Top Colleges For Online Information Technology (IT) Degrees

"The IT field offers many specialization options, including web development, database administration, information security, and computer tech support."

Even in economic downturns, some fields continue to perform well. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) demonstrates ongoing demand for IT professionals, despite relatively high unemployment in some fields amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The BLS projects an 11% growth rate for computer and information technology occupations between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the 4% projected growth rate for all occupations.

Factors driving this demand include employers' continued need for IT workers. For instance, jobs for information security analysts are projected to grow by 31% between 2019 and 2029, according to the BLS.

Students often begin their IT education with a two-year associate degree. Many senior colleges allow learners to seamlessly transfer their associate degrees to bachelor's in IT degrees. Some learners begin their education at the bachelor's level. The IT field offers many specialization options, including web development, database administration, information security, and computer tech support. Online IT programs make learning affordable and accessible, especially during a pandemic.

Data shows significant earning potential for workers in computer and information technology occupations. Web developers made a median annual salary of $73,760 as of 2019, according to the BLS. Database administrators and computer network architects with bachelor's degrees made a median yearly pay of $86,550 and $112,690, respectively. 

Read on to learn more about online IT programs and the educational requirements for IT careers.

FEATURED COLLEGES

Top 10 Colleges For Online Information Technology (IT) Degrees
Rank
School
Location
Average Net Price
2017-2018
1
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN
$5,425
2
Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL
$11,244
3
Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
$7,519
4
St. Petersburg College Clearwater, FL
$3,477
5
Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL
$19,526
6
Franklin University Columbus, OH
$18,684
7
Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
$27,432
8
Minnesota State Community and Technology Fergus Falls, MN
$10,235
9
Vincennes University Vincennes, IN
$9,937
10
Keiser University — Ft. Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
$27,649

IT vs. Computer Science

While IT and computer science degrees share many similarities, substantial differences exist. Students who pursue computer science degrees acquire the programming and coding skills necessary to build complex technologies and systems from scratch. Those who pursue IT degrees learn to deploy those systems to address contemporary business challenges.

IT professionals are business problem-solvers who use existing infrastructure to achieve organizations' technology goals. They integrate, maintain, and update systems. These professionals also explore the costs and efficiencies of new products and processes, and they make sure organizations stay current with updates, such as for product licensing.

Computer scientists acquire advanced expertise in writing code to develop computer programs, applications for mobile devices, and other innovations. They master programming languages such as SQL, C++, C#, Python, and JAVA, and possess knowledge of complex math concepts and data analytics. Computer scientists install, configure, and test their systems before deploying them. They update the products and make changes to accommodate an ever-changing and competitive technological landscape.

IT professionals need less advanced programming skills, but must maintain a keen understanding of how complex systems work together. IT experts often work in teams and should demonstrate good interpersonal, teamwork, and leadership skills. Prospective students should consider these distinctions to best align their skills and interests with those required in the field.

Benefits of Pursuing a Career in IT

An IT career offers great flexibility because students can begin their education with certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees before transfering into advanced programs. The IT domain offers multiple specialization pathways. The rewards of an IT career include job growth and pay that outpaces many other professions.


Multiple Career Pathways

The IT field offers multiple career pathways and specializations that require as little as a diploma or associate degree. These professionals can work as computer support specialists and web developers. Individuals with a master's in computer science or a related field can work as computer and information research specialists.

Job Outlook

The BLS projects jobs for IT professionals to grow by 11% from 2019-2029. Some occupations within this field should grow even more quickly. For instance, the BLS projects jobs for information security analysts to grow by 31% during this time frame. These professionals need bachelor's degrees and less than five years of experience.

High Salaries

Not only do IT professionals enjoy faster-than-average projected job growth, but they also earn more because of the premium employers put on technical expertise.

Purveyors of Information

IT professionals stand at the forefront of creating and maintaining the new technologies commonplace in both the business world and in consumers' lives.

Job Satisfaction

In a recent study by Global Knowledge, a worldwide leader in IT and professional training, about 74% of IT professionals in North America reported being either somewhat or extremely satisfied with their jobs. Furthermore, 83% of IT professionals in North America reported confidence in their job security.

Careers for IT Program Graduates

Graduates with IT degrees can explore an array of career options, since the field offers so many job opportunities and unique specializations. IT professionals can transfer their technical skills from one occupation to another, giving them both upward mobility and lateral flexibility. Those who need new skills can pursue certificates or advanced training. See below for four potential careers for IT graduates.

