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Best Online Information Technology Associate Degree Programs

Explore the top 30 schools with online information technology (IT) associate's degree programs. Learn what classes are included, how long programs take, and what types of careers are available after graduation.

Top Schools with Online IT Associate's Degree Programs

To determine the best schools for an online information technology associate's degree program, you should consider things like cost, accreditation, flexibility and program length. The top 30 schools with online IT associate's degree programs are listed below.

1. Brigham Young University-Idaho

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Rexburg, ID $4,208 64%

Brigham Young University - Idaho offers an online Associate of Applied Science in Applied Technology program that includes between 52 and 57 credit hours of course work. Students of the program complete two certificates, from nine available options, as well as general education and elective courses. For example, students can complete a computer programming certificate, which includes courses in programming and software design, along with a certificate in system administration, which consists of courses in network design and operating systems. Depending on students' religious affiliation, tuition ranges from $125 to $250 per credit or $1,500 to $3,000 per semester (12 credit hours or more).

2. Herzing University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
St. Louis Park, MN $14,200 97%

Herzing University at Minneapolis boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 and has awarded in-house financial aid to nearly 70% of students. The school offers an online Associate of Science in Information Technology (ASIT) as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology (AASIT), both of which consist of 60 credit hours and include coursework in network security, programming and operating systems. Students who have previously completed related certificates or diplomas can alternatively pursue the 60-credit technology studies associate's degree program (AS or AAS), which includes classes such as routers and switchers, cloud computing and computer architecture. Students can finish these programs in an average of 16 months and have a tuition rate of $610 per credit hour.

3. University of Maine at Fort Kent

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Fort Kent, ME $8,295 95%

The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers an online Associate of Science in Information Security program that consists of 60 credit hours of coursework, including courses in information technology, computer science and networking. The program aims to give students an understanding of security topics in information technology through focused classes such as computer defense, network security and computer investigations. The school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1 and has tuition rates of $245 per credit (part-time) or $3,675 per semester for a 15-credit course load.

4. University of Toledo

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Toledo, OH $10,650 95%

The University of Toledo offers several associate's degree programs online in the field of information technology; all of them are around 60 credit hours and have tuition rates of $368 to $373 per credit hour, or $4,417 per semester (12 to 18 credits).

  • Computer Network Administration - includes courses in programming, operating systems management and networking.
  • Computer Software Specialist - consists of coursework in specific software usage, including databases, presentations and spreadsheets.
  • Information Services and Support - provides instruction on topics such as computer hardware, operating systems and data technologies.
  • Programming and Software Development - includes courses in programming, computer hardware, accounting and networking technologies.
  • Technical Studies - students can focus on interest areas in technical fields, taking courses such as networking, programming and operating systems.

5. Dakota State University

Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Madison, SD $9,536 95%

Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and has online tuition rates of $352 for most online students and just $48 for those who are dual-enrolled in high school. The school offers four online associate's degree programs for IT students that consist of 60 to 64 credit hours of coursework:

  • Web Development - allows students to choose several of their courses, such as web programming, database management and computer science.
  • Network and Security Administration - includes courses in information security, networking, computer science and data communication.
  • Software Development - students take courses in object-oriented programming, database management, computer science and web programming.
  • Health Information Technology - includes courses in health information management, human anatomy, information systems of healthcare and health coding.

