Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Alabama. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

Choosing only accredited higher learning institutions for the list helps guarantee high standards of educational quality. For Alabama colleges, the most common accreditor is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a regional body focusing on Southern states. Its core values of accountability, transparency, continuous quality improvement, and peer review help fulfill the mission of ensuring educational quality.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Alabama

Best Online Colleges in Alabama Badge
Intelligent Pick
The University of Alabama
Most Customizable
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Best Professional Development Programs
Auburn University
Best STEM Degrees
Jacksonville State University
Best Graduate Degrees
The University of Alabama in Huntsville
Most Affordable
University of North Alabama
Best Student Support Services
Troy University
Best for Transfer Students
Athens State
Best Christian University
Samford University
Best for Veterans
University of South Alabama

University of Mobile

University of West Alabama

Spring Hill College

Amridge University

Heritage Christian University

Faulkner University

Oakwood University

Talladega College

Alabama A&M University

University of Montevallo

Tuskegee University

Auburn University at Montgomery

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Alabama

Does Alabama have good online colleges and universities?

In a word, yes. Alabama offers flexible, affordable online degree options, many of which are highly ranked. For instance, U.S. News & World Report ranks University of Alabama’s online Bachelor of Arts program in business #4 in the nation, and its online Master of Business Administration #5 in the nation. A degree in business can take you a long way in Alabama, as management positions are in high demand. Alabama also offers many other types of online degrees and growing industries to choose from.

Do online college credits in Alabama cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses, whereas others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. For example, if you’d like to take online classes at University of North Alabama, you’d need to pay a “Distance Learning Fee” of $50 per credit hour. That said, many universities in Alabama charge a reasonable flat rate per credit for both in-state and out-of-state students, making the degrees highly affordable.

Why should you choose Alabama for online higher education?

Alabama is home to a range of private colleges and public two- and four-year institutions, most of which offer online degree options. Many universities in the state charge the same online tuition for in-state and out-of-state learners, meaning you don’t have to live in Alabama to take advantage of its affordable tuition fees. At University of West Alabama, for instance, you pay the same tuition whether or not you’re an Alabama resident.

The Cost of Online College in Alabama

How much does an online degree in Alabama cost?

The cost of an online degree in Alabama depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the lowest and highest rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Alabama below:

  • Most affordable online college in Alabama: University of North Alabama, $300 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Alabama: Talladega College, $506 per credit out-of-state

Average College Tuition Costs

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Alabama to get in-state tuition rates?

To be considered an Alabama resident and qualify for in-state tuition, you need to prove that you moved to Alabama for reasons other than education and that you intend to stay there for the foreseeable future. When evaluating your residency, institutions consider whether you have relatives, own real estate, pay income taxes, are employed full-time, etc. in the state. Some groups, such as military veterans, active-duty service members, and permanent full-time employees, may be able to access in-state tuition rates without meeting the residency requirement.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Alabama?

Alabama offers residents several ways to reduce their tuition costs. One of the primary sources of tuition assistance is the Alabama Student Assistance Program (ASAP). Depending on your income, the size of your family, and which institution you attend, you may be able to receive up to $5,000 to put toward the cost of tuition through this state-run program.

It’s also worth noting that you should submit your FAFSA application to see if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Alabama

In addition to ASAP, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on financial need, whereas others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Alabama Student Grant Program

This grant program offers up to $3,000 in tuition assistance for students who attend one of the 12 eligible universities. The grant is not need-based, which means that it does not take your financial background into consideration.

Who’s eligible? Alabama residents enrolled at one of these institutions: Ambridge University, Birmingham Southern College, Faulkner University, Huntingdon College, Miles College, Oakwood University, Samford University, Spring Hill College, South University – Montgomery, Stillman College, the United States Sports Academy, or University of Mobile.

