Best Online Associate Degree in Computer Science

Some of the best online associate's degree programs in computer science train students in web development, information security, and more. Get details for online associate's degrees in computer science and learn about possible career options in the field. Schools offering Computer Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Associate's Degree Programs in Computer Science

Some of the best associate's degree programs in computer science may include preparation for professional certifications, be designated by national organizations, and/or provide students with hands-on experience with a range of programming languages. Compare some of the top online associate's degree programs in computer science below.

1. Dakota State University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Madison, SD$9,27695%

Dakota State University offers an Associate of Science (AS) in Network and Security Administration, an AS in Software Development, and an AS in Web Development in online formats. The AS in Network and Security Administration includes virtual labs that give students hands-on experience with real configurations and network setups. Both the AS in Software Development and AS in Web Development include curriculum in coding that has been recognized by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). All three programs require a total of 60 credits and include general education courses, core courses, and electives.

2. Herzing University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Minneapolis, MN$14,00097%

Herzing University provides an online AS or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Information Technology (IT) and an online AS or AAS in Software Development. All of these degree programs total 60 credit hours and typically take 20 months to complete. Students in these programs also take a course in professional development to help prepare for their future careers. Students in the IT program learn skills to help them prepare for professional certifications in the field like Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) and CompTIA Network+, while students in the software development program may be prepared for certifications like C++ Certified Associate Programmer and Oracle Database Administrator Certified Associate.

3. Davenport University

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Grand Rapids, MI$18,41497%

Davenport University has an online AAS in Computer Information Systems that totals 60 credits. Students in the program take general education courses, foundational business and technology courses, major courses, and one object-oriented program course in C++, Oracle, or C#. The program is designed to help students prepare for certifications like the Sun Java Certified Associate (SJCA) and the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). Students who already have certification in an area of technology may qualify to receive some credits towards their degree.

4. Lewis-Clark State College

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Lewiston, ID$6,61896%

Lewis-Clark State College offers an online AAS in Web Design and Development that totals 60 credits. Students in the program must complete a final Technical Skill Assessment (TSA), as well as a web development capstone course and internship experience in information technology. The program is designed to be completed in 2 years and includes coursework in app development, CSS, HTML and JavaScript.

5. University of Maine at Fort Kent

LocationTuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Kent, ME$8,11595%

The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers a 60-credit online AS in Information Security. Students can complete the program in 2 years and take 29 credits of general education courses, 23 to 24 credits of major courses, and 7 to 8 credits of electives. Students have the chance to complete a Computer Portfolio capstone project. Graduates of the program may go on to pursue a bachelor's degree in information security or employment in the field.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state)% Receiving Financial Aid
6University of ToledoToledo, OH$10,29395%
7Mansfield University of PennsylvaniaMansfield, PA$12,33098%
8Immaculata UniversityImmaculata, PA$27,350100%
9University of Massachusetts-LowellLowell, MA$15,18091%
10Champlain CollegeBurlington, VT$41,010100%
11Seminole State College of FloridaSanford, FL$3,13174%
12Campbell UniversityBuies Creek, NC$32,500100%
13St Petersburg CollegeClearwater, FL$2,68274%
14Pace UniversityNew York, NY$45,28097%
15Middle Georgia State UniversityMacon, GA$3,92490%
16University of the Incarnate WordSan Antonio, TX$31,484100%
17Lake Superior State UniversitySault Ste Marie, MI$11,89597%
18Hodges UniversityNaples, FL$14,18081%
19University of Alaska FairbanksFairbanks, AK$6,65784%
20Hawaii Pacific UniversityHonolulu, HI$25,98098%
21Southern New Hampshire UniversityManchester, NH$31,13675%
22Limestone CollegeGaffney, SC$25,02599%
23MidAmerica Nazarene UniversityOlathe, KS$29,73699%
24Saint Leo UniversitySaint Leo, FL$23,020100%
25Siena Heights UniversityAdrian, MI$27,124100%
26University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg, KY$23,000100%
27Bethel UniversityMcKenzie, TN$16,552100%
28Daytona State CollegeDaytona Beach, FL$3,10473%
29Peninsula CollegePort Angeles, WA$4,45374%
30Tiffin UniversityTiffin, OH$25,00098%
31Pennsylvania State University-World CampusUniversity Park, PA$13,98872%
32Purdue University GlobalMason City, IA$14,343N/A
33Bismarck State CollegeBismarck, ND$3,99283%
34Gulf Coast State CollegePanama City, FL$2,37073%
35Fisher CollegeBoston, MA$31,38497%
36Faulkner UniversityMontgomery, AL$21,690100%
37Great Basin CollegeElko, NV$3,12875%
38Broward CollegeFort Lauderdale, FL$2,83074%
39Solano Community CollegeFairfield, CA$1,14065%
40College of Southern NevadaLas Vegas, NV$3,49276%
41Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleFort Lauderdale, FL$20,20888%
42Hobe Sound Bible CollegeHobe Sound, FL$6,59593%
43Saint Johns River State CollegePalatka, FL$2,83067%
44Vincennes UniversityVincennes, IN$5,90289%
45South Texas CollegeMcAllen, TX$4,08091%
46Franklin UniversityColumbus, OH$12,64986%
47Indian River State CollegeFort Pierce, FL$2,76471%
48Kent State UniversityKent, OH$10,31296%
49Florida State College at JacksonvilleJacksonville, FL$2,87869%
50Herzing University-ToledoToledo, OH$14,000100%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Associate's Degree Programs in Computer Science

Online associate's degree programs are available in computer science, as well as related fields such as web design, software development, and information systems. Most online associate's degree programs in the field of computer science require 60 credit hours, but some may require up to 64 credits. The majority of these programs take 2 years to complete, although some may be completed slightly faster, such as 20 months.

