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Best Accredited Online Colleges in Texas

Explore 50 of the best accredited schools in Texas that have primarily and even entirely online programs. Learn which programs are most popular and which growing careers they can lead to.

Top Accredited Online Colleges in Texas

When deciding on an online program in Texas, there are several things that students should consider. Factors such as accreditation, cost, programs available and flexibility have been used to determine the top 50 schools in Texas that offer programs entirely or primarily online.

1. Texas A & M University-College Station

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
College Station, TX $11,870 76%

Texas A & M University at College Station offers several certificates and diplomas online, either through off-campus based distance learning or on-campus based distance learning. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and many of their programs are accredited by various other specialized accrediting bodies. Some of the distance degree programs include mathematics (MS), nursing (BS or MS), analytics (MS), agriculture (MAGR) and engineering (MENGR). Tuition rates vary by program but can cost between $650 and $780 or more per credit hour.

2. Dallas Baptist University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Dallas, TX $28,870 97%

Dallas Baptist University is accredited by the SACSCOC, as well as several programmatic accrediting agencies, and offers more than 75 programs entirely or primarily online. The school boasts a 94% completion rate for its online programs and has been offering online options for students since 1998. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as accelerated programs that award both a bachelor's degree and master's degree in fields such as business, global leadership and theological studies. As of mid-2020, undergraduate students have a tuition rate of $1023 per credit hour and graduate students have a tuition rate of $1053 to $1083 per credit hour.

3. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Waxahachie, TX $19,582 98%

Southwestern Assemblies of God University offers more than 70 programs online and is accredited by the SACSCOC and several other organizations. Undergraduate online students have a tuition rate of $499 per credit hour, while graduate students have a tuition rate of $595 or $400 (doctoral) per credit hour. The programs available online include counseling, business administration, education, occupational leadership and history. The school also offers credit for life experience through a 3-hour course that awards students up to 45 credit hours towards their degree program.

4. Sam Houston State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Huntsville, TX $8,926 89%

Sam Houston State University offers dozens of programs entirely online and is accredited by the SACSCOC. Undergraduate in-state students have a tuition rate of $345 per credit hour and graduate students have a tuition rate of $372 per credit hour, making Sam Houston State one of the most affordable online colleges in Texas. Undergraduate students can choose from programs such as criminal justice, business administration, nursing, sociology and victim studies. Graduate programs are available entirely online in fields such as curriculum and instruction, business administration, education administration and consumer sciences.

5. Texas Tech University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Lubbock, TX $9,080 78%

Texas Tech University offers multiple graduate and undergraduate programs online and has the most online doctoral degree programs of any college in Texas. The school is accredited by SACSCOC and has numerous specialized accreditations for its programs (including those in law, nursing and education). The cost of tuition depends on each program; for example, undergraduate business students have a tuition rate of $315 per credit hour while graduate business students have a tuition fee of $333 per credit hour. Online degree program options at Texas Tech include business administration, higher education administration, engineering and data science.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 The University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX $8,198 88%
7 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, TX $20,070 96%
8 University of North Texas Denton, TX $10,852 81%
9 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX $31,484 100%
10 Lamar University Beaumont, TX $8,373 86%
11 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX $10,496 91%
12 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX $7,813 93%
13 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX $6,260 91%
14 Sul Ross State University Alpine, TX $6,816 93%
15 Texas Woman's University Denton, TX $7,796 93%
16 Angelo State University San Angelo, TX $7,436 94%
17 Texas A & M University-Kingsville Kingsville, TX $8,922 89%
18 Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX $9,085 72%
19 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX $8,292 82%
20 LeTourneau University Longview, TX $30,210 100%
21 University of Houston Houston, TX $8,913 86%
22 University of Houston-Downtown Houston, TX $6,500 85%
23 Stephen F Austin State University Nacogdoches, TX $8,316 85%
24 West Texas A & M University Canyon, TX $7,935 86%
25 The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX $13,034 77%
26 Lubbock Christian University Lubbock, TX $22,440 100%
27 Tarleton State University Stephenville, TX $7,292 89%
28 University of St Thomas Houston, TX $33,580 96%
29 Concordia University Texas Austin, TX $31,810 100%
30 Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio, TX $28,740 99%
31 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX $54,492 77%
32 Schreiner University Kerrville, TX $27,960 98%
33 Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX $9,233 92%
34 The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX $8,049 83%
35 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX $34,850 100%
36 Hardin-Simmons University Abilene, TX $28,990 100%
37 Texas A & M International University Laredo, TX $7,176 81%
38 Criswell College Dallas, TX $10,710 67%
39 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Belton, TX $28,650 97%
40 Prairie View A & M University Prairie View, TX $10,533 95%
41 St. Mary's University San Antonio, TX $30,650 99%
42 Saint Edward's University Austin, TX $45,428 96%
43 Southwestern Adventist University Keene, TX $21,564 100%
44 Houston Baptist University Houston, TX $32,530 100%
45 Texas State University San Marcos, TX $10,280 82%
46 University of Houston-Clear Lake Houston, TX $7,002 65%
47 University of Houston-Victoria Victoria, TX $6,491 94%
48 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX $46,950 80%
49 Parker University Dallas, TX $15,564 81%
50 Texas A & M University-Commerce Commerce, TX $8,748 93%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents undergraduate tuition & fees for the 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org'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.

