With a number of quality higher education options throughout the state, Arizona is considered to be leaps and bounds ahead of many other states in the arena of distance learning. In fact, the largest U.S. public university by enrollment is Arizona State University (ASU). ASU has an online university program that harnesses the infrastructure of its scattered satellite campuses, including Rio Salado College, which is dedicated primarily to distance learning.

Home to universities with massive on-campus and online student enrollment, Arizona welcomes students from in-state and around the world. Globally branded athletic programs and renowned research facilities draw thousands of students to this southwestern state each year. The state has three public, four-year universities. Arizona State University educates roughly 55,000 students at its main Tempe campus alone; counting satellite campuses, it enrolls nearly 100,000. The University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University are the state’s second and third-largest schools, respectively. The state is also home to more than 20 public two-year colleges, including 10 that fall under the umbrella of the Maricopa County Community College District in the Phoenix metro area. There are also a range of private, non-profit universities, colleges, religious institutions and tribal institutions.

Arizona students also have access to both Phoenix College, a public two-year community college, and the University of Phoenix, an independent for-profit institution providing on-campus and online opportunities, which describes itself as the largest private university in the United States.

Distance Learning and Online Schools in Arizona

Some online schools in Arizona only offer a few online classes, paired with on-campus coursework. Others, however, have programs that can be completed exclusively online. Public and private universities, as well as community colleges, all offer online courses, including Arizona State University, Rio Salado College and Grand Canyon University.

Arizona State’s online component, called ASU Online, offers undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. Online students can earn degrees in criminal justice, English, film or any of dozens of other options.

Rio Salado College has offered online classes for more than 15 years. The college offers two-year online degrees and certificates in subjects such as adolescent development, programming, language studies and retail management. Online courses through Rio Salado College cost the same as on-campus classes for in-state students.

Grand Canyon University offers about 100 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs geared toward working professionals. Students can study subjects such as sociology, health care administration, addiction counseling and sports management.

Arizona’s Community College System

Community colleges offer degrees or certifications in a variety of subject areas, such as nursing, communication, Web design and music business. After graduation, students may decide to head to the working world to start a career, or to transfer to a four-year online school in Arizona to continue their education.

There are 21 community colleges in Arizona, including Arizona Western in Yuma, Central Arizona in Coolidge, Cochise College in Cochise County, Coconino County College, Eastern Arizona in Thatcher, Mohave Community College in Kingman, Northland Pioneer in Navajo County, Pima in Tucson and Yavapai in Prescott.

Ten of the state’s community colleges are connected to Maricopa Community Colleges, which is one of the largest community college districts in the United States. Tuition for these schools is $81 per credit hour for residents and $317 per credit hour for non-residents. Admission is offered to anyone who is at least 18 years old and/or has a high school diploma or the equivalent.

The 10 colleges that make up Maricopa Community College are Chandler-Gilbert, Estrella Mountain, GateWay, Glendale, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Rio Salado, Scottsdale and South Mountain.

State Universities in Arizona

Arizona’s state universities offer four-year or graduate degrees in various programs. One of these schools is the University of Arizona. Established in 1885, the state’s oldest university sits on 391 sprawling acres in Tucson. Students at the University of Arizona can enroll in five types of academic programs: bachelor’s, master’s, research scholarship, specialist and professional practice programs.

Another state university is Northern Arizona University. Its main campus is in Flagstaff, but there are 34 other campuses throughout the state, including Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. This university has 87 undergraduate degree programs and 58 graduate degree programs.

Private Non-profit Colleges in Arizona

There are a number of private colleges in Arizona, including A.T. Still University, Embry Riddle Aeronautical Institute, Grand Canyon University, Midwestern University and Prescott College.

Private colleges have their own governing boards, which allows for independent decisions and promotes a unique school environment. For example, some private colleges have a strong focus on religion. Like state schools, they offer a variety of programs and degrees in areas of study, such as elementary education, family studies, space physics and software engineering.

Spotlights of Online Schools in Arizona

University of Arizona

Through its Outreach College division, the University of Arizona offers a large and growing number of distance education resources. These include degree and certificate programs, continuing education and professional development courses, and a number of non-credit classes. Currently, 14 master’s degrees can be earned fully online in subject areas such as nursing, library and information science, electrical and computer engineering, international security and agriculture. Two doctorate degrees in nursing are available, as well as undergraduate programs in nutritional science and science teacher preparation.

Students who aren’t enrolled in degree programs can take individual courses for credit or not for credit. Whether students choose this option or enroll in a full degree program, they can take classes that are entirely online or hybrid courses, where students receive their education partly online and partly on campus. Students at the University of Arizona Outreach College can also enroll in self-paced courses, which allow them to set their own timeline.

For details regarding UA Outreach College’s distance learning programs and courses, visit http://outreachcollege.arizona.edu.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University’s extensive distance education program allows students to choose from dozens of degrees, certificates and endorsements. There are 43 fully online bachelor’s and 28 fully online master’s degrees that can be earned in subject areas including arts and humanities, business and administration, computing and technology, education and counseling, math and science, the health professions, social science and criminal justice. NAU additionally offers a fully online Doctor of Nursing degree, as well as blended degree programs. NAU’s Extended Campuses online courses are presented in either asynchronous or synchronous format and use the Blackboard Learn platform.