Contact information: [email protected] | 334-353-9151

Learn more

CollegeCounts Scholarship

CollegeCounts Scholarships are offered in association with the Alabama state treasurer. The awards provide $4,000 in one-time grant funding to freshmen at a four-year institution in Alabama and $2,000 in one-time grant funding to freshmen at a two-year institution in Alabama.

Who’s eligible? Incoming college freshmen who are U.S. citizens, residents of Alabama, enrolled (or will enroll) in a two- or four-year university in Alabama, demonstrate financial need, have a GPA of at least 2.75, and achieve a minimum ACT score.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-309-1198

Learn more

Alabama Math and Science Teacher Education Program

This program is a federal loan repayment program whose aim is to encourage students to pursue certification in math and/or science teaching, and to seek STEM teaching positions at public schools in Alabama that are most in need. The program offers two levels of repayment: one for students pursuing a teaching certificate in math and/or science, and a second for teachers who choose to work in an underserved public school in Alabama.

Who’s eligible? Students working toward an Alabama teaching certificate in math and/or science who pledge to teach at an underserved public school in the state.

Contact information: [email protected] | 334-242-2273

Learn more

Two-Year College Academic Scholarship Program

These awards can be applied to the cost of tuition and books for students enrolled at a public two-year postsecondary institution in Alabama. The awards are based on academic merit, not financial need. Preference is given to in-state applicants.

Who’s eligible? Students attending an eligible public two-year college in Alabama.

Contact information: Contact the financial aid office at any public two-year postsecondary educational institution in Alabama.

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in Alabama

If you’re still in the process of weighing your college options, there’s a chance you may also be undecided on your major. When making this decision, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. You should think about which industries and careers are projected to grow the fastest in Alabama — such information may make it easier to find a job when you graduate, and being in demand can help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the Alabama Department of Labor’s Employment Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have the highest growth rates in Alabama:


Back in 1910, the Wright Brothers established America’s first-ever civilian aviation school in Alabama, and since then the state has been a leader in aerospace engineering and aviation technology. It’s no wonder, then, that occupations in the engineering sector are among the fastest-growing in the state. But aerospace engineers aren’t the only ones in demand; the state needs civil, industrial, mechanical, chemical, electrical, and other types of engineers as well. As an engineer in Alabama, you can expect to earn an average annual salary in the six figures.

  • Projected growth: 11.27%
  • Degree options: Associate in Engineering; Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Ph.D. in the following fields: Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Nuclear Engineering

Healthcare Support Occupations

As Alabama’s population ages and chronic and acute medical conditions become more prevalent, the state is in increasing need of qualified health care support workers. Such workers can specialize in a certain field, such as mental health or end-of-life care, and can assist healthcare professionals such as doctors and nurses in their patient care. Job titles in this category include patient care assistant, certified medical aide, and community health worker.

Personal Care and Service Workers

Like Alabama’s need for health care support workers, the state also anticipates a growing need for personal care and service workers. Job titles in this domain include home health aides, personal care aides, daycare workers, personal trainers, and fitness instructors. Most of these jobs require a certificate or associate degree.

  • Projected growth: 11.85%
  • Degree options: Varies depending on the industry you want to enter. Examples include Associate in Home Health Care, Associate in Early Childhood Education, NASM Certificate in Personal Training

Operations Management Specialist

Operations management specialists are responsible for maximizing efficiency and flow in the workplace. They analyze business operations and devise new and improved ways to meet customer needs and enhance business performance. Their salaries range from $60,000 to $90,000 or more per year in Alabama.

  • Projected growth: 12.84%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s or Master’s in Business Administration, Management, Administration, Finance, or Marketing

Health Diagnosis and Treatment

Alabama anticipates many job openings for professionals without a traditional medical degree who can diagnose and treat illnesses. This includes naturopathic physicians, midwives, advanced nurse practitioners, dentists, and pharmacists. Most of these jobs have average annual incomes close to $100,000.

  • Projected growth: 10.91%
  • Degree options: Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, Master’s in Nursing, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy