2019 Best Online Colleges in California

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These are the best online colleges in California. California State University-Chico is our top pick with an annual tuition of $7,618 and a median salary of $92,700 for graduates. Second-ranked Golden Gate University offers a wide variety of online degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business with multiple concentration options. Median salary for graduates of Golden Gate University is $93,100.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group. To see all online schools in California, view our comprehensive list.

Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 California State University-Chico Annual Tuition $7,618 Median Salary $92,700
#2 #2 Golden Gate University Annual Tuition $21,780 Median Salary $93,100
#3 (tie) #3 (tie) California State University-Sacramento Annual Tuition $5,742 Median Salary $90,100
#3 (tie) #3 (tie) San Diego State University Annual Tuition $5,742 Median Salary $90,100
#5 #5 California State University-East Bay Annual Tuition $6,984 Median Salary $88,800
#6 #6 Loma Linda University Annual Tuition $22,800 Median Salary $90,700
#7 #7 California State University-Fullerton Annual Tuition $12,750 Median Salary $86,100
#8 #8 California State University-Northridge Annual Tuition $14,976 Median Salary $86,100
#9 #9 Humboldt State University Annual Tuition $5,742 Median Salary $83,200
#10 #10 California State University-Stanislaus Annual Tuition $5,742 Median Salary $81,800
#11 #11 Biola University Annual Tuition $17,250 Median Salary $83,100
#12 #12 National University Annual Tuition $16,650 Median Salary $82,500
#13 #13 California State University-Bakersfield Annual Tuition $10,475 Median Salary $79,800
#14 #14 Concordia University-Irvine Annual Tuition $15,600 Median Salary $79,000
#15 #15 California State University-San Bernardino Annual Tuition $11,340 Median Salary $78,400
#16 #16 University of La Verne Annual Tuition $20,640 Median Salary $78,200
#17 #17 California Baptist University Annual Tuition $18,848 Median Salary $68,000
#18 #18 California State University Monterey Bay Annual Tuition $15,750 Median Salary $65,000
#19 #19 Palo Alto University Annual Tuition $17,456 Median Salary $62,500
#20 #20 Simpson University Annual Tuition $15,570 Median Salary $55,700
#21 #21 Hope International University Annual Tuition $13,500 Median Salary $55,200
#22 #22 San Diego Christian College Annual Tuition $14,012 Median Salary $52,300
#23 #23 Touro University Worldwide Annual Tuition $12,000 Median Salary $34,900
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.

2019 Online Colleges in California Ranking Details

For each school, we conducted manual research to provide prospective students with more details about the schools' online programs. Explore online degrees offered and accreditation information below.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,618
  • Median Salary: $92,700
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Chico
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California State University-Chico offers online bachelor of arts degrees in liberal studies, religious studies, and sociology, as well as two degrees in social science with either a multidisciplinary studies option or a specialization studies option. They also have a Master of Science in Nursing degree that is offered completely online. Most of these undergraduate courses require 120 credits in order to graduate. 

  • Annual Tuition: $21,780
  • Median Salary: $93,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Francisco
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Golden Gate University's sole purpose is to educate adults who are trying to balance their education, work, and busy schedules. Providing cutting-edge courses taught by professionals working in their fields, GGU offers online programs that allow students to complete their coursework with a certain amount of flexibility, wherever and whenever is convenient for them. Students can access their coursework through the virtual classroom. Online degrees are offered in areas such as accounting, finance, human resources, marketing, taxation, and more.

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (15)

Online Master's Degrees (44)

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Online Doctoral Degrees (2)

Online Certificate Programs (29)

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  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $90,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Sacramento
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California State University-Sacramento offers two completely online degrees: a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Master of Science in Accountancy. There are also a number of hybrid undergraduate degrees offered, such as Career and Technical Studies, Child Development, and Psychology. They also have hybrid online graduate degrees in Nursing, Education, Business Administration, and Accountancy. Students seeking the M.S. in Accountancy can take courses in Auditing, Taxation of Individuals, Financial Reporting, and Cost Analysis and Control, among other courses. 

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $90,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Diego
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San Diego State University offers six entirely online degree programs and one hybrid program. Currently, they offer a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership, a Master of Hospitality, a Master of Public Administration, a Master of Public Health, and a Master of Regulatory Affairs. Their hybrid program is a Master's in Rehabilitation Counseling. 