Rank School Name Location Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Immaculata University Immaculata, PA $27,350 100%
7 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI $19,338 97%
8 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA $15,648 91%
9 University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX $32,576 100%
10 Middle Georgia State University Macon, GA $4,042 90%
11 Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie, MI $12,255 97%
12 University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK $7,080 84%
13 Champlain College Burlington, VT $41,828 100%
14 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC $34,630 100%
15 Hawaii Pacific University Honolulu, HI $27,500 98%
16 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH $31,136 75%
17 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL $23,750 100%
18 Pace University New York, NY $46,446 97%
19 Siena Heights University Adrian, MI $27,152 100%
20 Hodges University Naples, FL $14,300 81%
21 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY $9,875 100%
22 Bethel University McKenzie, TN $17,010 100%
23 Tiffin University Tiffin, OH $26,110 98%
24 MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS $31,786 99%
25 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA $13,988 72%
26 Baker College Owosso, MI $9,920 97%
27 Lake Area Technical Institute Watertown, SD $5,514 92%
28 Fisher College Boston, MA $31,992 97%
29 Santa Fe College Gainesville, FL $2,563 68%
30 Faulkner University Montgomery, AL $22,310 100%

All table data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition represents the 2019-2020 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 Information Technology Associate's Programs

Online information technology associate's degree programs usually consist of entirely online coursework. Online learning portals are often the place where students communicate with peers and teachers, access lecture videos and participate in online forums. Many online courses allow students to complete their assignments asynchronously, meaning they can log in and work at their convenience, but some classes might require scheduled logins (such as exams and lectures at set times). Some of the characteristics of online information technology associate's degree programs are discussed below.

Common Courses

Online information technology associate's degree programs combine general education courses (such as those in mathematics and English) with courses catered to IT topics. Some of the courses commonly included in IT associate's degree programs are listed below.

  • Computer Science - This course provides an introduction to computer science topics, including programming, problem solving, functions and sequences.
  • Networking - Students learn about infrastructures and processes of networks, including local area networks (LANs), their design, software and hardware.
  • IT Hardware - This course explores different types of computer hardware as well as how they are properly installed and maintained in IT and other settings.
  • Operating Systems - In this course, students learn about the various operating systems, including Linux, Unix, Mac OS and Windows, and what roles and benefits are applicable to each in IT operations.
  • Information Security - This course explores modern threats to computer information security as well as standard practices that help to mitigate risk and prevent exposure.
  • Network Security - Students learn security practices for networks, including risk assessments and audits, as well as common types of risks and hacker activities.
  • Routers & Switchers - This course examines the characteristics of routers and switches used in networks as well as routing techniques and protocols.
  • Programming - Students learn key programming languages and tasks used in information technology, which can include Python, object-oriented programming and C languages.
  • Web Programming - This course explores basic tools and concepts for building websites and web applications, as well as key browsers, systems and terminology for web activities.
  • Databases - Students learn fundamental practices and terminology of databases as well as database design, manipulation and maintenance.

Program Length

The length of online information technology associate's degree programs vary by student, program and school. Traditionally, students in associate's degree programs take 15 credit hours in the fall semester and spring semester, completing 60-credit programs in 2 years (4 semesters). However, students who utilize the summer semesters can complete their programs sooner, as well as students who take the fall and spring semesters. The table below summarizes expected program lengths based on credits taken each semester and an estimated 60 credit hours of coursework. Students who have completed any college coursework previously can often transfer those courses into their online IT program, decreasing the total number of credits needed to complete their degree (and decreasing the program length).

Online IT Associate's Degree vs Bachelor's Degree

Both online information technology associate's degree programs and IT bachelor's degree programs provide students with fundamental knowledge and skills that can be applied to a variety of roles, there are key differences between the two programs which are highlighted in the table below.

Associate's Degree in IT Bachelor's Degree in IT
Degree Type Undergraduate Undergraduate
Program Length 2 years 4 years
Common Courses Programming
Routers & Switches
Databases
Networks
Programming
Cloud Computation
Scripting
Network Administration
Certification Optional but useful Optional but useful
Salary (with 1-4 years of experience)* $40,530 $55,467
Online Availability Yes Yes
Possible Careers** Computer support specialists
Network and Computer Administrators
Web Developers
Network and Computer Administrators
Database Administrators
Information Security Analysts

Sources: *Pascale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Associate of Applied Science in IT vs Associate of Science in IT

While these two degrees share a lot in terms of subject matter, length and required credits. However, there is one rather important difference between the two -- an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) is designed more for students who plan to get a job upon graduation, while an Associate of Science (AS) is typically intended to transfer to a 4-year university.

