Online Colleges for Technology & IT
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports 47,400 bachelor's degrees were conferred in the field of computer and information sciences and support services in 2012. Those students may have made a smart choice in light of the continued growth in the field of information technology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all ten of the computer and information technology occupations it tracks are expected to see growth that is as fast as or faster than average from 2012-2022. Many of these jobs are expected to see double digit growth. Information security analyst is among the 20 fastest growing occupations in the nation, with job growth estimated to be 37 percent from 2012-2022.
Eligibility for these jobs is contingent on training. The BLS notes most computer and information technology occupations require a degree and even when a degree isn't required, many employers typically prefer job candidates who have one.
- Information and IT Programs
- Why Get an IT Degree Online?
- Top Online Colleges for IT
- Best States for IT Students
- How to Find Online IT Colleges
Fortunately, there is a way to get the necessary degree without quitting your job, moving to another city or even leaving your house. Online colleges are increasingly popular for the following reasons:
- Opportunity to avoid costs such as room and board, commuting and child care
- Eligibility for federal financial aid at many institutions
- Convenient learning systems which let students log in and complete work 24/7
- Recognition as a credible education option embraced by private and public institutions alike
- Information technology may lend itself particularly well to online learning since the subject matter is computer-based. As a result, a number of schools, both large and small, offer online computer science and information technology degrees.
In the information age, technology is an integral part of everyday life in the home, workplace, and beyond. Having the knowledge and skills to work in technology & IT means you are always in demand and are highly valued in just about any industry. From computer support to information systems management, technology & IT is a field that is full of employment opportunities.
Technology & IT Degrees and Careers
Many careers in the technology & IT field require a bachelor's degree from a four-year college in a computer-related field such as computer science or management information systems. However, some lower-level positions require only an associate degree or degree from a trade school program (although many employers still value substantial hands-on experience), while some higher-level technology & IT management positions require a graduate degree such as an MBA.
Software engineers, computer systems analysts, and computer support specialists (among other positions) are all important pieces of the technology & IT teams at many companies, and through positions like these you can put your education and your passion for computers to work for you in a secure, lucrative way.
Earning potential will vary widely depending on the specific position you're seeking. For example, computer support specialists earned mean annual wages of $51,500 in 2014 while information systems managers earned $136,280, according to research from the BLS. More education and experience can pave the way for more earning potential in this exciting and growing field.
Criteria for Finding Our Top Online Colleges for Information Technology
To help narrow your choices, we've conducted an analysis of schools offering online information technology degrees and identified those we believe are top institutions. We wanted to find schools that were affordable as well as accessible, so we based our selections on tuition and graduation rates, as reported by the NCES.
Obviously, the lower the tuition rate, the more affordable a school may be. That's why our top choices all have in-state tuition rates (when in-state rates are available) lower than $15,000 per year. Note that these rates apply to the average cost of all undergraduate degrees and aren't specific to online programs.
However, even low tuition rates will add up to an unaffordable degree if it takes years upon years to complete the program. Therefore, our second criteria for the top online colleges for information technology are school graduation rates.
The graduation rate is the percentage of first-time, full-time students who complete their education program within 150 percent of the expected duration for a degree. In other words, it represents how many individuals earn their bachelor's degree within six years. According to the NCES, the average graduation rate for 2012 was 59 percent.
Based on tuition and graduation rates, the following institutions get our nod as the best online colleges for information technology. This list is ordered by graduation rate (highest to lowest), and uses NCES data from the 2013 to 2014 school year. See our Methodology section for more details on the ranking methodology.
#1 - National American University - Albuquerque West
Graduation Rate: 100%
National American University has campuses in 11 states, but the Albuquerque West location is notable for its 100 percent graduation rate. It's a rate no other school on our list comes close to matching. However, you don't have to live in Albuquerque to go to school at National American University. Online students can choose from information technology programs at the diploma, associate and bachelor's degree level. For those wishing to earn their bachelor's degree in Information Technology, National American University offers specializations in computer security and forensics, database administration, Internet systems development, management information systems and network management/Microsoft.
#2 - Broadview University - West Jordan
Graduation Rate: 58%
Next up is Broadview University, a Utah-based institution with five campus locations as well as online degree programs. Online students can choose from a variety of associate, bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certificate programs. Within the field of computer science and technology, offerings at Broadview University include bachelor's in Information Technology, Mobile App Development and Software App Development. Mobile App Development is also available as a certificate program and associate degree. A master's degree in Management with an emphasis in IT is also offered.