Computer and Information Research Scientist

Computer scientists help solve complex computing problems and invent new computing languages, tools, and software systems. These professionals typically need master's degrees in computer science or related fields. They possess advanced math, programming, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Their earnings rank among the highest in IT, and their 15% projected job growth between 2019 and 2029 far outpaces the 4% average growth projection for all occupations.

Computer Network Architect

These builders design and develop complex data communication networks, such as local area networks and intranets. They factor in organizations' goals as they plan data networks and upgrade hardware and software to keep systems current and secure. They possess strong network security and database design skills. These professionals typically hold bachelor's degrees in computer science, information systems, or related fields, plus at least five years of experience.

Computer Systems Analyst

Essential problem-solvers, these specialists develop solutions to make computer systems more efficient and effective. They work as employees or contractors when they consult with managers to determine an organization's IT needs. They research and install new technologies, configuring hardware and software, and train employees to use these systems. They use advanced technical skills such as data modeling in the design of computer systems. These analysts typically possess bachelor's degrees in IT or related fields.

Information Security Analyst

With the ever-present threat of cybersecurity breaches, companies need information security analysts skilled in identifying threats and securing networks and systems. They monitor networks, craft disaster recovery plans, develop security standards, install software such as firewalls and data encryption programs, and keep current on the field's latest security enhancements. Most of these professionals hold bachelor's degrees in IT or computer science, with specializations in information assurance or cybersecurity.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2019-2029)
Computer and Information Research Scientist $122,840 15%
Computer Network Architect $112,690 5%
Computer Systems Analyst $90,920 7%
Information Security Analyst $99,730 31%

Source: BLS

Finding an IT Program

Online learning makes it relatively easy for students to find programs that fit their budget, career goals, and learning preference. Learners may begin their training with a certificate, diploma, or associate degree at a community or technical college. Many two-year colleges offer IT programs that typically lead to an associate of applied arts (AAS) or associate of science (AS).

Those planning on pursuing a job immediately after they graduate IT school prefer the AAS because it serves as a terminal degree and emphasizes technical competencies. Students planning to transfer to a four-year college choose the AS because it provides an academic foundation in conjunction with a technical curriculum. The IT field offers many specializations, so aspiring IT professionals should determine their interest area. A school may offer an AS or AAS in IT in a major or concentration such as network management, information assurance, database administration, or computer programming and development.

Some IT bachelor's degrees stand alone while others are degree-completion programs for learners to transfer an associate degree. Bachelor's IT programs often cover information systems, cybersecurity, and information assurance. Learners should ensure faculty possess the expertise necessary to provide proper training. They should also explore whether the program requires synchronous (real-time) or asynchronous sessions.

Some programs offer hybrid curricula blending online and on-campus learning. Others may require on-campus visits for practica or other in-person sessions. Programs that offer the option for industry certifications such as CompTIA A+ or Cisco Certified Network Associate give learners the edge when they enter the job market.

Learners should consider tuition costs as they explore IT degrees online. Online learning saves money on housing, transportation, and childcare. If learners plan to attend an online college located out-of-state, in-state tuition or the same per-credit tuition regardless of residency can reduce their expenses. Prospective students should also look for hidden fees that may increase tuition. A careful examination of each school's financial aid portfolio could save students tuition through scholarships, grants, and other aid.

Accreditation for an Online IT Program

Prospective learners should ensure they choose an accredited program. The U.S. Department of Education only awards federal aid to students attending accredited schools. Learners who want to transfer their credits may run into problems if they attend an unaccredited institution. Accredited schools only accept credits from like institutions.

To secure accreditation, schools go through a rigorous peer review process that ensures programs meet established standards. Regional accreditation remains the gold standard in accreditation. As the name implies, regional accreditation by one of the six agencies, including the Higher Learning Commission and Middle States Commission on Higher Education, serve specific geographic jurisdictions. Alternatively, national accreditation agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges typically accredit technical and vocational programs. 

Online programs are often accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation provides a list of agencies recognized for regional, national, and distance learning accreditation. Students should also look for program accreditation. While most IT programs are regionally or nationally accredited, some laud additional accreditation from an organization such as ABET, which accredits programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

Courses in an IT Program

Online IT programs offer coursework that vary depending on the school, degree level, and specialization. Students usually take general education in subjects such as math, English, and history in a two- or four-year program. Even degrees that focus on the technical application of skills, such as an associate of applied science or bachelor of applied science, require at least some general education credits.

