According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the country. In 2016, the state was home to about 5.5 million people, nearly 100,000 more than the previous year. Known for its high elevation and the Rocky Mountains that run through the state, Colorado’s biggest cities include Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Boulder, and Pueblo. The state is also home to several major universities, including the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the University of Denver, and the School of Mines. These extensive university systems and the resources that they provide make this state an excellent place to pursue a higher education degree.
While researching online MBA programs in Colorado, there are several factors to consider. It’s important to apply for in-state resident status, as tuition rates for in-state MBA students can be nearly $10,000 less per semester than tuition rates for out-of-state residents. Some colleges offer discounts to online learners. An online MBA program generally takes about two to three years to complete. Many programs require students to choose a concentration in healthcare, finance, accounting, international business, management, or other areas.
tuition rates for in-state MBA students can be nearly $10,000 less per semester than tuition rates for out-of-state residents
It’s also important to check whether the online MBA in Colorado you apply for has any on-campus requirements, like proxied tests or intensives. Online MBA programs often require applicants to submit GMAT scores, but there are a few exceptions. Colorado Christian University and Colorado State University do not require this exam, and the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs allows students with significant management experience or a previous graduate degree to waive the GMAT.
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MBA Concentrations for Colorado Students
Some online MBA in Colorado programs offers concentrations that prepare students to work in some of the state’s major industries. According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado’s major industries include aerospace, health and wellness, financial services, retail, and tourism. The state’s major employers include Denver’s HealthONE Corporation, Centura Health, and SCL Health Systems. Below, are two common MBA concentrations that are relevant to major industries in the state.
Concentrations for Colorado MBA Students
- Healthcare: This concentration focuses on administration, policy, ethics, law, and finance to prepare students for jobs within health-related organizations, such as insurance companies, hospitals, and research facilities.
- Finance: Students who choose this concentration typically take classes in financial management, international finance, investment management, and economics. An emphasis in finance prepares student for careers in analysis, management, and other areas; financial analysts and managers can find work in most industries.
Accreditation in Colorado
There are two types of accreditation. National accreditation is usually awarded to for-profit school and trade or vocational schools. Regional accreditation is awarded to nonprofit, degree-focused schools. This type is typically more authoritative and popular.
MBA students should look at programs that are regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, which oversees regional accreditation in Colorado. Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which oversees accreditation for business and accounting programs, is also important to have.
MBA graduates typically have a higher earning potential and receive more job opportunities than individuals with an undergraduate degree.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Colorado’s 2016 gross domestic product was $323.7 billion, which was a 2% increase from the previous year. The national average was 1.5% for gross domestic product growth. The state’s overall economic growth rate for 2016 was around 2.4%, while the U.S. economic growth rate was 1.9%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado’s current unemployment rate is 2.5%, which is the second lowest rate in the nation. The national unemployment rate is currently around 4.2%.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Colorado’s current unemployment rate is 2.5%, which is the second lowest rate in the nation.
As of 2015, the retail and healthcare industries employed the most people in Colorado. The healthcare industry flourishes in Colorado due to the state’s extensive university systems, which are known for their science, aerospace, and medical research, especially the University of Colorado Anschutz in Aurora. Colorado’s top cities for employment include Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Fort Collins.
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The salary that you obtain after earning an online MBA will depend on the industry, employer, and location in Colorado. Below, you will find information about income and salary for students who earn their online MBA degrees.
An MBA commonly leads to a higher salary and a greater chance of finding managerial positions. The degree also prepares you for more careers. While some students continue their educational paths to earn doctoral degrees in business, an MBA is typically considered a terminal degree, which means it is the final necessary degree in this field. On average, individuals with MBAs earn nearly $40,000 more per year than individuals with bachelor’s degrees in business. In many cases, depending on the specific position and employer, individuals with MBAs can double or triple their earning potential.
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Careers for MBAs in Colorado
- Medical and Health Services Manager
The state’s growing healthcare industry is leading to more jobs in healthcare management. The projected employment growth for this profession is 17%, which is much faster than the national average, and Colorado currently employs between 1,500 and 4,500 health services managers.
- Financial Manager
Financial managers can earn upwards of $120,000 per year. The BLS projects that this job will grow by 7%, which is about as fast as the national average.
- Financial Analyst
These professionals help businesses and individuals make smart investment decisions. Colorado currently employs between 2,000 and 6,000 financial analysts, and this job is projected to grow by 12%.
