Colleges in Alabama

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Alabama Colleges & Universities, Trade Schools

Are you among one of the great residents of the state of Alabama? Have you begun to explore your options regarding post-secondary education so that you will be a viable and appealing candidate within the workforce? While there are numerous college and university choices for you to choose from, it is very important for you to select an institution that truly fits you and your lifestyle. Doing your research before you jump into the collegiate world will likely serve you well as you pursue your educational degree program. Within the next several years, 49 - 58 % of the available jobs in Alabama will require individuals to hold some level of a post-secondary degree. Research also shows that throughout the state of Alabama only 3 -8 % of jobs will be attainable with an associate's level degree under your belt. Based on these statistics, there is certainly no time like the present to apply to the college or university of your choosing and get started on furthering your education. Start your college search for Alabama colleges below.

If a small, private learning institution is exactly what you have in mind for your post-secondary education, Alabama certainly boasts several great choices. However, if you are in the market for a larger, public university you will also have a few viable options to select from. No matter what educational degree program you plan to pursue or what type of learning environment you crave, you can rest assured that among Alabama's numerous collegiate options you will find the perfect fit!


Best Trade Schools and Colleges


For instance, if you are interested in a liberal arts degree program and a small, private college is what you have in mind, then you will definitely want to consider applying to Birmingham Southern College. Located in Birmingham, this Methodist based learning institution is primarily attended by undergraduate students. Samford University is another great option you may want to look into. Also located in Birmingham, Samford University is noted to be the largest private university in Alabama. Operated as a Christian based facility, you can expect a low student to faculty ratio and a wide range of undergraduate majors to choose from. A third private university that should be mentioned is the University of Mobile. This learning institution is also operated as a Christian based facility and is well known for its undergraduate programs in education, business, and nursing. Before we move on to a few notable public universities, keep in mind there are many other options if these private institutions do not appeal to you and your educational goals.

Located right in the heart of Tuscaloosa is Alabama's flagship university. The main campus of the University of Alabama boasts approximately 24,000 undergraduate students. This public university offers endless degree program options and a well known athletic program, which is sure to make completing your post-secondary education enjoyable! Situated within the well known Southeastern Conference stands Auburn University. This public university, which is located in Auburn, offers well over one hundred undergraduate degree programs for you to choose from. In addition, Auburn University is known for its numerous student clubs and organizations, which will allow you to be involved while completing your degree. Keep in mind, these types of clubs and extracurricular activities always look great on your resume! It is also important to note that if you are looking for a small university to acclimate to, Auburn may not be the most ideal choice for you. Currently, Auburn University is home to approximately 20,000 students who are working to further their level of education.

If a smaller learning environment is more your speed then the University of Alabama in Huntsville may be a more inviting option for you. Located in Huntsville, this university currently has about 6,000 undergraduate students enrolled in their degree programs. Although this university is well known for its undergraduate degree programs in engineering, business, and nursing, there are also many other great educational options for you to choose from at this facility. The University of Alabama in Huntsville boasts a great working and research based relationship with NASA, Pratt & Whitney, and the United States Army, among others. If your intended degree program would allow you to collaborate with these well recognized names, then this learning institution should definitely make its way to the top of your list.

Although this article only briefly touches upon some of the more popular collegiate choices in Alabama, there are many others that may be more appropriate for what you have in mind for your future. Take the time to do your research, to see what each facility has to offer you in relation to your goals, and to make a choice based on your needs. In addition, there are numerous online educational options that you may want to consider.



Why you should go to school in Alabama


About a third of the 2.5 million workers that live in Alabama have either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree and the number continues to increase each year meaning more and more workers are going to school or even going back to school in order to receive a degree. Around 9% of the state has a graduate level degree or higher. The counties that had the most associate degree granted where in Shelby county, Baldwin county, Jefferson County and Lee county. The lowest was in Washington and Greene Counties which were both under 20% of the population that received an Associate’s degree.

Top Industries by Population


In Alabama the stat employs over 2 million workers in a lot of different industries. The top occupational involves office and administrative support which employs 282,000 with a median hourly wage of $20.15. The next occupation is in sales or sales related positions which employ 217,860 with an annual median wage of $32,830. Production occupations came in 3rd with approx. 205,000 individuals employed making $34,260 per year in salary. The highest salaried employees in Alabama were physicians and surgeons who made a yearly salary of approx. $243,000 followed by obstetricians and gynecologists making $216,000. Outside of the medical field petroleum engineers and marketing managers made $138,000 to $145,000 per year.

Cost of Living in Alabama


One reason why so many people choose to live in the state is the affordable housing compared to the rest of the US. The state has over 375,000 military veterans living in the state and the median home value is $123,800. The median family income is $43,511 however 19% of the state lives below the poverty level. In terms of owning your own business over 137,000 women own businesses in AL compared to 203,000 men.

Top Colleges in Alabama


Alabama has a lot of state ran colleges and universities and below are the top ones according to their current student enrollment numbers.

