No longer a distant frontier outpost, yet Alaska’s eligible student population is still dispersed by geography. As more and more of its workers seek professional advancement, online degrees and distance learning programs are being developed at an unprecedented rate. Distance learning programs originally started as coursework delivered to remotely located students via the postal service. Thanks to advances in technology and increases in demand, accredited degrees offered by the University of Alaska, have blossomed into robust programs serving any student with access to the internet. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has gone one step farther by launching a new division to serve rural students without access to broadband internet. Even Alaska’s most remote corners are joining in the shift toward e-learning options thanks to Alaska’s online schools.
The state has a total workforce of approximately 308,050 employees. The three largest industries in the state are:
- Arts and entertainment: 9 percent
- Public administration: 13 percent
- Retail trade: 11 percent
The average wage in Alaska is more than the national average. Employees in Alaska earn an average annual income of $50,350 while the national average annual income is $42,871. The median income for employees is $41,640 per year, with the top 10 percent earning over $89,060 per year and the bottom 10 percent earning under $20,720 per year.
The reported tuition for online college courses in Alaska was approximately $26,250 per year.
The University of Alaska’s three main campuses, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau, offer a host of well-respected online degree programs in Alaska. They are accredited by the Commission on Colleges and Universities of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, the non-profit organization recognizing and validating academic quality. All UA courses must be approved by appropriate departments and thus are applicable to other UA degree programs. The accreditation also allows enrolled students access to federal funds for supporting themselves during their studies.
Distance Learning Resources
- Alaska’s Learning Network is an Alaska-based organization seeking to improve student achievement through online learning and professional development opportunities. They provide distance courses for students, professional development coaching, and resources for Alaska’s educators.
- Department of Education & Early Development: Division of Teaching and Learning Support – Offered by the state of Alaska, this resource lists options for individuals who want to plan their careers in education. This site lists free tools for deciding possible career pathways, as well as locating suitable education and training.
- Alaska Career Information System– A web-based program designed to assist students and job seekers planning their educational and career goals, as well as ways to finance post-secondary education. Use the site to build a portfolio allowing you to track and manage your progress.
- Alaska Labor Exchange System– Like the Alaska Career Information System, this resource helps you explore career options and create a professional portfolio of materials as you continue your job search. Obtain specific data on job openings statewide or in a specific Alaskan region. Employers also have the opportunity to post positions here.
Alaska, which is located in the Pacific region of the United States, is named from the Aleut word “Alakshak” meaning “great land” or “that which the sun breaks against”. With an area of 665,384 square miles, it is the largest state in the US. It has an average annual temperature of about 25°F.
Alaska has the 5th smallest population in the nation. It has an estimated population of 710,231 residents living in its 29 counties. About 45 percent of those living in Alaska are less than 30 years old. The diversity of the population is average when compared with that of other states in the country. An estimated 36 percent of the state’s population identifies itself as belonging to a racial or ethnic minority group.
The capital city of Alaska is Juneau. However, with a population of 291,826 residents, Anchorage is the state’s largest city. Of the state’s residents, an estimated 2.43 percent reside in the greater Anchorage area. Some of the other populous cities in Alaska include Fairbanks, Juneau, Barrow, and Soldotna.
Alaska residents typically have a lower than average level of education as compared to those around the country. According to the 2010 Census, about 16.1 percent of the state’s residents over the age of 25 have graduated from high school, 2.2 percent have at least an associate degree, 1.5 percent have degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher, and 1 percent hold a graduate level degree.