Are you interested in attending college in the great state of Alabama? Have you completed your high school requirements and are now ready to begin applying to colleges and universities so that you can start working on your post-secondary career? Within the state of Alabama there are 94 post-secondary learning institutions scattered throughout the state. As with practically any state, there are junior colleges, community colleges, vocational institutes, and traditional four year universities. In addition, recent technological advances may also make it possible for you to pursue at least a portion of your training in an online learning format. However, it is important to note that this southern state offers students 17 private colleges and 15 public universities to choose from.
Alabama is home to Auburn University, which is now recognized as one of the largest universities in the southern region of the United States. Although this school offers degree programs in practically any focus area and at any degree level, there are a few degree areas that are known as being top in their field. For instance, the fisheries graduate program has been noted as being the top degree program in the country and their undergraduate architecture program has been ranked as the second in the country. Keep in mind, if you do not plan to pursue a degree in either of these capacities, many other degree programs at Auburn are ranked among the top ten in the country.
Tuskegee University has been noted as one of the most historically black universities in our world. This learning institution has been recognized as contributing significant engineering graduates in all areas of this industry. If you have the desire to attend a religious based college, then Spring Hill College is sure to be a great choice! Although this is a private, catholic college it is ranked among the top fifteen southern universities and colleges in the world and is also recognized as being Alabama’s oldest college. Spring Hill offers degree programs in practically every area of focus and at every degree level.
Along with working on your furthering your education, you will also have the chance to enjoy what the state of Alabama has to offer its residents. For instance, the majority of the land in Alabama is considered to be a gentle plain that gently slopes towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, if you venture into the northern region of Alabama you can expect to experience a mostly mountainous area, with the landscape being etched out by the roll of the Tennessee River. Perhaps the most notable place to visit in Alabama is the Natural Bridge rock, which is located just south of Haleyville. This natural wonder is the longest natural bridge that is located east of the Rockies. In addition, Alabama boasts numerous national trails and parks that will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the countryside while you work to obtain the degree that will help you start on the path to your new profession!
One of the most important decisions a person takes in life is choosing which college to attend. The importance of this decision cannot be stressed enough, as it will shape the future of the person and determine which career path he or she will take.
A huge factor to consider when choosing the right college is to first choose the state. There are more than a thousand colleges all over the USA, which makes it quite difficult to pick out one. Narrowing the field by singling out a state helps a long way and makes choosing the right college a much more manageable task. Alabama, being home to almost 5 million residents and more than 80 collegiate institutions, is a great place to pursue your higher education in. You can choose either a two-year or a four-year degree, influenced by various factors such as the preferred field of study, availability of scholarship and tuition cost. There are plenty of potential job openings in Alabama, which is illustrated by the 2009-2013 consensus1 – only 22.6% of residents in Alabama aged 25 or more hold a bachelor’s degree, as opposed to the national average of 28.8%. This gives skilled and educated workers to the chance to establish their careers, which is further aided by Alabama’s Board of Education’s plans to make college more accessible to residents.
To help you get a head start with choosing the right college, we have devised a list ranking the best colleges in Alabama:
Different Colleges in Alabama
1. The University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is Alabama’s flagship college and its first public university. It is located in Tuscaloosa and home to more than 37,000 students. Students can affiliate themselves with more than 500 student organizations, sports clubs and recreational activities. This university focuses on teaching students how to think critically, and make intellectual contributions through extensive research.
This university offers students access to more than 80 different undergraduate programs2 through 12 colleges and schools in fields including Engineering, the Sciences, Arts and Culture. Arts and Sciences offer degree programs in fields like Music, Theater, African American studies, Chemistry, Philosophy, Psychology and Criminal Justice. In Commerce, the Culverhouse College of Commerce offers majors in Accounting, Management, Marketing, Information Systems and more.
Engineering courses are offered by the University Of Alabama College Of Engineering. It is fully accredited, and has more than 3000 students and over 100 faculty. Students in the College of Engineering have been recognized as Goldwater, Hollings and Portz scholars. Some of the more popular engineering degrees are:
Aerospace Engineering – This program teaches students to deal with the technical sides of aircraft design and operation. Students get a fundamental understanding of aerodynamics, aircraft structures, flight dynamics, controls and propulsion.
