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Information technology (IT) degrees can lead to exciting careers in fast-growing fields. The best online IT degrees provide technical career skills and explore the business of IT. Most jobs in fields like IT management and administration require a bachelor's in information technology.
Our rankings include the nation's best online IT degrees. Schools commonly offer concentrations at the bachelor's level to prepare students for specialized careers as network administrators, software developers, or information security officers. A bachelor's in information technology can also lead to professional certification.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 11% increase from 2019-2029 for computer and IT jobs. These careers come with high salaries: For example, computer network architects earned a median annual salary exceeding $112,000 as of 2019. Job opportunities across the country are plentiful: Big states like Texas, California, and New York, for example, employ large numbers of network and computer systems administrators.
Start your search for the best bachelor's in information technology here.
What Is Information Technology?
Information technology encompasses all the technology and devices we use to connect virtually. While the modern concept of information technology dates back to the 1970s, innovations like the internet, cloud computing, and social media continue to push the field's boundaries in new, exciting directions.
As the profession grows, so do career opportunities in IT. Many of these occupations are highly specialized, so workers pursue bachelor's and often additional industry certifications through Cisco, CompTIA, or Microsoft. Common IT credentials include certified cloud security professional, certified information security manager, and certified data professional.
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Best Online Bachelor's in Information Technology Schools
Earning an IT degree can open the door to lucrative positions in the emerging computer and information technology field. This guide describes the five best information technology degrees online. Each school on this list holds regional accreditation, making it easier for students to qualify for financial aid, transfer credit, and apply to graduate school.
Accredited colleges undergo rigorous independent evaluation to demonstrate that they offer high-quality degrees. Some schools also receive accreditation specifically for their IT programs. The following agencies deliver accreditation for the schools and programs in our rankings.
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
- Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)
- Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
The Value of Online Information Technology Degrees
A bachelor's in information technology qualifies candidates for entry-level jobs in IT. Students with bachelor's-level IT degrees can pursue additional certifications or advanced degrees like a master's in IT or an MBA with concentration in IT management. Unlike coding bootcamps, which emphasize accelerated career training for IT professionals, a bachelor's in information technology also develops core CS and technical skills. IT degree benefits include:
- Job Security: IT professionals enjoy faster-than-average job growth in a field that includes cybersecurity, big data storage, and cloud computing. The majority of lucrative jobs with longevity in the IT industry require at least a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions.
- Generous Salary: Most fast-growing IT careers pay salaries well above the national median. Computer network architects and software developers earn the highest salaries among IT bachelor's degree-holders: Both annual median salaries exceeded $100,000 as of 2019.
- Diverse Careers: Professionals with IT degrees pursue careers involving technology, business, and creative skills. A bachelor's in information technology meets the minimum education requirement for jobs spanning CS, software development, and network administration.
Why You Should Get Your IT Degree Online
Information technology bachelor's degrees suit the online format well. Virtual learners gain experience using the latest technology as they complete their coursework from home, developing time management and organization skills that transfer well to the workplace.
Another benefit of online IT degrees is course content delivery. Many programs make use of asynchronous materials like readings and prerecorded lectures that allow students to complete class requirements at their own pace — especially convenient for working or caregiver students. Some schools offer a choice of full- or part-time enrollment and online and hybrid learning options.
What To Expect From Bachelor's in Information Technology Programs
Online information technology degree programs vary by school. At some institutions, an IT bachelor's may be its own degree, while other schools may offer IT as a specialization of a computer science or business degree.
A bachelor's in information technology typically consists of 120 credits. Some programs require internship courses, which provide students professional experiences and networking opportunities. Most IT degrees culminate in a capstone or final project requirement. IT capstones commonly include project proposals or reports.At some institutions, an IT bachelor's may be its own degree, while other schools may offer IT as a specialization of a computer science or business degree.
