Best Online Associate in Computer Science 2021
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Computer science is a rapidly growing field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information technology occupations are projected to grow 12% between 2018-2028, with a large demand for professionals in cloud computing, big data, and information security.
Working in computer science can be lucrative. The BLS reports a median income of $112,690 for computer network architect, which is a career obtainable with a bachelor's degree and several years of related work experience. Software developers, information security analysts, and network systems administratorscan also earn six-figure salaries.
While many entry-level computer science careers require a bachelor's degree, prospective students should not ignore the value of a transferable associate degree. Associate degrees provide affordable access to general education and lower-level core requirements, making it easier to pursue a bachelor's later.
For more details, view our ranked list of the best online associate degrees in computer science below.
The Best Online Computer Science Associate
A public university founded in 1889, Weber State University offers more than 25 online undergraduate and graduate programs. The school's AAS in computer science degree offers most general education and all lower-division computer science courses online.
Delivered through the Canvas learning management system, online computer science classes at WSU typically follow the traditional semester schedule and an asynchronous format. Students can complete assignments around their own schedules as long as they meet due dates. Classes include group projects and interactive discussion boards.
Computer science majors can also take classes through the computer science flex program, which provides flexible start times, academic coaching, and self-paced classes. WSU lets students mix and match flex and regular online computer science courses. Learners must complete the computer science capstone and some upper-division courses in person. Computer science majors can take in-person courses at a nearby university or community college.
Applicants to WSU's associate in computer science program must submit transcripts. Students can optionally submit ACT or SAT scores, which help determine math and English course placements. The university's open-enrollment admissions process means that applicants do not need to meet any additional requirements to apply for the computer science program.
Pennsylvania Institute of Technology boasts on-campus, hybrid, and online programs that prepare students for careers in computer science, healthcare management, and other technology fields. One of the best computer science schools, PIT offers an online associate in computer science that provides training in software engineering practices.
The computer science associate degree teaches students how to design, analyze, and implement software and hardware and develop applications for mobile devices. The curriculum includes classes like full stack web development, programming mobile devices, introduction to the gaming industry, and monetizing and managing web projects.
Students also learn how to build normalized databases, write secure code for database transactions, and use iterative development techniques like Agile. Degree-holders qualify to sit for Oracle's Java SE 7 programmer certification exam. Graduates can pursue careers as website developers, computer programmers, and technical support specialists.
Applicants must submit transcripts and take a computerized assessment test that measures math, writing, and reading comprehension skills and helps the school place students into appropriate classes. PIT accepts applications for the online associate in computer science program year round and offers rolling admissions.
A private liberal arts institution founded in 1875, Park University serves more than 16,500 students around the world. The university offers more than 40 online undergraduate and graduate programs, including an AS in information and computer science.
The program offers multiple start dates each year. Graduates can work as web programmers, software engineers, information technology project managers, and database analysts. Computer science majors complete required courses like introduction to Python programming, managing information systems, data management concepts, and discrete mathematics. Electives explore topics like computer architecture, precalculus, and computer systems analysis and design.
Students can choose from concentrations like computer science, cybersecurity, networking and security, and software development. Learners pursuing the networking and security concentration take Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) courses to prepare for the CCNA certification exam. Park's career development center and the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems help computer science majors find opportunities for computer science internships.
Applicant's to the online computer science associate degree program need a high school diploma or GED. Park encourages online students to apply for financial aid to help cover the cost of tuition and fees. Distance learners pay a flat fee for tuition, regardless of where they live. Active military and dependents, veterans, and federal employees receive a tuition discount.
The completely online AS in computer science degree from Ocean County College explores programming, computer organization and architecture, and database management. Designed for working adults, the flexible program takes two years (four semesters) to complete and includes general education and computer science coursework.
The 60-credit associate degree in computer science includes required classes like discrete mathematics, general physics I and II, and data structures and analysis. The curriculum follows guidelines set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society, the Association of Computing Machinery, and the Association for Information Systems professional society.
Computer science graduates qualify for entry-level positions as computer and information systems managers, computer systems engineers, web administrators, and software quality assurance engineers. Many degree-holders pursue further education in computer science or a related field by transferring their associate degree to a bachelor's in computer science program.