#3 - Trident University International
Graduation Rate: 58%
Trident University International is an online school offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. It has highly qualified faculty with 90 percent having either a Ph.D. or the highest equivalent degree in their field. Technology students can earn either a bachelor's or master's degree through Trident University International. Bachelor's degrees are in Information Technology Management and Computer Science, while the online master's degree is also in Information Technology Management.
#4 - University of Wisconsin - Stout
Graduation Rate: 54%
In-State Tuition: $8,968
At the University of Wisconsin - Stout, students can earn an online bachelor's degree in Information and Communication Technologies. Covering courses in business, management and technology, the program is offered as a degree completion program that builds upon an individual's previous education and experience. All applicants are expected to have an associate degree in a technical field as well as two or more years technical work experience.
#5 - Monroe College
Graduation Rate: 57%
Another college offering online degrees in information technology is Monroe College. The New York City institution has taken several of its degree programs to the virtual world with the launch of Monroe Online. IT students can earn either an associate degree in Information Technology or a bachelor's degree in Information Technology through the school. The four year program at Monroe College focuses on technical skills, business skills, industry experience and certifications.
#6 - Missouri State University - Springfield
Graduation Rate: 53%
In-State Tuition: $6,908
Missouri State University is another public system that has embraced virtual learning. The university offers both undergraduate and graduate degree options to its online students. One of these degree options is an online bachelor's degree in Information Technology Service Management. Like the degree offered at the University of Wisconsin - Stout, this is a degree completion program and intended for those who already have their associate degree.
#7 - University of North Texas
Graduation Rate: 50%
In-State Tuition: $8,754
Forbes and The Princeton Review have both recognized the University of North Texas on their best university lists, and the school says it is the largest institution in the North Texas region. Through its eCampus, students can enroll in online degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Among the options at the University of North Texas is a bachelor's degree in Applied Technology and Performance Improvement. The 120-credit program includes the opportunity to earn a teaching certificate for the secondary level.
#8 - Minnesota School of Business - Shakopee
Graduation Rate: 46%
Despite its name, the Minnesota School of Business isn't simply for Minnesotans. Instead the school has 19 locations across Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota with some operating under the name Globe University. In addition, the school makes degrees in 13 fields of study available entirely online. For the field of information technology, this includes associate, bachelor's and master's degree options. Those earning a bachelor's degree in Information Technology can focus on either networking and security or server administration. Minnesota School of Business estimates the bachelor's program can be completed in 36 months.
#9 - New Mexico State University
Graduation Rate: 43%
In-State Tuition: $6,220
Over at NMSU, online students can choose from bachelor's degree completion programs, master's degrees or certificates. The bachelor's degree in information and communication technology requires enrolling students have an associate degree or at least 62 credits from an accredited institution. In addition, they must have a certain level of knowledge regarding algebra, computer programming and computer literacy.
#10 - American Public University System
Graduation Rate: 42%
Rounding out our list is the American Public University System. This online university was founded as the American Military University nearly 25 years ago. Today, students from all walks of life can enroll at the institution in more than 180 degree and certificate programs. Its bachelor's degree in Information Technology is designed to allow graduates to step into a number of IT roles from designing databases to serving as a project manager.
For anyone studying technology, the good news is that there are many fantastic employment opportunities across the nation as the sector continues its growth. However, there are some states that stand out as IT innovators, thanks to the industry leading organizations and vibrant tech startup communities that tend to cluster in specific areas.
Take a look at four states that not only have strong educational offerings in tech, but lots of career potential upon graduation, too. All employment and wage information is sourced from 2014 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Note: The BLS reports that the annual mean wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations across the nation as of May 2014 is $83,970. The national figures for employment per thousand jobs for this industry is 28.374. For more information on our ranking methodology, see our Methodology section.
#1 - District of Columbia
- Employment in the computer and mathematical field, per thousand jobs: 55.24
- Annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations: $96,570
Not only was D.C. chosen as one of the 10 "Innovation Champions" in the nation by the Consumer Electronics Association, but its technology sector is gaining more notoriety than ever before. According to research by NerdWallet, there are about 1,000 tech startups in the area. One reason for the surge in IT opportunities could be that D.C. has many venture capitalists and accelerator programs that are helping tech companies thrive.
D.C. was even dubbed "The Silicon Valley of the East" by The Atlantic, although that term also takes into account the "Dulles Corridor" that runs into Northern Virginia.
#2 - Virginia
- Employment in the computer and mathematical field, per thousand jobs: 53.57
- Annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations: $94,700
The tech culture of D.C. spills out into the surrounding areas of Virginia, making the state a hub of the high tech industry in its own right. Virginia has the second highest concentrations of technology workers in the country, accounting for over 172,000 jobs, according to Virginia Economic Development Partnership. In fact, CIO.com reports that there are over 15,000 IT firms in the state.
