Accredited online colleges in California provide learning opportunities for busy, full-time working professionals in the “Golden State.”

California is our country’s most populous state with over 38.8 million residents. Eight of the top 50 largest cities in the United States are located here. From the Sierra Nevada to the Mojave Desert, California’s higher education is nearly as diverse as its natural landscape.

It’s estimated that more than three million students are enrolled in California’s post-secondary system. According to the CCCCO, Californians with a college degree earn $400,000 more in their lifetime than those with a high school diploma. The Pew Charitable Trust reports that California has a healthy job outlook with 264,000 new jobs likely this year.

Below we’ve highlighted details about the 20 online colleges in California and ranked them from most to least expensive according to in-state undergraduate tuition as reported by College Navigator.

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California is a private sea-grant and space-grant research institution currently offering 80 degree programs online. Before the Internet even existed, the USC Graduate School has connected distance learners with the university’s high-quality education since 1972. More than 7,700 graduate students are pursuing their online master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree from USC. According to the U.S. News, the University of Southern California has the nation’s top online graduate computer information technology programs and third best online graduate engineering degrees. USC has won the “Digital Innovation in Learning Award” from EdSurge. Some popular online degrees include the M.S. in Computer Science, M.Ed. in School Leadership, M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, M.S. in Gerontology, and M.S. in Cyber Security Engineering.

Tuition: $48,280

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

3601 Watt Way
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 740-9033
gradadm@usc.edu
School Website

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

Rooted in the work of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the University of San Francisco is a premier private non-profit Roman Catholic and Jesuit liberal arts institution located near Golden Gate Park. Along with its four northern California branch campuses, USF offers eight fully online degree programs at the master’s and doctoral level. Forbes magazine has ranked USF as the 97th best research university in the United States. Despite enrolling over 10,700 annually, the University of San Francisco offers small online class sizes with a student-faculty ratio of 14:1. USF offers an online values-based education leading to Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and other degrees.

Tuition: $41,450

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 422-4900
onlineeducation@usfca.edu
School Website

University of La Verne

La Verne, CA

First founded in 1891, the University of La Verne is a private non-profit Christian institution affiliated with the Church of the Brethren within Los Angeles County. La Verne operates extension locations from Bakersfield to Irvine and Oxnard as well as a virtual campus. Students can currently pursue five fully online degrees, which are the B.A. in Business Administration, B.S. in Organizational Management, B.S. in Public Administration, MBA for Experienced Professionals, and M.S. in Child Development. The U.S. News recognized the University of La Verne for hosting America’s 18th best online bachelor’s programs. La Verne also won the 2013 “Higher Education Excellence in Diversity” (HEED) Award from INSIGHT magazine.

Tuition: $36,744

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

1950 Third Street
La Verne, CA 91750
(909) 593-3511
laverneonline@laverne.edu
School Website

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, CA

As the largest undergraduate member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), Azusa Pacific University is a private Free Methodist institution enrolling over 6,500 students near Pasadena. APU currently delivers 35 online programs at the certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s level. Online programs blend individual assignments with interactive chats and forums. Some popular online degree offerings include the B.S. in Criminal Justice, B.A. in Applied Psychology, B.S. in Health Sciences, M.A.Ed. in Special Education, and M.A. in Executive Leadership. The U.S. News has recognized Azusa Pacific University as the 139th best college for veterans nationwide. APU also was granted the “Beyond the Books Excellence in Service Learning Award.”

Tuition: $33,096

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

901 East Alosta Avenue
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 969-3434
admissions@apu.edu
School Website

La Sierra University

Riverside, CA

La Sierra University is a private Seventh-day Adventist liberal arts institution serving more than 2,400 students from its suburban campus in Riverside. For over 10 years, La Sierra has offered accredited online degrees through its School of Education. Using Blackboard, online learners can pursue 11 programs fully online, including the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), M.A. in Elementary Education, M.A. in Secondary Education, and M.A. in Educational Administration. La Sierra University has been honored by the USNWR as the West’s 57th best regional college. It was also given the nation’s highest honor on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Keep in mind that La Sierra often has one of America’s highest average student debt rates though.

Tuition: $29,895

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)
Adventist Accrediting Association (AAA)

Contact

4500 Riverwalk Parkway
Riverside, CA 92505
(951) 785-2203
dknipschild@lasierra.edu
School Website

California Baptist University

Riverside, CA

Controlled by the Southern Baptist Convention, California Baptist University is a regional private Christian liberal arts institution based in Riverside to educate over 8,500 students. CBU is well-known for its Annie Gabriel Library, which houses 110,000 print volumes and over 150,000 eBooks. An increasing number of programs offered in CBU’s 10 academic divisions are being offered online. The USNWR recognized California Baptist for promoting the country’s 23rd best online bachelor’s programs and 82nd best online MBA program. CBU’s website also received the top award in the Summit Emerging Media Award (EMA) competition. Online learners at California Baptist University have 45 degree options, including a B.A. in Early Childhood Studies, B.S. in Kinesiology, M.S. in Accounting, and M.A. in Public Relations.

