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The 26th most populous state in the U.S., Kentucky is home to approximately 4.48 million people. The Bluegrass State produces 95% of the world's bourbon and supports several major industries including agricultural technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. Many Kentucky employers rely on computer science and information technology professionals to maintain daily operations and data security.
Some of the most popular computer science careers in Kentucky include computer systems analysts, network and computer systems administrators, and software developers. All three careers are attainable with a bachelor's in computer science. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for software developers in Kentucky is $92,480.
Explore the following guide to discover how earning an online computer science degree in Kentucky can enhance your professional life.
Kentucky at a Glance
- Population: 4,480,713
- Per Capita Income: $29,029
- Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 59
- % of Workforce in Tech: 5%
- Economic Impact of Tech Industry: $8 billion
- Climate: Average Annual Temperature: 55.6 ℉, Annual Precipitation: 48.9 inches
- Major Sports Teams: Louisville City Football Club, Racing Louisville Football Club, University of Louisville Cardinals, University of Kentucky Wildcats
Top Kentucky Schools for Computer Science
- Centre College
- Georgetown College
- Murray State University
- Northern Kentucky University
- University of Louisville
- Campbellsville University
- Western Kentucky University
- Morehead State University
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Kentucky State University
Why Go to College for Computer Science in Kentucky?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 266,507 individuals enrolled in Kentucky postsecondary institutions in 2019. Unfortunately, the state maintains one of the lowest graduation rates in the country, with only 24% of college students completing their degree, compared to the national median graduation rate of 31.28%.
Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education hopes to increase higher education attainment across the state, with an ambitious goal of 60% of Kentuckains holding a college credential or degree by 2030.
Most of Kentucky's four-year universities are concentrated in the urban centers of Louisville and Lexington. However, several rural towns across the state maintain excellent community and technical colleges.
In a largely rural state like Kentucky, online education offers vital expanded access to postsecondary opportunities. Degree-seekers who pursue an online degree can attend courses remotely, no matter where they live.
Education Statistics for Kentucky
Kentucky supports 38 four-year institutions and 21 two-year institutions, many of which offer online computer science degrees. Just under 40% of Kentucky college students enroll in at least one distance education course during their studies. Kentuckians feature a near-average level of educational attainment, with approximately 8% holding an associate, 14% holding a bachelor's, and 10% holding a graduate degree or higher.
See how Kentucky's education statistics stack up against national data in the table below.
|Higher Education in Kentucky|
|Kentucky Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||38||2,679|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||21||1,303|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||39.9%||36.6%|
|Higher Education Appropriations per Full-Time Enrollment, 2020||$7,535||$8,636|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education, 2018||6.7%||5.6%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree, 2019||8.3%||8.5%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree, 2019||14.2%||19.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher, 2019||10%||12.4%|
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Accreditation for Kentucky Schools
Accreditation provides peace of mind, demonstrating that an institution meets a certain level of academic quality, financial stability, and positive student outcomes. Degree-seekers must attend an accredited school to apply for federal grants and loans. Schools obtain and maintain accreditation by participating in frequent, rigorous appraisals by an independent third-party agency.
Colleges and universities can pursue two types of accreditation: regional or national. Regional is the oldest form and generally considered more prestigious. The type of accreditation a school holds can impact students' ability to transfer credits, as most regionally accredited institutions do not accept credits from nationally accredited schools, and vice versa.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) serves as the regional accreditation body for Kentucky and 10 other states. SACSCOC accepts accreditation applications from institutions that award associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees.
Considerations for a Computer Science Degree in Kentucky
A lot of factors go into the college and program selection process. The first decision concerns what degree level you want to pursue, and whether you want to learn in person, online, or in a hybrid format.
The data in the following sections may help you decide whether pursuing an online computer science degree in Kentucky is the right choice for you. First, let's get a sense of how many students across the U.S. and Kentucky enroll in distance education courses.