An open-enrollment college, OCC welcomes all prospective students age 18 or older. The computer science program recommends that applicants hold a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Prospective students can fill out a free application online. Computer science majors can apply for financial aid, including OCC foundation scholarships.
Established in 1946, Trinity Valley Community College offers academic programs in diverse fields, like business and technology; public service; health sciences; and science, engineering, and math. Distance learners can earn a fully online associate of arts with an emphasis in computer science from TVCC in two years (four semesters). Computer science majors receive career development help from the college's career coach service.
The 60-credit associate degree includes general education classes like introduction to ethics, U.S. history, and Texas government and constitution. Computer science majors also take classes like programming fundamentals I and II, physics, and calculus. Students can add technology certificates in areas like software applications specialist, data center, and management information systems.
Available entirely online, the computer science associate degree from TVCC prepares students to transfer to four-year institutions with junior status to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science. Graduates can pursue careers as computer systems analysts, computer programmers, computer and information systems managers, and information security analysts.
Applicants must submit transcripts. TVCC recommends that all prospective learners apply for financial aid and requires new students to meet with an academic advisor before registering for classes. TVCC may require new students to complete a pre-assessment activity and/or the Texas Success Initiative placement test.
Cowley County Community College offers more than 120 programs of study and holds articulation agreements with online colleges, universities, and technical schools inside and outside of Kansas. A two-year transfer program, the online associate of science in computer science from Cowley prepares students to enter a bachelor's in computer science program at the junior level or to take entry-level computer science positions.
The 62-credit computer science associate degree provides a strong foundation in science and mathematics. The curriculum includes classes like visual basic programming, C++ programming, advanced Java programming, and C programming.
The AS degree also requires general education credits in areas like the humanities, social sciences, science and math, and health and physical education. Graduates qualify for entry-level computer science jobs like computer programmer, information security analyst, and database manager.
Cowley's open admissions policy welcomes all adults. To apply, students must fill out a free application and submit high school transcripts or GED results and ACT scores, if available. Prospective students must take a placement assessment before enrolling in any classes. Individuals who submit ACT scores do not need to take the placement assessment.
Established in 1961, Anne Arundel Community College serves more than 39,000 students each year. One of the best computer science schools, AACC offers an online associate of science in computer science transfer program. The program provides a strong foundation in mathematics and introductory computer science concepts.
Graduates can transfer to a four-year college with junior-level standing. AACC maintains articulation agreements with a variety of transfer institutions. Students should communicate with the Computer Science Department to create an individualized program plan that aligns with the requirements of their intended transfer school.
The 60-credit associate degree takes two years (four terms) to complete. Students take major classes like introductory object-oriented program analysis and design, computer science I and II, and introduction to discrete structures. The curriculum also includes general education requirements in social and behavioral sciences, the arts and humanities, and biological and physical sciences. The program requires a grade of C or better in all computer science transfer courses.
AACC's computer science program accepts all applicants age 16 or older. The college determines course placement by evaluating learners based on their high school GPA, ACT or SAT scores, or ACCUPLACER test scores. New students may need to take preparatory courses to improve their skills prior to registering for degree classes.
One of the best community colleges in Maryland, Montgomery College offers a variety of fully online associate degrees in subjects like business, criminal justice, early childhood education technology, and computer science and technologies.
MC's AA in computer science and technologies with a concentration in computer science prepares students for computer science jobs or to transfer to four-year institutions to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science. MC boasts transfer agreements with multiple four-year colleges and the tools to help students prepare for transferring.
The program also prepares students for entry-level positions in computer programming, web administration, and mobile development. Available fully online, MC's 60-credit computer science degree includes classes like introduction to programming, calculus, introduction to discrete structures, and computer science I and II.
Students must also complete general education and elective courses. Those who plan to transfer to a four-year program should talk to an advisor or their transfer institution before choosing elective courses. The college offers access to a career coach tool that lets students find job opportunities in the Washington D.C., and Maryland areas.
The AS in computer science degree from Murray State College allows graduates to transfer to a four-year institution and start a computer science bachelor's program as a junior. The curriculum emphasizes programming and includes a strong foundation in mathematics, like calculus and geometry.
