Best Online Colleges in California for 2022

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Are you considering enrolling in an online college degree program in California? Earning a degree will increase your competitiveness and earning potential in the work force. Graduates will also have many opportunities for employment, as this state saw the country’s largest job increase from May 2020 to 2021. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California added 1,220,200 jobs throughout the year. This is significantly more than even the two closest competitors, New York and Texas, which both had increases of less than 900,000. In November 2021, the state’s civilian labor force totaled 19,040,700, with 1,321,300 unemployed. As of this date, California’s unemployment rate was at 6.9%.

In addition to having fairly good job prospects, college graduates can expect to earn decent wages. In 2020, California had a mean hourly wage of $31.61 and an annual mean wage of $65,740. Both of these are higher than the national means of $27.07 and $56,310. However, it’s important to remember that salaries vary depending on the career field selected, with some offering better prospects than others. From 2018 to 2028, the occupations with the most job openings are expected to be food preparation and serving workers, personal care aides, and retail salespersons. The fastest growing occupations in the state include occupational therapy assistants, speech-language pathologists, photographers, physical therapist assistants, and information security analysts.


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Online Higher Education in California


California has the lowest tuition in the country for in-state students attending public colleges and universities. For residents, the average cost of tuition and fees is $3,282 per academic year. The average cost for out-of-state students is $12,517 per academic year. This is still quite competitive when compared to other states and makes California institutions a good choice for online higher education.

Online learning can be considerably less expensive than traditional options. One reason for this is that remote students do not have to pay for many of the fees associated with attending classes and living on campus such as room, board, meal plans, and parking. It’s important, however, to keep housing expenses in mind when considering school and program options. Additionally, online students tend to qualify for many of the same financial aid opportunities available to on-campus students, making it imperative to complete and submit FAFSA documents.

The cheapest rates will be reserved for in-state students, even when studying remotely. Every college and university approaches this designation differently, but most define in-state status as being physically present in California for more than one year with the intent to make it your home. Status as an in-state student must be established prior to the term start-date.

Our Rankings Methodology


Rankings can provide valuable insight for prospective students when looking for or deciding between potential online programs. The information provided often indicates which options are most highly valued and, as a result, which degrees will be respected the most by future employers.

We left no stone unturned when developing our list of top online programs in California. Our data collection includes only colleges and universities that offer online education, and we carefully assess qualify and affordability prior to releasing our findings. Additionally, only accredited institutions are considered during the process.

To this end, we utilize a proprietary ratings system in order to rank difference colleges and universities with the best online college programs in California.

Some of the data types utilized to generate our rankings include:

  • Graduation Rate
  • Net Price
  • Average Graduate Salary
  • Retention Rate
  • Reputation
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

What are the Best Online Associate & Community College Programs in California?


Online community college programs in California are ideal options for in-state students seeking to expand their knowledge and skills in a wide variety of content areas. Associate degree graduates are not only often qualified to find employment right away but are also better prepared to enroll in four-year higher education degree programs. Most course credits can be easily transferred from one accredited institution to another, making earning a bachelor’s degree more achievable than ever before.

Diablo Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
18,693
Graduation Rate
48%
Net Price
$8,369
Grads Salary
$48,000
West Valley College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
7,513
Graduation Rate
40%
Net Price
$6,541
Grads Salary
$38,800
Palomar College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
21,141
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$7,530
Grads Salary
$37,250
Rio Hondo College
College Type
4-year, primarily associate's, Public
Student Population
15,692
Graduation Rate
21%
Net Price
$7,220
Grads Salary
$40,200
Coastline College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
8,826
Graduation Rate
31%
Net Price
$9,105
Grads Salary
$35,100
Cuesta College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
10,093
Graduation Rate
38%
Net Price
$13,928
Grads Salary
$35,600
San Jose City College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
8,378
Graduation Rate
25%
Net Price
$16,997
Grads Salary
$39,600
Hartnell College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
8,673
Graduation Rate
29%
Net Price
$7,532
Grads Salary
$32,100
Barstow Community College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
2,444
Graduation Rate
35%
Net Price
$9,915
Grads Salary
$29,900
Los Angeles City College
College Type
2-year, Public
Student Population
14,800
Graduation Rate
25%
Net Price
$10,828
Grads Salary
$32,700
Full Ranking Report

What are the Best Online Universities & College Programs in California?


There are numerous online college programs available in California for students seeking bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The level of higher education needed is dependent upon the intended profession, with some jobs requiring more extensive training than others. Choosing to pursue degrees online offers more flexible scheduling, especially for those already employed. Graduates will have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in their given fields. Bachelor’s degree graduates will also have the qualifications necessary to enroll in graduate-level programs.

Stanford University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
15,953
Graduation Rate
95%
Net Price
$20,023
Grads Salary
$112,000
San Jose State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
36,085
Graduation Rate
66%
Net Price
$15,995
Grads Salary
$88,000
University of Southern California
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
46,287
Graduation Rate
92%
Net Price
$39,759
Grads Salary
$87,000
Santa Clara University
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
8,616
Graduation Rate
92%
Net Price
$48,284
Grads Salary
$91,000
San Diego State University
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
36,334
Graduation Rate
76%
Net Price
$13,192
Grads Salary
$76,000
California State University-Long Beach
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
40,069
Graduation Rate
73%
Net Price
$10,568
Grads Salary
$73,000
United States University
College Type
4-year, Private for-profit
Student Population
1,981
Graduation Rate
55%
Net Price
$16,260
Grads Salary
$83,000
University of Redlands
College Type
4-year, Private not-for-profit
Student Population
4,931
Graduation Rate
71%
Net Price
$30,240
Grads Salary
$81,200
California State University-Chico
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
16,746
Graduation Rate
65%
Net Price
$16,109
Grads Salary
$76,000
California State University-Fresno
College Type
4-year, Public
Student Population
25,497
Graduation Rate
58%
Net Price
$6,906
Grads Salary
$72,000
Full Ranking Report

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