Online Bachelor's Degrees (1)

Online Master's Degrees (6)

Online Certificate Programs (19)

  • Annual Tuition: $6,984
  • Median Salary: $88,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Hayward
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California State University-East Bay aims to provide support, technology, and infrastructure that is innovative and inspires effective learning and teaching for online courses and programs. CSU East Bay uses BlackBoard and provides 24/7 technical support to students as well as online tutoring. Online programs offered are in areas such as ethnic studies, human development, business administration, education, and more.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (16)

Online Master's Degrees (4)

  • Annual Tuition: $22,800
  • Median Salary: $90,700
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Loma Linda
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Committed to growing and supporting digital education for students, regardless of if they are traditional or nontraditional students, Loma Linda University is committed to growing and supporting digital education for all. It has adopted policies to help ensure that distance learning is characterized by the same expectations for effectiveness, integrity, quality, and mission that apply to traditional modes of instruction. LLU aims to integrate faith in God in their coursework and to prepare students for lives of service. Online degrees include a BS in Health Care Administration, MPH in Health Education, MS in Nutritional Care Management, and more.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,750
  • Median Salary: $86,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Fullerton
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California State University-Fullerton offers three online undergraduate majors: a Bachelor's in Sociology, Bachelor's in Business Administration, and Bachelor's in Humanities and Social Sciences. The online Bachelor's in Sociology costs $425 per unit and takes three years to complete. The Bachelor's in Business Administration costs $500 per unit and also takes three years. The Bachelor's in Humanities and Social Sciences currently costs $425 per unit and takes three years as well, making all of these undergraduate degrees very high-value and efficient choices. 

Online Bachelor's Degrees (9)

Online Master's Degrees (17)

Online Certificate Programs (14)

  • Annual Tuition: $14,976
  • Median Salary: $86,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Northridge
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California State University-Northridge offers online Bachelor of Arts degrees in Public Sector Management and Liberal Studies. They offer a number of Master of Science degrees in majors such as Engineering Management, Communicative Disorders, and Assistive Technology Studies and Human Services. CSU Northridge serves as the intellectual, cultural, and economic heart of the Valley. Through both hands-on experiences and stimulating academic programs, CSU Northridge aims to equip students to be productive critical thinkers and problem solvers.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (13)

Online Certificate Programs (8)

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $83,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Arcata
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Humboldt State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies, a Master of Social Work, and a Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology, all online. Students in the Leadership Studies major can take courses in topics like Strategic Planning & Forecasting, Strategic Sustainability, Developing Dynamic Organizations, and more. The cost for these courses is $299 per unit. Tuition for the Master of Social Work costs $510 per unit, making this university an inexpensive option for students seeking a graduate degree. Students in the Applied Anthropology major can finish their degrees in six semesters. Courses for this degree cost $375 per unit. 

  • Annual Tuition: $5,742
  • Median Salary: $81,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Turlock
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California State University-Stanislaus was founded in 1960 and offers two online bachelor degree programs. One is an RN to BSN program, and the other is a BA in Gender Studies with the option of three different concentrations of Culture, Ideology, and Representation; Ethnicity, Nationality, and Sexuality; and History, Society, and Inequality. Online learners also have the option to pursue an MBA with a specialization in Finance.

  • Annual Tuition: $17,250
  • Median Salary: $83,100
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: La Mirada
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Biola University is a private, Christian college that has over 20 online undergraduate and graduate degrees. Their undergraduate degrees are all Bachelor of Sciences and they are in Business Management, Biblical Ministries, and Applied Psychology. Their graduate degrees include a Master of Arts in Theology, Education, Bible Exposition, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Their online undergraduate degrees are given in seven-week semesters, and the Applied Psychology degree can take as little as 24 months to complete. Their M.A. in Education takes 38 units to complete. 

Online Bachelor's Degrees (3)

Online Master's Degrees (18)

Online Certificate Programs (11)

  • Annual Tuition: $16,650
  • Median Salary: $82,500
  • Accreditation: WASC ACCJC and WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: La Jolla
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National University has been offering online education programs for more than 20 years. Designed for busy adult learners balancing work, family, life, and military duties, its online programs are flexible and convenient. Students can participate in online discussions and complete their coursework on their own time. Online coursework includes lectures, presentations, readings, evaluations, quizzes, exams, and readings, and students are encouraged to collaborate with professors and fellow classmates. 

Online Associate Degrees (5)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (71)

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Online Master's Degrees (71)

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Online Certificate Programs (13)

  • Annual Tuition: $10,475
  • Median Salary: $79,800
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Bakersfield
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California State University-Bakersfield is a public university with an emphasis on student learning, which is enhanced by a commitment to diversity, service, scholarship, global awareness, and life-long learning. CSU Bakersfield's programs are specifically designed for adult learners, providing both content and the assistance needed for adults to reach their educational and career goals on their own time. Online learners can choose from a variety of master's degrees in subjects such as education, administration, and more.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,600
  • Median Salary: $79,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Irvine
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Concordia University-Irvine offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs entirely online. Undergraduate online learners can choose from six majors: Organizational Psychology, Healthcare Management, Nonprofit Leadership, Liberal Arts, R.N. to B.S.N., and Business Administration and Leadership. There are 12 master's programs offered by Concordia University-Irvine, including Executive Counseling and Consultation, International Studies, and Educational Administration. They offer one doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. 

Online Bachelor's Degrees (6)

Online Master's Degrees (16)

Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Online Certificate Programs (3)

  • Annual Tuition: $11,340
  • Median Salary: $78,400
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: San Bernardino
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California State University-San Bernardino has both blended online and 100% online courses. Their 100% online degrees include a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, a Master's in Teacher Leadership (MATL), a Master's in Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration. Their blended online degrees include a Nursing MSN, Nursing RN to BSN, a Master's in Social Work Pathway Distance Education Program, and a Master of Arts in Education. 

