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            Best Online Colleges in Illinois

            Explore the top schools in Illinois that offer online programs and find out what those programs consist of. Learn what to look for when choosing a school and what careers you can pursue after graduation.

            Best Colleges in Illinois with Online Programs

            When looking for the best colleges in Illinois that offer programs online, you should consider factors such as accreditation, cost, flexibility, and program length. The top 30 Illinois colleges with online programs are listed below.

            1. Concordia University - Chicago

            Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
            River Forest $32,078 100%

            Concordia University - Chicago offers around 50 online and hybrid programs from the associate's level to the doctoral level. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and emphasizes five key values: service, excellence, integrity, Christian faith, and individualism. Undergraduate students taking 12 to 18 credit hours have a fixed-rate tuition, resulting in a lower cost per credit. Online program options include those in kinesiology, sports management, curriculum and instruction, business administration, and religion.

            2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

            Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
            Champaign $15,094 62%

            The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It offers a variety of online programs for graduate and undergraduate students, including certificate, degree, and teacher endorsement programs. Undergraduate programs include environmental sustainability, horticulture, applied mathematics, and labor studies. Graduate students can choose from programs such as engineering, business administration, computer science, and curriculum and instruction.

            3. Illinois State University

            Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
            Normal $14,516 86%

            Illinois State University reports a graduation rate of over 68%, which is 23% above the average of U.S. colleges. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers the opportunities found at a larger university with the atmosphere of a small college. Students can pursue over a dozen programs through fully online and/or hybrid coursework in a variety of fields. Online program options include those in nursing and education, including physical education, chemistry education, and special education.

            4. Eastern Illinois University

            Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
            Charleston $11,803 92%

            Eastern Illinois University is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The school was founded in 1895 and as of 五福彩票通用版1.0下载 has a student-faculty ratio of 14:1. Students can pursue more than 40 online areas of study, many of which are available as graduate and undergraduate programs. Undergraduate students can choose from programs in accounting, business administration, education, art, computer science, and more. Graduate students can select from programs such as education, psychology, communication, cybersecurity, economics, and mathematics.

            5. University of Illinois at Springfield

            Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
            Springfield $11,813 97%

            The University of Illinois at Springfield offers more than 50 programs online, including degree, certificate, and teacher licensure programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and was founded in 1969. Online master's degree programs include those in data analytics, computer science, public health, education, and political science. Undergraduate students can also pursue a variety of programs, including those in psychology, business administration, communication, education, and mathematics.

            Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
            6 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago $13,764 82%
            7 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale Carbondale $14,704 93%
            8 National Louis University Chicago $10,710 93%
            9 DePaul University Chicago $39,975 98%
            10 Olivet Nazarene University Bourbonnais $36,070 100%
            11 Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville Edwardsville $12,132 94%
            12 Western Illinois University Macomb $12,951 93%
            13 Lewis University Romeoville $32,450 99%
            14 Judson University Elgin $29,860 100%
            15 Aurora University Aurora $24,260 100%
            16 McKendree University Lebanon $30,520 100%
            17 University of St Francis Joliet $32,320 99%
            18 Benedictine University Lisle $34,290 99%
            19 Bradley University Peoria $33,760 100%
            20 Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago $47,646 100%
            21 Elmhurst College Elmhurst $37,055 100%
            22 Loyola University Chicago Chicago $44,048 98%
            23 Dominican University River Forest $33,434 100%
            24 Saint Xavier University Chicago $33,880 100%
            25 Roosevelt University Chicago $29,832 98%
            26 Trinity International University - Illinois Deerfield $32,390 99%
            27 Greenville University Greenville $27,130 100%
            28 Quincy University Quincy $28,562 100%
            29 North Park University Chicago $29,860 99%
            30 MacMurray College Jacksonville $27,710 99%

            All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics; tuition represents the 2018-2019 undergraduate school year.

            's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

            How to Choose an Illinois College for Your Online Program

            As you narrow down your candidate schools for an online program in Illinois, there are several factors that you should consider, some of which are outlined below.

            Cost

            Costs can vary greatly by degree level, program type, and student residency (when applicable). Some schools offer e-tuition rates for online students, which are lower than their out-of-state tuition rates. Ask your candidate schools for a full list of applicable expenses associated with your program. Also ask about any discounts that are available to you, such as flat-rate tuition for full-time study.

            Credits for Experience and Coursework

            Some colleges in Illinois offer credits for life experience, which could allow you to have some of the required courses waived for your program based on your professional or military experience. In addition, many online programs in Illinois accept transfer credits if you have previously completed any college coursework. Earning credits through either method enables you to decrease your program cost and length.

            Flexibility

            Before selecting your school and program, you should first consider if you will need to study full time, part time, or a combination of the two. While many schools will allow you to study at your desired pace, some schools offer programs in a specific format. In addition, some programs run in a cohort model, which means that classes are offered in a predetermined order through the program or school year.

            Type of School

            Although it isn't always the case, public schools are often larger and have more resources available to students because they receive public funding. Private schools, on the other hand, are generally more expensive, smaller, and can offer a more intimate and individualized experience to students. Consider what is most important to you in your online program (resources, support, etc.) and ask your schools about the resources available and what they consist of.

            Residency Requirements

            For some programs, such as those leading to teaching licensure, you will have to complete some hands-on practice hours, but many online programs can be completed entirely online. Some schools and programs may require you to attend on-campus networking or learning sessions during your program. It's essential that you find out if your program and school will require any face-to-face components and how they will affect your schedule.