- Chief Executives
Chief executives make policy and other business decisions. These professionals can find work in many industries, including aerospace, healthcare, and tourism industries. The mean annual wage for a chief executive is $194,350.
- Sales Manager
This type of manager oversees sales goals, data, and training programs for businesses. There are currently between 3,500 and 7,500 sales managers in Colorado, and the BLS projects a job growth rate of 5% for this position.
Below, is a list of the best online MBA programs in Colorado. The programs vary by length, course offerings, tuitions rate, concentrations offered, and format. When looking for an MBA program, be sure to take the time to find one that fits with your career and personal goals.
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
Adams State University
|Location Alamosa, CO||Tuition||Tuition $15,120||% Receiving Financial Aid 63%||Student Population 3,404||School Type Public||
Students who can’t make it to ASU’s Alamosa, Colorado campus can still gain crucial leadership, analytical, and problem solving skills through the school's online master of business administration. The 36-credit, six-semester online MBA takes around two years to complete and offers several specialization options. Students may choose from one of five concentrations: finance, leadership, sport leadership, public administration, and health administration. The first four tracks culminate in a capstone project, while those pursuing a health administration emphasis may choose between completing a thesis or a practicum.
Prospective Colorado state online MBA candidates may apply and begin classes three times a year. Applicants must possess a 2.75 undergraduate GPA or better. Distance learners receive access to helpful resources, such as career and professional development services, support from the graduate studies office, and an online library.
ASU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
ConcentrationsView School Profile
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus
|Location Denver, CO||Tuition||Tuition $29,808||% Receiving Financial Aid 36%||Student Population 23,671||School Type Public||
Part of the University of Colorado system, CU Denver is home to a thriving distance education division that offers 28 web-based degrees, including a 48-credit professional master of business administration. The flexible program encourages students to learn at their own pace, and most complete their degree between 16 months and five years. University of Colorado online MBA candidates can also customize their curriculum through one of five specialized academic tracks. The program does not require any residency components, although students may opt to pursue their degree in a hybrid format and take evening classes on campus.
CU Denver accepts applications on a rolling basis. The admissions committee prefers applicants with an undergraduate degree in business. Students who wish to gain a business foundation before pursuing an MBA can earn a graduate business certificate through CU Denver. Students can apply all of the courses in the six-month certificate program toward the MBA. Prospective students must hold a minimum GMAT score of 500.
CU Denver holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
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University of Colorado Colorado Springs
|Location Colorado Springs, CO||Tuition||Tuition $29,484||% Receiving Financial Aid 47%||Student Population 11,988||School Type Public||
When UCCS’ online master of business administration debuted over 20 years ago, it was one of the first online business degrees to be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This 45-credit online MBA includes three foundational courses, which may be waived for candidates with sufficient academic or professional business experience. These students need only complete 36 credits to graduate, and many do so in less than 18 months. The curriculum also includes 12 elective credits, which students may fulfill by choosing an area of emphasis, such as project management or healthcare administration.
Along with access to a large digital library, University of Colorado online MBA students enjoy resources and academic support services from UCCS’ Business Career Development Center. Applicants may transfer up to six credits from other AACSB-accredited graduate programs.
UCCS holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Colorado Christian University
|Location Lakewood, CO||Tuition||Tuition $21,645||% Receiving Financial Aid 52%||Student Population 6,879||School Type Private||
This Christian institution’s comprehensive online master of business administration presents advanced business concepts with a focus on decision-making, critical thinking, and leadership skills. Built upon core financial and management principles, the 39-credit curriculum includes four concentration options: leadership, healthcare administration, advanced accounting, or project management. CCU’s MBA also stands out among Colorado state online MBA programs for its unique certificate program. Candidates may earn a postgraduate certificate in healthcare administration, leadership, advanced accounting, or project management concurrently with their MBA. The accounting concentration prepares students to sit for the certified public accountant exam. Full-time students may complete their online MBA in as few as 18 months.
Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 GPA, and should have five years of professional experience. Applicants do not need to hold an undergraduate business degree to gain admission, although candidates pursuing the accounting emphasis must hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
CCU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
ConcentrationsView School Profile
Colorado State University - Fort Collins
|Location Fort Collins, CO||Tuition||Tuition $39,732||% Receiving Financial Aid 45%||Student Population 30,614||School Type Public||
Developed to provide maximum flexibility, CSU’s 42-credit online MBA features an asynchronous format and five year-round start dates. The master of business administration curriculum includes an optional data analytics specialization and the opportunity to participate in an international business trip. Most students complete the program in 21 months. MBA graduates may pursue several related postgraduate certificates in areas such as finance, marketing management, and accounting.