Computer Science Concentration Options
Students pursuing their online computer science degree in Kentucky can customize their education plan with a variety of concentration options. Consider the following concentrations, which align particularly well with career opportunities in the state.
A web design concentration teaches students to work with programming languages and build functioning websites. Employment of web developers is projected to grow by 19.4% in Kentucky from 2018-2028.
A software engineering concentration prepares learners to develop operating systems, programs, and applications for computers, smart phones, and other technology. More than 9,000 software developers work in Kentucky.
Network and Systems Administration
Computer and information systems managers earn the highest average salaries of Kentucky computer science professionals. A concentration in systems and networks prepares degree-seekers for these problem-solving careers through courses in network management.
Paying for Your Computer Science Degree
Whether you want to earn an associate, bachelor's, or master's in computer science, higher education comes at a sizable cost. Kentuckians enrolled at a four-year public institution can expect to pay an average of $10,674 in annual tuition and fees. You can help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses by pursuing a variety of financial aid options, as detailed in the page linked below.
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
As seen in the table above, average in-state tuition costs are significantly lower than those paid by out-of-state students.
Kentucky is a member of the Academic Common Market, which offers limited regional reciprocity agreements between some Southern states. To qualify for in-state tuition through the common market, students must pursue programs not offered in their home state. Since technology programs are common at most schools, this agreement is unlikely to benefit computer science students.
However, some schools, like Eastern Kentucky University, offer tuition breaks to out-of-state students who enroll exclusively online. Remote learners who study computer science at EKU pay $409 per credit, regardless of their state of residency. Out-of-state learners may also want to consider enrolling at a private university, where all students pay the same rates.
Kentucky's Cost of Living
Prospective college students often focus on the expenses associated with tuition and fees, but these are far from the only costs incurred while attending school. Degree-seekers also need to budget for housing, groceries, transportation, and utilities.
Fortunately, Kentucky boasts a lower-than-average cost of living. For 2021, Kentucky holds a 90.9 cost of living index score, where 100 equals the U.S. average. Kentuckians save the most on housing, with an 81.6 index score.
Selecting Your Computer Science Program
Other key factors that may influence your school selection include faculty credentials and experience, student-to-faculty ratio, availability of extracurriculars, and whether a school offers adequate support services for online learners, such as career counseling or one-on-one tutoring. A comprehensive rankings list provides a great starting point for your program search.
Explore Our Rankings for the Best Computer Science Programs
Careers for Computer Science Graduates in Kentucky
Earning an online computer science degree in Kentucky prepares graduates for several careers in the Commonwealth. Nationally, information technology jobs continue to grow much faster than the average projected growth rate for all occupations. This also rings true in Kentucky, though the stability and potential of its economy ranks 40th out of all 50 states, according to U.S. News & World Report.
According to data collected by CompTIA, 5% of the Kentucky workforce is currently employed in the technology industry. The highest number of employees work in the following four tech industry sectors:
- Software programming, web, and quality assurance
- Network administration, architecture, and support
- IT support
- Cybersecurity, systems analysis, and systems engineering
Major Commonwealth industries that rely on tech professionals include manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and agricultural technology. Kentucky serves as the headquarters for many food and beverage giants, including Yum! Brands, Inc., which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.
Select Computer Science Careers in Kentucky
Computer and information systems managers oversee IT departments within organizations. Duties include planning and coordinating departmental activities, developing goals, and determining personnel needs. Examples of this type of professional include chief information officers, chief technology officers, IT directors, and IT security managers. This career requires at least a bachelor's degree.
Salary for Computer and Information Systems Managers in KY: $122,360 | Job Outlook in KY: +15.8% (2018-2028)
These professionals study an organization's existing computer systems and develop solutions that support improved efficiency and effectiveness. Systems analysts often specialize in a certain type of system, such as financial computer systems or engineering computer systems. This career requires at least a bachelor's degree.