Online Bachelor's Degrees (2)

Online Master's Degrees (5)

Online Certificate Programs (57)

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  • Annual Tuition: $20,640
  • Median Salary: $78,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: La Verne
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The University of La Verne offers six online undergraduate degrees and three online graduate degrees. Among the undergraduate degrees offered are a B.A. in Business Administration, a B.A. in Educational Studies, a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Criminology, a B.S. in Organizational Management, and an A.A. in General studies, among other degrees. For these undergraduate degrees, requirements fluctuate in terms of credits, ranging from 40-62 credit hours in order to graduate, so potential students should check their website before applying. 

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (7)

Online Master's Degrees (14)

  • Annual Tuition: $18,848
  • Median Salary: $68,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Riverside
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California Baptist University offers 25 online undergraduate degrees, 14 online graduate degrees, and two online doctorate degrees. Their undergraduate degrees include Network Administration and Management, Public Health, Computer Information Technology, Cybersecurity, Early Childhood Studies, and more. Graduate degrees are offered in Counseling Psychology, Kinesiology, Information Technology Management, and Accounting, among other degrees. The two doctorate degrees offered are Public Administration and Business Administration. Undergraduate students can take up to 36 credits per semester, whereas graduate students may take 30, allowing them to complete their degrees faster.

Online Bachelor's Degrees (27)

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Online Master's Degrees (16)

Online Doctoral Degrees (2)

  • Annual Tuition: $15,750
  • Median Salary: $65,000
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Seaside
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California State University Monterey Bay prides itself on making higher education accessible to traditionally low-income an underserved populations, which has a majority of first-generation college students. With small classes, students are provided with varied educational and instructional approaches, including distance learning, to help them become dynamic leaders in the community. Students can choose from online degree programs in computer science, business administration, and instructional science and technology.

  • Annual Tuition: $17,456
  • Median Salary: $62,500
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Palo Alto
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Palo Alto University offers four online programs that include weekly live class sessions via video conference, so students are able to interact with their professors and classmates. The online bachelor's programs are college transfer programs for students who have completed their undergraduate general education transfer requirements. The online master's degree programs are for students who want to become a counselor or therapist or who want to prepare for a doctoral program in clinical psychology. 

  • Annual Tuition: $15,570
  • Median Salary: $55,700
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Redding
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Simpson University offers two bachelor's degree programs: a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. They offer three Master of Arts degree programs in Organizational Leadership, Education, and Ministry Leadership, as well as a Master of Divinity program. Students in the M.A. in Organizational Leadership can take courses in Leading & Managing Human Resources, Ethical Leadership, Women as Leaders, and many other subjects. Students in the M.A. in Education program can take courses in Pedagogy and Assessment for Induction, Leadership in Law and Personnel, Philosophical Foundations of Education, and Foundations and Trends in Education.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,500
  • Median Salary: $55,200
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Fullerton
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Hope International University is a Christian college that offers a number of online options for students seeking high-quality degrees. Undergraduate online degrees can be sought in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Teacher Preparation, and Psychology and Counseling, among other degrees. Potential students can "test drive" an online course by going to Hope International's website and clicking on the appropriate module to see what these courses are like.

Online Associate Degrees (1)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (5)

Online Master's Degrees (26)

Online Certificate Programs (9)

  • Annual Tuition: $14,012
  • Median Salary: $52,300
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC and TRACS
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: El Cajon
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San Diego Christian College offers a number of online undergraduate degrees. They have a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries, a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development, a Bachelor of Science in Leadership and Justice, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. All of these programs take four years and 123 degree credits to graduate, except for the A.A. in Liberal Studies, which takes two years and 64 degree credits to complete. 

  • Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Median Salary: $34,900
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Locations: Los Alamitos
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Touro University Worldwide is a Jewish-sponsored nonprofit institution of higher learning that is committed to helping develop a passionate, connected learning community. TUW provides students with a network of online campuses that are dedicated to ensuring that graduates receive a liberal arts education in a global-minded setting. Students have the option to choose from various degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a number of concentrations. 

Online Associate Degrees (2)

Online Bachelor's Degrees (19)

Online Master's Degrees (22)

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Online Doctoral Degrees (1)

Find an Online Degree:

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools in California (122)

There are 119 accredited schools in California offering online degree programs. Among these schools are non-profit public institutions, such as those in the California State University and University of California Systems, as well as multiple Christian-affiliated private schools. Students looking for a bachelor's or master's degree will find a wide variety of options at Ashford University, including programs in business, accounting, and education. California Southern University also offers an array of degree options at all levels with an 83% recommend rate from alumni.

At a Glance:

  • There are 45 affordable online schools with California with tuitions under $15,000 per year.
  • Five schools in California stand out as being military-friendly: Abraham Lincoln University, Ashford University, Brandman University, California State University-San Bernardino, and Trident International University.
  • Compared to other states, California has the most colleges and universities in the country, with over 600 colleges and universities.

References

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Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.