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Best Value Online Schools in Texas 2021

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Schools throughout the country, including colleges in Texas, offer online programs in a variety of subjects. Learners planning to work in Texas can pursue online degrees aligned with the state’s highest-paying career fields, which include healthcare, management, and technology.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses in Texas earn an average salary of $77,460 per year, while accountants and auditors earn an average annual salary of $79,520. According to the BLS, general and operations managers in Texas earn an average salary of $123,030 per year.

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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.

Applicants to online programs must typically submit official transcripts and standardized test scores. Some programs require recommendation letters, resumes, and interviews. Many programs also require a minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0.

This guide provides information about Texas online programs, including accreditation and program requirements. The following sections also explore professional organizations and scholarship opportunities for learners in the state.

Accreditation for Online Schools in Texas

Accreditation requires a voluntary evaluation process, during which an accreditation agency verifies the school’s academic quality. Reputable online schools in Texas are typically regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC accredits academic higher education institutions in 11 southern states, including Texas.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) approves and oversees all regional accrediting agencies. CHEA also recognizes several national accrediting agencies, which apply less rigorous standards and often accredit career and religious schools. Students at nationally or regionally accredited schools can qualify for federal financial aid. However, regionally accredited schools do not typically accept transfer credits earned from nationally accredited institutions.

In addition to regional accreditation, schools that offer online programs can receive national accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Students can also look for programmatic accreditation from field-specific accrediting agencies. Learners can browse the Department of Education’s searchable database to check the accreditation status of prospective schools and programs.


Question Answer
How long do you have to live in Texas to get in-state tuition? Typically, Texas students must have resided in the state for at least one year to qualify for in-state tuition.
How fast can you earn a bachelor’s degree online? Program length depends on factors including program structure, transfer credits, and enrollment status. For example, associate degree-holders typically earn their bachelor’s in two years, while first-time freshmen usually need four years. Additionally, accelerated bachelor’s programs can reduce degree-completion time.
How many colleges and universities are located in Texas? Texas contains about 170 colleges and universities. The state government provides an online list of Texas schools.
Can you get your master’s online? Yes. Many students earn their master’s degree online. Depending on the field, some programs require internships, which distance learners typically complete locally. Online students may need to fulfill on-campus residency requirements. Other programs include no in-person components.

What Are the Requirements for an Online School in Texas?

Undergraduate applicants to online colleges in Texas must usually submit official transcripts, standardized test scores, and essays. Applicants may also need to provide recommendation letters. Many schools prefer candidates with high GPAs and above-average test scores. Graduate programs often require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school, along with relevant work experience. Some graduate programs also require writing samples and admission interviews.

Degree requirements vary by school, program, degree level, and subject. However, online learners typically complete about 60 credits for an associate degree, 120 credits for a bachelor’s, 30-60 credits for a master’s, and 60-120 credits for a doctoral degree. Many online undergraduate and graduate programs culminate with a capstone project, thesis, or internship.

Certifications and Licensure for Students in Texas

After graduating from online colleges in Texas, learners can pursue licensure or certification to qualify for specialized careers. Positions such as counselor or certified public accountant require state licensure. Individuals in many disciplines and fields, such as computer science and technology, can pursue voluntary certification in niche areas. See below for a few of the credentials graduates of Texas online programs can earn.

Certified Case Manager

The Commission for Case Manager Certification administers this credential to candidates who pass the CCM examination. To qualify to sit for the exam, candidates need a bachelor’s or graduate degree in health or human services or a related license or certification. Candidates also need 12-24 months of supervised professional experience.

Certified Information Systems Auditor

The Information Systems Audit and Control Association provides this certification to qualifying information technology control, auditing, and security professionals. This certification demonstrates information systems security competencies in key areas. CISA candidates must pass an exam and need at least five years of relevant professional experience.

Certified Public Accountant

CPA candidates must meet state board requirements. Texas CPAs need 150 credits, including a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and additional accounting credits. CPAs also need two years of supervised work experience in the accounting field. Candidates must pass the CPA exam, an ethics exam, and a background check.

Professional Organizations for Students in Texas

Students can join professional organizations to learn about their discipline’s subfields and careers. Many professional organizations offer student membership rates and scholarship opportunities, and associations may host student chapters at large schools. Members often gain access to career resources, networking events, and continuing education, and organizations usually advocate for students and professionals. Online students in Texas can choose from national and state organizations, such as those below.

  • Association of Texas Professional Educators Members own and govern this professional association for Texas educators. ATPE collaborates with all stakeholders to improve Texas public education. The association serves Texas public school teachers, administrators, and staff. ATPE offers legal protection, advocacy, leadership opportunities, and educational tools.

  • Texas Psychological Association This professional association comprises more than 1,000 Texas psychologists and graduate students. TPA advocates for legislation and regulations that ensure high-quality mental healthcare and education. Members receive access to professional development and networking opportunities, peer consultations, professional discounts, and relevant publications.

  • Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors This state board oversees examination and licensure of engineering and land surveyance professionals. The board also offers educational resources, including webinars, publications, and relevant news.