Online College Programs in Texas

Online college programs and courses are continually increasing across the nation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just under 16% of all college students took some number of online courses during the 2003 to 2004 school year, and over 43% of all college students took some online courses during the 2015 to 2016 school year; just under 5% (2004) and 11% (2016) completed their college program entirely online. As of 2012, just over 25% of all Texas students were enrolled in some distance education.

While not all schools offer all their programs online, many schools allow students to complete part or all of their programs through distance learning. As the demand for flexible learning options increases, schools are offering more courses and entire programs through online or hybrid formats. Some of the programs most commonly offered online in Texas are those in business, nursing, psychology, engineering, and many more. Although many programs are available 100% in Texas, some programs require on-site training and learning experiences due to the nature of the field (for example, nursing or teaching programs).

Choosing the Right Online College in Texas

There are many benefits to enrolling in an online program at an accredited school in Texas. Not only can you usually attend classes from the comfort of your home, but you can also complete coursework at your convenience. This allows you to work your program assignments around your schedule and make time for family and/or work. When deciding which school is right for you, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Residency Requirements

Most schools with online programs offer a range of programs entirely online, but some programs require you to attend some face-to-face components. These may be on-campus orientations or other learning experiences, or they may be clinical practice hours at locations near you. Practice requirements are common in nursing and education programs and are required for their respective certifications.

Programs Offered

You may know exactly what program you're interested in, whether it's business or psychology, or you may have a few candidates. Talk with your schools about which programs they offer in your field of interest, and if those programs are available as online options.

Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the characteristics of programs, such as full-time versus part-time and synchronous versus asynchronous. Once you've decided on a program, you need to find out if the program is available as part-time and full-time, or only one of the two. Depending on your time commitments, you may specifically need part-time. It's important to know which options are available, and what that means for you as a student, as far as how many hours per week you'll need to devote to your coursework. Additionally, most online courses enable students to complete their work asynchronously (at their convenience) while other courses require students to log in at specific times for synchronous course components (such as lectures and exams).

Accreditation

Accreditation can apply both to schools as well as certain programs and can be provided by various organizations (more on this below). Accreditation is mandatory to qualify for financial aid. If you plan to utilize aid in funding your degree, make sure that the school you attend is properly accredited.

Cost

Online program costs can vary greatly, and often include tuition and various fees. Some programs may offer a flat-rate fee to students while others itemize program costs. Although cost is an important consideration, keep in mind that there are a variety of financial aid options available to students attending online programs in Texas.

Why is Accreditation Important?

Firstly, it's important to note that there are two types of accreditation: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation applies to a school as a whole and shows that a school meets criteria regarding things like retention, graduation rates, faculty and curriculum. Programmatic accreditation applies to specific programs and shows that those programs meet criteria regarding program requirements, curriculum and faculty.

Attending a school that has institutional accreditation is extremely important. Not only is institutional accreditation mandatory for qualifying for financial aid, but it is also helpful for transferring credits to other institutions. Also, programmatic accreditation may be vital for students, depending on their program. Students interested in careers such as nursing, business, or other fields may need to have graduated from an accredited program to qualify for their applicable certification.

Transferring Credits: Online Programs in Texas

Depending on the school's accreditation, students can typically transfer credits into and out of their online program.

  • Transferring In: Students interested in transferring credits into an online program can typically transfer up to 60 credits for undergraduate programs; graduate transfer limits vary by school. The credits need to meet certain criteria, such as being earned at an accredited institution and being applicable to the courses that they replace. By transferring credits in, students can decrease their program requirements, length and overall cost.
  • Transferring Out: Students can transfer credits that they earned online to other schools as long as they meet the requirements of the receiving school. Students whose credits came from a regionally accredited online school can typically transfer them to any other school, while students whose credits came from a nationally accredited school may only be able to transfer those credits to another nationally accredited school. The number of credits that students can transfer from their online program depends on the restrictions of the school that they are transferring them to.

Cost of Online College Programs in Texas

The specific cost of an online program can vary substantially due to various factors such as student prerequisites, specific program and school. The main costs and types of financial aid available to online students in Texas are discussed below.