Students gain hands-on, practical experience using a variety of computer applications, operating systems, and languages. The 60-credit associate in computer science requires general education, computer science core, and elective credits. Students take classes like data communication and network fundamentals, database management systems, systems analysis, and plane trigonometry.
MSC offers open admission and makes class placement decisions based on ACT or placement test scores. A transfer-friendly institution, MSC awards credit for previous coursework completed at a regionally accredited college. Students may also apply to receive up to 15 credits for Advanced Placement courses, CLEP exams, and technical career training.
The affordable online computer science degree from Jamestown Community College emphasizes software development and design. The curriculum explores programming, web technologies, networking, and database design. Computer science majors also receive a foundation in computer theory and advanced mathematics. The program prepares graduates to transfer to four-year universities to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science.
The 60-credit associate of science degree requires courses like programming concepts and application, computer hardware and system software, analytic geometry, and data structures. Students also take general education coursework in areas like English, sociology, and psychology. The program offers opportunities to participate in computer science internships and job shadowing.
Computer science graduates know how to troubleshoot simple hardware and software issues, write basic programs in assembly language, and use data structures to complete tasks. JCC places students in their initial mathematics course based on their placement test scores and math background.
JCC boasts transfer agreements with more than 10 four-year universities, allowing graduates to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field in just two additional years of study.
Finger Lakes Community College offers 11 flexible online degree programs, including a computer science associate degree. The hands-on program develops analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills. The college's office of online learning helps learners access information about financial aid, student services, and transfer credits.
The online computer science AS covers advanced mathematics topics, with coursework in discrete math, calculus, and physics. The 63-credit curriculum includes general education, program core, and elective credits. Full-time computer science majors can graduate in two years (four semesters). Students should meet with an advisor to develop a degree plan that fits their schedule.
Students explore the technical aspects of computer science and take foundational courses like computer architecture and organization, object-oriented software development, and introduction to programming and computational thinking. In the final semester of the program, students complete a group project to develop a computer solution.
Most computer science graduates transfer to four-year schools to earn a bachelor's degree. Seamless transfer opportunities exist at a variety of New York institutions, including SUNY Albany, Birmingham University, the University at Buffalo, and Rochester Institute of Technology. Graduates can also pursue entry-level positions in network administration, web development, technical support, and software or multimedia development.
A leader in distance education, Rogers State University became the first university in Oklahoma to offer associate and bachelor's degrees completely online. The university's online offerings include business administration, applied technology, and computer science programs.
RSU's online computer science degree prepares graduates to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or computer information systems. Graduates also qualify for entry-level computer science jobs.
Students gain knowledge and skills in basic computer programming and an understanding of how technology changes the workplace. The AS in computer science requires 65-66 credits of classes like introduction to computing, programming, network operating systems, and introduction to networking. The program also requires general education and elective classes.
Admission requirements include official high school transcripts or a copy of a GED certificate and ACT scores. Transfer students can find out which previously earned credits will transfer to RSU using the transfer matrix tool from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Lincoln Land Community College offers more than 15 distance education degrees and certificates. Ranking among the best computer science schools, LLCC offers an online AA in computer information systems with a concentration in computer science. Students can take all coursework online or complete the degree through a combination of online and in-person classes.
The curriculum includes classes like computer applications and concepts, calculus and analytic geometry, computer programming concepts, and discrete structures. The 60- to 67-credit program also requires general education credits in English, economics, and science. Students work with an assigned student success coach to create a degree plan.
Online computer science majors receive access to the same support services as their on-campus counterparts, including library resources, the center for academic success, and Blackboard assistance. The same experienced, dedicated faculty members who teach on campus provide online instruction for the computer science program.
Prospective computer science students must submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Students with ACT scores lower than 22 or SAT scores lower than 480 need to take the college's math and/or English placement tests.
Saint Paul College offers an online computer science degree that prepares graduates for positions in database management, programming, and software development. The program also prepares graduates to transfer to four-year institutions. The college has articulation agreements with universities like the College of St. Scholastica, Saint Mary's University-Twin Cities Campus, and Metropolitan State University.
The program offers three annual start dates. Students gain mathematical reasoning, teamwork, and communication skills. Learners can complete all coursework online or take a combination of in-person and online classes. The program teaches computer science majors how to develop algorithms, analyze complex data structures, and use mathematics to develop computer programs.
