Computer science degree holders have multiple career options. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that careers in computer occupations will grow 13% by 2026, which means graduates of computer science schools in Kentucky will have ample employment opportunities. By studying computer science in Kentucky, students prepare to contribute to the state’s digital revolution.
Recently, Kentucky has embraced computer science as a way to increase the number of jobs in economically depressed areas. Online and on-campus computer science programs in Kentucky boast competitive tuition rates and quality educations. The educational opportunities for students and employment prospects for graduates provide ample reason to earn an online computer science degree in Kentucky.
Recently, Kentucky has embraced computer science as a way to increase the number of jobs in economically depressed areas.
Higher Education in Kentucky
Kentucky is home to 8 public universities, 14 private liberal arts colleges, more than 30 private universities and colleges, and 16 community colleges. The University of Kentucky educates more than 27,000 students and has an 80% freshman retention rate. Kentucky’s community colleges offer affordable associate degree programs, after which graduates may enter bachelor’s programs or begin their careers.
Even the best computer science schools in Kentucky offer lower tuition rates than schools in other states. The University of Kentucky offers significant discounts for in-state students, but even out-of-state students pay less than those attending top public universities in other states. The large number of Kentucky computer science schools means students can consider tuition, degree requirements, and available specializations to choose the ideal school for their goals.
Computer Science Careers in Kentucky
Graduates of computer science programs in Kentucky have many career options. Computer scientists work throughout the public and private sectors. Once employed, on-the-job training and work experience qualify professionals for promotions and career advancement. As access to broadband internet grows throughout the state, computer scientists work to optimize these networks, allowing rural Kentuckians to reap the economic benefits of faster internet access.
Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree
Computer Science Employers in Kentucky
- GE Consumer and Industrial: GE’s Louisville, Kentucky, facility employs 5,000 engineers, technicians, and computer scientists. The Louisville plant is one of GE’s largest service centers in the United States. Computer scientists work with experts in related fields and gain valuable networking and professional experience.
- Humana: From its Louisville office, Humana directs 4,600 healthcare professionals working throughout Kentucky. Computer scientists manage patient records and create tools to help physicians and nurses better serve patients.
- Lexmark International: Lexmark, a world leader in printer products, employes 3,100 Kentuckians at its Lexington corporate office and its research and development center. Computer scientists improve Lexmark’s printers and other imaging products.
How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Kentucky?
Location is a significant factor determining a professional’s salary. Generally, areas with large numbers of high-paying jobs also have higher costs of living. Although computer scientists in Kentucky earn less than the national mean salary for the profession, Kentucky’s cost of living is approximately 11% lower than the national average.
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Computer Science Programs in Kentucky
For students who plan to study on-campus in Kentucky, computer science schools offer traditional, in-person programs. Every campus in Kentucky’s public university system offers computer science programs; the University of Kentucky offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Students in the undergraduate program complete foundation courses in both computer science and general engineering. Upper-level undergraduate coursework includes electives related to specific careers.
Online computer science colleges in Kentucky provide flexibility for students. Online learners can view recorded lectures at their convenience, and improved online classrooms allow students to interact with peers and professors in real time. Online programs are ideal for students who work or who have personal commitments. Western Kentucky University offers an online bachelor’s in computer information technology, which accepts both freshman and transfer students and closely mirrors the on-campus experience.
Accreditation is a crucial factor in choosing a school. Accreditation indicates that a school or program meets set academic standards. Computer science schools in Kentucky earn regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Online computer science programs in Kentucky may also hold accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which specializes in distance learning programs. When considering computer science programs, look for accreditation from ABET, a private organization that reviews applied and natural science, computing, and engineering programs.
Types of Computer Science Degrees
There are many types of degrees students can choose when pursuing education in computer science: associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate degree. In general, further formal education within a field results in a higher salary. In addition, some positions require a certain level of degree. For instance, many research positions or teaching positions at the university level require at least a master’s or doctorate degree. The table below features descriptions and basic data about each degree type.
An associate in computer science provides students with foundational knowledge in computer languages and programming. In addition to learning about computer systems, students will emerge with general education courses usually required by four year colleges. Graduates with an associate degree qualify for entry-level computer science positions in the job market.
Average Program Length – 2 Years
Median Salary – $32,897
A bachelor’s in computer science provides students with knowledge of operating systems, a variety of programming languages, database management, and computer systems and architecture. These programs typically require 120 credit hours of coursework and a capstone project. Many employers in the industry are increasingly hiring individuals with a bachelor’s degree.
Average Program Length – 4 Years
Median Salary – $60,835
A master’s in computer science provides students with a deeper understanding of computer systems, design, and programming languages. Some master’s programs may provide specializations for those who wish to concentrate further in a specific area. Individuals with a master’s degree typically earn a higher salary upon graduation than those with a bachelor’s.
Average Program Length – 1-2 Years
Median Salary – $104,269
A doctorate degree in computer science is designed for individuals who wish to pursue research in the field. These intensive programs often require students to narrow their field of study and design and carry out a specific research project that culminates in a dissertation. Graduates with a Ph.D in computer science often go into academia as computer science professors.
Average Program Length – 4+ Years
Median Salary – $126,744
What Schools Offer a Computer Science Degree in Kentucky?
Many public and private colleges and universities offer computer science degrees in Kentucky. The list below includes all accredited colleges and universities in the state. Programs without accreditation are generally insufficient to prepare students for careers, and potential employers often do not recognize degrees from unaccredited institutions.
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Professional Computer Science Organizations in Kentucky
Membership in professional organizations is beneficial for students, recent graduates, and seasoned computer scientists. Members have access to online and in-person networking events and receive benefits such as professional development opportunities, which make job seekers more competitive candidates for positions. The organizations below are open to computer science students and professionals in Kentucky.
- Association for Women in Computing: Since 1978, AWC has advocated for women in the information technology field. Although AWC does not currently have a chapter in Kentucky, members in the state receive access to online networking and professional development opportunities.
- American Society for Information Science and Technology: ASIS&T combines the latest information science research with work by computer scientists and engineers. With more than 4,000 members in 50 countries, ASIS&T provides recent graduates with networking opportunities.
- American Society for Engineering Education: Many computer scientists return to the classroom as teachers. ASEE members, many of whom are college lecturers or professors, receive professional development opportunities, insurance discounts, free publications, and access to networking events.
Additional Computer Science Resources in Kentucky
- Computer Science: This website contains valuable resources for prospective students considering a career in computer science. Visitors explore computer science professions, find scholarship opportunities, and learn how to secure a job after graduation. The website also provides advice for women entering the computer science field.
- Computing Research Association: Research drives computer science, and this association helps computer science students become involved in the latest research opportunities. CRA’s networking events, many of which are virtual, connect students to employers nationwide.
- Association for Computing Machinery: ACM is the world’s largest computing society. Members network with more than 100,000 computer science students and professionals around the world. Other benefits include invitations to exclusive lectures and professional development opportunities.
- Upsilon Pi Epsilon: UPE helps achieving computer science students advance their career prospects by recognizing their academic achievements. As of 2017, four Kentucky universities have UPE chapters. Along with receiving recognition, members have the chance to apply for scholarships worth up to $2,500.