Salary for Computer Systems Analysts in KY: $77,640 | Job Outlook in KY: +12.2% (2018-2028)
Information security analysts work to prevent unauthorized breaches of an organization's networks and data. Common job duties include monitoring networks, conducting penetration testing, researching information security developments, and recommending enhancements to managers. Security analysts face continually expanding responsibilities as cyberattacks evolve and increase in number. This career requires at least a bachelor's degree.
Salary for Information Security Analysts in KY: $82,830
Computer Science Employers in Kentucky
GE Appliances designs and manufactures washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. The company's 1,000-acre campus in Louisville is so large it has its own zip code. Nearly 6,000 people work at the site, known as Appliance Park, including engineers, technicians, and computer scientists.
Humana is a for-profit health insurance company on the Fortune 500 list. The company relies on information technology and artificial intelligence to help serve more than 14 million members. At its headquarters in Louisville, Humana employs professionals in data science and management, business intelligence, cybersecurity, software engineering, and cloud architecture.
Appriss is a technology services company focused on building data-driven compliance, risk, and security solutions for its government and commercial enterprise customers worldwide. Headquartered in Louisville, the company employs approximately 1,000 people, including systems analysts, computer technicians, software and information systems engineers, and data engineers.
Projected Job Growth for Computer Programmers, Computer and Information Systems Managers, and Web Developers
|Kentucky Employment Trends|
|2028 Projected Employment||1,280||232,300|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||-5.2%||-7.2%|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers|
|2028 Projected Employment||3,300||461,100|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+15.8%||+11.3%|
|2028 Projected Employment||1,660||181,400|
|Projected Job Growth, 2018-28||+19.4%||+13%|
Source: Projections Central
- Web Developers: 960
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 3,470
- Computer Programmers: 1,190
- Database Administrators: 1,080
- Computer Systems Analysts: 4,700
- Information Security Analysts: 850
- Software Developers: 9,240
- Computer Hardware Engineers: 250
- Computer and Information Research Scientists: 230
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: 3,060
By number of individuals employed, the three most popular computer science careers in Kentucky are software developers, computer systems analysts, and network and computer systems administrators. A bachelor's degree in computer science satisfies minimum education requirements for each of these opportunities.
Kentuckians looking to earn the highest computer science salaries in the state may consider pursuing computer and information systems management. The average salary for this job title is $122,360. While a bachelor's may satisfy minimum education requirements for this position, many organizations require information systems managers to hold a graduate degree like an MBA.
Curious About Other Computer Science Jobs? Explore More Here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Science in Kentucky
Is computer science a good major in Kentucky?
Like nearly every state, Kentucky maintains a consistent demand for computer science professionals. According to data collected by CompTIA, Kentucky's technology sector supports more than 120,000 jobs.
What is the best field in computer science in Kentucky?
Computer and information systems management is, arguably, the best computer science field to pursue in Kentucky. It ranks as the state's highest-paying computer science career and one of the fastest-growing, too.
What computer science jobs are there in Kentucky?
College graduates can choose from several popular computer science careers in Kentucky. A few job titles to consider include information security analyst, software developer, and network and computer systems administrator.
Does Kentucky have online computer science programs?
Several two- and four-year institutions offer online computer science degrees in Kentucky. These online programs provide flexible learning and scheduling options to help you earn your degree on your own time at a pace that works for you.
Professional Computer Science Organizations in Kentucky
An independent nonprofit organization, TALK strives to create opportunities for tech job growth, job training, STEAM curriculum development, and public advocacy related to technology subjects. Individual membership provides access to a mailing list and local Louisville events.
Through advocacy and leadership, KySTE, a nonprofit professional organization, works to make technology an integral part of the education process in Kentucky. Benefits include conference discounts and grant opportunities.
KTA is a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports the general interests and welfare of Kentucky's telecommunications industry. KTA offers membership for telecommunication companies of varying sizes, with benefits including online directory listings and networking opportunities.
ACM offers life-long learning, career development, and professional networking opportunities to nearly 100,000 members around the world. Several Kentucky colleges and universities host student chapters of ACM, offering affordable membership costs and scholarship opportunities.
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