Set on the western side of the Continental Divide, Idaho features soaring mountains and pristine lakes to the north; plains and farmland to the south. One of the nation’s geographically larger states, it is also one of the most sparsely populated, with about 1.5 million people spread across a vast landscape. The state also growing and changing — quickly. Traditional industries like farming for potatoes, mining gems, and felling trees are losing ground to exciting, up-and-coming occupations in tech, healthcare, and finance. An influx of retirees has created a building boom in larger cities like Boise, and the state’s economy is among the nation’s healthiest — Idaho ranked first nationally for job growth for much of 2015.
All of this is good news for job-seekers, especially those with an MBA. Idaho is actively looking for well-educated employees to keep up with strong demand — the state has set a goal of having 60% of its population between the ages of 25-34 educated at a post-secondary level. As a result, the state’s large public universities — Boise State, Idaho State, and the University of Idaho — are setting records for enrollment. Only Utah and New Hampshire have seen more robust growth in college attendance.
Now is a great time to pursue an online MBA in Idaho. The state has made higher education a priority, and well-educated workers are in high-demand, especially in healthcare, tech, finance, and business. The state’s public college system — which includes Boise State and Idaho State — and private colleges like Northwest Nazarene University, have an array of affordable online MBA options between them. Prestigious business school accrediting agencies like AACSB and ACBSP have given their nod of approval to each of these Idaho online MBA programs, and they have their own distinct appeal. The programs at Idaho State and Nazarene have a variety of concentrations options, allowing students to tailor their program to their own interests – and the Idaho job market. Boise State boasts a nationally ranked program aimed at producing top-level management.
Idaho’s online MBA programs are designed for working professionals, and they offer the flexibility, convenience, and low costs for which online degrees are known. Idaho State, in Pocatello, hosts an accelerated program to complete a master’s in a single year. Some travel to the southeastern city is required, but the cost of living is well below the U.S. average. Boise State’s program is travel-free, though the city has been dubbed one of the nation’s “coolest” cities. Nazarene’s program offers a uniquely Christian perspective. Admission into each of these programs is fairly straightforward — Nazarene and Boise does not require the GMAT, though Idaho State does.
|Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education|
MBA Concentrations for Idaho Students
Online MBA programs in Idaho let business students customize their education to their personal interests — and to the Gem State job market — through concentrations in areas like marketing, finance, and accounting. Students select from a wide array of specialties in online MBA programs in Idaho, but these help aspiring business managers move into some of the “hottest jobs” in the state.
- Accounting: According to the Idaho Department of Labor, accountants and auditors are among the top five fastest-growing jobs in the state. Students learn to keep the books of major businesses, and are prepared to move into vacancies in executive accounting positions.
- Operations Management: One of fastest growing careers, according to the Idaho’s Department of Labor, is business operations specialist. This concentration gives students the administrative, financial, and personnel-management tools to run public and private sector companies, and prepare graduates to fill those lucrative openings.
Accreditation in Idaho
Before you enroll in an online MBA in Idaho, you should ensure that it is accredited by a reputable regional or national agency. The best schools in Idaho are accredited by one of the six regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities review higher-education institutions to ensure they are of the highest quality. National accreditors certify vocational and technical programs, and schools that teach to specific industry standards.
The best online MBA programs in Idaho also carry further accreditation by prestigious business organizations like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). Look for these acronyms, and you’ll know that prospective Idaho employers will recognize the advanced degree you’re earning.
The Idaho economy is humming along faster than the national economy, enjoying “robust” growth, according to the Department of Labor. The state expects to add more than 109,000 jobs by 2022, a rate six percent over than the national average. Industries adding the most employees are construction, healthcare, and tourism and leisure, which hosts visitors attracted to the state’s peaks and plains.
Idaho has traditionally been home to booming harvest-based industries, like forestry and farming, and the state predicts those sectors to continue steady growth. The hottest jobs, however, are in software development, management analysis, accounting, personal finance, business operation, and market research — all of which benefit from a master’s of business administration. The strongest job growth is in cities like happening Boise and up-and-coming Pocatello.
Top Employers in Idaho
|Company||Industry||Headquarters City||Number of Employees|
|St. Luke’s Health System||Healthcare||Boise||14,000+|
|Micron Technologies||Semiconductor manufacturing||Boise||6,000+|
Idaho has a robust and growing economy, and it is pivoting toward high-tech, healthcare, and business careers that hire candidates with and Idaho online MBA. These positions also happen to be among the best-paying jobs in the state.
In general, higher education levels lead to higher-paying jobs and overall higher earning potential. Advanced degree-holders have a leg up in some of Idaho’s fastest growing sectors like technology, healthcare, finance, and engineering. Additionally, many MBA programs let students tailor their education to their personal and professional interests through preset or individually tailored concentrations.
|Average Salary by Degree|
Careers for MBAs in Idaho
- Software Developer
One of the fastest growing jobs in Idaho, according to the state’s Department of Labor, is software developer/computer systems design. These positions design and place the applications that make modern business run. Most of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree, but, at the management level, a master’s in business administration is ideal. They are also very lucrative; the BLS puts the mean salary at $102,000 per year.
- Management Analyst
These executives show companies how to streamline, maximize profits, and operate at maximum efficiency. Many companies hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree, but prefer those with an MBA. They also pay well: $81,000 per year, on average, according to the BLS.
Another of the fastest growing careers in Idaho, the state predicts demand for these keepers of the books will rise by almost 30%. Accountants do a lot more than crunch the numbers — many are at the center of management teams, using their skills to interpret data to drive companies forward. High-level positions reward MBA-holders with salaries of $60,000 or better, according to the BLS.
- Personal Finance Advisors
Idaho expects personal finance positions to grow across the state by almost 40% in the next decade, and they are ideal for MBAs with a concentration in finance. Personal finance advisors study markets and help clients invest and manage their estates and personal portfolios. The BLS puts the mean salary at more than $90,000 per year.
- Business Operations Specialists
Executives in operations are highly desired in Idaho, and the trend is expected to continue. The Department of Labor expects the state’s economy to add 30% more of these jobs in the next decade, and an MBA puts one in a great position. Many companies expect these executives to posses a bachelor’s degree, so a master’s provides job candidates an edge. The BLS shows the national mean for these positions upwards of $70,000.
It’s clear an online MBA Idaho makes sense in the state’s current climate. The following list shows where to find a reputable program. All of the schools on this list carry fully accreditation.
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
Boise State University
|Location Boise, ID||Tuition||Tuition $36,750||% Receiving Financial Aid 47%||Student Population 22,086||School Type Public||Visit School Website|
Idaho State University
|Location Pocatello, ID||Tuition||Tuition $21,924||% Receiving Financial Aid 49%||Student Population 13,078||School Type Public||
ConcentrationsVisit School Website
Northwest Nazarene University
|Location Nampa, ID||Tuition||Tuition $19,635||% Receiving Financial Aid 61%||Student Population 2,207||School Type Private||
There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Idaho. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.
Compare student outcomes data
Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school’s strengths and weaknesses.
Estimate the expected costs of your programs
Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.
Check that classes will fit in with your schedule
Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.
Look for partnerships with local businesses
A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school’s business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.
Make sure the program is accredited
Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school’s website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).
Talk to current students and/or recent alumni
You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.