Best Value Online Schools in North Carolina 2021

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Staff Writers
Updated December 17, 2020

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Many colleges in North Carolina offer online degrees and certificates. Online learners typically receive the same educational experience as on-campus students. Many programs feature an asynchronous format, allowing students to complete coursework at their convenience. This scheduling flexibility can help learners continue working or raise a family while advancing their education.

North Carolina online programs generally feature the same admission requirements as on-campus programs. Applicants to undergraduate programs submit official transcripts and standardized test scores. Master's and doctoral programs typically require applicants to provide recommendation letters and standardized test scores. International applicants may need to submit additional forms.

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

North Carolina residents can consider the state's fastest-growing industries while researching potential majors. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a significant number of the state's college graduates work in the office, education, and healthcare sectors. Medical professionals earn the highest average salary in North Carolina.

Accreditation for Online Schools in North Carolina

When applying to an online college, North Carolina students should ensure the prospective school holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The U.S. Department of Education charters SACSCOC to evaluate postsecondary institutions in the Southeast. Schools that meet specific benchmarks receive accreditation.

Colleges in North Carolina that offer online programs should also hold national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC accreditation indicates that a school's online and on-campus programs provide the same learning outcomes.

Finally, learners can look for programmatic accreditation from private agencies. Programmatic accreditation agencies specialize in a certain subject area and recognize programs that prepare students to succeed in the field. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation maintains a list of recognized programmatic accreditation agencies.


Question Answer
How long do you have to live in North Carolina to get in-state tuition? Individuals must live in the state for 12 months to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. Postsecondary institutions accept different documents as proof of residency.
How fast can you earn a bachelor's degree online? Associate degree-holders typically earn their bachelor's degree in two years. First-time freshmen usually need four years, and part-time learners may take longer to graduate.
How many colleges and universities are located in North Carolina? North Carolina is home to nearly 150 postsecondary schools. These include two-year and four-year institutions, as well as technical schools that offer career-aligned certificate programs.
Can you get your master's online? Many colleges in North Carolina offer master's programs in a variety of subjects. Online master's students receive the same quality of academic experience as on-campus learners.

What Are the Requirements for an Online School in North Carolina?

Admission requirements vary by school and program. However, undergraduate applicants submit either high school or GED transcripts. Applicants may also need to provide standardized test scores. Graduate programs often require standardized test scores, recommendation letters, and a resume.

Graduation requirements also vary but generally include a minimum GPA. Many undergraduate programs require students to complete a capstone project or academic portfolio. Graduate programs typically culminate with a thesis or dissertation that involves original research.

Certifications and Licensure for Students in North Carolina

Many high-level positions require credentials beyond a college degree. Students attending an online college in North Carolina should research whether potential careers require state-issued licensure. Licensure requirements often include a degree, professional experience, and passing scores on one or more exams. Additionally, earning industry certification from a professional organization can help job applicants stand out.

Certified Public Accountant

Accountants who want to provide expert financial advice often earn the CPA credential. Candidates must meet education and experience requirements. Additional steps include passing the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) examination. Degree-seekers can join the AICPA to receive a discount on exam-preparation materials.

Google Analytics Individual Qualification

Companies that use Google Analytics require trained professionals who can turn data into sound business decisions. Candidates must pass Google Analytics assessments, which are available in 19 languages. Additional certification steps include creating a Skillshop account, through which candidates can access training guides and study materials.

Teaching License

North Carolina requires aspiring public school educators to complete an approved teacher-preparation program. Licensure candidates must also pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam and any relevant Praxis subject assessments. Licensed educators renew their credential every five years. Renewal requires at least 80 professional development hours in three areas.

Professional Organizations for Students in North Carolina

Professional organizations offer a host of benefits, including industry certifications. These organizations typically advocate for the career field at the local, state, and federal levels. Membership benefits may include professional insurance and scholarship opportunities. Student members often pay reduced membership fees.

ACA strives to improve the corrections field by providing professional development opportunities, encouraging research and education, and promoting diversity. Undergraduate and graduate students can join as associate members. Membership benefits include discounts on professional publications, invitations to two annual conferences, and a subscription to Corrections Today Magazine.

BPA supports the next generation of business leaders by offering scholarships and awards, certifications, and competitions. The organization also partners with some of the country's largest employers to provide members with job opportunities. Additionally, student members can enhance their resume by running for a BPA national office.

Students earning a degree in emergency management or a similar topic can join IAEM to take advantage of scholarship opportunities. Other benefits include professional development courses that meet requirements for industry certification. Additionally, members can view webinars on the latest issues facing emergency management professionals.

NEA represents millions of practicing K-12 teachers throughout the United States. Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in teacher-preparation programs can join at a low introductory rate. Benefits include professional insurance, which all teachers need to protect themselves. Degree-seekers can access professional publications and networking opportunities.

Many colleges in North Carolina offer competitive per-credit tuition rates for in-state students. However, learners may still need financial assistance to avoid student debt. Scholarships can help students reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. North Carolina students can apply for the awards below.

