NWSCC is proud to offer a variety of educational opportunities through online education.

Our distance education courses offer students a virtual, flexible alternative to traditional on-campus classes.  They teach the very same objectives and outcomes as courses offered on campus; the difference is in the delivery. Instead of attending a class where an instructor provides a lecture and leads a classroom discussion, distance courses are delivered over the Internet and/or through video capture. Most courses require approximately 9-12 hours per week during the semester to complete the assigned work. These courses require as much commitment as any traditional on-campus class. They require dedicated, ongoing, and regular participation.

While the requirements and commitment are the same for online and distance courses versus on-campus courses, online and distance education offers definite advantages. Students may complete their coursework at any point during the day, instead of a set class time. Online classes fit within students’ work schedules or family commitments. Concerns such as lining up transportation to and from class or arranging for childcare while in class aren’t an issue with online classes; the classes may be attended from any place where you have a working computer with high-speed Internet access.  In addition to online courses, NWSCC also offers some hybrid courses and programs.  Hybrid courses give students the best of both worlds with a combination of online assignments and on-campus meetings for labs, skills assessments, etc.

NWSCC will be working on improving Distance Education programs and support over the next five years through the college’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) titled In-Sync: Improving Distance Learning, Support, and Success.  To learn more about this project, visit our QEP Website.

Online & Hybrid Programs

Associate in Science / Associate in Arts Degree (Online)

NWSCC offers students the ability to earn an Associate in Science or Associate in Arts degree completely online. These degrees prepare students to transfer to another institution to pursue a four-year degree. Based on current 2022 tuition and fee rates, approximate total cost for courses in this program is $9,960 plus books and possible test proctoring charges if students choose to take exams off-campus.

Academic Plan for AS/AA Degree (Fall Admit)
Academic Plan for AS/AA Degree (Spring Admit)


Criminal Justice Associate in Applied Science Degree Program (Online)

NWSCC now offers all course requirements for the A.A.S. Degree in Criminal Justice in an entirely online format.  The flexibility of the online format offers an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice as well as giving existing police officers a chance to earn a degree that may help them move into a higher-level position.  Some course credit may be given for work completed in the Police Academy.  For more information on this program, visit our Criminal Justice program website.

Microcomputer Applications Short-Term Certificate (Online)

This certificate program covers Microsoft Office applications including Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint as well as Microsoft Windows.  This program prepares students to pass the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams.  For more information on this program, visit our Microcomputer Applications Certificate website.

Nursing Assistant (CNA) Course (Hybrid)

The NAS100 (CNA) course is offered in a hybrid format each semester for both credit and non-credit students and does not require a high school diploma or GED for admission.  After successful completion of this 80-hour course, the student will meet requirements to take both the written and skills examinations required by the Alabama Department of Public Health to be a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) in the state of Alabama  The lecture portion of this class is completed online, and the clinical, skills assessment, and testing portions are completed on-campus.  For more information, visit our Certified Nursing Assistant website.

Salon and Spa Career Certificate / Associate in Applied Science Degree (Hybrid)

NWSCC offers both a Career Certificate and an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Salon and Spa Management, both offered in a hybrid format.  All academic and Salon and Spa theory courses are offered online, and lab courses are completed on-campus or in a hybrid format.  These programs prepare students to take the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering Exam for licensure as cosmetologists.  Form more information on these programs, visit our Salon and Spa Management Website.

Virtual Learning Center

The Virtual Learning Center was created to offer an open lab and support for online students.  All students, both online and on-campus, are welcome to use this space to study, use the lab computers, or use the charging station to recharge a phone, tablet, or laptop.  It is located in building 110 on the Muscle Shoals campus.  Summer 2023 hours are 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Students may also visit the Technology Resources Page for assistance with many of the technology tools used in online courses.

Getting Started

A variety of online and distance course options are available each semester at NWSCC. To view this semester’s class offerings, view the current course schedule.

To get started:

  • View Steps for New Distance Students
  • Complete the Virtual Learning Guide in Blackboard
  • To access the guide:
    • Log into Blackboard
    • Username: NWSCC Email Address
    • Password: Same password used for your myNWSCC (Ellucian Banner) Account.
      If you are not able to log in, please complete the Login Assistance Form.
  • With the exception of possible test proctoring fees, tuition & fees for Distance Education courses are the same as for on-campus courses.  Please see current tuition and fee listing for updated cost information.
  • Registration is the same as for on-campus courses.  All students may register online, but new students should talk with an advisor in our campus advising center before registering (advising@nwscc.edu or 256-331-5221).
  • View current class schedule
  • Review the Distance Education Student Handbook for policies and services related to Distance Education.
  • Visit the Technology Resources site for information on Computer and Personal Skills needed to be successful as well as information on tools used in our courses.

Services & Resources for Distance Students

Online Advising Appointments are available on the Advising page.


Testing Center On-Campus (Shoals) – 256-331-5482
Testing Center On-Campus (Phil Campbell) – 256-331-6297
Testing Center Website (with links to schedule online)

Schedule a Testing Appointment with ProctorU

Tutoring On-Campus & Online (Student Support Services) – 256-331-8057
Tutoring Online (Brainfuse) – Available through the Brainfuse Link in your Blackboard Account

Contact us for more information on Distance Education

Distance Education staff offices are located in the Virtual Learning Center (Bldg. 110) on the Shoals campus.

Dr. Christy Shepard
Dean of Instructional Technology/Information Systems


Amber Morgan
Instructional Designer



State Authorization

To protect students located outside the state of Alabama who may take distance education courses, NWSCC has joined the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).  This enables students to take distance courses with us who are located in other states.  Students located outside of the U.S. should contact the Distance Education Office before enrolling.

Note to Students Located Outside the State of Alabama:   If you are located outside the state of Alabama and are seeking certification or licensure, must pass an exam administered by a particular state, or are required to complete some type of internship such as cosmetology or nursing, you should verify that credit will be accepted in the state where you are located before enrolling in classes.

Students enrolling in the blended NAS100 (CNA) course must complete clinical requirements in the state of Alabama; this program prepares students to take both the written and skills examinations required by the Alabama Department of Health (ADPH) to be a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) in the state of Alabama.  It is not intended to prepare students for certification in states other than Alabama.  However, we are contacting other states to determine if course credit / certification earned at NWSCC may apply in those states.  Those determinations will be posted to this chart.

NWSCC must provide enrolled and prospective distance education students with information on filing complaints or grievances with the college, with its accrediting agency, and with the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in the student’s state of residence/location.  Please review the information linked below from our Distance Education Student Handbook for details.

Complaints and Grievance Procedures