The 60-credit associate degree includes 30 general education and 30 computer science credits. Students take classes like introduction to computing and programming concepts, Java programming, discrete structures of computer science, and advanced programming principles. The program offers full- and part-time enrollment. Full-time students can graduate in two years (four semesters).
Prospective students must fill out a free online application. The school typically processes applications within 72 hours. Depending on their placement test scores, students may need to complete additional courses before enrolling in college-level classes. To qualify for admission into the computer science program, students must earn a grade of C or better in required general education courses in reading, writing, and advanced algebra.
Established in 1993, South Texas College enrolls more than 32,000 students on campus and online. The school offers an affordable online computer science degree that prepares graduates for jobs like computer programmer, computer operator, computer user support specialist, and information security analyst. The program also prepares students for further study in computer science and computer information systems.
Computer science majors take classes like introduction to logic, computer organization, and programming fundamentals. Students also take general education courses. The program teaches students to create and implement algorithms, use object-oriented programming to solve tasks, and communicate effectively. The 60-credit degree takes four full-time semesters to complete.
The Computer Science Department offers online and face-to-face tutoring sessions for online computer science majors. Students also gain access to career services, library resources, and counseling services.
Admission requirements for the associate of computer science program include a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may receive admission if they submit placement test scores from the Texas Success Initiative Assessment exam.
A public two-year community college, SUNY Ulster County Community College offers seven online associate degree and certificate programs in fields like business administration, criminal justice, and computer science. The online computer science degree gives students a theoretical foundation in computing and strong programming skills. Graduates can continue their education at four-year institutions or seek entry-level computer science jobs.
The AS in computer science program requires 62-64 credits and takes four semesters to complete. The curriculum includes general education and major requirements. Students take classes like computer architecture and organization, discrete mathematics, data structures, and calculus. Students can complete the AS completely online or through a combination of distance education and in-person coursework.
Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent and satisfactory scores on the college's Entering Student Assessment. Students must also successfully take college algebra and trigonometry to qualify for admission into the computer science program.
Students who do not meet basic math and reading requirements can get help from SUNY Ulster's writing center, math center, and learning center. Distance learners can apply for the same financial aid opportunities as on-campus students.
A public institution founded in 1964, Montgomery County Community College provides affordable, accessible, and career-relevant associate degree and certificate programs. MCCC offers an online computer science associate degree that teaches students how to apply algorithm design, use programming tools, and use data structures and testing techniques.
Designed for students who plan to pursue a bachelor's in computer science, the completely online program lets students seamlessly transfer to schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The degree also meets the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Transfer Agreement Oversight Committee.
The computer science AS includes general education, major, and elective requirements. The curriculum requires courses like computer architecture and organization, database management systems, data structures and algorithms, and probability and statistics. Students can attend part or full time.
Applicants must submit transcripts and standardized test scores (if available). Some students may need to take placement tests in reading, math, or writing. The college provides academic support, career advising, transfer opportunities, and financial aid opportunities for online learners. Admitted students must meet with an academic advisor before enrolling in their first classes.
Students looking for one of the best computer science schools with online programs should consider Western Nebraska Community College. The school's online associate of science in computer science gives students the theoretical and practical skills necessary to pursue entry-level computer science jobs or transfer to a four-year university. An open-enrollment community college, WNCC invites all students age 17 or older to enroll in the computer science associate program.
Graduates typically pursue a bachelor's in computer science, computer information systems, computer engineering, or a related field. Computer science majors who choose not to pursue a bachelor's degree can find entry-level employment as software engineers, systems architects, and database administrators.
The program emphasizes programming languages, algorithmic design, and operating systems. The 64-credit degree includes 34 general education credits and 30 computer science core credits. Students take classes like microcomputer applications, SQL database design and management, visual C#, and introduction to robotics. The curriculum also explores subjects like networking, Linux, and calculus.
The four-semester AS takes full-time students two years to complete. Those who plan to transfer to a four-year university should consult with a faculty advisor to design a curriculum that will meet their transfer goals. Computer science majors can join the college's math and science club and the annual robotics challenge.