Prospective students must possess a bachelor's degree from accredited four-year institution and demonstrate a 3.0 undergraduate GPA or better. The university does not accept transfer credits. Once enrolled, students gain access to CSU's extensive student services, including career assistance and a digital library.
CSU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The university’s online MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
|Location Denver, CO||Tuition||Tuition $34,200||% Receiving Financial Aid 56%||Student Population 8,725||School Type Private||
Founded by Jesuits in 1877, this Denver institution’s accelerated, web-based professional master of business administration is ideal for working professionals. Students benefit from six annual start dates, and students can complete the asynchronous, eight-week online MBA courses through part-time study. Learners may pursue an optional concentration in finance, accounting, health industry leadership, strategic management, or marketing. While the basic MBA curriculum requires 39 credits, those who select a concentration must complete 42 credits.
Newly enrolled students with a bachelor's degree in a field other than business must complete three prerequisite courses. Out-of-state and Colorado state online MBA candidates may transfer in up to 90% of the required credits. Once admitted, students can receive career preparation assistance and job search help through Regis’ Center for Career and Professional Development, explore the university’s digital library, and request online academic support.
Regis holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
ConcentrationsView School Profile
Colorado State University - Pueblo
|Location Pueblo, CO||Tuition||Tuition $13,500||% Receiving Financial Aid 57%||Student Population 7,563||School Type Public||
CSU - Pueblo’s 36-credit online master of business administration introduces the advanced concepts and applied skills needed to excel in managerial and leadership roles. Featuring six annual start dates, the accelerated program allows Colorado State University online MBA candidates to earn their degree in one or two years, depending on their enrollment status. Most full-time students take two classes per eight-week session.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree, demonstrate strong academic performance, and achieve a minimum GMAT score of 400. Applicants who do not hold a business degree may need to complete prerequisite business courses before enrolling in online MBA classes. Students may transfer up to nine credits from other accredited master's programs. All learners must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate.
CSU - Pueblo holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The online MBA holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
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Colorado Technical University
|Location Colorado Springs, CO||Tuition||Tuition $28,080||% Receiving Financial Aid –||Student Population 22,757||School Type Private||
Both nationwide and in Colorado state, online MBA programs that feature certain concentrations can be hard to find. CTU’s 48-credit online master of business administration allows distance learners to focus their studies through one of 12 concentrations, including entrepreneurship, healthcare management, and global leadership. In addition to core coursework, students complete 12 elective credits in their chosen focus area and a four-credit management capstone, which consists of a business simulation project.
Courses start every eight weeks, and class sessions run for 5.5 weeks each. Applicants must hold at least a 2.0 undergraduate GPA. While candidates from all academic backgrounds may apply, those without a business degree must complete three MBA foundation courses. The program accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis, and students may transfer up to 75% of their required MBA credits.
CTU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its MBA program holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
University of Denver
|Location Denver, CO||Tuition||Tuition $77,940||% Receiving Financial Aid 40%||Student Population 11,614||School Type Private||
While DU’s Daniels College of Business has offered accredited MBA programs since 1923, the university’s online master of business administration makes it possible for students nationwide to take the same courses, such as data analytics, management, and entrepreneurship, all with the added flexibility of both asynchronous and synchronous online courses.
The 60-credit general MBA takes most students 21 months to complete. By adding a concentration in either marketing or finance, students add two four-credit courses to the degree, bringing the total required credits to 68. Unlike other online MBA programs in Colorado, this program includes two residency requirements called collaborative immersions. One of these three-day immersions takes place on the Denver campus, while the other is held at one of several international locations.
The program offers four start dates per year and accepts applications on a rolling basis. Students with a bachelor's degree, a 3.2 GPA, and three years of work experience do not need to submit any test scores. Once admitted, students gain access to the institution's career services, which include professional development, networking, and career assistance.
DU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its MBA program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
ConcentrationsView School Profile
How to Choose an Online MBA in Colorado
There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Colorado. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.
Compare student outcomes data
Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school’s strengths and weaknesses.
Estimate the expected costs of your programs
Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.
Check that classes will fit in with your schedule
Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.
Look for partnerships with local businesses
A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school’s business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.
Make sure the program is accredited
Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school’s website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).
Talk to current students and/or recent alumni
You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.