Top 100 Social Media + Online Friendly Career Colleges and Universities

Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 7.4 million Americans are unemployed, yet 5.8 million jobs remain unfilled. What prohibits people seeking work from moving into these positions? In our opinion, the problem mostly stems from a lack of appropriate education and training.

Career and trade schools bridge this so-called “skills gap” to help students get the right education. Potential students need to be aware of these career and trade institutions and their offerings, but how do you find the best ones? In today’s world, a powerful online presence proves an outstanding marketing tool. Many career colleges are often on the cutting edge of technology, and many do a great job of presenting themselves online. Let’s take a look at the standouts.

1. ITT Technical Institute

  • Social authority ranking: 5
  • Website authority ranking: 4
  • Website citations: 2,188
  • Facebook followers: 166,200
  • Twitter followers: 6,494
  • Total followers: 172,694

ITT Tech sends an important message on its website: education has the power of “endless possibilities.” Viewers also can virtually “meet” graduates, quickly find the campus nearest to their home, and learn about online options.  ITT’s ability to attract so many social media followers and its success at generating website citations (links from other useful websites) further contributes to its first-place finish. Much of the chatter likely revolves around ITT’s tuition rate freeze – a policy in which all new students starting in the December 2014 quarter onward have their tuition rate guaranteed not to increase as long as they remain continuously enrolled. Now that’s a trending-worthy topic!

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2. The Aspen Institute

  • Social authority ranking: 13
  • Website authority ranking: 2
  • Website citations: 3,072
  • Facebook followers: 40,126
  • Twitter followers: 6,500
  • Total followers: 46,626

The Aspen Institute is “a non-partisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas,” and its Facebook page gives viewers plenty of food-for-thought. Recent articles include “8 Misconceptions about Free Speech on Campus” and “Is Violence a Function of Culture or the Consequence of History?” And set a reminder to check out The Aspen Institute’s homepage at noon Monday through Friday for “Five Best Ideas of the Day.” (Or get it sent directly to your inbox!) This collection of thought-provoking stories from around the web not only garners interest from prospective students, but also creates link opportunities with other sites.

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3. Penn Foster College

  • Social authority ranking: 6
  • Website authority ranking: 11
  • Website citations: 777
  • Facebook followers: 66,940
  • Twitter followers: 14,400
  • Total followers: 81,340

Penn Foster’s Twitter page leaves no doubt about its mission, “enhancing the lives of our students through the acquisition of knowledge, and skills that help them work toward their #career goals.” From giving Penn Foster grad Casey a “big shout out” on her promotion to telling a current student with 193 days left until graduation “you can do it,” motivational tweets foster a can-do spirit and sense of community. These messages mix seamlessly with links to job-related topics found on the college’s website, such as “Everything You Need to Know about Becoming a Vet Tech.” 140 characters to a new you!

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4. Rasmussen College

  • Social authority ranking: 17
  • Website authority ranking: 1
  • Website citations: 3,335
  • Facebook followers: 24,194
  • Twitter followers: 5,179
  • Total followers: 29,373

Getting your name out there involves more than creating an informative website (though Rasmussen has that, too). This institution earns a place on our list because it leads all the other career colleges in terms of website citations. One day it’s in the news for opening a new nursing school in Ocala, Fla. Another day the college gains attention for partnering with the National Association for the Education of Young Children to celebrate the 45th annual Week of the Young Child. With such exposure, it’s no wonder the Rasmussen College community has progressed from its simple roots in St. Paul, Minn., to 23 campuses and more than 40 online degree programs available to students around the globe.

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5. Kaplan University

  • Social authority ranking: 3
  • Website authority ranking: 17
  • Website citations: 526
  • Facebook followers: 337,210
  • Twitter followers: 31,700
  • Total followers: 368,910

With an impressive 368,000+ followers between Twitter and Facebook, Kaplan has more than double the number of any other school on this list. Many students undoubtedly first become familiar with the Kaplan brand of educational offerings through its well-known standardized test prep services. But they find plenty to keep learning well after taking the SAT. From first-hand accounts of a career in law enforcement to tips on writing stellar cover letters that spark attention from employers, Kaplan keeps its social media audience informed and engaged.