San Bernardino Valley College boasts 40 online associate degrees and 20 online certificates. The fully online computer science associate degree covers the fundamentals of software engineering, computer programming, and information processing. Graduates qualify for entry-level jobs as programmers. They can also continue their education by transferring to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field.
The 60-credit degree includes general education and major coursework. Students take classes like introduction to personal computers, programming in C++, programming with Java, and advanced visual basic.net programming. The program develops problem-solving, communication, analysis, and critical thinking skills. Students learn how to interpret technical information, create algorithmic solutions to problems, respect privacy, and act ethically.
SBVC accepts applications for the online computer science program year round. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Students may need to take a STEM pre-assessment workshop to avoid taking unnecessary math classes. Distance learners may qualify for financial aid opportunities, including grants, loans, work-study programs, and scholarships.
A public institution established in 1971, Houston Community College offers some of the country's most affordable workforce training, academic, and career development programs. The third-largest online community college in the U.S., HCC Online boasts more than 60 online programs. Designed primarily for students who plan to transfer to four-year institutions, HCC's flexible online computer science associate degree takes two years to complete.
Students who transfer to a four-year university typically start as juniors and earn their bachelor's degree after another two years of study. HCC holds transfer agreements with more than 50 universities. HCC staff and faculty help computer science majors develop degree plans to meet their transfer goals.
The computer science AS requires courses like programming fundamentals, calculus I and II, physics, and computer organization. Students also take general education classes like Texas government, American history, and composition I and II. Support for online computer science majors includes online academic advising, career services, and technical assistance.
The college's open-admission policy gives all motivated students the opportunity to earn a degree. Prospective learners must fill out an online application. Students who previously attended another college must submit official transcripts.
Quinsigamond Community College offers a mostly online AS in computer science degree that prepares students to transfer to four-year institutions to complete a bachelor's degree. The 80% online computer science associate degree aligns with recommendations for transfer programs set by the Committee for Computing Education in Community Colleges of the Association for Computing Machinery.
QCC boasts transfer agreements with 10 private and public four-year institutions in Massachusetts. Students should determine transfer course requirements at their transfer institution at the start of the AS program. The 60-credit computer science degree requires classes like probability and statistics for engineers and scientists, programming with data structures, introduction to architecture and assembly language, and discrete mathematics.
Students learn the principles of the scientific method and how to effectively document programming projects. The curriculum also teaches critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. The program uses a virtual laboratory that students can access from anywhere with a laptop. The four-semester degree takes full-time learners two years to complete.
Admission requirements for QCC's online computer science program include a high school diploma or GED. Students must receive a placement exam score that places them in college-level English. The program also requires a grade of C or better in mathematics 100 or an appropriate placement exam score. Computer science majors may receive transfer credit for prior learning experiences.
Bucks County Community College offers 21 programs and seven certificates completely online. Students can earn a 62-credit fully online computer science degree from the school's science, technology, engineering, and mathematics department. Full-time learners can graduate in two years. Students gain access to library resources, a student employment and career development center, an IT help desk, and veteran resources.
Designed for students who want to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, the associate program mirrors the first two years of study in a bachelor's program. Bucks encourages students to contact the transfer services office when they enroll to determine what courses will transfer to their desired college.
The associate in computer science degree includes classes like visual basic programming, discrete mathematics, introduction to information systems, and calculus. Based on placement test results, some students may need more time to complete major requirements. Students learn to manage data, analyze business problems, and develop algorithms. The program also explores coding, documentation, debugging, and testing software and hardware.
Bucks invites all prospective students to fill out a free online application. After applying, new students must take placement tests, meet with an advisor, and attend orientation.
North Hennepin Community College offers 11 flexible online associate degrees and more than 15 online certificates. The college's online computer science degree focuses on computer programming, database programming, and software development. The associate of science in computer science prepares students to transfer to a bachelor's program in computer science, information technology, or software engineering.
All courses from the associate program transfer directly to designated computer science bachelor's programs at Minnesota state universities. Graduates who decide not to continue their education can pursue entry-level jobs in information technology, technical documentation, software development, or computer programming.
Computer science majors take classes like fundamentals of structured query language, introduction to programming in Java, data structures and algorithms, and object-oriented programming. Program electives explore issues like responsive web design, computer security, and mobile programming in iOS or Android.
