For students seeking adventure alongside quality education, the state of Alaska can be an exciting destination. Though Alaska is by far the largest state (and more than twice the size of Texas), the total population of 740,000 makes it the one of the smallest in terms of residents. The metropolitan area of Anchorage is home to nearly 300,000 Alaskans, while Fairbanks and Juneau each have approximately 33,000 full-time residents.
Alaskans have a choice of ten colleges and universities throughout the state, including five public, three nonprofit private, and two for-profit private schools. Because so many people live in rural areas, online education is an important part of postsecondary learning in Alaska and is continually expanding to serve more students. Individuals considering online MBA programs in Alaska can find numerous programs to meet their needs.
Completing an online MBA in Alaska provides students a range of benefits, not the least of these being an advanced degree that leads to higher wages and more meaningful roles. But aside from those perks, an Alaska online MBA is often cheaper than a traditional campus-based program. While it’s typically cheaper for Alaska residents to complete these degrees – specifically when enrolled at a public college – some of the state schools in Alaska have made it possible for online students, regardless of location, to pay in-state tuition rates. Cost of living in Anchorage is similar to other large cities, though some imported items (such as groceries) may be somewhat higher due to the cost of shipping.
some of the state schools in Alaska have made it possible for online students, regardless of location, to pay in-state tuition rates
Aside from cost considerations, completing an online MBA in Alaska is an excellent opportunity for individuals who can’t get to campus-based programs in Anchorage or Fairbanks. By undertaking an online MBA, students don’t have to worry about travelling to campus multiple times per week – especially during winter months when weather can often be treacherous. As an added bonus, many online programs are taught asynchronously, making it possible for students to complete assignments and listen to lectures at times that fit their schedules best rather than being required to sign on at specific times.
Before selecting any school, students should ensure they understand GMAT requirements for being accepted to an online MBA program. While some schools require GMAT scores unconditionally, others – such as the University of Alaska at Fairbanks – waive GMAT requirements for students who have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
|Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education|
MBA Concentrations for Alaska Students
Given the unique characteristics of the Alaskan economy, graduates of online MBA programs can expertly position themselves to take up exciting new jobs upon graduation – provided they smartly select their concentration area. While students with dedication and focus can successfully steer careers toward their chosen path, undertaking a concentration that complements existing industries or trends can really set them up for success. The following concentrations work especially well with the industries in Alaska.
Concentrations for Alaska MBA Students
- Health Services Administration: The HSA concentration provides students specialized learning opportunities in areas of healthcare finance, ethics, systems management, policy creation, and patient advocacy needed to successfully evaluate, design, and lead within the healthcare industry.
- Entrepreneurship: As young leaders continue to transform Alaska’s economy through the creation of small businesses, a concentration in entrepreneurship can position graduates to launch their own companies and help shape the face of Alaska’s future.
Accreditation in Alaska
Before enrolling in any online MBA program, students need to research the types of accreditation their prospective schools hold. Institution-wide accreditation is divided into two categories: regional and national. While the latter may sound more respectable on the surface, students who elect to attend nationally-accredited institutions often have trouble transferring credits, moving into graduate programs, and even finding jobs, depending on their chosen industry. Because standards for receiving regional accreditation are far more rigorous, students should seek out schools that have met those marks whenever possible. When looking at programmatic accreditation for online MBA programs, degree seekers should look for accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Though an undergraduate degree in business allows graduates the opportunity to work in many varied industries and roles, opportunities afforded by an advanced degree are far more lucrative.
Like many other states – particularly those in the western half of the United States – Alaska is a region where retail trade industries propelled the economy forward and provided tens of thousands of jobs to residents each year. Beginning in 2011, however, healthcare and social assistance services took over as the largest industry in the state. Like other states, the majority of healthcare services are accessed in the state’s largest cities, including Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. The civilian labor force includes 365,000 individuals, with approximately 339,000 of those currently employed in jobs ranging from education and health services to professional and business services. Aside from commercial fishermen and private farmers, the majority of citizens these days are engaged in what the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as “non-farm” roles. As of 2015, Anchorage is the top region in the state for employment after graduation, due both to its size and the diversity of industries present.
|Company||Industry||Headquarters City||Number of Employees|
|General Communication, Inc.||Wireless Networks||Anchorage||5,000|
|University of Alaska||Higher Education||Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau||5,100|
|United States Air Force||Defense||Anderson, Elmendorf-Richardson, North Pole||7,375|
|United States Army||Defense||Anchorage, Delta Junction, Fort Wainwright||10,125|
Before signing on to complete an online MBA in Alaska, prospective students need to be sure that their monetary and time investments are going to provide a sizable return in the years after graduation. The following section takes a look at earning potential for Alaska online MBA graduates.As is the case for many other educational programs, students who are able and willing to gain higher academic credentials are often able to command much higher salaries throughout the lifespan of their careers. While even a two-year associate program thrusts students into a much higher income bracket than those who have only a GED or high school diploma, degree seekers who aspire to hold an MBA are often guaranteed six-figure salaries upon graduation – depending on their chosen industry. Take a look at the table below to get a sense of earning potential for associate, bachelor’s, and MBA degree programs.
|Average Salary by Degree|
Careers for MBAs in Alaska
- Healthcare Executives
While smaller companies may consider candidates with bachelor’s degrees, individuals looking for high-powered positions are required to have an MBA. Roles for healthcare executives are set to grow by 20% overall, with Alaska hiring its fair share to support the growing industry in the state. The median pay in 2016 was $96,540.
- IT Directors
These executives oversee teams of hardware/software developers in a variety of different companies, making their roles indispensable to many different types of industries. Positions are set to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026 and the average median salary is currently $135,800 per year.
- HR Manager
Because HR managers are needed in almost every company that has several employees, HR managers are constantly in demand in myriad industries. Roles for these MBA-educated professionals are set to grow by 9%, and the median pay for 2016 was $106,910.
- Training/Development Executives
These professionals ensure staff are up-to-date on recommended and required training while also working to continue education for their company’s workforce as a whole. Because these executives aren’t tied to an industry, they often find it easy to locate work. Jobs are set to grow by 10% in the next nine years, and the average salary is set at $105,830.
- Top Executives
Tasked with overseeing a company to ensure it meets goals, top executives sit at the helm of thousands of Alaskan businesses. No matter an MBA graduate’s area of interest, chances are there’s an executive position to fit the bill. The average salary in 2016 was $103,950, with roles set to grow by 8% in the coming years.
Now that students have a sense of all the benefits of completing an online MBA in Alaska, most are probably wondering what their options are for undertaking a program in their state. The good news is that Alaska has numerous options to help students find a perfect fit for their goals and aspirations. Review the list of fully-accredited schools below to find a degree tailored to your needs.
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
|Location Fairbanks, AK||Tuition||Tuition $13,320||% Receiving Financial Aid 25%||Student Population 8,638||School Type Public||
ConcentrationsView School Profile
There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Alabama. 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.