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Remington College

  • Social authority ranking: 7
  • Website authority ranking: 13
  • Website citations: 672
  • Facebook followers: 53,307
  • Twitter followers: 12,600
  • Total followers: 65,907

A photo of a graduate surrounded by generations of her family along with the message “What is your inspiration?” graces the Facebook page of Remington College (followed, of course, by a link to the school’s website and encouragement to enroll). But the 53,000+ Facebook followers get much more than a sales pitch. They also receive practical information on careers. Learn how dental assistant grads can better prepare for job interviews. Or find a substantial answer to the question “Can I go to cosmetology school online?” (The short answer is “no, not fully,” in case you were wondering.)

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University of Advancing Technology

  • Social authority ranking: 14
  • Website authority ranking: 6
  • Website citations: 1,094
  • Facebook followers: 43,899
  • Twitter followers: 1,850
  • Total followers: 45,749

Given the school’s name, it may not surprise you to find the virtual tour of campus via drone on YouTube. But Facebook followers also find plenty of cutting-edge info and discussion. Learn about a UAT maker tech’s San Diego Comic-Con panel on supersized weapon props. See the difference UAT cybersecurity students make as paid volunteers at the annual Black Hat Briefings Conference. UAT shows prospective students real-life ways their education translates into action! #winning


8. Bryant & Stratton College

  • Social authority ranking: 15
  • Website authority ranking: 8
  • Website citations: 975
  • Facebook followers: 41,461
  • Twitter followers: 3,921
  • Total followers: 45,382

One of the oldest institutions on this list, Bryant & Stratton proves you can boast a history of 150+ years and still be current. Look at some of the topics which helped the school land coverage on other websites in 2016: Becoming the only Division II junior college basketball program in the state of Wisconsin; awarding grants up to $6,000 for new medical assisting students to help fill the need for skilled workers in that field; being named a military-friendly school for the seventh consecutive year. Social media savvy colleges know that newsworthy strides and media coverage encourages people to check them out.

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9. Columbia Southern University

  • Social authority ranking: 25
  • Website authority ranking: 10
  • Website citations: 893
  • Facebook followers: 19,038
  • Twitter followers: 2,122
  • Total followers: 21,160

It should come as no surprise that one of the nation’s first completely online universities makes this list. Followers can find practical information on potential careers, such as what it takes to be a paramedic. There’s also a community spirit to the school’s social media. We dare you not to smile after viewing the Facebook video post of the retired Air Force serviceman receiving his degree in criminal justice to fulfill a promise he made to his father-in-law to finish his education.

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Keiser University

  • Social authority ranking: 30
  • Website authority ranking: 5
  • Website citations: 1,678
  • Facebook followers: 10,851
  • Twitter followers: 5,156
  • Total followers: 16,007

One look at Keiser University’s “In the News” section and you’ll easily see why the institution ranks so highly in website authority. Keiser does a great job of getting its name out there with a mixture of human interest stories and career information. Check out the director of the dietetics and nutrition program contributing to an article on meat-free lifestyles. Or read about the university’s plan to launch a business degree program with an emphasis on marine industries to fill an employment gap in Palm Beach. #newsworthy

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TriOS College of Business, Technology & Healthcare

  • Social authority ranking: 9
  • Website authority ranking: 26
  • Website citations: 311
  • Facebook followers: 41,438
  • Twitter followers: 15,300
  • Total followers: 56,738

If you’re interested in careers, the TriOS Facebook page can help. It brings noteworthy articles from respected sources into a central place. See what career advice President Obama gives his summer interns. Or ponder suggestions from The HR Digest on getting the most out of networking events. And while you’re there, TriOS college hopes you’ll consider its programs as stepping stones on your road to success.

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