5 Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Information Technology 2021
| ComputerScience.org Staff
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.
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.
Why Get an Online Information Technology Degree?
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.
Top Five Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology Schools 2021
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)
FIU's School of Computing and Information Sciences offers an online information technology degree for students pursuing their second bachelor's. Industry experts and top faculty teach core classes like operating systems, computer networking, and website construction and management. FIU's online IT degree incorporates interactive technology, collaborative group projects, and real-time feedback from instructors.
The practical curriculum develops technical programming and computer skills. Before enrolling in this bachelor's in information technology program, learners must complete prerequisites like math concepts for IT, computer data analytics, and programming in Java.
Applying to FIU
Candidates must maintain current enrollment in other bachelor's programs or already hold bachelor's degrees to apply. Each interested individual must fill out an online application, pay a $30 fee, and send official college transcripts. Learners with fewer than 60 transferable credits must also submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC Tuition: $229/credit (in state); $346/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 39 credits Delivery Format: 100% online
CSU-Global's online IT degree prepares students to take certification exams and land information technology jobs. The accelerated eight-week courses include applying leadership principles, basic programming, advanced network systems, and an information technology capstone. Students can receive credit for life and work experience through prior learning assessments and competency-based exams.
Everyone pursuing CSU-Global's information technology degree online pays the same tuition rate per credit, regardless of their location. The program offers a locked-in tuition rate that remains in place for a learner's entire enrollment period. CSU-Global does not charge student fees.
Applying to CSU-Global
Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED certificate. Applicants must submit SAT, ACT, or ACCUPLACER scores. CSU-Global prefers students with a minimum 2.8 GPA who can demonstrate completion of rigorous high school curricula.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $350/credit Required Credits: 120 credits Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Founded in 1971, Lynchburg, Virginia's Liberty serves around 100,000 learners and offers more than 700 academic programs, including over 450 online. The university hosts 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs.
Students looking for schools that offer information technology degrees online can complete their entire program asynchronously and without any in-person requirements at Liberty. The 120-credit online bachelor's in information technology usually takes 3.5 years to complete. The curriculum features accelerated eight-week courses in system administration, object-oriented programming, and database management systems.
Learners choose from specializations in data networking and security, gaming design, application and database development, and web and mobile programming. Liberty provides free electronic textbooks for all undergraduate IT courses, saving students up to $2,000 a year. The transfer-friendly IT degree accepts transfer credit for up to 75% of the required classes.
Applying to Liberty
Each applicant needs a minimum 2.0 GPA to receive admission in good standing. Candidates must submit online applications, official college transcripts, and high school self-certification forms.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Private Accreditation: SACSCOC Tuition: $390/credit Required Credits: 120 credits Program Length: 3.5 years Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous)
Kennesaw State's ABET-accredited online information technology degree includes coursework in technical writing, hardware and software concepts, Linux/Unix administration, and information security administration and privacy. Students choose from concentrations in enterprise systems, information assurance and security, health information technology, or mobile and web. The 120-credit program offers hybrid, in-person, and completely online options.
An enrollee must earn a B or better in two prerequisite courses to qualify for Kennesaw State's online program. Information technology majors can apply to receive credit through prior learning assessments, including departmental challenge exams for five IT classes.
Applying to Kennesaw State
Each applicant needs a minimum 2.5 GPA with qualifying test scores or a minimum 2.6 GPA without. Students must complete the required high school curriculum and earn acceptable SAT or ACT scores (not required through fall 2021).
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC; ABET Tuition: $185/credit Required Credits: 120 credits Delivery Format: 100% online, hybrid, or in person
As the largest public research institution in Virginia, Mason values diversity, innovation, and freedom of thought and expression. Founded in 1972, the university now serves around 37,000 students annually.
Students can earn ABET-accredited bachelor's in information technology degrees completely online from Mason's Volgenau School of Engineering. The 120-credit IT degree focuses on current issues, practices, and applications of information technology. IT majors at Mason may qualify for scholarships, loans, and other types of financial aid.
The curriculum develops communication, problem-solving, and technical skills through courses in applied IT programming, modern telecommunications, operating systems fundamentals, and human-computer interaction.
The program requires a two-semester capstone senior design project. Concentrations include health information technology, network and telecommunications, database technology and programming, and web development.
Applying to Mason
Each candidate must submit a completed online application and a high school transcript. A student can optionally submit SAT or ACT scores, a secondary school report with counselor recommendations, and a personal statement.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: SACSCOC; ABET Tuition: $377/credit (in state); $1,355/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 120 credits Delivery Format: Online (asynchronous and synchronous)
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.
Comparing IT Degrees to 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
IT project management and customer service
Computer programming and engineering
IT operations management, software development, information systems
IT project manager, computer support specialist, network administrator
Cloud computing engineer, systems software developer, mobile software engineer
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
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.
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:
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.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Job Outlook (2019-29):+4% Median Annual Salary:$83,510
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.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Job Outlook (2019-29):+7% Median Annual Salary:$90,920
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.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree Job Outlook (2019-29):+5% Median Annual Salary:$112,690
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.
Required Education: Bachelor’s degree preferred Job Outlook (2019-29):+8% Median Annual Salary:$54,760
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:
Online information technology degrees commonly offer tech-oriented scholarships and in-state or discounted tuition rates.
Some online programs may offer accelerated program tracks that allow students to complete their degree in fewer than four years.
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.
Some programs — even online — may partner with organizations to provide students internships that prepare them for jobs in the field
Many IT degrees feature instructors and faculty with years of specialized experience in the field.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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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