Mechanical Engineering – This program allows students to pursue careers in a variety of industries, research centers, and government agencies. They develop critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills through experience, and are constantly being encouraged to conduct research. Some famous alumni include Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, retired basketball player Latrell Sprewell and retired football running back Shaun Alexander.
2. Troy University
Troy University was originally an institution for training teachers, but later opened its doors to become the Troy State Normal School. It has four state campuses, with degrees available entirely online and satellite campuses all over the country. Its football team is renowned throughout the country, being a member of the NCAA Division 1. Troy University offers more than 80 undergraduate degrees3 and dual enrollment for high school students. Some of their degrees include:
Biology – The Department of Biological Sciences prepares students for productive and satisfying careers in medicine, pharmacy, chiropractic medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, physician assistance and more.
Computer Science – This program provides students with computer science knowledge and skills and prepares them for careers in computer technology, as well as for advanced study in graduate courses. Students partake in individual and team projects which include app development, game design, web applications, visualizations and more. Other programs include Accounting, Marketing, Business Management, Journalism, Criminal Justice and more.
3. Birmingham Southern College
Birmingham Southern College is one of the top liberal arts colleges in Alabama. It is a unique institution, as it offers students an exploration term between the fall and spring semesters. This exploration term gives students four weeks to pursue a subject of their choosing, either on or off-campus. This enables them to gain experience in problem solving, hone their communication skills and strengthen their critical thinking and research.
Students can choose from 50 academic programs4 offered by Birmingham Southern College. Degree programs include Economics, which allows students to have a thorough understanding and explore countless opportunities in business, public service and education. The fundamentals are emphasized, which allows students to have a strong groundwork for the next stage in their lives. Another degree students can study is Mathematics, which enables students to learn to rely on curiosity, and work out important and useful results by critical thinking. Enthusiastic faculty members focus not only on the theory, but also on applied fields like engineering or actuarial study. Other degree programs include art history, philosophy, Asian studies, media and film, and music, to name just a few.
4. Auburn University
Auburn University is one of the most well-known universities in Alabama. It accommodates a student population of almost 30,000, with more than 300 clubs and various activities. This university is known for having famous alumni such as Apple CEO Tim Cook and all-star athlete Bo Jackson.
Auburn University offers students 110 undergraduate degrees through 11 colleges. This institution focuses and offers various degrees5 in agriculture, such as:
Agricultural Communications - This degree is designed to give students exceptional communication skills as well as a strong science based background in agriculture and natural resources. Graduates of Agricultural Communications are aptly prepared to work in the public and private sectors, pursuing careers in writing, photography, research and marketing, among others. This degree develops proficient communicators who have a fantastic understanding of agriculture, natural resources, and the environment.
Environmental Sciences – This program educates students to have significant expertise in physics, biology, chemistry, geology, and soil science, in addition to having in-depth knowledge of the air, water and soil environments. Graduates of this program can enjoy successful careers in a field that is continually changing.
There are also degrees other than those based on agriculture, such as Engineering, Architecture, and Human Sciences.
5. Samford University
Located in Birmingham, Samford University is one of the best private colleges in Alabama. It offers students 30 degree options and 158 areas of study. Students can also participate in 17 different sports, including basketball, tennis, golf, track and field.
Some of the Bachelor’s degrees offered by Samford University6 include:
Accounting – The accounting major helps students realize their dreams of becoming CPAs, corporate accountants, auditors, or other accounting professions. Approximately 85% of accounting majors get the chance to participate in paid internships, with the majority of them getting employment within 3 months of graduation.
Finance – Students of Finance major get prepared for careers in financial planning, corporate finance, investment management, investment banking, commercial banking, insurance and more. With scholarships, networking activities and student organizations, this degree is a great choice for business students looking to major in Finance.
Chemistry – The Howard College of Arts and Sciences view Chemistry as a subject which overlaps with almost every other branch of science. Thus they focus on teaching students the knowledge and skill to tackle problems from the subatomic scale to the ones concerning the farthest reaches of the universe.