Tuition: $29,422

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
(951) 689-5771
cbuonline@calbaptist.edu
School Website

San Joaquin Valley College

Visalia, CA

Founded in 1977 by Robert and Shirley Perry to educate medical assistants, San Joaquin Valley College is a for-profit independent junior college system operating 14 campuses across California and an Online Division from Visalia. With full WASC accreditation, SJVC specializes in career training courses in business, medical, and technical fields. San Joaquin Valley College is licensed to educate residents of Florida, Maryland, and Washington. There are currently six Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees available fully online. These programs are in Business Administration, Construction Management, Human Resource Administration, Information Technology, Medical Assistant, and Medical Billing and Coding. SJVC’s Online Portal is open for students 24 hours a day, seven days a week for flexibility.

Tuition: $28,830

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

8344 West Mineral King Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291
(866) 544-7898
admissions@sjvc.edu
School Website

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno, CA

Following the motto “Empowering Leaders, Transforming Lives,” Fresno Pacific University is an accredited private Christian institution founded in 1944 by the Mennonite Brethren Church in California’s Central Valley. FPU enrolls around 3,600 students each year in 45 accredited areas of study. Students can pursue one of the two bachelor’s and 14 master’s programs available 100 percent online. Among FPU’s popular online degrees are the B.A. in Early Childhood Development, B.A. in Health Care Administration, M.A. in Educational Technology, and M.A. in Kinesiology. There’s also an online Certificate in Mennonite Brethren Studies. The U.S. News recognized Fresno Pacific as the 37th best college in the West. FPU won the “Excelencia in Education” Award for helping Latinos succeed too.

Tuition: $26,638

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)

Contact

1717 South Chestnut Avenue
Fresno, CA 93702
(559) 453-2037
ugadmis@fresno.edu
School Website

Academy of Art University

San Francisco, CA

Highly regarded for being the first school to be invited to New York Fashion Week biannually, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco is a private for-profit institute enrolling more than 18,000 students on-campus and online. Notable alumni include Jason Sperling, Chris Milk, Tom Luedecke, Heidi Montag, and Whitney Martin. Since 2002, Academy of Art has delivered innovative online arts education in over 28 fields. Online art majors can pursue a B.A. in Architectural Design, BFA in Fashion Styling, BFA in Game Development, MFA in Industrial Design, MFA in Advertising, and more. There’s also an Online Pre-College Art Experience Program offered for high school students.

Tuition: $19,740

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)
National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

Contact

79 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(800) 544-2787
admissions@academyart.edu
School Website

Allied American University

Laguna Hills, CA

Serving distance learners since 1992, Allied American University is an accredited for-profit online institution located in Laguna Hills. With a student-faculty ratio of 10:1, AAU offers a focused, effective online learning environment for excelling in business and allied health fields. AAU has consistently been recognized by GI Jobs magazine as a top “Military Friendly School” for six straight years. Online learners have the ability to obtain a B.S. in Business Administration, B.A. in General Studies, B.S. in Criminal Justice, A.S. in Criminal Justice, A.S. in Business Administration, or A.A.S. in Medical Office Management. There are also 10 certificate programs delivered online with 24/7 access to course materials.

Tuition: $18,735

Accreditation

Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC)
Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

Contact

22952 Alcalde Drive
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(888) 384-0849
info@allied.edu
School Website

ICDC College

Huntington Park, CA

Founded in 1995, ICDC College is a nationally accredited private for-profit higher learning institution providing career-oriented training at two Southern California campuses and online from anywhere. Since launching its Online Campus in 2009, ICDC has been consistently named among the top “Military Friendly Schools” in GI Jobs magazine. The college received the ACCSC School of Distinction Award from 2004 to 2011. ICDC College even was granted official Awards of Commendation from the U.S. Senate. Online learners can select from 14 fully online programs, including the Associate’s of Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Associate’s of Healthcare Management, Associate’s of Homeland Security, and Associate’s of Business Management. All qualified online ICDC students get a laptop with their tuition.

Tuition: $16,608

Accreditation

Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (AACSC)

Contact

6812 Pacific Blvd.
Huntington Park, CA 90255
(323) 277-0240
School Website

Golden Gate University

San Francisco, CA

Located in San Francisco’s thriving Financial District, Golden Gate University is a private non-profit, non-sectarian institution that specializes in business education for its over 5,300 students. Since 1997, GGU has offered online degree programs using the Moodle learning platform. Students can select two bachelor’s degrees, 13 master’s degrees, and 17 certificate programs delivered 100 percent online. 80 percent of Golden State students attend part-time while continuing their career full-time. GGU’s online programs include the B.S. in Business, MBA, Executive MBA, B.A. in Management, Master of Financial Planning, and M.S. in Information Technology Management. Golden Gate University ranked 206th in the Social Science Research Network’s list of America’s top 500 business schools.