A typical BS in IT program introduces students to core IT management, network security, and data administration concepts. Most students complete a bachelor's in information technology in four years, though accelerated online programs take less time. Online degrees typically combine synchronous (live) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) instruction modalities.
Though admission requirements vary by program, many schools have the same expectations for applicants. At minimum, applicants should hold a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some programs require applicants to hold an associate degree for admission consideration. Others require applicants to satisfy prerequisite coursework in information technology.
Most bachelor's in information technology require similar application materials, including essays, statements of purpose, and letters of recommendation from teachers or work supervisors. Schools often require SAT/ACT scores.
Many schools allow students to apply using platforms like Common App, where students can send their application materials to multiple schools simultaneously.
Schools most commonly offer a bachelor's in information technology as a bachelor of science (BS) degree. The BS typically features the broadest selection of concentrations and interdisciplinary electives. Some schools offer a bachelor of business administration (BBA) in IT or IT management. Though less common, a bachelor of arts (BA) may suit students pursuing an artistic IT specialization such as virtual reality or gaming program development.
Regardless of degree type, most bachelor's in information technology programs include core coursework in data management, network administration, and business leadership. Bachelor's-level IT students can also choose from a host of concentration options, like application development, database administration, and cybersecurity.
Students can use these concentrations to customize the online IT degree to their career goals. Some IT specializations suit students aspiring to a particular industry, like health information technology. Others emphasize creative skills involving graphic design, animation, and artificial intelligence.
While a bachelor's in information technology meets the minimum education requirement for most jobs in CS and IT, some students pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, learners may pursue a program with an embedded certificate in skills like digital arts, network security, or Microsoft products.
How Much Will a Bachelor's in IT Cost?
Any college degree requires a significant investment of time and money, and a bachelor's in information technology often provides high return on investment and long-term job growth.
Factors such as a school's public or private status, location, and reputation can affect its tuition rates. Many schools assign different rates to in- and out-of-state students. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that the 2018-19 average price of in-state tuition at four-year schools was $9,212, while private school tuition averaged $31,875.
Reduced tuition is one potential benefit of earning an online information technology degree. Some schools charge out-of-state online students higher tuition rates, but many institutions offer their distance learners in-state or discounted tuition.
Many programs award the same financial aid to online and on-campus learners. Aid includes need-based federal aid, merit-based scholarships and grants, and student loans. Most students seek scholarships and grants first, which do not require repayment, before pursuing loans, which must be repaid.
Check out more information about financial aid below:
Popular Information Technology Courses
Program curricula vary, but most IT degrees include similar course requirements. A bachelor's in information technology typically introduces students to foundational information systems, IT management, and technical communication concepts. Most programs also require a business module and emphasize core and elective coursework in an IT concentration.
Common courses in IT programs include:
Information Systems Management
This course emphasizes multitasking skills for aspiring IT managers. Course topics include project management and applications management. These courses sometimes prepare students to pursue project manager certification through CompTIA.
Web Development Foundations
Introduction to IT
This class emphasizes the business end of IT, including an overview of job opportunities after graduation. Coursework includes an overview of the many functions of IT professionals, including data management, cybersecurity, and computer programming.
This course outlines the unique communication tools necessary for IT professionals in the fields of management and administration. Topics include IT jargon, technical writing, and adapting communication methods to various audiences.
Most bachelor's degrees in IT culminate in a capstone or final project. Many capstones require the proposal and implementation of a technical project. Programs also typically require a written report explaining the process of the project and reflecting on its results.
Information Technology Degrees vs Computer Science Degrees
Prospective learners should note a few key differences between IT and computer science degrees. The chart below outlines commonalities, including program length and course load, along with slight variations in the programs' focus, course offerings, career options, and enrollees.