Students must also complete general education credits in areas like college writing, human biology, and psychology. Students must earn a minimum 2.0 GPA to graduate. NHCC may require developmental courses in math and English for students who do not meet placement test requirements. Distance learners gain access to academic advising, financial aid opportunities, a counseling and career center, and tutoring.
A two-year community college founded in 1967, Delaware County Community College serves more than 28,000 students. DCCC's online computer science AS degree prepares students to transfer to four-year institutions to finish a computer science bachelor's degree. The four-semester curriculum explores programming, ethical and legal issues in computer science, and software development.
The curriculum complies with the Pennsylvania Statewide Program-to-Program Articulation Agreement. The program ensures that computer science majors at DCCC can transfer their associate degree into a bachelor's program with junior class standing at a participating institution in Pennsylvania.
Computer science majors can complete 85% of the program online, but they may need to take up to three courses in person. The 65-credit degree includes classes like introduction to Java programming, network communications, data structures and algorithms, and introduction to information technology. Students also complete general education and elective credits. The program fosters analytical, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.
Prospective computer science students can complete DCCC's free application for admission online. The college requires all learners to take a placement test that assesses math and English competency or submit ACT or SAT scores.
The Computer Science and Information Technology Department at Limestone College offers an online computer science degree with a concentration in programming. The associate of science prepares students for programming careers and to pursue a bachelor's degree. Students learn to think creatively and develop solutions to common programming problems. The program features dedicated instructors, small class sizes, and up-to-date technology.
The 62-credit associate degree includes classes such as operating systems and networking fundamentals, C# programming, and internet programming. Students also complete general education and elective courses. Distance learners can take classes online, in person, or through a combination of both.
Online computer science majors qualify for many of the same financial aid opportunities as their on-campus counterparts, and 95% of Limestone's students receive some kind of financial assistance. A military-friendly institution, Linestome offers a 50% tuition discount to members of the military. The college also boasts corporate partnerships with companies like Dish Network and Novant Health to provide grants to online students.
Limestone's online computer science program accepts applications year round and admits new students throughout the year. Admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Students age 21 or older and military personnel do not need to submit standardized test scores.
Northern Essex Community College boasts 11 online programs in areas like business management, criminal justice, and computer and information science. The online computer science associate degree includes an information technology focus. The program focuses on the foundations of IT, including software, hardware, programming, and information security.
The 63-credit associate in computer and information sciences: information technology provides training in computer networks, programming and scripting in Linux, and applications. The curriculum includes classes like integrated computer applications, help desk and soft skills, programming for IT, and introduction to computer science. Students also complete general education and elective credits.
Graduates qualify for entry-level information technology and computer science careers like computer operator, project manager, and software technician. The program also prepares students to transfer to a bachelor's program in IT or computer science.
Admitted students must take a placement test. Online learners qualify for many of the same types of financial aid as on-campus students, including loans, grants, and scholarships. Students may be able to transfer credit from another college for courses with a grade of C or better. Computer science majors must complete at least 24 credits at NECC.
A student-centered community college, Stark State College serves more than 15,000 students online and on campus. One of the most affordable colleges in the region, the school offers more than 230 career-relevant certificates and associate degrees.
Available entirely online, the 63-credit associate of applied science in computer science and engineering technology takes two years to complete. Students learn to develop software using programming languages, understand ethical and professional responsibilities, and operate hardware and software systems. The program also fosters communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills. Distance learners can enroll part or full time.
The online computer science degree includes classes like fundamentals of information systems, advanced visual basic development, structure query language, and analyzing software requirements and designing solutions. Students must also meet general education and elective requirements. SSC's computer science online program features experienced faculty, affordable tuition, and a diverse student population.
Some courses feature prerequisites, and all new students must take SSC's placement exam at the start of the program. The program encourages learners to meet with an academic advisor before the start of classes each semester. Many computer science graduates transfer to four-year colleges to earn a bachelor's degree. SSC boasts transfer agreements with more than 30 Ohio institutions, including the University of Akron, Ohio State University, and Kent State University.
