Online Colleges in North Dakota

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Updated October 5, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Across the northern central states, many Americans live in rural areas without easy access to colleges or technical institutions. As a result, many postsecondary institutions in the state of North Dakota have stepped up to offer online programs. Distance learning opens professional pathways by providing specialized training through intense coursework on a flexible work schedule. Online North Dakota colleges cover a variety of subject matter, including agricultural and industrial training, technology, and healthcare services.

This website covers job opportunities and the popular educational paths open to North Dakotans, including major degrees, tuition costs, and employment rates. Furthermore, this resource provides information on federal and private financial aid options. Make an informed decision about your education with this review of the most affordable programs in North Dakota.

Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in North Dakota

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) identifies the top areas of employment in North Dakota as administration, sales, and transportation. In terms of financially lucrative careers, the top professions in the state are in healthcare and management. As the following tables show, North Dakota benefits from an unemployment rate of only 2.6%, resulting from a relatively low population and a constant stream of technical and industrial jobs. Though unemployment rates remain low, the state's mean annual wage does not exceed the national average, but the cost of living in the state is also below average.

The medical profession also yields well-paying positions with significant job growth for state residents. Licensed nurses and nurse practitioners earn an annual mean wage between $63,140 and $103,470.

Given the low population numbers statewide, the North Dakota state legislature proactively circulates employment opportunities through the state's job seekers website.

Unemployment Rate, August 2018

North Dakota 2.6%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017

North Dakota $48,130
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

Cost of Online Colleges in North Dakota

The cost of a quality education can vary widely depending on your location, student status, and career objectives. All students incur similar miscellaneous costs to cover books, software programs, and professional association memberships. Online students tend to save money on transportations costs, and flexible online schedules are more convenient for working adults.

Specialized two-year programs provide training in renewable technologies, cyber security, and petroleum engineering. The tuition for four-year programs is often below the national average. Additionally, the state offers financial incentives through loan forgiveness programs to keep graduates local.

The table below breaks down the difference in tuition costs of the 2018-2019 academic school year.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year Public Four-Year
North Dakota $4,830 $8,660
U.S. Average $3,660 $10,230

Source: The College Board

In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in North Dakota

Compared to the U.S. national average, in-state students in four-year public institutions in North Dakota pay 20% less on tuition per year. Though out-of-state students pay double the in-state tuition cost in North Dakota, that tuition still compares favorably at approximately 40% less than the national average. Therefore, North Dakota provides positive financial incentives for all students interested in higher education. Additionally, the Minnesota-North Dakota Tuition Reciprocity Program brings students across the state border to relevant programs at a prorated tuition fee.

Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year Public Four-Year
North Dakota $8,660 $16,190
U.S. Average $10,230 $26,290

Source: The College Board

Financial Aid in North Dakota

No matter where you plan to go to school, your first financial support application should be the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application helps you figure out what kinds of aid you are eligible for. All accredited institutions or schools obeying the Jay Treaty in North Dakota should accept federal aid. If given a choice between financial support, always prioritize scholarships and grants first, because you will not have to pay back these resources. In addition to federal support, check out your chosen institutions for school-based grants and scholarships. Also, search for scholarships geared particularly towards your future career.

In addition to federal and field support, North Dakota provides various forgiveness programs to encourage higher education standards. The STEM occupations loan forgiveness program reduces financial loan burden by $1,500 for each year of employment in-state. Likewise, the teacher shortage loan forgiveness program works to recruit and retain quality instructors in North Dakota through financial incentives.

State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17

North Dakota $480
U.S. Average $820

Source: The College Board

Scholarships and Grants for North Dakota College Students

Given the need for more state residents with higher education, the state of North Dakota provides multiple financial incentives. Beyond the various loan-forgiveness programs encouraging professionals to build careers in state, North Dakota schools and local associations also provide financial support, like scholarships, to keep student loan debt low. Check out the following list for financial options, and be sure to look for opportunities offered directly by your chosen school as well.

Best Majors for Online Students in North Dakota

According to the BLS, office administration and support roles, together with sales, construction management, and healthcare, all rank among the top professions in the state. The highest growing fields in the state coincide with these results, with personal care assistant, emergency medical technician, and software developer topping the list. Unfortunately, employee shortages make filling many of these professions a challenge statewide. According to Amy Dalrymple of the Bismarck Tribune, the nursing field, for example, is distinctly understaffed, as are technicians and engineers.

To enter these underserved specialist fields, consider one of the following undergraduate degree programs. Put your mathematical skills to work as an accountant to maintain secure financial books; perfect your interpersonal and communicative skills in business or company administration; or maintain high quality healthcare as a registered nurse or nurse practitioner. All three of these degrees are provided through online colleges in North Dakota.


As businesses expand and evolve, accountants provide clear records and project outcomes that guide companies and institutions. Students study financial records preparation and auditing to provide concise documentation, cultivate clear and concise analyses, and learn to identify innovations to improve costs and workflow.

Business Administration

To become an operations manager, a business administration degree will prepare you to plan, coordinate, and execute a complex program for your company or institution. Gain the skills to coordinate personnel and communicate effectively in courses oriented around current business practices. Learners also study theories in economics to maintain strong business acumen as an independent manager.


Get your bachelor's in science in nursing and qualify to sit for the registered nurse exam. As a registered nurse, you will work with patients and medical professionals to provide quality care in North Dakota's growing healthcare system. Consider continuing your education to become a nurse practitioner and open your own independent practice.

Resources for Online College Students in North Dakota

North Dakota University System: This resource unites 11 universities statewide, providing school information for students and parents, financial aid opportunities, and news on state education policy initiatives. Access the state board of higher education, and learn more about the education system of North Dakota in this comprehensive website.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium: Designed to orchestrate and monitor tribal colleges, this consortium maintains high educational standards for North Dakota's five tribal institutions. Access this website for information on school systems and core curricula, and find resources to help native students stay on track for graduation.

North Dakota Department of Education: This government website provides links to FAFSA applications and popular loan resources, as well as lists of public and private institutions, tribal colleges and community colleges. Given the importance of healthcare in the growing economy, NDDE also links to the North Dakota Department of Health.

North Dakota Public Health Association: Given the anticipated rise in healthcare services in North Dakota, knowing the central public health association in the state will be useful for future healthcare providers. Find out about public healthcare advocacy groups, state job opportunities, and upcoming networking events.

North Dakota Rural Health Association: Another healthcare association, the NDRHA focuses specifically on the largely rural state society. Become a member (students join with only a $25 annual fee) to receive newsletters on the latest issues in-state, and attend and participate in the NDRHA annual conference.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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