Generally, IT degrees emphasize skills in IT project management and customer service over the more technical competencies learned in a CS degree. IT degrees can lead to broad, management-oriented IT careers, while CS programs prepare graduates for computer programming and engineering positions.
|Bachelor's in Information Technology||Bachelor's in Computer Science|
|Length of Program||Four years||Four years|
|Course Load||120 credits||120 credits|
|Focus||IT project management and customer service||Computer programming and engineering|
|Available Careers||IT project manager, computer support specialist, network administrator||Cloud computing engineer, systems software developer, mobile software engineer|
|Target Demographic||Excellent communicators and multitaskers with strong organizational and management skills||Detail-oriented math experts with a penchant for problem-solving through critical thinking and analysis|
Choosing the Right Information Technology Program
Though our ranking of the best bachelor's in IT is a great place to start the school search, there are many factors prospective students should consider when applying to degree programs. For IT degrees specifically, this can include high-profile faculty and unique networking or internship opportunities. Common considerations include:
- Schools should always hold national or regional accreditation, and some may hold IT-specific programmatic accreditation from organizations like the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.
- Cost/Financial Aid
- Online information technology degrees commonly offer tech-oriented scholarships and in-state or discounted tuition rates.
- Program Length
- Some online programs may offer accelerated program tracks that allow students to complete their degree in fewer than four years.
- School Size
- Small schools often provide more personalized learning experiences because of lower student-to-faculty ratios, while large schools may offer robust alumni networks and other resources to support student success.
- Internship Opportunities
- Some programs — even online — may partner with organizations to provide students internships that prepare them for jobs in the field
- Staff Credentials
- Many IT degrees feature instructors and faculty with years of specialized experience in the field.
Top 5 Online IT Degree Programs
|#1||Florida International University Miami, FL|
|#2||Colorado State University Global Campus Aurora, CO|
|#3||Liberty University Lynchburg, VA|
|#4||Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA|
|#5||George Mason University Fairfax, VA|
Jobs for Bachelor's in Information Technology Graduates
Graduates of bachelor's programs in IT qualify for entry- to mid-level positions in fields like network administration, systems analysis, network architecture, and computer support. Some jobs offer advancement to candidates with several years of career experience or master's degrees.
Many jobs for IT bachelor's graduates are projected to grow at or above the projected national growth rate for all occupations. Every job listed here outearns the national median salary, and computer network architects earn an especially high median annual salary, exceeding $112,000.
Network and Computer System Administrator
These professionals oversee the daily operations of networks and computer systems including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. While some jobs require only an associate degree or postsecondary certificate, most network administrators require a bachelor's degree in information science or a related field.
Computer Systems Analyst
Sometimes called systems architects, computer systems analysts review computer systems' efficiency. They may specialize in project management, software quality assurance, or programming. Computer systems analysts usually hold a bachelor's in information technology, computer science, or a related field.
Computer Network Architect
These professionals construct computer networks including LANs, WANs, and intranets. Computer network architects often gain experience as network and computer systems administrators. Most employers require a bachelor's degree in a field like information technology with coursework in database design or network security.
Computer Support Specialist
Sometimes called help-desk technicians, these professionals provide technical support to users of computers and computer networks. Computer support specialists typically serve non-IT users or organizations. Though some employers require only an associate degree or postsecondary coursework, a bachelor's in information technology can lead to higher salaries or advancement opportunities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Information Technology Degrees
Is an IT degree worth it?
Yes. IT degrees can lead to lucrative, long-term careers in a growing industry. A bachelor's degree meets the minimum education requirement for most IT jobs and can also prepare students for professional certifications.
Is it hard to get an IT degree?
It can be. IT coursework is rigorous because it develops the skills necessary for jobs in the field. Many schools offer multiple concentrations to ensure students can specialize their education to their interests.
What can you do with an information technology degree?
Students with a bachelor's in information technology can choose from a variety of high-paying jobs. Common career paths include computer support, software development, and database administration.
How do I become an IT specialist?
Aspiring IT specialists with a bachelor's in information technology can pursue careers including network systems administrator or computer systems analyst. Students may also pursue a master's degree or industry certifications.
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