African American Network Carolinas Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: African American high school seniors who live in North or South Carolina can apply. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and proof of admission to an in-state college. Candidates must plan to major in a STEM field, computer science, or business. The scholarship application window opens on December 4 and closes on March 5 each year.
Amount: $2,000

Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Nearly 40 North Carolina colleges and universities participate in this scholarship program. Application requirements vary by institution. However, applicants must be Christian women. Interested students can contact their school's financial aid office to learn about the scholarship.
Amount: Varies

National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Regional Scholarships

Who Can Apply: NIADA awards funding to graduating high school seniors who plan to attend college in the fall. The scholarship committee considers each applicant's ACT or SAT scores, high school transcripts, and community service involvement. Applicants must also submit a personal essay. Candidates must apply by March 9, and NIADA notifies scholarship recipients in mid-May.
Amount: $3,500

The Roothbert Fund Scholarships

Who Can Apply: College students with financial need can apply for this competitive scholarship. The application process involves an in-person interview in one of four Northeast cities. Recipients can renew the award if they maintain a high undergraduate GPA and attend one of the fund's fellowship meetings. Additional renewal requirements may apply.
Amount: Varies

William Vatavuk Scholarship

Who Can Apply: North Carolina high school seniors with a minimum B grade in the previous two semesters can apply. Application materials include a recommendation letter from a teacher, employer, or mentor. Recipients can use the scholarship to cover tuition and related expenses, such as books and technology resources.
Amount: $1,000

Best Value Online Schools in North Carolina 2021

  1. Appalachian State University

    Boone, NC



    Prospective students considering colleges in North Carolina should research Appalachian's online degrees and certificates. Online and hybrid bachelor's degrees include career and technical education, elementary education, and RN-to-BSN. Master's and doctoral programs train students for leadership positions in the education and business fields.

    Specialized resources for Appalachian online students include 24/7 IT support, one-on-one appointments with an academic advisor, and links to common forms. Learners can review time-management and other study skills on the Student Learning Center website. DegreeWorks software allows users to track their graduation requirements and GPA. Other services include a list of authorized exam proctors.

    Undergraduate admission requirements include an associate degree. Learners entering a teacher-preparation program must complete a criminal background check. Out-of-state degree- and certificate-seekers pay approximately four times the in-state tuition rate. New learners can apply for federal and institutional financial aid programs by submitting FAFSA results.

  2. North Carolina A&T State University

    Greensboro, NC



    Greenboro houses N.C. A&T, an online college North Carolina offers. The school features undergraduate degrees in diverse subjects. These include agricultural education, business information technology, and environmental health and safety. Graduate students choose from even more options, such as an MBA and teaching. All programs use an asynchronous format, making N.C. A&T an excellent choice for learners who work full time.

    Student resources aligned with distance learners' unique needs include online learning success tips, a Blackboard tutorial, and virtual tutors. The Office of Career Services assists both on-campus and online students by providing nearly all its resources on Handshake.

    Admission requirements include completion of high school prerequisites. Graduate program applicants submit undergraduate transcripts and three recommendation letters. North Carolina residents pay the most affordable per-credit tuition rate at N.C. A&T. Scholarships for incoming freshmen award funding to learners who earned a minimum 3.0 high school GPA.

  3. University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    Greensboro, NC



    UNCG's numerous online graduate degrees make the university stand out from other colleges in North Carolina that offer online programs. Fully online master's programs include information technology and management, international business, and music education. Bachelor's-completion programs feature majors in philosophy and peace and conflict studies.

    Online degree- and certificate-seekers can access academic advisors, the Writing Center, and accessibility resources from the Student Services website. UNCG Career and Professional Development offers the latest internship and career opportunities through Handshake. The university participates in TRiO, a federal program that provides additional resources to learners from a disadvantaged background.

    Prospective bachelor's students need an associate degree or at least 30 transferable credits. Graduate admission requirements vary by program. Out-of-state learners pay a higher tuition rate, but degree- and certificate-seekers can explore outside scholarships on the UNCG Financial Aid website.

  4. East Carolina University

    Greenville, NC



    Situated in Greenville, ECU offers North Carolina online programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including numerous certificates. Bachelor's-completion degree-seekers can major in business administration, education, or communication. ECU offers graduate students even more options, such as educational leadership and public health.

    The university offers new online students tutorials on how to set up an account, access student services, and apply for financial aid. Other guides for enrollees inexperienced with online learning cover the Canvas learning management system and Office 365. The Student Services office provides academic advising appointments to students who request them via phone or online form.

    Undergraduate application requirements include an associate degree, and some programs ask for additional materials. Most graduate programs do not require the GRE. Incoming transfer students can apply for university scholarships by submitting FAFSA results and a separate scholarship application through the AcademicWorks online portal.

  5. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    Charlotte, NC



    UNC Charlotte stands apart from other colleges in North Carolina as its undergraduate programs cater exclusively to nontraditional learners who want to finish their degree while still working full time. Bachelor's-completion programs include elementary education, electrical engineering, and engineering management. Online master's degrees train the next generation of education and health and human services professionals.