Most associate degrees require 60-64 credits while bachelor's programs require 120-126 credits. The technical curriculum gives enrollees extensive training in practical skills, including the use of specific hardware, software, and applications. Some students learn how to code using programming languages such as JAVA, Python, and C++. Many programs require learners to demonstrate their command of IT proficiencies when they complete projects or participate in an internship.

Employers value skills such as data analysis, critical thinking, and problem-solving -- all skills inherently embedded in IT programs. Faculty allow students to specialize through an IT concentration such as cybersecurity, network applications, or database administration. The following lists some general IT courses that students may take in the IT major.

  • Database Management Systems

    Almost everything online uses some form of database. Students learn how database systems collect and store data accessible electronically from a computer system. Learners explore how to design and implement database management systems, and learn about data models, information storage and indexing, query languages, transaction processing, and recovery and logging. Faculty may use case studies to highlight various techniques and their benefits.

  • Website Development

    Students learn how to use web development tools to design, code, and publish websites. Enrollees study page layout, graphic design and placement, how to stream audio and video, and conduct basic website administration and site maintenance. They learn to use popular software such as Adobe Dreamweaver to design webpages.

  • Network Security

    Computer systems face a persistent threat of breach from hackers and others looking to compromise them. Students learn how to identify and thwart these intrusions using contemporary tools and techniques. They receive an overview of different countermeasures, including cryptographic tools, firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and security protocols such as SSL/TLS, SSH, and IPSec.

  • JAVA Programming

    IT professionals use programming languages to give computers instructions to process large amounts of information. Students should possess working knowledge of at least one programming language such as JAVA. In this course students learn how JAVA -- used to write internet applications -- differs from other languages such as Python and C++. They also receive an overview of object-oriented design as it pertains to this language and often complete a project that demonstrates their intermediate proficiency in JAVA.

  • The Internet of Things (IoT)

    Learners should acquaint themselves with the IoT as more everyday devices, from smartphones to wearables, connect to one another on the internet. Students learn the fundamentals of how IoT brings networks, devices, and data together. They learn about IoT architectures and applications, and the use of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies to make smart homes, cars, and cities. Faculty may require students to build an IoT application using a programming language such as Apple's Swift and successfully deploy it.

Certifications and Licensure for IT Graduates

As students embark on IT training, they should consider pursuing certifications that endorse their proficiency in the use of specialized software or ability to perform certain tasks. Since employers value these certifications, they give jobseekers an edge in the job market. Some schools embed certifications such as CompTIA in the curriculum, and others offer them as add-on or standalone options. IT professionals do not typically need licensure. See below for three popular certifications.

CompTIA A+

This certification is the industry standard to launch an IT career. CompTIA tests knowledge standards for IT workers such as technical support specialists and associate network engineers. Students pass two exams -- Core 1 and Core 2 -- that cover nine topics, such as how to install and support operations systems, troubleshoot issues with PC and mobile devices, and protect systems against security vulnerabilities.

Cisco Certified Network Associate

Considered another key step to launch an IT career, CCNA endorses the holder's knowledge in several fundamental areas. Professionals complete one associate-level exam that covers topics such as networking, IP connectivity and services, and security fundamentals.

Systems Security Certified Practitioner

Administered by ISC², this specialized certification endorses the skills of those pursuing careers such as systems administrator, database administrator, or network security engineer. Passing the exam signifies the holder knows how to deploy ISC²s security policies and best practices to secure an organization's critical information assets. It also confers globally recognized ISC² membership.


FAQ
Question Answer
How long is an IT program? Students typically spend 18-24 months in associate programs and 2-4 years in bachelor's programs in IT, depending on how many credits they transfer.
What can you do with an IT certificate? An IT certificate alone does not give learners the skills to launch their IT careers in a competitive job market. However, a certificate is a valuable add-on to a two- or four-year degree.
What type of IT degree is best? Learners interested in entering the workforce right out of college should choose an AAS or BAS, because these degrees focus on applied technical skills. Those seeking to transfer should pursue an AS or BS in IT.
What does an entry-level IT job pay?

An entry-level position, web developers must hold associate degrees or diplomas, and they earn a median annual wage of $73,760, according to the BLS. Exact salaries vary based on location and job experience.