Students can typically complete these degree programs 100% online but still usually receive hands-on training through labs, assignments, and culminating projects. Some programs may require a final internship or practical experience. Many online associate's degree programs in computer science are designed to help prepare students for professional certification in various areas of the field and IT.

The curriculum for online associate's degree programs in computer science are usually divided into general education courses, major courses, and some electives. Students in these degree programs may take courses that discuss topics in:

  • Computer networks
  • Programming languages
  • Database management
  • Security operations
  • Computer systems
  • Web programming

How to Choose an Online Associate's in Computer Science

Students interested in earning an online associate's degree in the field of computer science should first examine their career goals and interests in order to decide whether they want to pursue a broader degree in computer science or a more specific degree, such as web design or information security. Often, more specific degree programs help prepare students for a particular set of professional certifications and/or more specialized careers, whereas an associate's degree in computer science may be broader and applicable to a variety of positions.

Format

Students should also consider the format of a program and how it fits into their schedule. Some online associate's programs in computer science may offer multiple start dates, with some programs offering start dates every month so students can start their degree right away. Online programs typically offer flexible class times as well, so students can take classes around their work and/or family life.

Length

Although these programs usually take 20 to 24 months to complete, students may find some programs that offer additional credits for holding certifications in the field, which could decrease the time and cost to degree completion.

Accreditation

Students should make sure that their program of interest is accredited to ensure that it meets quality academic standards. Many online associate's degree programs hold regional accreditation such as the one from the Higher Learning Commission. Some institutions may also have additional stand-out designations pertaining to its curriculum, such as recognition from the NSA and DHS. Financial aid is dependent on school accreditation and program accreditation may help expand career options.

Cost of Program and Financial Aid Availability

A huge factor in choosing an online associate's degree in computer science is the cost of the program and the availability of financial aid. Tuition rates for online programs in the field vary by institution, but some of these programs may range from around $300 to $400 per credit hour. When calculating the cost of an online program, students also need to consider any additional fees and/or cost of meeting technology requirements for the program. In comparison to on-campus students, online students may end up saving more money due to factors like cost of living and meal plans.

To help offset the costs of programs, most schools accept and/or offer various forms of financial aid. It is fairly common for schools to offer a discounted tuition rate for in-state students and members of the military.

Students should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if they qualify for any grants or loans. Students can also apply for any institutional or outside scholarships. There are even some national scholarships for computer science students available, such as the Department of Defense Cybersecurity Scholarship.

Associate's in Computer Science vs. Bachelor's in Computer Science

Some of the biggest differences between an associate's and a bachelor's degree in the field include the length and cost. Most online bachelor's degree programs in computer science require 120 credits, which is generally double the number of credits of an associate's degree and may take twice as long to complete. This also means that students usually have to pay double the tuition over the course of the program.

Online bachelor's degree programs in computer science are fairly common and are usually offered as a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. These degree programs typically require general education courses like an associate's degree but typically include more major courses in computer science than an associate's degree. Bachelor's degree programs may also offer various concentrations to provide students with more specialized training in areas like software engineering, data analysis, or information security.

A final consideration for students may be the differences in career outcomes between these degrees. The site PayScale.com reported in February 2020 that graduates with an AS in Computer Science made an average salary of $64,000, while those with a BS or BSc in Computer Science made an average salary of $84,000. Although graduates with either an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science can pursue many of the same careers, such as software developer, web developer, or computer systems analysts, some employers may prefer those with a bachelor's degree. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in the field may also be able to move into more advanced or leadership positions.

Career Options for Graduates with an Associate's in Computer Science

Depending on their degree, certifications, and/or experience, graduates with an associate's degree might pursue careers such as:

  • Systems administrators
  • Software developers
  • Database programmers
  • Systems analysts
  • Web developers
  • IT support specialists
  • Software engineers
  • Programmer analysts

Web Developer

Web developers are responsible for creating websites, including the design of the website and the technical aspects, such as speed. These developers can add media content to websites, control how much traffic the site can manage, and write code to make the website work properly. Web developers often work in teams and must consistently test their work to ensure the website is working as it should.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for web developers from 2018 to 2028 was 13%, which is faster than other computer professions and much faster than the national average.

In 2020, PayScale.com reported that web developers with less than 1 year of experience made an average salary of $50,251, while those with 1 to 4 years of experience made an average salary of $56,820.

Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists may be responsible for helping computer users with any technical issues or helping support computer networks in an organization. Computer user support specialists usually need to ask the customer about the problem and then help walk them through possible solutions and/or repairs. Computer network support specialists need to test network systems and make any repairs or adjustments as necessary.

The BLS reported that the job outlook for computer support specialists was 10% from 2018 to 2028, which is also faster than the average for all occupations. In 2020, PayScale.com, the hourly wage for an entry-level computer technical support specialist with less than 1 year of experience was $15.15. Those with 1 to 4 years of experience made an average hourly wage of $16.96.

Computer Systems Analyst

Computer systems analysts help examine an organization's computer systems to find ways to make them more efficient. They need to stay updated on current technologies to make sure that what an organization is using is the best option to meet goals. Computer systems analysts must also factor in cost analysis when considering projects and may need to design, configure, and test new systems as needed.

The job outlook for computer systems analysts was 9% from 2018 to 2028, which was also faster than the national average, per the BLS. Computer systems analysts with less than 1 year of experience made an average salary of $55,326 and those with 1 to 4 years experience made an average salary of $59,483, according to data from PayScale.com in 2020.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

    Colorado Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Davenport University

    Davenport University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Davenport University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Florida Tech

    Florida Tech responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Florida Tech :

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • New York University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Boston University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston
  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available