Online Programming Schools

See about the online certificate and degree options that can prepare you to work as a programmer. Keep reading to learn about professional certifications available. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Computer programmers take the software programs designed by software engineers and translate them into logical steps that the computer can comprehend and follow. Online certificates and associate's degrees in computer programming may be designed for high school graduates, or for professionals with existing bachelor's degrees.

Do I Need a Degree to Work as a Programmer?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers require you to hold a bachelor's degree to be considered for programmer positions. Often, the degree is in computer science, information technology, mathematics or a similar field. However, even if your degree is in an area such as finance, business or accounting, you can pursue specialized courses in programming online. Some programming jobs may call for you to hold only an associate's degree or undergraduate certificate.

What Type of Online Programming Certificate Programs Do Schools Offer?

There are several schools that offer online certificate programs in computer programming. Depending on school policy, the certificate may be categorized as an undergraduate or graduate certificate. The programs address the basics of information technology as well as the fundamentals of programming and programming languages. You need to hold a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate for admission to these programs. You may be able to apply credits toward earning an associate's or bachelor's degree. Some online certificate programs requires you to hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission. Generally, it doesn't matter what your major might have been, as long as the degree is from an accredited school.

One example of an online undergraduate program might be a certificate in computer programming and systems design. Utilizing textbooks and presented asynchronously online, this program allows you to access the program at your convenience. Lessons emphasize information technology, programming and database design, and they usually takes a little over a year to complete. During this time, you receive instruction in such areas as program mining logic and design, Java, Microsoft Excel, business applications of information technology, relational database management and programming via Microsoft Visual Basic.

Graduate-level Certificates of Completion for a single course are often available online. You may be able to earn a specialized professional development certificate in areas such as Perl programming, Python programming, Java programming or PHP/SQL programming. You may be interested in such a program if you're already working in the field or need to fulfill requirements to qualify for a master's degree program.

Do Schools Offer Degree Programs Online?

Although online bachelor's degree programs that focus specifically on programming are extremely rare, you can find many programs leading to an associate's degree on the Web. You can earn an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Computer Programming and Systems Design or A.A.S. in Information Systems Management with a specialization in Web Programming. Completion time can run just over two years. Over the course of the program, you receive instruction in such areas as Microsoft ASP Net, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visual Basic, PERL/CGI, PHP/MySQL, HTML, information security and database systems.

Which Schools Offer Online Courses for Programming?

Associate Degrees

Associate degrees prepare students for entry-level positions in various fields of computer science and programming. Online programs at this level are easy to find.

  • Baker College offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming
  • Grantham University offers an online Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • ECPI University offers an Associate of Science in Computer and Information Science

Undergraduate Certificates

Undergraduate certificates teach students skills in programming that can later be applied to a bachelor's degree.

  • UC Berkley Extension offers an online undergraduate certificate in software development and programming
  • Champlain College offers online undergraduate certificates in C++ programming and Java programming
  • NC State University offers an undergraduate certificate in computer programming

Graduate Certificates

Graduate certificates may be aimed at professional development for people already working in programming or related fields. Graduate certificates can also prepare students for pursuing a master's degree in the same field.

  • Stanford Center for Professional Development offers an online graduate certificate in computer science
  • University of Southern California offers an online Graduate Certificate in Software Architecture
  • University of Denver offers an online graduate certificate in software design and programming

Is Certification Available?

Graduation from any relevant postsecondary school program typically qualifies you to sit for certification examinations administered by a private vendor. For example, Cisco and Microsoft offer certification for a number of technology specialties. The BLS states that you may need to become certified on a product offered by a specific vendor or company if you go to work directly for that company (

Voluntary certification is available through professional organizations such as the Institute for Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP). The ICCP offers online training programs that enable you to sit for an examination to become a Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP) or Certified Computing Professional (CCP). The ICCP states that since its certification examinations are approved by the American Council on Education (ACE), successful completion can count toward your college degree (

While it is rare to find a fully online bachelor's degree program in programming, a number of schools offer online associate's degrees or certificates. A certificate in computer programming may be applied to a degree program or used to improve existing professional skills.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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