What is a program in information technology? Learners attending IT school online acquire technical proficiency in the use of the latest technological tools on the market. They gain skills such as programming and database management, along with problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Is information technology a good career? IT careers offer some of the best projections in terms of job growth, and among the highest salaries. IT degree-holders should continue to update their skills to qualify for job and career advancement opportunities.

Best Colleges For Online Information Technology (IT) Degrees

1

Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN

One of the largest junior college systems in the nation, Ivy Tech Community College operates campuses and satellites at 40 locations throughout Indiana. The IT support program immerses students in the training necessary to build and maintain computing systems. Students complete the 60-credit AAS in information technology in just four semesters. The online program requires a limited number of general education credits that cover topics such as English, public speaking, and quantitative reasoning. 

Faculty dedicate the rest of the degree to technical proficiencies as students learn about networking fundamentals, database design and management, Linux and virtualization technologies, and enterprise computing. Students may pursue a limited number of electives in this online IT program, developing competencies in domains such as cloud fundamentals and/or the Internet of Things. 

The AAS blends coursework with hands-on labs in a virtual classroom. Through a partnership with Indiana University, ITCC's learners may earn a bachelor's in IT in two more years. Admission to the AAS requires SAT or ACT scores.

2

Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL

Founded in 1965, Santa Fe College designs programs to address the region's workforce development needs. SF's students enroll in programs such as information technology to acquire in-demand skills, graduate with low debt, and secure entry-level jobs that pay well. SF manages a strong IT program with four online associate degrees: AS in computer information technology, AS in IT security, AS in network systems technology, and AS in programming and analysis.

Limited general education helps ensure a well-rounded knowledge base. Each 60-credit program requires its own course sequence. Enrollees in the AS in IT security delve into database management, ethical hacking, and IT project management. Those enrolled in AS in computer information technology learn about database management, information security, and IT project management. 

Once students earn any of these four degrees, they may opt to transfer to SF's BAS in information systems technology, which builds on the knowledge acquired at the associate level. Admission to the associate online IT program requires SAT or ACT scores and placement tests.

3

Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ

One of New Jersey's 11 senior public colleges, Thomas Edison State University opened in 1972 with a mission to educate nontraditional learners. Faculty design three online undergraduate IT degrees focused on entry into or advancement in the IT field. The 60-credit AAS in applied computer studies includes general education in topics like critical information literacy, quantitative literacy, and oral communication. Faculty devote 18 credits to courses in applied computer studies, which students may fulfil through work experience.

The 60-credit AS in computer and information technology also requires the same general education. Technical courses cover topics such as network technology, data structures, and C++ programming. The BS in information technology suits those already working in the IT field. The 120-credit curriculum's technical core develops students' proficiencies in computer architecture, software engineering, and management information systems. 

Easy credit transfer, online learning, and prior learning assessments help working students accelerate degree completion at TESU. Admission to these IT programs requires a high school or GED diploma.

4

St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL

St. Petersburg College presides over more than 100 programs, including an IT school for undergraduates. The fully online AS in computer information technology offers a 60-credit curriculum that trains learners in networking, IT security, and spreadsheet and database programming. Participants also learn hardware configurations and troubleshooting, supplementing their coursework with a technology support internship that gives them invaluable experience. Students may transfer the two-year AS into the BAS in technology development and management, which requires 60 credits for admission.

The BAS in technology offers a fully online or hybrid curriculum that trains professionals who can assume leadership roles in the IT field. Students complete core courses in subjects such as cloud computing foundations, IT services management, and management information systems. Participants round out the curriculum with one of six specializations, including data science, cybersecurity management, or cybersecurity defense and risk mitigation. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores and a minimum 2.0 GPA on credit transfers to the BAS.

5

Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL

Seminole State College of Florida sustains a long tradition of academic excellence in Central Florida. Undergraduates interested in a career in IT begin their studies online with an AS in information systems technology. The two-year degree gives learners the option to master programming concepts they can immediately apply in the workforce right after college. They can also use the 60-credit AS as a stepping stone to Seminole State's BS in information systems technology. The AS core explores technical concepts such as computer programming, Cisco networking fundamentals (Net+), and network computer maintenance and repair.

Participants use 18 credits to develop a specialization in cloud computing, Microsoft server administration, or cybersecurity. A fourth specialization focuses on the AS-to-BS in information systems technology pathway and requires an additional 60 credits. Articulation agreements allow students to transfer the AS to a program at the University of Central Florida. Notably, Seminole State highlights that most AS programs boast a 90% placement rate. Admission to either IT degree online requires a high school or GED diploma and placement testing.

