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Accredited Online Colleges in Florida: What Are the Best Virtual Schools in Florida?

Segba Eseoghene Keva Laya - February 17, 2022


Today, online education is more popular than ever. In 2019, over 50 percent of students in the United States enrolled in an online class. According to Statista, online schools in Florida are the top institutions for online enrollment . As a result, there are numerous accredited online colleges in Florida.

Virtual schools in Florida are a cost-effective, convenient, and flexible option for potential students. Colleges like Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, and Florida State University are among some of the best online colleges in Florida. As an online student, you can receive an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or graduate degree from home.

This guide will help undergraduate students and graduate students to find the best virtual schools in Florida. We provide an overview of the best online colleges in Florida, examine factors to consider for prospective students, and take a deep dive into the top accredited online colleges in Florida.

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Types of Accredited Online Colleges in Florida

There are two types of accreditation in Florida. Schools are either regionally accredited online colleges or nationally accredited online colleges. The following section explains in detail what each of these types of accredited online colleges in Florida offer.

Regionally Accredited Online Colleges

Regional accreditation is regarded as the most prestigious type of accreditation. It is mainly focused on colleges and universities. This can include both state-owned and non-profit schools. Regionally accredited colleges are approved and overseen by the Department of Education. They are the most recognized form of accreditation.

Regionally accredited credits can be transferred between regional and national accreditation colleges and are widely recognized. However, they are generally more expensive and have stricter admission standards. Online colleges in Florida fall under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) regional accrediting agency.

Nationally Accredited Online Colleges

Nationally accredited online colleges focus on trade and vocational schools. Career programs that offer online certifications or degrees are usually nationally accredited. National accreditation is perfect if you are interested in industry-specific programs, career programs, technical programs, or tech courses .

These colleges are less expensive than regionally accredited colleges and have much lower admission standards. Credits earned through nationally accredited colleges cannot be transferred to regionally accredited colleges. A nationally accredited college may be mandatory depending on what type of career you are looking for.

Choosing Between Virtual Schools in Florida: 3 Factors to Consider

In the following section, we look at some important factors you should consider when starting your school search in Florida. Continue reading if you want to know how to choose the best online college.

Reputation

You should first find a virtual school that has been around for a long time and has a good reputation. You can do this by looking at reviews and ratings online. You can seek out school rankings for your preferred region and enroll in the top-rated schools first. A school with a good reputation will be better equipped to engage and educate you.

Accreditation

Accreditation is an external recognition that formally conveys an educational institute’s status. Colleges must pass certain guidelines and standards set by accreditation granting agencies such as the United States Department of Education or the Florida Department of Education.

By enrolling in a virtual school with the proper accreditation, you guarantee the college meets the standards of education. This is important for prospective graduate students seeking employment.

Cost

If you want to enroll in a regionally accredited college, you will most likely need a student loan to pay your tuition fees. However, it may be worthwhile taking out a loan if the education you receive will help you land a lucrative job. As an online student, you will have fewer overheads and most colleges will have financial aid options. The figures in the table below are based on undergraduate tuition rates.

Best Online Colleges in Florida: Overview

School City Standard Online Tuition (Per Credit) Top Online Programs Accreditation
Florida Tech-Online Melbourne In-state: $510
Out of state: $510
Accounting, behavior analysis, and cyber security Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
Florida State University Tallahassee In-state: $180
Out of state: $686
Athletic coaching, college teaching, and educational psychology Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton In-state: $203
Out of state: $722
Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies, and Bachelor of Arts Criminal Justice Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale In-state: $797
Out of state: $797
Business, criminal justice, and communication programs Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
Florida International University Miami In-state: $1,750 per semester
Out of state: $3,200 per semester
Accounting, African diaspora studies, and business communication Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach In-state: $465
Out of state: $465
Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies, and Bachelor of Arts Criminal Justice Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
University of Central Florida Orlando In-state: $105
Out of state: $105
Anthropology, history, and creative writing Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
AdventHealth University Orlando In-state: $540
Out of state: $540
Healthcare administration in strategy and innovation, imaging sciences, and nursing Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)
Lynn University Boca Raton In-state: $375
Out of state: $375
Aviation, communication, and criminal justice programs Florida Department of Education (regional)
St. Petersburg College St. Petersburg In-state: $112
Out of state: $387
Nursing, business, and healthcare management Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

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Top Online Schools in Florida: Deep Dive

A woman on a video call while taking notes on a piece of paper. Accredited Online Colleges In Florida
Online learning usually happens over a Zoom video conference.

In this section, we expand on our list of accredited online colleges in Florida. If you plan to enroll as an online student, this deep dive will help you find the right online courses, the best academic program, and exceptional student education.

