Historically, the largest industry in the federal district has been the federal government, but it is not the only source of economic growth in D.C. Tourism, education, finance, public policy, professional and business services, and scientific research are other major industries that contribute to D.C.'s diversified economy. According to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, the federal government accounted for 29% of jobs in D.C. in 2012.

Besides the federal government, the district's other largest employers are Georgetown University, George Washington University, Washington Hospital Center, and Children's National Medical Center.

If you want to work in the largest industries or for the top employers in D.C., then you're probably going to need a college degree from an accredited school. Most employers require applicants have at least a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and others may require additional schooling or work experience for employment. While earning an accredited college degree cannot guarantee you a job, it can increase your chances of landing an interview or being considered for jobs in your desired field.

D.C. residents and out-of-district students can also find online courses at prestigious private universities, like American University, Howard University, and Georgetown University.

Those who want to attend a big or small online college have a few options to choose from within the D.C. area. Strayer University, a private for-profit school, has two brick-and-mortar locations and one global campus serving students in and outside of the metro area. In addition, there are a few small District of Columbia online colleges offering degrees and distance education courses. Potomac College, for example, is a small for-profit institution that offers flexible learning options for adult learners who want to pursue their degree remotely or in the classroom.