6

Franklin University Columbus, OH

Established to meet the needs of nontraditional learners, Franklin University makes it easy for students to finish degrees faster. Franklin, located in Columbus, Ohio, offers a comprehensive suite of online IT degrees. The options begin with a 64-credit AS in IT that explores the fundamentals of programming, database administration, and cybersecurity. 

Franklin features a seamless pathway to tech-focused bachelor's degrees such as the BS in information systems and BS in cybersecurity. Another option, the BS in information technology, develops administrators proficient in areas such as information assurance, Linux administration, and information security. Each BS requires 124 credits and incorporates the highest industry standards, reflected by the cybersecurity degree's National Security Administration designation as a program for excellence. Experienced technology leaders teach the curriculums, facilitating students' mastery through projects such as simulations.

Franklin allows learners to transfer up to 94 credits into baccalaureate-level online IT programs. Admission to the IT programs requires a high school or GED diploma and placement testing for some students.

7

Liberty University Lynchburg, VA

One of the nation's largest Christian Colleges, Liberty University offers more than 700 programs, many of them available through the virtual college. The online BS in information technology includes a specialization in data networking and security. The 120-credit curriculum examines topics such as network security, information security planning, and advanced networking and communication systems.

Two IT programs focus on protecting organizations' vital data and infrastructure. The 120-credit BS in information systems - information assurance develops learners proficient in areas such as digital forensics and cybersecurity. The 121-credit BS in cybersecurity goes deeper, teaching students how to engage in ethical hacking, modern cryptography, and other measures to identify and defend against IT threats. Faculty optimizes learners' proficiencies by blending coursework and projects with real-world application.

Students save time and money when they transfer up to 75% of the degree's credits from prior college education. Admission to the online IT programs requires a high school or GED diploma and a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

8

Minnesota State Community and Technical College Fergus Falls, MN

M-State's four campuses and online learning gives open access to a comprehensive catalog of affordable two-year degrees. The college offers two online associate degrees in information technology. The AAS in IT provides learners with the intermediate technical skills necessary to enter the workforce, while the AS in IT prepares learners for transfer to a four-year college to further master their craft. 

The AS requires more general education than the AAS, giving learners a well-rounded education in subjects such as college algebra, public speaking, and psychology. Both degrees focus on technical subjects such as Cisco, network security, robotics, and network operating systems. Learners apply lessons learned during an AAS internship. 

M-State also offers a 60-credit AS in cybersecurity that prepares learners for CompTIA Security+ and Cisco-certified entry network technician certifications. The curriculum examines topics such as Cisco 1, Linux I, network defense, and security breaches and countermeasures. M-State's policies facilitate easy transfer to and from the college. Admission to these online IT programs requires placement testing.

9

Vincennes University Vincennes, IN

Indiana's first college, Vincennes University boasts the lowest tuition among the state's residential institutions. The college manages a strong information technology program that includes an online AS in IT designed for transfer to a four-year college. The 60-credit degree offers three concentrations: web design, programming and game development, and business office management technology. All students complete general education and an IT core that examines topics such as information and data security, systems development, and object-oriented programming.

Another option, the AS in IT support and cybersecurity, prepares enrollees for the workforce or to transfer later on. The 60-credit curriculum covers topics such as operating systems, cybersecurity operations, and cybercrime and computer forensics. Learners in either AS qualify to transfer to VU's BS in technology with a concentration in information technology. The baccalaureate IT degree online employs a comprehensive approach to IT education, requiring technical expertise along with proficiencies in management, project research, and an internship for career and preparation. Admission to the BS requires a qualifying AS.

10

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL

Founded in 1977, Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale maintains a presence in 21 metropolitan areas across the state. Learners anywhere can earn a degree in IT online through the school's comprehensive virtual college. The AS in information technology requires 60 credits that include general education subjects such as history, math, and English composition. The major focuses on technical concepts such as networking, application support, and multiuser operating systems. 

Degree-holders with an AS in a computer-related field qualify for admission to the BS in IT management. This degree completion best suits computer technicians who want to assume supervisory or managerial roles. The degree's upper-division courses include an analysis of systems design, information systems implementation, e-business infrastructure management, and operations management. The degree also emphasizes critical thinking and writing skills to develop a well-rounded manager. 


