Computer Science Programs in Tennessee

In addition to being home to Graceland, Dollywood, and the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee is also a great place to earn a postsecondary degree. The state is currently working on a number of important educational initiatives to improve the quality of its higher education systems and expand access to students with nontraditional backgrounds. These initiatives aim to help the state meet its goal of matching the national educational attainment average by the year 2025.

To accomplish this, the state is offering incentives to resident students and expanding and improving in-demand programming, such as computer science. When it comes to computer science in Tennessee, the Tennessee Labor Market Analysis reports that careers in this field are incredibly popular and will continue growing in the coming years. The guide below provides further insight into the computer science industry in the state, as well as information about earning an online computer science degree in Tennessee.

The state is offering incentives to resident students and expanding and improving in-demand programming, such as computer science.

Higher Education in Tennessee

Tennessee’s higher education system includes a long list of public, private, and technical institutions, with many postsecondary options for traditional and nontraditional prospective students. In addition to its many institutions across the state, Tennessee also offers several higher education initiatives to increase enrollment, increase retention, and expand access to learners of all types and backgrounds. For example, the Drive to 55 program highlights Tennessee’s commitment to raising the percentage of adults in the state with a postsecondary degree to 55% by 2025. Additionally, the Tennessee Promise program offers graduates of state high schools free tuition at community colleges and technical institutions across the state. These represent just a few of the programs in place to encourage and empower resident students.

Tennessee’s public colleges and universities serve an ever-growing number of students. In 2016, over 136,000 students were enrolled full time in the state’s university system. During that same period, enrollment at the community college level was over 86,000. The largest university system in the state is the University of Tennessee, which consists of three major campuses and a medical school. In addition to its popular athletic program, UT offers over 900 programs of study, including a number of computer science degree paths.

Computer Science Careers in Tennessee

The number of positions in computer science fields is increasing rapidly across the nation. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of software development careers to grow by 24% within the next few years, and jobs in web development are projected to grow by 13%. Both of these rates exceed the national average for all occupations. Jobs in computer science fields in Tennessee are in particularly high demand. The state expects a 28.4% increase in computer science jobs between 2014 and 2024, with nearly 500 jobs opening up in the field each year.

Some of the largest employers in the state are in the healthcare field, which is an area that typically employs computer science professionals in a number of roles and positions. These jobs include data security, software development, and information management. With many large organizations in need of skilled professionals in these areas, graduates of online computer science programs in Tennessee have favorable job prospects.

Median Salary for Computer Science Careers by Degree

Bachelor's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $104,662
Software Developer $65,648
Software Engineer $76,738

Master's Degree

Senior Software Engineer $116,242
Software Developer $79,796
Software Engineer $90,648

Computer Science Employers in Tennessee

  • HCA Healthcare: Headquartered in Nashville, this healthcare organization provides services across the state, nationally, and abroad. In Tennessee alone, this organization employs over 10,000 individuals and has consistent job openings in a wide range of positions, including health information and medical records management.
  • Fedex: This international shipping company is headquartered in Memphis and has more than 10,000 employees in the state. In addition to employing individuals to work in shipping, the company also hires computer science professionals to fill technical roles like management analysts, database architects, and office machine managers.
  • Vanderbilt University: Vanderbilt University is a private institution based in the city of Nashville. The university employs a large number of workers in its medical facilities and research centers. The school is often in need of qualified computer programmers and specialists to work in a variety of capacities.

How Much do Computer Scientists Make in Tennessee?

Many factors influence a professional’s salary. For example, a worker’s location, specific credentials and degrees, and years of experience can all impact their earnings. This is especially true in the field of computer science; many of these positions are found in cities with a very high cost of living, which can lead to larger salaries. The table below compares the mean wages in Tennessee with the national averages for individuals working in the computer science field.

Employment Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Tennessee 51,340 $34.58 $71,930
United States 4,165,140 $42.25 $87,880

Source: BLS

Computer Science Programs in Tennessee

Tennessee’s extensive higher education system offers students the opportunity to pursue degrees on campuses in many different parts of the state. From the hills and mountains in the eastern part of the state, to the bustling metropolitan areas of Nashville and Memphis, there is a range of school options and living environments. The University of Tennessee system has campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis and offers multiple on-campus computer science degree paths. Students can also choose to pursue a five-year BS to MS program, allowing them to earn multiple computer science degrees in Tennessee.

Students interested in online computer science schools in Tennessee can visit the TN eCampus, which provides a wealth of information regarding how to pursue online degrees through schools in the state. Community colleges, four-year universities, and even technical schools offer online programming through the TN eCampus. Online programs are ideal for working professionals, returning adult students, and other nontraditional learners; the distance learning format provides a higher level of flexibility, letting students earn a degree at their own pace and on their own time. Additionally, resident students can take advantage of state incentives and financial aid programs when attending online Tennessee computer science schools.

All of the online programs and schools endorsed by the Tennessee Board of Regents hold accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which ensures that students at these institutions receive a quality education. Additionally, many of the computer science-related programs in Tennessee are accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, which is a key accreditation for degrees in STEM fields.


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.

Associate in Computer Science


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

Bachelor’s in Computer Science


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

Master’s in Computer Science


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

Computer Science Ph.D


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 Tennessee?

Students looking for computer science programs in Tennessee have many options to choose from, both on-campus and off. However, deciding between the best computer science schools in Tennessee may feel like an overwhelming and complicated task. To help prospective students with this decision, we’ve put together the following list, which consists of the top online computer science programs in the state. All of these institutions are accredited.


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Professional Computer Science Organizations in Tennessee

Joining a professional organization while attending one of the computer science colleges in Tennessee is a helpful way to learn more about the local industry. These organizations offer members valuable benefits, including networking opportunities, continuing education, annual conferences, career services, and job boards. Some of them also feature speaker series, weekly or monthly meetings, and other ways to stay actively involved in the field. Computer science students in Tennessee can join the organizations discussed below.

  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – East Tennessee Section: This chapter of the IEEE is based in eastern Tennessee. Members can attend local sessions and meetings and participate in networking opportunities with other professionals in the field. They can also take advantage of special events like guest lectures.
  • Technical Society of Knoxville: The TSK aims to understand how technology impacts society, particularly in the local community. The organization holds a luncheon event on the second Monday of every month that features a speaker and provides information and resources for members.
  • Association for Computing Machinery at UTK: This group is the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s chapter of the ACM. It hosts networking events, speaker series, and helps members connect with prospective employers.

Additional Computer Science Resources in Tennessee

  • UTK Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science: The University of Tennessee’s computer science department pages are great resources for current and prospective students in computer science programs across the state. This website provides information on courses, events, programs, news in the industry, and employment opportunities.
  • TN Higher Education Commission: This site is a good resource for any prospective higher education student in Tennessee, regardless of their major. Resources for students include information about state financial aid programs, enrollment and degree trends, and the various higher education initiatives found across the state.
  • TN Labor and Workforce Development: The workforce development website contains databases and reports about the state of various industries in Tennessee, including computer science. Students can follow employment trends in the field while earning their degree, including information about top employers and the number of job openings in the industry.
  • TN Student Assistance Corporation: This website provides information about the programs and initiatives in Tennessee available to help resident students looking for additional funding opportunities to pay for their higher education.