AdventHealth University | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

AdventHealth University is part of the seventh-day Adventist educational system and is the world’s second-largest faith-based school. This educational institution specializes in healthcare. AdventHealth’s online programs are flexible and self-paced, which is ideal for distance learners. Areas of study include online master’s degrees, online bachelor’s degrees, and online certificate programs.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is the largest, fully accredited university in the world specializing in aviation, security and intelligence, and aerospace. ERAU started as a regional school for pilots and aircraft mechanics, but today it accepts undergraduate and graduate applicants from all over the world.

ERAU was ranked by US News and World Report as the number one aeronautical university for online learning. The coursework takes nine weeks to complete, has flexible scheduling, and uses platforms like eUnion and Virtual labs for an improved online learning experience.

Florida Atlantic University | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) is a public university. Founded in 1961, it is a student-centered research university with over 170 undergraduate programs, associate degrees, and doctoral degrees. FAU offers affordable programs in business administration, office administration, interdisciplinary studies, and criminal justice technology.

Florida International University | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

Florida International University (FIU) is a public university with a total of 48,664 undergraduate students. FIU offers online associate programs as well as on-campus courses. It offers programs aimed mostly at business students such as accounting, African and African diaspora studies, business communication, and business management.

Florida State University | Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (regional)

Florida State University (FSU) is a public university. It was founded in 1951 and has a total of 32,543 total graduates. FSU is ranked as one of the best public institutions in America for graduate programs and some of its top programs are sports management, athletic coaching, college teaching, and educational psychology.

Florida Tech-Online | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

Florida Institute of Technology is a private institution founded in 1958 with a total of 3,475 enrolled students. Florida Institute of Technology is ranked 244 in the 2022 edition of The Wall Street Journal ’s list of best colleges.

Florida Technical College offers undergraduate and graduate programs at affordable prices. The programs cover a wide variety of fields of study including information technology, cyber security, interdisciplinary science, behavior analysis, and digital forensics.

Lynn University | Florida Department of Education (regional)

Lynn University is a private college founded in 1962 with 2,459 enrolled students. Lynn University started as a women’s liberal arts college but is now a coeducational university. It offers affordable online degrees and programs in aviation, communications, and criminal justice.

Nova Southeastern University | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

Nova Southeastern University is a private institution founded in 1964, with 6,314 enrolled undergraduates. It is a research university that offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in arts, humanities, and social sciences. Some of its top online programs are business, criminal justice, and communications.

St. Petersburg College | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

St. Petersburg College (SPC) is a public university founded in 1927 with 26,430 enrolled undergraduates. SPC was one of the first public institutions in Florida to offer a bachelor’s degree. SPC provides live online classes with real-time participation via Zoom. SPC offers college students courses in business, healthcare management, and nursing.

University of Central Florida | Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (regional)

University of Central Florida (UCF) is a research, academics, and partnership university. UCF is a leader in engineering and computer science, optics and lasers, and modeling and simulation. UCF online offers multiple degree options in top industries like healthcare, criminal justice, and engineering. UCF also has an excellent coding bootcamp .

Should I Consider Accredited Online Colleges in Florida?

Yes, if you are looking for highly-rated colleges, a variety of educational programs, and flexibility, then you should consider accredited online colleges in Florida. Virtual schools in Florida can offer you everything from online undergraduate degree programs to doctoral programs to online graduate programs. Your options range from hospitality management to legal studies to life science.

Accredited online colleges in Florida are ideal for students who cannot afford on-campus programs, don’t live in Florida but want to benefit from the state’s education options, or would like to study at their own pace. Furthermore, online courses offer flexible programs so you can fit your studies around your work schedule or your family.

Accredited Online Colleges in Florida FAQ

How do I know if an online college is accredited?

The best way to know if an online college is accredited is to go to the school’s website. Most accredited colleges have links to their accreditation status. You can also check the accreditation agency’s website. You can learn more about accreditation .


Can I get a real degree online?

Yes, a degree earned online is the same as a degree earned by on-campus students. Online education is simply an alternative way for students to study. Online degree programs offer advantages such as flexibility, more affordable tuition fees, and a quicker route to graduation. Most colleges offer hybrid programs, allowing students to take select courses online.


Can I get a job with an online college degree?

Yes, graduates can easily get a job with an online degree. Some online courses are not accredited and may affect employment opportunities. Therefore, it is important to do your research. In general, associate degrees, doctoral programs, and graduate degrees are a safe bet, and your certification will offer you the same career options as graduating in person.


Are there numerous online colleges in Florida?

Yes, there are numerous online colleges in Florida. Furthermore, most on-campus colleges in Florida also offer online programs to online learners. Apart from the list previously mentioned in our guide, some other online colleges in Florida worth researching include Florida State College, Florida National University, Florida Gateway College, and Everglades University.

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Segba Eseoghene Keva Laya

About the author: Keva is a content writer with extensive experience in the field and with her own blog. In the future, she hopes to become a life coach and continue sharing ideas on her own website. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and International Studies from the University of Uyo.

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