The military-friendly school offers scholarships for qualified service members, veterans, and dependents. Admission to the IT school requires a high school or GED diploma, and a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

11

Colorado Christian University Lakewood, CO

Located in Lakewood, Colorado Christian University teaches programs that incorporate the liberal arts and a Christian worldview. Two fully online IT programs blend technical skills and business knowledge. The AS in computer information technology's 60-credit curriculum gives learners an introductory set of computer skills in areas such as computer programming, software and application design, and database development and administration. The degree provides the first two years of CCU's BS in computer information technology (BSCIT). 

The 120-credit BSCIT emphasizes general education knowledge and technical expertise. Four areas of emphasis allow learners to specialize their skills in database management, data engineering, networking, or system analyst. Learners may also begin or continue their IT education with a BS in information systems management. Learners transfer up to 90 credits into the baccalaureate IT programs and 45 credits into the AS. 

CCU Online promises guaranteed tuition while students continuously enroll. Veteran, active duty military, and dependents benefit from tuition discounts. Admission to CCU's IT degrees requires SAT or ACT scores.

12

Pitt Community College Winterville, NC

Pitt Community College, located in North Carolina, administers 60 programs leading to associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. The online AAS in IT offers two tracks: computer programming and development and web administration and design. All students complete a college success course that ensures they receive adequate preparation for the college experience. 

Each program requires 67-68 credits that include general education courses in writing and inquiry and psychology. The technical curriculum for each track also requires some common courses, including computing fundamentals; network and security foundation; and a web, database, and programming foundation.

Computer programming students learn advanced C# and Java programming. They immerse in systems analysis and design and complete a programming project that demonstrates their expertise. Web administration and design students take a different route, exploring graphic design tools, web development tools, web markup and scripting, and internet marketing and analytics. They too complete a project that shows what they can do in their specialization. Admission to either online IT program requires placement testing.

13

Forsyth Technical Community College Winston-Salem, NC

A mid-sized college located in Winston-Salem, Forsyth Technical Community College serves the Forsyth and Stokes county with eight locations. Forsyth Tech emphasizes applied learning with 70 associate degrees, including an AAS in IT with multiple tracks. The AAS's online tracks include cybersecurity, database administration, systems security, and technical support and services. Each curriculum requires between 64-68 credits and varies in content. All students complete common courses such as technical report writing, freshman composition, and a math course such as precalculus algebra.

Degree seekers in the cybersecurity program dive into the major when they learn security concepts, Linux/UNIX single user, trends in cybercrime, and network vulnerabilities. Those pursuing the other end of the IT spectrum - technical support and services - learn tech support functions, spreadsheets, project management, and mobile computing devices. All students define and develop a project that demonstrates their proficiency in their chosen track. Admission to the online IT programs requires a high school diploma or GED and placement tests for some students.

14

Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT

Established in the 1990s by governors seeking to reinvent education, Western Governors University makes learning more accessible with a standalone virtual college. WGU's online IT programs emphasize professional competence over seat time. WGU's popular IT programs include the 34-course BS in cybersecurity and information assurance. Students learn state-of-the-art techniques to thwart the most advanced cyberattacks. Topics covered include scripting and programming, information assurance, and digital forensics and incident response.

The 36-course BS in IT gives learners a strong foundation in computer information systems and technology competencies. Topics covered include spreadsheets, network and security, web development, and leadership and management. WGU offers other IT degrees such as the BS in data management/data analytics and BS in network operations and security. Tuition includes certifications that make the IT professional more marketable, including CompTIA and systems security certified practitioner. 

WGU's IT students demonstrate readiness to move from one course to the other through tests, papers, projects, or other assessments. Admission requires school transcripts for a credit evaluation.

15

Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown, NC

Since 1958, Guilford Technical Community College has offered career-focused education students can afford. The North Carolina two-year school offers an AAS in information technology with several tracks learners complete online. All students complete 66-68 credits that include a limited number of general education in several disciplines, including math and the humanities. The AAS in IT offers six tracks, including database management and web development.

A security and assurance track develops learners proficiencies in computer crime investigation, intrusion detection, and data recovery techniques. The track's systems security project allows enrollees to apply their skills and competencies to develop secure information security architecture. A computer programming track teaches learners the various programming languages IT professionals use to code software applications for computers and mobile devices. 