A two-year postsecondary institution, Thomas Nelson Community College provides financially accessible educational programs. TNCC's fully online computer science associate degree prepares students to transfer to four-year institutions to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science. Graduates can also pursue entry-level employment in computer science.
The AS in science with a concentration in computer science explores topics like coding and designing software, data structures, algorithms, and computer architecture. The two-year program teaches students to think scientifically and conduct bachelor's-level independent research projects. The program culminates with a guided research course that lets learners work with faculty to design a research project in an area of interest.
Students in the online computer science program receive access to library resources, online tutoring, and academic advising. The open-enrollment college admits any individual age 18 or older with a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must submit high school transcripts or GED scores. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all previously attended colleges.
Founded in 1963 as Indiana Vocational Technical College, Ivy Tech Community College offers the most affordable online classes in Indiana. Ivy Tech's online computer science degree prepares students for computing careers in business, research, industry, and the military.
The associate of science in computer science explores algorithms, the social impact of computers, and the history and evolution of machines. Students also learn communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills. The program requires coursework in calculus, physics, and chemistry.
The two-year program features asynchronous courses with assignment deadlines but no scheduled class times. Distance learners gain access to student support services like library resources, veterans services, tutoring, and career development. Computer science graduates can transfer to a four-year institution to earn a bachelor's degree in computer science at the junior level.
Prospective computer science majors can apply to Ivy Tech online at no cost. After receiving an acceptance letter, students must complete the college's assessment process to demonstrate their math, reading, and writing skills. The college may ask students to take a placement exam.
A private, Christian liberal arts university founded in 1942, Faulkner University is affiliated with the Churches of Christ. The school's online associate of science in computer and information science prepares graduates for computer science careers like software developer, network systems administrator, business intelligence analyst, and computer programmer.
The 64-credit, faith-based computer science degree includes courses like introduction to database concepts, introduction to visual programming, and introduction to requirements analysis and software design. Students must also fulfill general education requirements.
Computer science majors learn about algorithms, computer-aided design, robotics, and operating systems. The curriculum also covers computer-based solutions for practical problems, software engineering, and programming languages. Online students experience the same high-quality instruction, in-depth curriculum, and individualized attention as on-campus learners.
Admission requirements for the online computer science program include a high school diploma or GED and a minimum ACT score of 18 or SAT score of 1290. Applicants out of high school for five or more years do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Prospective students who do not meet these requirements can apply for conditional admission.
Online Computer Science Associate Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The motto of TheBestSchools.org is Finding the best school for you. Here is how we do it:
The value of any ranking list of schools and/or degree programs depends on having a methodologically sound assessment of each school’s/program’s characteristics, especially insofar as these can be objectively measured. A college or university is a complex entity, with numerous factors to consider, and distilling these down to the place where meaningful comparisons can be made to form a defensible ranking list becomes part science and part art.
To meet this challenge—and thereby provide you with the most useful and insightful educational rankings on the Internet — TheBestSchools.org formulates our rankings based on five informational categories (six, when considering online schools). The major metrics and qualities for which we rank are these (with expanded, detailed considerations and weights listed):
1. Academic excellence based on a school’s curriculum generally or within the selected discipline [weight = 25%]
- Weighs school against known leading schools in that discipline
- Weighs number of core curricula listed as advanced courses within that discipline and compares against introductory courses
- Weighs school’s curriculum against known knowledge needs of major employers in that discipline
- Considers number and types of specializations offered within that discipline
- Considers faculty expertise in that discipline
- Considers range of electives within that discipline
- Considers quality of online environment offered to students (if applicable), particularly within that discipline
2. Strength of faculty scholarship [weight = 25%]
- Considers education background of the faculty
- Considers years of faculty experience both inside and outside of academia.