    UNC's guides for online learners cover registering for courses, ordering textbooks, and accessing academic advisors. The Student Services website also features a list of approved test proctoring sites in and around Charlotte. Other online resources that promote academic success include library databases and research guides.

    Prospective transfer students should demonstrate at least 24 college credits that reflect a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. Some graduate degrees require specific prerequisites, use a GPA cutoff, and ask for recommendation letters. Learners can research and apply for institutional scholarships by creating a NinerScholars account.

  6. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

    Pembroke, NC



    UNCP, along with other colleges in North Carolina, offers online master's programs that help college graduates earn an initial teaching license. Master's in teaching degree-seekers can specialize in special education, mathematics, or elementary education. The university's four online bachelor's programs allow degree-completion students to graduate in just two years.

    UNCP resources for online learners include troubleshooting videos, a Canvas guide, and proctoring services. The Center for Student Success offers free virtual tutoring sessions. The university also provides incoming online students with a detailed orientation checklist.

    Transfer applicants create a Bridge2Brave account to sign up for a virtual transfer event. These events provide in-depth information regarding admission requirements and deadlines. Application materials vary by graduate degree but may include GRE scores, a minimum undergraduate GPA, and recommendation letters. Incoming transfer students need only to submit FAFSA results by March 1 to apply for institutional merit and endowed scholarships.

  7. North Carolina Central University

    Durham, NC



    Located in Durham, NCCU offers online undergraduate degrees in criminal justice, early childhood education, and RN-to-BSN. Some programs feature an impressive job-placement rate. This online college in North Carolina also runs a specialized degree-completion program in behavioral and social sciences. Education-focused master's degrees include school counseling and library science.

    NCCU curates internships, networking events, and job opportunities exclusive to online degree-seekers. Resources available to all learners include the Career Eagle Network, a networking platform that students access through Handshake. Learners can prepare for a job search by reviewing a cover letter guide, interviewing tips, and informational Career Spot videos.

    Freshman applicants must possess a high school diploma and a competitive GPA. Out-of-state learners pay higher tuition rates than in-state students. NCCU requires only FAFSA results for institutional financial aid purposes. Prospective students with financial aid questions can schedule an appointment with an advisor.

  8. Pfeiffer University

    Misenheimer, NC



    Pfeiffer represents just one of many colleges in North Carolina that offer online bachelor's-completion programs for nontraditional learners. Some of the university's five bachelor's programs include business management, criminal justice, and health administration. Master's students can select from nine options, such as occupational therapy and education.

    Pfeiffer supports learners' academic success by offering all programs in an asynchronous format. The Office of Career Services and Internships (OCSI) helps students turn a degree into a fulfilling career through career coaching sessions, customizable career planning guides, and internship opportunities. OCSI also helps degree-seekers prepare for graduate school admissions by providing them with free standardized test-preparation resources.

    Admission materials for prospective degree-completion students include undergraduate transcripts. Graduate program applicants may need to submit recommendation letters. Pfeiffer does not charge out-of-state tuition. Transfer students may receive scholarship funding, and undergraduates may qualify for additional institutional aid.

  9. Western Carolina University

    Cullowhee, NC



    Situated in Cullowhee, WCU features undergraduate, graduate, and certificate North Carolina online programs. Undergraduates can major in criminal justice or emergency medical care. Graduate degrees prepare learners for management-level positions in the human resources and education fields. The university's certificates qualify in-state educators for an additional teaching license endorsement.

    All new online learners complete an in-depth orientation process covering the student portal, Blackboard, and WCU's numerous accessibility resources. Students can also watch videos describing how to register for courses and troubleshoot problems. The university's OneStop Student Services website offers additional help to degree- and certificate-seekers.

    The online College/University Look-Up Tool lets prospective transfer students determine whether their credit transfers. Some graduate degrees require that applicants earn a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. Incoming undergraduates need only to submit FAFSA results to apply for WCU's institutional scholarships and grants.

  10. Gardner-Webb University

    Boiling Springs, NC



    No other colleges in North Carolina besides Gardner-Webb offer bachelor's-completion programs in fire services administration and wealth and trust management. Gardner-Webb offers some bachelor's degrees entirely online or in a hybrid format, like nursing and healthcare management. Master's students can select a major from five academic areas, such as business and education.

    Online learners enjoy the same student success resources as their on-campus peers, such as peer tutoring, the Writing Center, and academic counselors. Gardner-Webb also provides online students with BlackBoard tutorials. These resources introduce degree-seekers to online learning and cover troubleshooting tips.

    Degree-completion students should demonstrate at least 24 completed college credits. Gardner-Webb does not accept applications from California residents for any of its online programs. Graduate admission requirements include professional references. Some programs ask for standardized test scores. Gardner-Webb considers all incoming undergraduates for the merit-based Barry Hambright Scholarship.

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