A general track allows learners to customize their own degree plan within the IT field. All students receive free tutoring online. Admission to the online IT program requires a high school or GED diploma.

16

University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell enrolls 18,000 students in programs administered by six colleges. The BS in information technology offers the choice of an entirely online or hybrid format. The 120-credit degree builds on UMass Lowell's general education requirements with proficiency in IT programming languages such as Java and Python. Learners develop a comprehensive portfolio of other skills such as website design, network security, and Linux/Unix system administration. 

Students diversify their IT skills by customizing the BSIT with one of four focus areas: management; arts and humanities; social sciences; or math, science, and engineering. The social sciences focus lets learners take relevant courses such as crime mapping, criminal justice data analysis, and/or an introduction to homeland security.

Students finish the degree faster by transferring up to 90 credits into this IT degree online. The college provides learners with seamless advancement onto the online MS in information technology. Scholarships and other financial aid help make the BSIT affordable. Admission requires a high school diploma, GED diploma, or high school equivalency test.

17

Beaufort County Community College Washington, NC

Beaufort County Community College, located in Washington, North Carolina, offers an AAS in information technology with concentrations in IT, network management, and software and web development. The 64-credit online IT program requires general education that covers the humanities, math, and other disciplines. But the applied nature of the degree allows learners to focus more on technical skills than general knowledge. All participants complete IT courses that give them a foundation in areas such as network and security, information systems business concepts, systems analysis and design, and JAVA programming.

Faculty prepare learners for post-community college education with a required course focused on life and learning at senior institutions. Each student uses 12 credits to complete their chosen concentration. Students develop a significant systems support project that highlights their proficiencies in a domain such as software and web development. BCCC boasts low tuition that makes this a very affordable IT degree. Admission to the AAS in IT requires the ACCUPLACER placement test.

18

Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA

At Central Washington University, CWU helps learners finish degrees they started elsewhere with 12 bachelor’s degree completion programs, including two online IT degrees. The BS in IT and administrative management cultivates IT professionals well-versed in developing technological solutions and managing teams and projects. Learners transfer general education from prior college experience and complete 94-102 credits at CWU. The BS begins with a core that explores subjects such as financial analysis, leadership and supervision, web fundamentals, and cyberwarfare.

Learners build on this general IT knowledge with one of several 20-credit specializations, such as cybersecurity or data-driven innovation for IT managers (hybrid). CWU also offers a degree completion BAS in IT and administrative management that requires an applied/technical associate degree for admission. The BAS covers some of the same topics in the BS and offers five specializations, including cybersecurity and project management. CWU may issue waivers so that nonresident students studying only online can pay in-state tuition. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA on transfer credits.

19

Campbell University Buies Creek, NC

Campbell University piloted online learning in 1999, and it continues to offer distance learners a rigorous private education they can afford. The North Carolina school offers several online IT programs. Students beginning their IT education choose the 62-credit AA in information technology security. Enrollees receive a well-rounded education with 36 credits devoted to subjects such as math, academic writing, and history. Learners develop technical expertise in a variety of IT domains, including internet applications, information technology, and information security and countermeasures. 

The BS in information technology and security builds on the AA and also serves as a standalone program. The 124-credit curriculum covers 55 credits of general education. A comprehensive portfolio of IT subjects include internet applications, programming, database management, and a senior project that highlights students' competencies. Campbell also offers an online BAS in IT security for students with an AAS in IT or computer science. Admission to the IT school requires a minimum 2.0 GPA and SAT or ACT scores.

20

University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY

The University of the Cumberlands enrolls about 17,000 students, the majority of whom classify as first-generation college students. One of the best online colleges in Kentucky, Cumberlands, UC offers several associate and baccalaureate degrees in IT. The 61-credit associate in information technology (AIT) cultivates technicians knowledgeable about computer and information technology and empowered with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The technical core consists of six topics, including application software, web design, and networking.

Faculty design a companion AAS in IT particularly for nontraditional learners. The AAS covers the same subjects in the AIT technical core, but it emphasizes a more applied, hands-on learning experience. Coursework in the AAS in IT seamlessly transfers into Cumberlands, UC's 120-semester-hour BAS in IT, a degree that equips learners with advanced professional and practical skills employers value. 

In addition to general education, BAS students complete technical coursework such as business intelligence, object-oriented programming, web design, and information security and assurance. Admission to the IT programs requires a high school or GED diploma.