6. University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Alabama-Birmingham) is ranked among the very best colleges in Alabama. It provides a lot of activities and sports for students, and include more than 20 clubs and intramural sports, over 180 organizations, Greek life, and 18 Division 1 NCAA sports teams. This institution has a diverse student population of more than 11,000, and offers numerous scholarship opportunities exclusively for veteran students.
Students are offered more than 120 programs7 to choose from, including various Bachelor’s degrees in different fields. Some popular degrees include:
Nursing – This degree provides students with foundational education including both academic and professional nursing courses, which prepares them for entry into the professional nursing practice. Students are prepared by using state-of-the-art technologies, simulations and other teaching strategies.
Management – The Collat School of Business in Alabama-Birmingham believe that the success of every single organization depend on having effective managers, as managers skillfully coordinate and control the activities in order to achieve business goals. With this in mind, students are trained rigorously, so that they can choose from the many potential management career paths, such as Project Manager, Production Manager, Business Analyst and Entrepreneur, to name just a few.
Other popular degrees offered by Alabama-Birmingham include Information System, Marketing, and Psychology, among others.
7. University of Alabama in Huntsville
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) is among the leading universities in Alabama. It is a renowned research institution for doctoral students and students in medicine, and there are plenty of internship opportunities available in the city of Huntsville. Being a member of the NCAA, UAH offers students 18 sports programs in addition to other honors programs. Students can get involved with more than 130 organizations, which include Active Minds, African Students Association and Kinesiology Club.
Seven different colleges offer the bachelor’s degrees, with a 1:16 faculty-to-student ratio. Students can choose from 90 programs8, which include online and certificate programs. Some of the most popular programs at UAH include:
Mathematics – UAH has a respectable academic standing in the scientific and technical communities, and offers opportunities for undergraduate research. There are several areas of concentration, all of which sufficiently prepare students to either enter the job market, or continue their studies at a higher level. Being student-oriented allows the scheduling to be flexible. Courses are offered days and evenings, which allows students to attend classes while having a job.
Physics – Majoring in physics is highly preferable to other science programs, as a Physics major can minor in any other science discipline in 128 credit hours. This is made possible by the rigorous mathematics curriculum being part of the physics major requirements. The math minor requires only two additional math courses, which leaves the field open for electives, which can be taken not only in physics but also in other disciplines. Research during the senior year allows students to gain real-world research experience by working on research projects.
Not only do the aforementioned universities offer great degree programs to build up your career, but they also offer various scholarships to help you get through your education easily. Some of the scholarships which are offered are:
National Merit Scholarship (University of Alabama) 9
This scholarship has two varieties: the National Merit Finalist Package and the National Merit Semifinalist Package.
In the National Merit Finalist Package, you will be waived the tuition cost for up to five years or ten semesters for undergraduate and graduate degree studies. You will also be waived on-campus housing at regular room rate for one year. Other stipends you will receive include:
• A Merit Scholarship stipend for four years, worth $3500 per year.
• A one-time allowance of $2000 for international study or summer research.
• A $1000 allowance for Technology Enrichment.
In the National Merit Semifinalist Package, you will be offered a Presidential Scholarship after being admitted to the University of Alabama with a CGPA of 3.5. This scholarship will waive tuition cost for four years or eight semesters.
Academic Elite Scholarship (University of Alabama) 10
A student must be an active member of the University Fellows Experience to be considered for the Academic Elite Scholarships. Each year a total of 8 students are awarded the Academic Elite Scholarship, with the top recipient receiving:
• $15,000 per year for 4 years
• Tuition cost for 4 years or 8 semesters
• On-campus housing at regular room rate for one year
• Technology Enrichment
• $5,000 stipend for studying abroad
Millennium Scholar’s Award (Troy University) 11
This scholarship waives all tuition, room and board costs. The requirements for this scholarship is 32 ACT and/or Old SAT 1 (CR & M only) or 1470 New SAT and a GPA of 3.7.
Chancellor’s Award (Troy University) 12
All tuition costs will be waived by this scholarship. The requirements for this scholarship are 28 ACT and/or 1260 Old SAT 1 (CR & M only) or 1320 New SAT and a GPA of 3.5.