Careers for Online IT Associate's Degree Graduates

Graduates of online information technology associate's degree programs can pursue a number of careers in various industries, but often choose roles in computer and related occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects all computer and information technology careers to grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028, much higher than the national average for growth of 5%. Some of the occupations that are available to online IT associate's degree graduates are listed below.

  • Computer Programmers: Computer programmers develop and assess code for use in software and computer applications. Their duties can include programming using various languages, such as Java and C++, testing programs and code, and fixing bugs.
  • Computer Support Specialists: Computer support specialists assist users of computers in organizations, usually working as network support or computer user support specialists. Network specialists test and assess systems while computer user specialists assist customers and team members.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators: These professionals oversee the operations of organizational networks. Their duties can include assessing and addressing system needs, performing security and maintenance, and training users.
  • Web Developers: Web developers develop websites, including functionality and aesthetics. Their duties often include consulting with clients, developing, testing and modifying websites, and monitoring website traffic and performance.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2019) Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)
Computer Programmers $86,550 -7%
Computer Support Specialists $54,760 10%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $83,510 5%
Web Developers $73,760 13%

Career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Become an Information Technology Professional

Several steps are involved in becoming an IT professional, whether you choose to work in system administration, computer support, programming or a similar field.

Step 1. Complete an Associate's Degree Program

If you're interested in working in information technology, you'll first need to complete an associate's degree program. During your studies, you'll learn useful knowledge related to various areas of information technology, including programming, systems administration and information security. These programs should take less than two years of full-time study and provide you with foundational knowledge and skills as well as a degree to represent your developed knowledge. You can then choose to continue your studies at the bachelor's and even master's level.

Step 2. Obtain Certification

Although certifications aren't always mandatory, many employers prefer candidates who have certificates representing areas of specialization. Certificates are available from a number of IT organizations (Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco are some of the biggest) and can be obtained in areas such as C++ and other programming languages, specific software products and more. To acquire certification, you'll typically need to exhibit an understanding of the specific topic through an exam. Having certification enables you to articulate your extensive knowledge of one or more topics relating to IT.

Step 3. Stay Up to Date

Due to the ever-evolving nature of information technology, you'll want to stay up-to-date with current practices, products and trends. This enables you to be more essential in your role and stay competitive in the field of IT. You can maintain knowledge of trends through self-study and research, but joining one or more professional organizations will expose you to more resources and opportunities for collaborating with other IT professionals.

Professional Organizations for Online IT Associate's Degree Graduates

Professional organizations provide IT professionals with community, collaboration and other resources and are a great way to maintain current knowledge of the field. Some organizations are catered to specific types of IT professionals while others offer a broad mix of areas. In addition, some of these organizations offer certifications to members (and non-members in some cases).

Help Desk Institute (HDI)

HDI has provided a community for IT support and service professionals for more than 30 years. Members have access to online networking and collaboration, reports on current trends and salaries, as well as discounts. HDI also offers certifications such as support center analyst and desktop advanced support technician.

Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA)

TSIA is a research organization that helps member technology companies reach their goals and overcome obstacles. Members can get assistance in areas such as improving organizational structure, cloud transitioning, innovating experiences and increasing profits.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

The ACM has almost 100,000 members across the globe, including computing professionals, researchers and academics. Members have access to various publications, special interest groups, learning programs, leadership opportunities and local chapters.

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

IEEE has more than 400,000 members throughout more than 150 countries, with special member groups in various fields. IEEE Computer Society membership includes several publications, online community and networking, local networking opportunities and career resources.

CompTIA

CompTIA has millions of individual IT professional members and thousands of companies. Depending on membership type, members can have access to career resources, discounts, networking, publications and scholarships. CompTIA also offers certifications in areas such as the cloud, Linux and CTT+.