Valdosta’s commercial activity, mild winters and expanding educational programs attract students to the city from nearly every U.S. state and more than 67 countries. Valdosta’s postsecondary schools share the rich history of southern Georgia, with a public college founded in 1879 and the Carnegie Library built in 1913. But local colleges and universities are also on the cutting edge of 21st century science, hosting green tech research projects and high-tech flight simulators. Valdosta’s academic and career training institutions serve the community with innovations such as competency-based credit options and a variety of online and blended programs.
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Valdosta's Colleges and Universities
More than 80 associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available at the city's traditional two and four-year schools: Valdosta State University, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and Georgia Military College, a liberal arts community junior college. These schools, along with independent online universities, serve a diverse community. As an example, 95 percent of Georgia Military College's student population commute to and from class, while juggling school and work or other commitments.
Degrees offered at Valdosta colleges and universities include applied science, nursing and health sciences, educational leadership, marriage and family therapy, political science and marketing and international business. For-credit courses taught at area schools cover a diverse range and include courses such as banking and finance, health information technology, dental hygiene, aerospace studies, military science, theatre and religion.
Competency-centered approaches at certain of the city's two-year and four-year colleges and universities have distinguished these area schools. Valdosta State University was chosen as one of 14 postsecondary schools to participate in a national competency-focused project operated by the Competency Based Education Jumpstart Program and the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. The aim of these and other initiatives at the city's colleges and universities is to develop opportunities for adults, making it increasingly possible for them to continue their postsecondary education and earn degrees.
In addition to other student-centered initiatives, Valdosta State University administers discipline-based programs that promote student-faculty discussions and work relationships as part of its Quality Enhancement Plan. Certain schools boast high-tech training equipment: For example, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has a sophisticated flight simulator and a one-year air traffic controller course.
Both Valdosta State University and Georgia Military College offer on-campus housing, while Wiregrass Georgia Technical College does not. In addition to online programs, area schools may belong to a larger institution operating several campuses. Wiregrass Georgia Technical College has a total of six campuses and/or satellite offices, including an extended campus on Moody Air Force Base. Georgia Military College also operates six campuses and two extension centers, while Valdosta State University has a single main campus in the city.
As for student to faculty ratio, at Valdosta State University more than 42 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students. Certain local institutions can be selective, accepting fewer than 60 percent of applicants.
Below is a glance at a few of Valdosta’s colleges and universities:
|COLLEGE||STUDENT ENROLLMENT||AVERAGE TUITION||TYPE||AREAS KNOWN FOR|
|Valdosta State University||10,290||$6,884||Public||Liberal Arts, Sciences, Business, Nursing, Aerospace|
|Wiregrass Georgia Technical College||3,968||$3,028||Public||Business, Computer Science, Health Care, Technical|
|Georgia Military College||8,000||$4,848||Public||Military, Business, Sciences|
Online Education & Training in Valdosta
Fully online as well as hybrid degree, certificate and professional courses are available at traditional and distance learning-focused colleges and universities in Valdosta.
Valdosta State University (VSU) has eMajors and a WebMBA in addition to online degrees, certificates, endorsements and individual courses in fields such as these: business education and information technology, business administration emphasizing management, criminal justice and Spanish for professionals. VSU's online offerings in the discipline of education are wide-ranging, including a reading endorsement and programs in deaf and hard of hearing education, English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), instructional technology with a library media concentration, early childhood education, middle grades math and science education, school counseling and special education. VSU also enables online health care-related courses and programs such as a family psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioner post-masters certificate and a master's in business administration with a concentration in health care administration.
GMC's blended courses require on-campus attendance ranging from 50 to 20 percent, with required lab participation for classes such as science. Blended offerings may include biology, environmental studies, composition, computer applications and concepts, diversity in education, U.S. history, psychology and other subjects.
Economics and Careers in Valdosta
As the 14th largest city in the state of Georgia, Valdosta's population exceeds 55,000. One of the largest cities in Lowndes County, it hosts companies and agencies in areas such as manufacturing, education, retail, health care, telecommunications and government. According to Valdosta Lowndes Industrial Authority, top Valdosta employers operating within and outside these industries include:
- Steeda Autosports
- South Georgia Pecan
- Moody Air Force Base
- South Georgia Medical Center
- Valdosta County School System
- City of Valdosta
As of May 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following occupations as having a high number of workers in the area:
- Computer User and Support Specialists
- Elementary School Teachers
- Substitute Teachers
- Registered Nurses
- Medical Assistants
- Sales Representatives
- Customer Service Representatives
Besides Moody Air Force Base, there is a large presence of naval stores in Valdosta. In fact, Valdosta is called the Naval Stores Capital of the World as the city supplies 80 percent of the demand for naval stores globally.
Resources for Students in Valdosta, Georgia
Valdosta high school, college and university students can access GACollege411 college human resources offices and career counseling centers. Through GACollege411, students can create a personal account. They can also apply to several colleges and universities, learn about different careers and start preparing to take college entrance examinations like the SAT, ACT and COMPASS. Regarding careers, students can learn about average salaries in and around Valdosta in certain career fields.
Additionally, students seeking financial aid could contact directors at area programs like the Hope Scholarship or the Hope Grant. Valdosta colleges and universities also administer scholarships and grants. To start developing relationships with area employers, students can ask career counselors at the schools they are attending about potential internship and fellowship opportunities.
Colleges & Universities in Valdosta
COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES IN VALDOSTA
|Valdosta State University||15,095||$3,639||Public|
COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS IN VALDOSTA
|Wiregrass Georgia Technical College||9,008||$3,375||Public|