Typical Costs

The main cost associated with any online program in Texas is tuition. This can range from less than $300 per credit hour to more than $1,000 per credit hour. In addition to the cost of tuition, students will usually be responsible for various other fees such as technology fees, course fees and registration fees. These fees can add up to several thousand dollars throughout a degree program. Although most schools separate program costs into tuition and other relevant fees, some schools offer flat-rate fees that wrap the applicable costs into one amount that might be charged per credit hour or per semester.

Other Cost Considerations

While tuition at a specific school may be $500 per credit for undergraduate students, graduate students may have a tuition fee of $700 or even $1,000. Students must find out the costs for their specific program, rather than a general rate. Students can save significantly on their program costs if they have previous college credits. For example, a student in a bachelor's degree program who has already earned an associate's degree can often cut their costs (and program length) in half.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available through a multitude of sources for online students in Texas. The first step that students should take in inquiring about aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA shows students what types of aid that they might qualify for and is completely free.

Students may be able to qualify for aid in the form of scholarships, which are awards that do not require repayment, based on their program of student, academic performance, or even their characteristics (such as gender, disability, ethnicity). Also, students may be able to participate in work-study aid programs that enable students to earn some of their degree costs by working part-time during their program.

A final step in obtaining aid is using student loans. Although loans are available through multiple providers, federal loans are income-based and usually have better interest rates. After graduation, students might be able to qualify for income-based repayment plans or even federal loan forgiveness.

Popular Online Programs and Careers in Texas

The most popular programs for online students in Texas include those in business, health professions, humanities, natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Some of the most popular and fastest-growing careers in Texas that are relevant to graduates of these programs are discussed below.

  • Training and Development Specialists: These specialists create and implement procedures to improve employee knowledge, skills and practices. They typically need to have a bachelor's degree in an area such as human resources, business, instructional design or training and development.
  • Management Analysts: Management analysts work with company leaders to find and implement methods for improving organizational efficiency. These analysts usually have at least a bachelor's degree in business, management or a related field.
  • Medical and Health Services Managers: These managers oversee and direct departments, healthcare practices or even entire facilities, and typically need a bachelor's or master's degree in an applicable field along with relevant work experience (such as nursing experience).
  • Postsecondary Education Administrators: These administrators direct and oversee various operations and activities of postsecondary institutions. They usually need to have experience in educational settings as well as a master's degree.
  • Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: These counselors provide counseling and treatment services to people with behavioral, mental or addictive problems. They are required to have at least a bachelor's or master's degree, depending on their position.
  • Marriage and Family Therapists: Marriage and family therapists provide family-centered therapy services to individuals, families and couples. Candidates are required to have a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, psychology, or a related field.
  • Social Workers: Social workers work with clients to help them overcome issues in their lives, such as crises, illnesses and financial assistance situations. They are required to have a bachelor's degree or master's degree in social work, depending on their specific role and responsibilities.
  • Psychologists: Psychologists study behaviors, emotions and other human processes to improve those behaviors and processes. While some positions require a master's degree, most psychologists are required to have a doctoral degree in psychology.
  • Urban and Regional Planners: These planners create plans for land use that help with improving and developing communities. Urban and regional planners typically need to have a master's degree in urban and regional planning.
  • Operations Research Analysts: Operations research analysts help companies and other organizations find solutions and improvements by utilizing advanced analytical and mathematical methods and practices. Many of these positions require a master's degree in mathematics or a related field.
  • Mathematicians and Statisticians: These roles use statistical and mathematical methods and techniques to find solutions to problems in healthcare, business, and other fields. They usually need to have a master's degree in mathematics or a related field.
  • Genetic Counselors: Genetic counselors provide support and information to healthcare providers and families regarding risks for inherited illnesses. These counselors usually need to have a master's degree in genetics or genetic counseling.
  • Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners: These advanced practice registered nurses often provide primary care to patients in various settings. They typically need a master's degree in their field of work (for example, a nurse-midwife needs to have a master's degree in nurse-midwifery).
  • Physician Assistants: Physician assistants work under the supervision of physicians, delivering patient care and services. Most physician assistants need to have a master's degree in physician assistant studies along with state licensure.
  • Occupational Therapists: Occupational therapists provide therapeutic services to patients with disabilities, illnesses and those who are recovering from surgeries. They typically need to have state licensure as well as a master's degree in occupational therapy.

Job Title National Median Salary (2018) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Training and Development Specialists $60,870 9%
Management Analysts $83,610 14%
Medical and Health Services Managers $99,730 18%
Postsecondary Education Administrators $94,340 7%
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $44,630 22%
Marriage and Family Therapists $50,090 22%
Social Workers $49,470 11%
Psychologists $79,010 14%
Urban and Regional Planners $73,050 11%
Operations Research Analysts $83,390 26%
Mathematics and Statisticians $88,190 30%
Genetic Counselors $80,370 27%
Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners $113,930 26%
Physician Assistants $108,610 31%
Occupational Therapists $84,270 18%

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