Academic Scholarships (Birmingham Southern College) 13
All Birmingham Southern College freshmen are automatically considered for the Academic Scholarship, with more than 75 percent qualifying for it based on their academic achievements and extracurricular records.
There are lots of career opportunities – both public and private – across various fields at Alabama, all of which are made available after graduating from universities in Alabama. Some of these career opportunities include:
Functional Business Analyst
This position will provide technical expertise in identifying and evaluating systems and procedures which meet user requirements and are cost effective. It supports the development, installation and maintenance of business applications for new acquisitions. Candidates will be required to create and document business requirements, conduct user testing and acceptance, and perform troubleshooting and consultation on complex issues. Candidates must have more than 5 years’ experience in designing and configuring business processes, along with a Bachelor’s degree in Business.
Being a professional nurse comes with a lot of responsibilities. Candidates will be required to assess, plan, implement and evaluate necessary nursing care for intermediate care patients. They will have to provide primary nursing care, including checking for frequent vital signs, pacemaker therapy, stable hemodynamic monitoring, and ventriculostomy care. Registered Nurses must be able to make critical decisions and troubleshoot critical patient care equipment, as well as being ready to respond to emergency events and life threatening arrhythmias effectively.
Requirements for this position include:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- One year of ICU or related clinical experience and/or five years of surgical/medical experience
- BLS and ACLS certification
- Professional nursing certification in preferred area of practice
Medical Technologist (MT)
Candidates interested in this position will be required to perform tests and analyses in accordance with established procedures in the molecular department. Qualifications include:
- Medical Technologist degree
- City/state licenses or permits to qualify as a Technologist
- Minimum 1 year experience in a Clinical Laboratory
- ASCP or equivalent certification
If you love to perform standard tests, inspections, and other tasks to determine specific characteristics of materials and final product samples to ensure quality products, then this is the perfect job for you. Primary responsibilities include:
- Performing inspections of subjective nature in order to determine conformance of products to specifications.
- Participating in the development of new test procedures or modifications to existing procedures and other quality procedures.
- Performing calculations of test data and comparing results to standards to identify variances and interpreting data.
- Assisting with complex experiments for product development.
- Communicating test results to appropriate staff and responding to standard inquiries.
- Engaging and participating as a contributing team member.
- Managing assigned work and responsibilities effectively to provide timely results.
- Complying with a rotating shift schedule.
Qualifications for this post include:
- GED or higher technical degrees from an accredited institution
- Minimum 3 years combined manufacturing and/or quality testing experience
- Strong background in math, science and statistics
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills, both written and oral.
The duties of this job include:
- Performing and analyzing reviews of contract award packages and solicitations.
- Advising on matters pertaining to contracting procedures and policies.
- Developing guidance and standard operating procedures to let contracting and depot personnel know of regulatory and policy changes.
- Reviewing and analyzing letters, circulars, regulations and policies for applications for compliance with government contracting policies.
- Developing acquisition systems and preparing instructions for use by personnel.
- Attending meetings and conferences to discuss new or revised acquisition policies.
Required qualifications include:
- 1 year of experience (either paid or unpaid), including volunteer work done through National Service programs
- Bachelor’s degree in Business from an accredited educational institution
- Minimum of 24 semester hours in any combination of the following fields: business finance, accounting, law, contracts, economics, industrial management, marketing, purchasing, quantitative methods or organization and management.
Business Banking Officer
This role is perfect for those who graduated with a degree in business. The duties of a Business Banking Officer includes:
• Establishing new banking relationships with small business owners.
• Growing that business with access to the bank’s capital.
• Assisting bankers as a banking specialist when needed.
The qualifications for this role are as follows:
• Bachelor’s degree in Business or equivalent professional experience.
• Minimum 5 years banking or financial services experience.
• Minimum 2 years’ experience in Small Business Lending.
• Ability to maintain customer confidentiality.
• Must be an extremely motivated team player.
Hopefully you will find the right college for you after consulting this list. It will help you not only to find the right college, but also go through the scholarships on offer. Moreover, you can look at some of the many jobs you can explore in various fields in Alabama, and get prepared to build up your career accordingly.