- Auburn University with 26,550 students
- Columbia Southern University with 37,041 students
- University of Alabama with 38,918 students enrolled
- Troy University with 26,232 students
- University of Alabama at Birmingham with 21,329 students
- University of South Alabama with 17,588 enrolled
- Jacksonville State University with 10,236 students


Top Industries in Alabama


Alabama has a wide, diverse workforce that employs millions of workers. The top industries in the state are:

The state has several large automotive plants that produce close to a million cars each year. Large companies including Hyundai, Toyota and even Mercedes. Mercedes invested more than $400 million to build a plan in Tuscaloosa and the plant has continued to grow. Lincoln employs more than 4000 workers and produces more than 300,000 vehicles for Honda. Alabama current ranks 5th in the nation in terms of light truck production.

Chemical Industry
Large companies such as 3M and DuPont employ thousands of workers that deal mainly in chemical manufacturing. Currently these companies employ over 10,000 workers and make everything from foot processing, soaps, cleaners to vinyl products and textiles. The chemical industry make it the #2 most exported product from the state. With the 9th largest US port it has over 200 chemical companies.


Focusing mainly in cyber security and data centers for large companies, Alabama has over 275 companies operating in its state the focuses on technology related industries. The aerospace industry also employs over 12,000 individuals, a number that has continued to grow over the years. Google has a data center in Alabama and the state’s universities are a great proving ground for graduates. Many of the state colleges offer high level IT degrees which have allowed their graduates to stay local and gain employment without the need to leave the state.


Top Trade School Careers in Alabama


When people decide to attend school they typically take one of two routes. The first is to attend a traditional college. One might go to a Community College first which Alabama has over 200 to choose from, or they can attend a state ran college. The state offers plenty of options but a big percentage of the population would rather go to work as quickly as possible and choose to attend a trade school or vocational school. These vocational schools are all short-term training schools that offer users the ability to get trained in a very short period of time. Some programs can be completed in less than 1 year and most average 12-18 months. Once completed you’ll have specific experience on a subject and are employable. Below are just some of the vocational areas in Alabama to consider when looking into a trade school.

Culinary Arts
One of the great things about a certificate program in the culinary arts is it will allow you to get started working in a restaurant setting in a very short period of time. Most culinary arts programs offer specialized areas including: baling and pasta, catering management, restaurant management, foodservice and even deserts. You’ll find schools in the Birmingham and Mobile area that offer hands-on training programs in culinary arts and some even offer an online aspect of the program. The industry has had a 4.3% job growth over the past few years. Currently the state employs over 1700 bakers, 600 chefs and line cooks and over 2000 food service managers. The average pay for food service managers is $59,820 per year but areas such as Gadsden and Decatur have the highest salary ranges in the state at over $60,000 per year for these positions. One of the biggest advantages of receiving training in the culinary arts is the career is considers a mobile career where you can take what you learned in school and get a job almost anywhere.

HVAC and Electrical
Have you always wanted to become an HVAC technician or electrician and looking for the fastest way for you to enter the field? We recommend taking a training program from a trade school in Alabama. Choose from a wide variety of schools that are close to you. Most HVAC programs can be completed in 12 months. The average HVAC technician in Alabama can make around $39,000 per year but specialized ones and once who have a few years of training behind them can earn closer to $50,000. The industry overall is expected to grow by 29% in Alabama which is higher than the national average. Once you get your 3000 hours of coursework completed you can sit and pass your state exam for your Alabama license. We recommend to check with the state regarding any HVAC or electrical training program you are considering taking first to make sure the school is accredited to offer those programs. We also recommend asking what their graduation rate is on the program as trade programs such as electrical training sometimes can have a low pass rate. You want to make sure you are attending the best school that will give you the highest probability of graduating and earning your license.


Medical & Healthcare
Like most states Alabama has a need to hire and retain those who enter into a medical related field. Some of the top areas that are seeing the most growth potential are in the areas of: medical assisting, medical billing and coding, nursing, pharmacy technician, surgical technician, massage therapy, dental assistant, veterinary assistant and medical lab technician. Most of these programs can be completed by attending a trade school. The average program lasts 12-18 months before you can earn your certificate. Nursing is one of the few that require you to also take a state exam in order to get licensed in the state of Alabama. As the population continues to age the need for highly qualified individuals in the medical field also continue to grow.

Truck Driving - CDL License
With an expected increase in jobs for CDL drivers expected to jump 12% in Alabama over the next 5 years this career is perfect for those who are looking for short term training and still plan on living in Alabama after graduation. One of the best things about earning your CDL license in Alabama is they offer training programs that some are less than 45 days. This will allow you to get your license and be on the road in a matter of months. Alabama had a big trucking industry and you can even most of the time stay within the state while hauling your loads. Most companies are in Helena, Birmingham, Fort Payne, Jasper, Albertville, Montgomery and Center Point. Some companies are looking for flatbed drivers where others might be looking for drivers to haul over state lines. We have seen many Class A drivers in Alabama earn between $45,000 to $70,000 per year and many are receiving signing bonuses.

According to the Alabama board of cosmetology and barbering you’ll need 1500 hours of training to get your license and you must renew your license every 2 years. The state has over 3350 current licensed hairstylists and cosmetologists that earn on average $24,910 per year

Regardless of what type of training or industry you are looking into, Alabama offers some great degree granting and vocational schools to fit almost any type of training that you need. Like all schools we always recommend looking into several to make sure you are comfortable before making your decision. If you are in a hurry and want to get a job fast then we do recommend a trade school or vocational school over a university. Sometimes a university will offer the same program as a trade school however you’ll be forced to take general education programs as part of your training where a trade school will only teach you what you need for that particular skillset.


Alabama Resources