21

Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA

One of the nation's 50 largest public colleges, Kennesaw State University is also a leader in distance education. The Georgia college's online IT programs include the BS in information technology (BSIT), which holds accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET. 

The 120-credit BSIT requires general education that students transfer or fulfill online through KSU's eCore. Technical courses cover competencies such as database systems, Linux/Unix administration, and information security administration. The degree offers four, 15-credit concentrations including enterprise systems and cyber operations security.

An alternative, the BAS in information technology, enrolls learners with an AAS in computer information systems or a related program. The BAS major covers many of the same concepts explored in the BSIT, but it allows for the transfer of a 21-credit technical block from the AAS. Learners at KSU benefit from generous transfer policies and the same e-tuition per credit hour regardless of residency. Admission to the IT programs requires a minimum 2.0 GPA on transfer credits.

22

Bladen Community College Dublin, NC

Bladen Community College administers a comprehensive catalog of programs on campus in Dublin, North Carolina, or through the school's virtual arm. The online IT program prepares learners for entry-level positions in business and other fields. The 65- to 68-credit AAS in information technology requires a limited number of general education courses. Students can concentrate on the technical components of the degree. They specialize the AAS with one of four concentrations.

During the first year, all students complete courses in web programming and design, network and security foundations, database concepts, and an introduction to cybercrime. Participants supplement these general IT concepts with a concentration in information systems, web administration and design, computer programming and development, or systems security/cybersecurity. 

Learners showcase their technical capabilities when they develop a project in their specialization. Some may choose another experiential learning option and sign up for an internship with an employer in their specialty. Admission to the AAS requires a high school diploma or the equivalent.

23

Volunteer State Community College Gallatin, TN

Volunteer State Community College enrolls about 11,000 students in 100 areas of study. Vol State, located in Gallatin, Tennessee, offers an online IT program at the institution's virtual college or through a partnership with the TN eCampus. Those interested in acquiring workplace skills in an accelerated time frame enroll in the 60-credit AAS in computer information technology. The two-year degree comprises a common core of general education courses, the major, and one of three specializations. The major examines HTML and CSS, programming and logic, database concepts, and CCNA I. 

The 30-credit concentrations give enrollees specialized skills in cyberdefense, networking, or programming. Participants culminate the AAS with a capstone project and portfolio in computer information technology. Learners choose the AS in information systems to seamlessly transfer to a computer information technology/systems program at a public four-year college. Admission to either degree requires a high school diploma, GED diploma, or the high school equivalency test.

24

New Mexico State University-Main Campus Las Cruces, NM

With more than 70 online degrees, New Mexico State University maintains a significant e-learning presence in the state. The school specializes in affordable high-quality education degrees such as the AAS in computer and information technology (CIT). The 60- to 66-credit degree offers a fully online or hybrid curriculum that students complete in two years with full-time enrollment. The curriculum covers general education and IT proficiencies such as IT infrastructure support, Linux Workstation, database design, and network security. An internship gives participants work experience and opportunities for career exploration.

The AAS in CIT prepares learners for entry into the bachelor of information and communication technology (ICT). Students complete 60-120 credits depending on whether they transfer a related associate degree or begin the bachelor's degree from scratch. The curriculum requires one programming course such as JAVA, as well as ICT courses such as computer networking, software technology, Linux systems administration, and ethical hacking. A senior project applies learners' cumulative knowledge. Admission to the IT school requires SAT or ACT scores.

25

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee, OK

Founded in 1946, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology is a leader in applied technology education. Learners interested in an online IT program receive foundational training in the 61-credit AAS in information technologies (AAS in IT). The degree requires 27 credits in general education, covering topics such as math and American history. The IT core develops learners' skills in C programming, network systems, web development, and hardware systems support.

The 121-credit bachelor of technology in information technologies (BT in IT) requires an AAS or higher for admission. The degree expands on the AAS in IT's curriculum with coursework in IT project management, applied research and development, and information systems and architecture. Enrollees delve even deeper into the IT field with a concentration in cybersecurity and digital forensics, network infrastructure, or software development. 


A nine-credit internship ensures that BT in IT students grasp the know-how to apply their skills in the workplace. OSUIT highlights an almost 100% job placement rate for graduates. Admission requires SAT or ACT scores.


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To determine the best online Information Technology (IT) programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school's commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 9 best online Information Technology (IT) programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school's ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category's ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.

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