            Accreditation for Online Programs in Illinois

            Accreditation can be either institutional or programmatic: one applies to an entire school while the other type applies specifically to programs. In order to obtain accreditation, schools and programs have to meet quality criteria that is set by an accrediting organization. Schools then must maintain those standards in order to have the accreditation renewed, which occurs every few years.

            Why Does Accreditation Matter?

            The main benefit of attending an accredited school and program is that you are much more likely to have a quality experience while in school. In addition, both institutional and programmatic accreditation have their own benefits.

            • Institutional - Institutional accreditation is mandatory for students who want to receive federal financial aid. In addition, some employers look for applicants who have studied at an accredited institution.
            • Programmatic - It's important to note that not all programs have their own accreditation. Programs that do include those education, health sciences, and technical fields. In some cases, programmatic accreditation may be required for relevant certification and licensure. For example, students interested in becoming engineers typically need to graduate from a program that is appropriately accredited by ABET.

            Overview of Online Programs in Illinois

            Online programs in Illinois have varying characteristics depending on the degree level and program chosen. Online programs include online classes that may be completed over 8-week terms, 16- week terms, or another term length. Typically, students are able to log in at their convenience to review lessons and work on assignments, as long as assignments are submitted by the appropriate due dates (usually weekly).

            As mentioned previously, some programs require some face-to-face components such as practicum hours and on-campus sessions.

            Program Length

            The length of an online program in Illinois varies based on the number of credit hours needed, course load, and degree/program level. Undergraduate students are considered full time if taking at least 12 credit hours during a semester, while graduate students are considered full time when taking nine credit hours. The more courses that are taken during a semester, the fewer semesters it will take to complete a program. The table below summarizes the standard amount of time that it takes to complete different online programs based on an estimated number of credits required.

            Program Education Prerequisites Credits to Complete Program Length (full-time study)
            Associate's Degree High school diploma/GED 60 2 years
            Bachelor's Degree High school diploma/GED 120 4 years
            Master's Degree Bachelor's degree 30-36 2 years
            Doctoral Degree Bachelor's or Master's degree Varies 4 to 5 years

            Concentration Options for Online Programs in Illinois

            Many online programs in Illinois allow students to select an area of concentration within their program, enabling them to have a more focused and customized learning experience. Some concentrations that are commonly offered in online programs in Illinois are listed in the table below by field of study.

            Field of Study/Program Concentration Options
            Business Administration *Finance
            *Accounting
            *Marketing
            *Healthcare administration
            *Human resources
            Education *Early childhood education
            *Special education
            *Higher education
            *Educational leadership
            *Curriculum & instruction
            Nursing *Healthcare administration
            *Nursing education
            *Nursing practice
            Engineering *Environmental engineering
            *Structural engineering
            *Construction management
            *Transporatation engineering
            Computer Science *Data mining
            *Programming
            *Software engineering

            Professional Associations for Illinois Graduates

            There are a variety of professional associations and resources to graduates of online programs in Illinois, which are usually focused on specific fields or careers. Some of the organizations available to online graduates in Illinois are listed below.

            • Hellenic Professional Society of Illinois - This organization is open to Greek professionals in Illinois and offers members a variety of benefits, including networking events.
            • Illinois Mental Health Counselors - Professional membership in this organization is open to individuals with a related graduate degree. Student and retired memberships are also available to individuals who want to take advantage of workshops, webinars, and other professional development opportunities.
            • Illinois Association of School Administrators - IASA is the premier association for school administrators in Illinois, with around 2,000 members and countless resources, including mentoring, professional development, legal services, and networking opportunities.
            • STAR Chicago - The Society of Talent Acquisition and Recruitment provides members with event discounts, professional directories, volunteer opportunities, and professional development.

            Careers for Graduates of Online Programs in Illinois

            Graduates of online programs in Illinois can be prepared for one specific career or a number of careers, depending on their degree or certificate and any past work experience. Some of the countless careers that are available to graduates of online programs in Illinois are discussed below.

            • Industrial Engineers: Industrial engineers figure out ways to decrease wastefulness that occurs in production by reviewing and improving production processes. Industrial engineers usually need to have a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, or a similar field.
            • Accountants and Auditors: Accountants and auditors help individuals and businesses maintain accurate financial and tax records by preparing, reviewing, and revising them as needed. Many positions require an accounting bachelor's degree, at minimum. A degree in a related field could also suffice. Many accountants also have a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential.
            • Management Analysts: Management analysts assist organizations with efficiency improvements by gathering financial and personnel information and making recommendations related to reducing costs. Candidates need to have at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as business, management, or finance, but some employers prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration.
            • Computer Systems Analysts: Computer systems analysts review the computer procedures and systems of organizations and make recommendations for improving their efficiency. Many computer systems analysts have at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to computer science and could benefit from having some college coursework in business as well.
            • Nurse Practitioners: Nurse practitioners provide advanced care to patients, either in a collaborative role or as primary care providers. They typically work in one area of specialization, such as pediatrics, and are required to have a master's degree in their specialty area as well as applicable licensure.
            • Mathematicians: Mathematicians work to solve real-world programs by reviewing data and applying various mathematical methods. Mathematicians working in government roles usually need to have at least a bachelor's degree in mathematics, and those working in private industries typically need to have at least a master's degree.

            Job Title Mean Annual Salary (2018, Illinois) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028, nationwide)
            Industrial Engineers $88,850 8%
            Accountants and Auditors $81,060 6%
            Management Analysts $95,110 14%
            Computer Systems Analysts $89,370 9%
            Nurse Practitioners $105,800 28%
            Mathematicians $103,220 26%

            All salary and outlook data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

            To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

            The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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