  • Career & Technical Association of Texas The leading association in the career and technical education field, CTAT provides various learning programs and career opportunities for vocational and technical students. CTAT fosters instructional partnerships with Texas industries and businesses, provides online networking opportunities, and offers technical assistance.

Scholarships for Students in Texas

Students in Texas online programs can ease the financial burden of earning a degree by applying for scholarships. Application requirements often include financial need, academic performance, group membership, or a specific field of study. Unlike student loans, scholarships do not require repayment. Online college students in Texas can explore some available scholarships below.

ACNM Texas Midwifery Creation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The American College of Nurse-Midwives awards these scholarships to student members enrolled in a midwifery program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Candidates must demonstrate leadership potential, financial need, and academic merit. Applicants with Texas roots receive preference.
Amount: Varies

Bill Cormack Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Texas Music Educators Association offers this scholarship to full-time freshmen enrolled in a music program at a Texas school. Applicants must plan to obtain Texas teacher certification and pursue a career in music education. Applicants submit five references, including their primary ensemble director. Candidates also submit a resume, official transcripts, and a short essay outlining their career goals and interests.
Amount: $3,000 annually for up to five years

TxHIMA Evelyn L. Cockrell Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Applicants need active membership with the American Health Information Management Association or the Texas Health Information Management Association. Candidates must be enrolled in an AHIMA-accredited health information technology or health information administration program that supports AHIMA professional certifications. Applicants submit recommendation letters, transcripts, and an essay detailing their personal goals and financial needs.
Amount: Not specified

AWM Austin Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Austin Alliance for Women in Media grants this scholarship to Austin-area college students majoring in a media-related field. Graduates of Austin-area high schools with an Austin address can also qualify. Candidates must have completed at least 60 credits, be enrolled full time, and have a minimum 3.25 GPA. Recipients attend the Trailblazer Awards Gala.
Amount: $5,000

Cheryl D. Conkling Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This award from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation supports Conroe, Texas, students with hearing impairments or other physical disabilities. Applicants must demonstrate a love of education and must be a high school senior enrolled in an accredited higher education institution for the coming fall. Applicants submit academic transcripts, a resume, ACT or SAT scores, recommendation letters, and FAFSA information. Candidates also write an essay outlining their future plans.
Amount: $1,500 per semester for up to eight semesters

Best Value Online Schools in Texas 2021

  1. The University of Texas at El Paso

    El Paso, TX



    Located in a binational urban area that includes Mexico's Ciudad Juárez and New Mexico's Las Cruces, UTEP serves a student body that comprises 80% Hispanic learners. The public university offers more affordable tuition rates than many research institutions and is among the most affordable colleges in Texas.

    UTEP offers online degrees including eight bachelor's options and 10 master's degrees. The university delivers bachelor's programs in criminal justice, media advertising, and Chicano studies. Students can pursue a degree-completion program in multidisciplinary studies. Master's students can earn degrees in education, music, engineering, and the arts. UTEP also provides bachelor's and master's programs in nursing.

    Distance learners can access career counseling and library resources, as well as an online writing center and assistive technology lab. UTEP delivers online classes asynchronously, which helps working learners balance their coursework with professional and personal obligations.

  2. University of Houston-Downtown

    Houston, TX



    UHD enrolls more than 15,000 students annually, about a third of whom study online. One of the best online colleges in Texas, the public university offers online programs that prepare graduates for a variety of careers.

    Students with at least 15 transfer credits and a minimum 2.0 GPA can enroll in UHD's online bachelor's degree-completion programs. Bachelor's degree options include majors in the humanities, business, and public service. Students can pursue an interdisciplinary studies major to develop their own course of study. UHD also offers online master's degrees in nonprofit management, criminal justice, and security management.

    Learners can complete most programs entirely online. However, some distance programs include onsite orientation, testing, or lab requirements. UHD maintains articulation agreements with Houston-area community colleges to facilitate seamless transfers. Online students may be eligible for institutional scholarships.

  3. Lamar University

    Beaumont, TX



    A public research university founded in 1923, LU is located in Beaumont, a small city in Southeast Texas. LU is part of the Texas State University System, which maintains the lowest average tuition and fees of any university system in the state.

    Online students at LU can choose from a variety of bachelor's and master's programs. The university offers 13 bachelor's programs for freshmen and transfer students. The bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree-completion program is ideal for working professionals. In addition to accepting transfer credits, LU offers credit for work and military experience. Students in the general studies bachelor's program craft a personalized interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum.

    Other bachelor's programs train students for careers in engineering, social sciences, business, communication, and nursing. LU provides more than 30 master's and certificate programs in areas including education, counseling, business, nursing, and public service.

  4. The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

    Odessa, TX



    Part of the University of Texas System, UTPB enrolls nearly 9,000 students annually online and at its campuses in Odessa and Midland. All online students pay the same tuition rates, regardless of residency. Distance learners can access academic advising, career services, and tutoring.