Well-known technology companies with bases of operation in Virginia include Accenture, IBM, Oracle, and L-3 Communications, among others. And it's a good thing since the state confers over 3,600 degrees in IT and related programs each year, reports the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. (See: Online Colleges in Virginia)
#3 - Washington
- Employment in the computer and mathematical field, per thousand jobs: 47.11
- Annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations: $99,780
When you consider that Washington state employs about 90,000 software developers, according to the Washington Technology Industry Association, it's safe to say that technology is an important part of the state's economic development. Major innovators like Microsoft, Amazon, Expedia and Zillow are just a few of the 14,000 tech companies driving the $600 billion tech industry. (See: Online Colleges in Washington)
#4 - Maryland
- Employment in the computer and mathematical field, per thousand jobs: 45.77
- Annual mean wage for computer and mathematical occupations: $94,670
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Maryland was ranked first from 2012 to 2014 in the Enterprising States Technology and Entrepreneurship category. The state was number one in both STEM job concentration, as well as academic research and development, and third in high-tech business concentration. (See: Online Colleges in Maryland)
In fact, the 217,000 STEM workers in the state account for 7.7% of the total workforce, which is the highest concentration of STEM workers in the country, reports the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Top Maryland employers in the IT sector include Verizon, IBM, and Micro Systems.
Below our sources is a list of colleges that offer online degrees and programs in IT. You can also filter by a specific concentration by clicking on one of the subjects in the right rail. If you see a program you are interested, then please choose one of the options to get more information. After filling out a form we will put you in contact with a representative who will answer any questions you may have.
- Academic Programs - Online, National American University, http://www.national.edu/locations/programs/online
- Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Applied Technology and Performance Improvement, University of North Texas, http://www.untecampus.com/default.php?p=programinfo&PID=31
- Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology, New Mexico State University, http://distance.nmsu.edu/degree-programs/?id=13
- Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, American Public University, http://www.apu.apus.edu/academic/programs/degree/1278/bachelor-of-science-in-information-technology
- "Best Places for Tech Jobs", http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/best-places-tech-jobs-2015/
- College of Information Systems, Trident University International, http://www.trident.edu/colleges/information-systems/bachelor-of-science-in-information-technology
- Computer User Support Specialists, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151151.htm
- Computer and Information Systems Managers, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113021.htm
- Fast Facts: Graduation Rates, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40
- Information and Communication Technologies BS, University of Wisconsin-Stout, http://ecampus.wisconsin.edu/online-bachelors-degree/information-and-communication-technologies-bachelor-of-science-uw-stout.aspx
- "Information Technology", http://www.yesvirginia.org/KeyIndustries/IT
- Information Technology Degree Programs, Globe University/Minnesota School of Business, http://www.msbcollege.edu/degree-programs/technology/information-technology/
- "Innovation Scorecard", Consumer Electronics Association, http://www.ce.org/CorporateSite/media/Events-Media/2869_InnovativeScorecard_Book_Web.pdf
- "Maryland's Innovation and Entrepreneurship", http://www.uschamberfoundation.org/enterprisingstates/#map/3/MD/
- National Center for Education Statistics, College Navigator, http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
- Occupational Outlook Handook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Technology Occupations, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm
- Online bachelor's IT Degrees, Monroe College, https://www.monroecollege.edu/Online/Online-Degrees/Online-Bachelors-Degrees/Online-Bachelors-IT-Degree/
- Technology Degrees, Broadview University, http://www.broadviewuniversity.edu/degrees-programs/technology
- "Top 10 States for IT Jobs", http://www.cio.com/article/2369370/careers-staffing/139789-Top-10-States-for-IT-Jobs.html#slide7
- "Top Maryland employers," http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-rg-mdbusiness21-story.html#page=2
- "'The Silicon Valley of the East' Is Washington, D.C." http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/06/the-silicon-valley-of-the-east-is-washington-dc/240055/
- "US Chamber ranking: Maryland No. 1 for technology and entrepreneurship", http://technical.ly/baltimore/2014/06/13/maryland-chamber-technology-top-ranking/
- "Washington state's $600 billion IT industry: Study shows tech jobs drive economic growth," http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/morning_call/2015/03/washington-states-600-billion-it-industry-study.html
- What is the Online BS in Information Technology Service Management degree? Missouri State University, http://outreach.missouristate.edu/informationaltechonline.htm