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Career Colleges    » Arkansas

Arkansas Career Colleges and Universities

Career and Technical Training in Arkansas

Career Colleges, Technical Schools, and Universities in Arkansas

What you need to know about career colleges and universities in Arkansas. Arkansas has nearly a dozen public universities ranging from small to large. Each program from a Arkansas Career College, a post-secondary for-profit institution, offers an education with an in-demand career field. The programs are designed to get you work-ready, equipped with the practical knowledge, and the competence needed to obtain a competitive career in Arkansas.

At career colleges in Arkansas, you typically don't take general education classes in core subjects such as English and math. Instead, you focus on career-related courses.

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Arkansas Career-Focused Degree Programs

Arkansas colleges and universities can help you--and the state--improve your economic outlook, despite a down economy. Here's how.

Arkansas education, economy: Training counts

From Lumina Foundation to Georgetown University, the reports show that Arkansas educational attainment is among the lowest in the country, which is a unfortunate, because Arkansas degree programs are comparably affordable. Earning your degree through an Arkansas career college or university will open new doors for you, both in terms of job options and salary potential.

Arkansas colleges offer great deals in education

If you live in Arkansas, you know how proud residents are of their colleges, especially when NCAA rankings roll in. Perhaps Arkansas universities' most impressive statistics are earned in the classroom, however. The University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University are two of the state's largest schools, and U.S. News & World Reports regularly ranks both among the best colleges, nationally. Arkansas education is affordable, too: According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost to attend Arkansas public schools in 2009-10 was $11,841, well below the $15,014 national average. Private schools were an even bigger deal, averaging more than $10,000 below the nationwide norm.

Still, the quality and affordability of Arkansas universities and technical schools are not attracting enough students to meet economic demand. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 26 percent of Arkansas residents between 25 and 64 years of age held degrees in 2008, well below the 38 percent national rate. The Lumina Foundation notes that if Arkansas continue earning degrees at the current rate, 34 percent of residents will hold them by 2025. Meanwhile the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by 2018, 63 percent of employers will require higher education. Arkansas career training can help you--and The Natural State--remain competitive, especially when these degrees meet state economic needs.

Arkansas's economy: By the numbers

Arkansas career training--whether through a traditional college or technical school--can help improve your employment outlook, especially if you pursue a high-demand discipline. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that Wal-Mart, the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences and the Winthrop Rockefeller Cancer Institute ranked among the state's largest employers in 2010. Meanwhile, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services reports that Arkansas occupational demand is expected to grow by 7 percent between 2008 and 2018. The following sectors are projected to grow much faster:

  • State government
  • Construction
  • Vocational rehabilitation services

The DWS projects that the following occupations will experience the strongest growth during the same period:

  • Machine tool setters, operators
  • Substance abuse and behavior counselors
  • Forensic science technicians
  • Computer software engineers
  • Medical assistants

Most of these careers require formal education: This is just one reason Arkansas career training is so important. Earnings potential is another. Even in strong fields, Arkansas workers tend to earn less than most Americans. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arkansans earned a mean annual salary of $35,460 in 2010, less than the national average. The state's notably low cost of living can offset some of this wage disparity, and higher education often more than makes up for the rest.

According to the U.S. Census, bachelor's degree holders earned almost $23,000 more than those with high school diplomas alone in 2008. Taking advantage of Arkansas's affordable colleges and universities can help you reap these and other benefits.

Author: Aimee Hosler
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