Do you currently live in Oklahoma? Are you beginning to do some research regarding potential career paths and possible collegiate choices that would help you to obtain your goals? Of course, with regards to your future determining a fitting career path and the most suitable college or university are both huge decisions that you will have to make. Below, you will find some basic employment information that has been projected for the next several years. This information will surely help to validate that you are making the best choice by furthering your education. In addition, five of the most popular colleges and universities in the state will be briefly introduced.
Keep in mind, there are definitely many other post secondary choices that you may want to consider. Take your time and choose the learning facility that most closely addresses your goals, your lifestyle, and your academic needs. In the state of Oklahoma approximately 32-41% of the available jobs will be appropriate for individuals who have only completed their high school graduation requirements. However, if you have completed some level of post secondary degree or training program you will be adequately qualified for 49-58% of the available jobs in this state. It is important to note that while adequately qualified means you may able to attain a particular job, it does not bear any relevance to the rate of pay that you will be able to receive. After all, your potential pay will largely depend on your location and your field of study, as well as your level of skills and education.
One of the most popular choices among prospective students is the University of Oklahoma. Currently, this university is ranked as 108th of best colleges and universities, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Located in Norman, this university was founded in 1890, which should help to validate the solid educational foundation that it has to offer interested students. The University of Oklahoma offers students a nationally recognized meteorology department, among several other highly ranked degree programs. Current statistics show that there are about 20,000 undergraduate students enrolled at this learning institution. In addition to a great academic program, this university is particularly well known for its football team. Northeastern State University is another great option for prospective students. Along with a rich historical tradition, this university boasts a larger population of Native American students than any other post secondary facility in the country. Recent online reports show that this university has about 8,500 students enrolled in their degree programs.
As an added benefit, the only College of Optometry in the state of Oklahoma is based at this university. The third most popular collegiate option in this state is Oklahoma State University. If you are interested in pursuing a career in the fields of Agriculture or Mechanical Engineering, then this university should definitely make your list of possible options. In fact, this university is known as being one of the top universities in our country for these two areas of study. However, no matter what field of study you plan to pursue, Princeton Review rates this university as one of the best value colleges in the United States. Located in Stillwater, Oklahoma State University is currently home to about 19,000 undergraduate students who are working to complete their degree.
The University of Tulsa is another viable option to add to your list of collegiate considerations. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and operated as a private learning institution, this university currently reports just fewer than 3,000 students enrolled. Therefore, if a small class size and a low student to faculty ratio are appealing to you, then the University of Tulsa just may be the perfect fit! Recently, this university was ranked as 6th for the quality of life offered to its students (according to the Princeton Review). In addition, the U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Tulsa as 91st of best colleges and universities to attend in the country. As a final benefit, the Petroleum Engineering department at this university is well recognized and noted as one of the best in our world! Last, but certainly not least is the University of Central Oklahoma, which is located in Edmond. Although there are many great degree programs for interested students to choose from at this facility, this university is most well - known for its programs in the field of education. In fact, when this institution was founded in 1890 its sole purpose was to train prospective teachers.
Oklahoma has a great number of sectors that help their economy grow each and every year. Areas in alternative solar and energy, the financial sector and manufacturing all have rebounded from the recent recession.
One of the largest industries in Oklahoma is in healthcare where over 60,000 are currently employed just in Oklahoma City alone. The need to retain those already living in the state has never been more important. The state currently has a 1.3 billion dollar deficit and the healthcare industry has been impacted the most. Many fear they will have to cut staff however larger hospitals say they need more staff to keep up with demand and the mandatory insurance laws.
Medical Assistant & Phlebotomy – According to the BLS.gov website Oklahoma City currently employs over 3720 medical assistants followed by Tulsa at 1800. The average salary is $25,620 however after doing a few searches we found plenty of available jobs open in the $35,000-$38,000 range.
Nursing – The state is expected to be short over 3000 nurses. This is by far our favorite career to recommend people that want a long lasting career in the healthcare industry. The hope for the nursing board is that you’ll train in the state and accept one of the many jobs available with an average salary of $57,130. The only issue is other states have similar positions available from $65,000 to $80,000 which is why the shortage in the state. If you are new and getting ready to enroll you couldn’t have picked a better time to become a registered nurse.
Dental Assistant – This career in Oklahoma City has a median salary of $32,308. The top areas of the state is in the Eastern part of the state with a high of $47,693. The Oklahoma Employment Security commission predict a 20.61% increase in the number of jobs that Oklahoma will have over the next 6 years. Dentists in Tulsa hired the second most assistants.
Massage Therapy – Salaries are expected to be between $19,000-$24,000. It is recommended that you join the American Massage Therapy Association which provides great benefits to its members and keeps you updated about the industry.
Other Trade Programs:
- Network Systems Administration
- Software Development
- Website Development
- Aviation Industry
- Aviation Technology & Maintenance, Aviation Flight
- Electrical Mechanic & Technology
- Diesel Mechanic & Automotive
The population of OK is 3.7 million and the state enjoys a relative low cost of living compared to the rest of the nation. The media salary for all those working is $35,830. Besides its beauty one of the reasons why so many people attend colleges in the state is that schools are more affordable. Once you graduate you won’t have to compete with so many other people in the job market. Only 17% of its workforce have received their Bachelor’s degree and less than 8% have continued on to receive a graduate level degree. The major cities for employment are: Oklahoma City, Lawton, Moore and Tulsa. The counties with the lowest education levels are in Adair, Jefferson, Coal and Hughes where the highest is in Cleveland and Payne.
Oklahoma had fallen behind when it came to providing enough resources for those entering colleges. Five years ago the state has over 72 degree granting colleges and the number is down to 65 today. Even though Oklahoma had the 6th lowest overall tuition rates in the US it still averaged $7450 per year plus room and board which was too much for many of the graduating high school seniors. Their solution was to let the universities lower their tuition but introduces online programs with more degree options. Online degrees usually cost the schools less money to run and gives adult learnings more flexibility to work while attending school. What the state was missing was that most adults can’t attend school and if you are over the age of 23 you probably need to work in order to afford to attend college. Over 70% of the state was being missed and OK needed a solution on how to get more working adults to attend school.
Online students typically have a lower dropout rate than those who attend a traditional campus based program. The main reason for this is you don’t have as many distractions online and the age of the average adult learner is 32.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology had the 3rd worst graduation rate in the county. One can say that they probably are accepting too many students that shouldn’t have attend the college in the first place. One would ask then what should we do with students that want a college education but aren’t ready for a full 4 year commitment. First off everyone that wants to further their education we fell should have the ability to do so. Not all colleges are the right fit however and many need more personalized attention and a lower student to teacher ratio. This is where trade programs come into place and Oklahoma has a big percentage of high school graduates that we feel would fit into this teaching model. Trade schools or “career colleges” can be a good stepping stone for many, especially those who know exactly what type of career they want. If a student knows she wants to become a medical assistant or HVAC technician then they would be wasting their time enrolling and attending a 4 year school when the career only requires a 12-18 month training program. Not to mention students are graduating college not knowing what they want to be and riddled with 10’s of thousands of dollars in student debt.