Tuition: $14,640

Accreditation

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 442-7800
elearninghelp@ggu.edu
School Website

Argosy University

Orange, CA

Owned by Education Management Corporation (EDMC), Argosy University is a nationwide system of private for-profit institutions that serves over 24,800 students from 28 U.S. locations and an accredited online division. At this time, online learners can select from three associate’s, five bachelor’s, 10 master’s, and six doctoral degrees. Popular programs include the B.A. in Psychology, B.S. in Criminal Justice, M.S. in Organizational Leadership, M.S. in Human Resource Management, and M.A. in Sport-Exercise Psychology. Students have access to over 350 databases through Argosy’s Online Library from the Campus Common. Argosy University has particularly received the National Malcolm Baldridge Quality Award for high-caliber business education. The university’s also rated 272nd by high school counselors in the USNWR.

Tuition: $13,663

Accreditation

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

333 City Blvd. Suite 1810
Orange, CA 92868
(866) 427-4679
materialsreview@argosy.edu
School Website

Brandman University

Irvine, CA

Within the Chapman University system, Brandman University is an accredited private non-profit institution educating over 11,000 working adults annually at 25 West Coast campuses and online via the Internet. Brandman is well-known for having a unique curriculum model called Instructional Design for Engaged Adult Learning (iDEAL). The U.S. News recognized Brandman for having the nation’s 31st best online bachelor’s degrees and 65th best online graduate business programs. Brandman was granted the “Leadership 500 Excellence Award” from HR.com twice. The university’s also a winner of the UPCEA Engagement Award. Online students can select from nearly 100 fully online degrees. Popular options are the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), M.A. in Education, and B.A. in Applied Studies.

Tuition: $12,200

Accreditation

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 753-4774
adminfo@brandman.edu
School Website

Trident University International

Cypress, CA

Featuring an A+ BBB rating, Trident University International is a virtual private for-profit institution owned by Summit Partners to educate over 8,000 students online from Cypress. All courses offered at the regionally accredited college are available online. Busy working adults can choose from seven bachelor’s, nine master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as over 80 specialized concentrations. Trident offers a B.S. in Leadership, B.S. in Computer Science, B.S. in Homeland Security, M.S. in Emergency and Disaster Management, M.S. in Health Sciences, and more. TUI utilizes the Robust Learning Model (RLM) created by its founder Dr. Yoram Neumann. Trident University International has received the “Military Friendly School” designation from Victory Media for four straight years.

Tuition: $8,400

Accreditation

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

5757 Plaza Drive Suite 100
Cypress, CA 90630
(855) 805-4304
admissions@trident.edu
School Website

California Miramar University

San Diego, CA

Established through the DETC in 2005, California Miramar University is an affordable for-profit private institution following the motto of “Knowledge is Power.” All of CMU’s 12 academic degree programs can be completed fully online or in a hybrid format with weekly classes in San Diego. California Miramar specializes in offering high-quality, accredited business education leading to a range of Cisco and Microsoft certifications. Popular programs at CMU include the B.S. in Business Administration, B.S. in Public Administration, M.S. in Strategic Leadership, and Master of Business Administration. In fact, the San Diego Business Journal named CMU among the city’s top 10 MBA programs four times.

Tuition: $8,050

Accreditation

Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)

Contact

9750 Miramar Road
San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 653-3000
admissions@calmu.edu
School Website

California State University – East Bay

Hayward, CA

Boasting the lowest tuition price in California at just $6,564 per year, California State University – East Bay belongs to the state’s 23-campus system of top-tier public research institutions. With over 14,500 students, CSUEB has been recognized as one of the Princeton Review’s “Best in the West” schools. Cal State East Bay is acclaimed for offering America’s 153rd best online bachelor’s programs by the U.S. News. The university also won the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT magazine in 2014. CSEUB’s Online Campus offers conveniently flexible 11-week course sessions to obtain nine fully online degrees. Among the accredited offerings are the B.A. in Ethnic Studies, B.S. in Hospitality and Tourism, M.S. in Educational Leadership, and M.S. in Health Care Administration.

Tuition: $6,564

Accreditation

Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94542
(510) 885-3000
online@csueastbay.edu
School Website

Bonus: University of the People

Pasadena, CA

Although the University of the People isn’t included in the College Navigator database, it’s a great bonus online college offering accredited education for $0. Recently approved by the DETC, the University of the People is a private non-profit higher learning institution serving over 2,000 students online from Pasadena. It’s the world’s first free open online academic option. UOPeople still gets paid by charging a $100 administration fee for each exam. Hewlett Packard has partnered with the university to provide virtual research internships to enrolled students. The University of the People won the 2013 ISIC Award for its innovative education practices. Students can pursue an A.S. in Business Administration, B.S. in Business Administration, A.S. in Computer Science, and B.S. in Computer Science online.

Tuition: $0

Accreditation

Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)

Contact

225 South Lake Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 264-8880
Admissions@uopeople.edu
School Website

Choosing an online college over a traditional, brick-and-mortar campus can provide significant advantages. Not only can you attend class in your pajamas, but you can also create a self-paced schedule in which your learning will be maximized.

According to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), online students are more likely to participate in intellectually challenging course activities and interact with peers of different cultures. In essence, you can get the same high-quality degree for a lot less green too.

Whether you’re a resident of the West Coast or not, consider attending one of these accredited online colleges in California.