    UTPB students can choose from a variety of online bachelor's and master's degrees. The university offers 12 online bachelor's programs in fields including business and social sciences. UTPB's interdisciplinary bachelor of arts in humanities program helps students maximize their transfer credits.

    Learners who plan to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering can earn a bachelor of science in industrial technology. UTPB also offers an online RN-to-BSN program. The school delivers eight master's degrees in disciplines including education, business, public administration, and criminal justice.

  5. Sam Houston State University

    Huntsville, TX



    A large public research university, SHSU is located north of Houston in the Piney Woods region of East Texas. With similar online and on-campus tuition rates, SHSU ranks among the most affordable online colleges in Texas. All of the school's majors incorporate some online classes, and the university provides many fully online degree options.

    SHSU's fully online programs include 18 bachelor's and 30 master's programs. The university also offers certificates and two doctorates in education. Bachelor's and master's degree options include majors in the social sciences, criminal justice, business, and communication. Additional master's degree options include library science, mathematics, education, band studies, digital forensics, and sustainable agriculture.

    Bachelor's students can choose from a variety of minors. Learners can design their own bachelor's curriculum by combining three minors into a single degree through SHSU's bachelor of science in integrated studies program.

  6. Tarleton State University

    Stephenville, TX



    One of the leading colleges in Texas' central region, Tarleton State University is part of the Texas A&M University System. Tarleton enrolls students online, at its main campus in Stephenville, and at four additional campuses statewide. Founded in 1899, Tarleton was named in honor of Texas settler John Tarleton, an early benefactor of the school.

    Tarleton offers online programs at the bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. Applicants to the university's bachelor's programs must have fulfilled lower-division requirements through previous college courses, professional training, or military experience.

    Undergraduate and graduate options include degrees in business, psychology, information technology, engineering, nursing, and criminal justice. Bachelor's students can major in kinesiology, health professions technology, and veterinary technology. Graduate students can pursue degrees in education, English, agriculture, and public administration. Distance learners receive online access to academic advising and career counseling.

  7. LeTourneau University

    Longview, TX



    Based in the small East Texas city of Longview, LETU is a private Christian institution. Emphasizing applied sciences and career preparation, LETU is one of a handful of dedicated polytechnic colleges in Texas.

    LETU offers many associate, bachelor's, and master's programs fully online. Undergraduate students can major in computer science, criminal justice, human services, business, aviation, education, theology, and psychology. A bachelor's program in interdisciplinary studies features an option to prepare for Texas teacher certification. Master's degrees include options in education, business, counseling, healthcare administration, and leadership.

    Distance learners take most courses in an accelerated five-week format. LETU provides online tutoring. Distance learners pay significantly lower tuition rates than on-campus students. Online tuition rates vary based on the student's program and transfer credits, but distance learners typically pay less than half of the on-campus rate.

  8. Texas Tech University

    Lubbock, TX



    Enrolling more than 40,000 students annually, Texas Tech is one of the largest colleges in Texas. The Lubbock-based university launched off-site courses in 1966 and today offers more than 80 remote programs.

    Texas Tech delivers online programs in a variety of disciplines. Bachelor's-level offerings include programs in education, business, humanities, social sciences, and agriculture. The university also offers its unique wind science program online. Students interested in interdisciplinary studies can design their own major through programs in general studies and university studies. Texas Tech offers master's and doctoral programs in many fields, including library science, engineering, computer science, healthcare, and performing arts.

    Online students pay in-state tuition rates regardless of residency and may be eligible for institutional scholarships. Texas Tech offers several scholarships for transfer students.

  9. Texas A & M University-Commerce

    Commerce, TX



    Located in the northeastern part of the state, TAMUC is a member of the Texas A&M University System. The public university enrolls students at its main campus and through six satellite locations and online division. TAMUC awards more than $72 million in financial aid annually.

    Students searching for Texas online programs can choose from bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs from TAMUC. Learners with up to 85 transfer credits can pursue individualized bachelor's programs in applied arts and general studies. Students typically complete these interdisciplinary degrees in about two years. Other fully online bachelor's degree options include programs in criminal justice, organizational leadership, and agribusiness.

    TAMUC offers online graduate programs in fields including education, social sciences, humanities, science, and business. The university also offers hybrid programs at all levels. Distance learners can access online library resources and career counseling.

  10. Concordia University Texas

    Austin, TX



    Based in the state's capital city, Concordia is a private Lutheran-affiliated university. The institution enrolls about 2,500 students annually online and at its 389-acre Austin campus. One of the most affordable private colleges in Texas, Concordia awards institutional scholarships to all incoming students.

    Concordia offers a curated roster of online programs, with seven undergraduate options and 10 master's programs. Bachelor's students choose from programs in business, communication, computer science, criminal justice, psychology, and multidisciplinary studies. Eight master of education programs prepare graduates for a variety of administrative and specialized education careers. Concordia also awards master's degrees in business and public health.

    Concordia provides virtual tutoring, and students can also consult online library resources and job boards. All Concordia students must complete six credits of biblical studies.

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