virtual College. This school is regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
GGU offers classes and degrees completely online that are taught by real-world professionals who are still working in their fields.Currently, over 75 degrees and certificates can be earned through the online program. Faculty is also taught the art of online learning, ensuring that students are receiving an excellent education from a team that understands the complexities of an online education. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Operations & Supply Chain Management
Industrial Organizational Psychology
GGU courses are asynchronous and can be viewed at any time. While students do not have real-time access to their instructors or classmates, they will be able to participate in discussions and ask questions via the online forum. And, if a student should need help with the online learning management system, they can always contact the school’s 24/7 help desk with their questions.
Brandman University, which is part of the Chapman University System, has one of the most comprehensive online portals in the nation, let alone the state. It offers a wide variety of degrees, a dedicated online staff, and more. This school holds regional accredited by the WASC SCUC.
Students at this school are taught in the Brandman iDEAL™ model. This stands for Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning and it means that the virtual portal is designed to be a portable classroom. Courses are designed to be asynchronous, there are flexible schedules set for just about every assignment, and students can communicate with faculty, fellow students and support services, right from the online portal. The most popular online programs for this school include:
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Master of Business Administration with concentrations
BSN to DNP with concentrations
It is this attention to detail explained above that makes Brandman one of the top online colleges in California.Brandman University has been consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report for its online programs. It is widely considered to be one of the best online colleges in California and the school is determined to continue this reputation.
Pacific Union College opened its virtual college in 2002. Since then, it has become one of the best online colleges in California for nurse education. This school is fully accredited by the WASC SCUC. The program itself has special accreditation by the Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing.
This school currently confers just one degree online: the RN-MSN program. This program is sorely needed in California, however, and is widely touted as one of the best online nursing programs in the state. Other reasons to consider Pacific Union include:
The nursing program is one of its best and most popular
It provides a liberal arts perspective
It is affordable
This RN-MSN program is flexible as well as interactive, with PUC students enjoying a particularly amazing collaborative Virtual Campus experience. Students are kept in contact with not just instructors but other students as well. There are even team projects for the students to take part in, all of which is done online.
John F. Kennedy University is one of the top online colleges in California for students who are interested in completing clinical work on their own schedule. The online portal was designed to complement a variety of degrees, including psychology and health education. This school and its online courses are regionally accredited by the WASC SCUC.
This university is dedicated to lifelong learning and has a focus on psychology and mental health issues and traumas. The school confers degrees at all levels of education, including graduate and postgraduate certificates.
JFK University does not currently confer online degrees; however, the suite of online courses that are available online will help students complete a psychology or health degree in a shorter amount of time. These courses are available through the Continuing Education Division and as these credit hours come from an accredited university, most schools will accept it as part of a degree’s requirements. The most popular online programs for this school include:
15-Hour Crisis and Trauma Counseling
Effects of Nutrition on Clinical Disorders
Deepening Legal & Ethical Understanding in Professional Practice
Courses at this school are extremely affordable, ranging between $125 to $315 for the entire course. Students are advised to look through the online course schedule to learn more about this school’s online management system and how to contact the 24/7 tech support hotline.
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