For some degree programs, NAU also employs a Personalized Learning system, in which students pay a fixed six-month subscription fee. Students can begin their studies at any time and complete coursework at their own pace, simply continuing to renew their subscription until completing degree requirements.

For more information on NAU online degrees and courses, visit http://ec.nau.edu/OnlineDegrees.aspx.

Arizona State University (ASU Online)

ASU was among the first schools in the nation that partnered with Google to offer Apps for Education. Google’s calendar system is fully integrated with ASU’s distance learning software. Students are allowed to enroll in up to 18 credits for the fall and spring semesters, and up to seven credits for each summer session, allowing them to earn degrees with more flexible scheduling. The same faculty and staff typically teach on-campus and online classes.

Including graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs, there are roughly 100 full degree programs offered through ASU Online. The school cultivates an extensive network of alumni, job search tools and post-graduation resources, which are available to graduates for the rest of their lives.

Visit the ASU Online at http://asuonline.asu.edu.

Distance Learning at Rio Salado College

Part of the extensive Maricopa County Community College District, Rio Salado College may rank as one of the country’s most online-friendly public, two-year colleges. Whether it’s to earn a certificate or degree, or to accumulate course credits for transfer, Rio Salado can serve as a prototype for public distance learning programs. The groundbreaking e-learning college offers online-only courses, hybrid courses, mixed media, print-based delivery and in-person education, particular for community outreach.

Rio Salado offers a large number of online programs, degrees, certificates and academic preparation. From classes at Luke Air Force Base to preparation for the High School Equivalency (HSE) exam or the certified bookkeeper test, Rio Salado is built with the distance learner in mind. Although there are physical campus locations, online learning is reinforced with 24/7 student support, tutoring and library services. Fully accredited, Rio Salado shows leadership in the arena of accessible education, with more than 43,000 online students enrolled every year.

Visit Rio Salado at http://www.riosalado.edu.


Best Online Schools in Arizona for Future Service Members

Arizona surpasses expectations with its programs for prospective students interested in serving their country. Many degree tracks, both for undergraduate and graduate students, also allow for involvement in ROTC programs. The Army, Navy and Air Force are associated with a wide range of online schools in Arizona. We’ve compiled the top programs for service-oriented students seeking a quality education in Arizona. The following four-year, non-profit colleges have at least two ROTC branches from which to choose.

Tuition City ROTC - Army ROTC - Navy ROTC - Air Force
University of Arizona$9,114 Tucson Yes Yes Yes
Arizona State University$9,208 Tempe Yes Yes Yes
Northern Arizona University$8,951 Flagstaff Yes No Yes

Best Online Schools in Arizona for Personal Attention

Students of Arizona colleges and universities enjoy a quality education across the state. Whether they’re interested in colleges offering a range of degree programs or just one targeted study area, learners have several options. Many are seeking colleges that offer the best of both worlds: a bustling, vibrant campus without crowded classrooms. The Arizona colleges and universities on the below list have an enrollment over 5,000 but less than 20 students per teacher in the average classroom.

Dine College 20 to 1 2,949$720 Public Tsaile
Northern Arizona University 20 to 1 22,975$8,951 Public Flagstaff
University of Arizona 20 to 1 33,190$9,114 Public Tucson
Arizona Christian University 19 to 1 643$20,140 Private not-for-profit Phoenix
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott 16 to 1 1,779$29,520 Private not-for-profit Prescott
Ottawa University-Phoenix 15 to 1 954$10,860 Private not-for-profit Phoenix
American Indian College of the Assemblies of God Inc 10 to 1 96$11,700 Private not-for-profit Phoenix
Prescott College 8 to 1 991$27,408 Private not-for-profit Prescott
Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture 5 to 1 7$30,000 Private not-for-profit Scottsdale
International Baptist College 5 to 1 73$10,806 Private not-for-profit Chandler

Best Online Schools in Arizona for Women in Technology

Arizona is the premiere location to find exceptional degree programs catering to women in the technology and engineering fields. Through a variety of programs such as mentorships, female dorms, and centers focused on the needs of women, these colleges are among the best schools for women in technology. These Arizona colleges have built technology programs that mirror the gender ratios of the overall school, providing positive, accommodating learning environments. To simplify your search for the best programs, we’ve assembled this list of leading Arizona schools for women in technology.

Arizona State University$9,724 Tempe 371 59,735 Public
University of Arizona$10,035 Tucson 152 33,909 Public
Northern Arizona University$9,272 Flagstaff 149 19,105 Public
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott$30,420 Prescott 32 1,609 Private Not for Profit
Midwestern University-GlendaleN/A Glendale 9 2,759 Private Not for Profit

Best Online Schools in Arizona Fighting for Families

Arizona is a full of colleges boasting outstanding social work degrees. Family and children are the nucleus of many of these programs. For degree-seeking students pursuing a career in child and family welfare, they must have direct practice with individuals, families and groups. These programs provide clinical settings and fieldwork that provide this valuable experience. In combination with incredible classroom education, these Arizona schools are producing some of the strongest graduates in the field. As a result of innovative social work programs, these schools consistently at lead in rankings and reputation. Find superior Arizona social work degrees at the schools below.

Arizona State University Tempe 767 586 181 $9,724 59,735
University of Arizona Tucson 158 100 58 $10,035 33,909
Northern Arizona University Flagstaff 135 106 29 $9,272 19,105