- Considers faculty membership and leadership within relevant, prominent associations
- Considers academic papers published by faculty in relevant, prominent periodicals
- Considers awards and recognitions given to faculty members from prominent organizations and from other sources
3. Reputation [weight = 20%]
- Considers a school’s reputation among academic peers and employers regarding the following:
- “Freshness” of academic knowledge
- Adaptability to changes in employment sectors
- Suitability of graduates for the workplace
4. Financial aid [weight = 10%]
- Mandatory: Requires full accreditation from an agency endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and listed on the federal register to accept student federal financial aid
- Considers range of school-sponsored financial aid such as scholarships and grants
5. Range of degree programs [weight = 20%]
- Considers range of degree levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral and professional
- Considers range of degree subjects offered, such as art & design, computers & technology, education & teaching, criminal justice, and business
6. Strength of online instruction methodology (if applicable) [weight = 25%; subtract 5% from each of the above for online schools/programs]
Considers the following of the online classes:
- Types of online technology used to deliver content
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- Variety, breadth, and depth of coursework, and its support, including project options and online tutoring
Considers the following of instructors:
- Extent of training for teaching within an online learning environment
- Amount of timely, consistent feedback to students
- Extent of collaboration with prospective employers to ensure suitability of instructional materials for achieving desired skills
- Ratio to number of students in a class
- Number and quality of internships in a student’s geographical area for applicable degrees
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To better serve the needs of prospective students, we are therefore increasingly offering filters that help you better use our rankings to find the schools that match your specific needs. These supplement our ranking criteria and include:
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Citations: For a broader account of our ranking methodology, especially as it relates to TheBestSchools.org's underlying educational philosophy and, in other ranking articles, looks beyond academic excellence (as here) to such factors as return on investment or incidental benefit, see our article "Ranking Methodology: How We Rank Schools at TBS." Reputation of schools and degree programs can at least in part be gauged through the school or department's publishing activity, citations, and desirability. At TheBestSchools.org, we keep track of such social and peer validation: "Making Sense of College Rankings." For nuts-and-bolts information about colleges and universities, we look to the National Center for Education Statistics and especially its College Navigator. Insofar as salary and inflation data are relevant to a ranking, we look to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, nothing beats contacting schools and degree programs directly, which our researchers often do, with the result that all the entries in this article should be considered as belonging to this citation!
Featured Online Computer Science Associate
Choosing an Online Associate in Computer Science Program
All students have unique needs and goals, which means they have different considerations for their college searches. When deciding which online computer science degree is the best fit, consider how the following factors might impact and shape your online learning experience.
What Is Computer Science?
Computer science is the systematic study of computing processes, which are a series of encoded actions used to achieve a desired result, like totaling a bank account balance, generating digital graphics, or running an application.
Students can learn many of the skills needed to succeed in computer science in a classroom. Individuals who naturally excel at problem-solving, organization, collaboration, and creativity often thrive in the field.
Professionals in the computer science field typically specialize in an area like artificial intelligence, software development, human-computer interface, networking, or information security. Programming language experts, for example, may use their knowledge to code mobile applications, video games, or webpages.
Although many professionals covet careers with top tech firms in Silicon Valley, computer science majors can find work across the nation in many different industries, as most companies rely on software infrastructure. Graduates can find work as full-stack developers, database administrators, information security analysts, and cloud computing engineers.
Computer Science vs. Computer Engineering
Computer science focuses on how data is processed, stored, and communicated between devices. Computer engineering has a broader focus, including the electrical components of computing systems and the design, function, and interaction of software and hardware.
College students pursuing degrees in computer science and computer engineering take many of the same courses, including computer architecture, data structures, programming, and networking. Each program also requires courses unique to the discipline, such as database systems for computer science students and product design for computer engineering students.
After graduation, students in both fields can begin careers with similar employers in similar locations with comparable salaries, but their specialized roles require different skills. For example, Apple hires both computer science and computer engineering professionals to design new iPhones. While computer scientists focus on operating systems, memory, and data encryption, computer engineers design the circuits, chips, and components that allow the devices to function.
What Is a Computer Science Associate Degree?
An associate in computer science provides students with the foundation needed for entry-level employment or to transfer to a four-year bachelor's program. Associate programs require a minimum of 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. Part-time students typically graduate in three years.
Colleges may be selective or use open enrollment policies. Open enrollment colleges accept any applicant who has completed a high school education, although placement testing may be required in English and math. Selective admission schools require additional criteria, such as a minimum GPA and ACT or SAT scores.
A computer science associate degree provides students with foundational skills in mathematics, programming, and database management. Students receive an introduction to terminology and topics that enable further study in areas like information security, network technology, and mobile applications.
What Will I Learn in an Online Associate in Computer Science Program?
At the undergraduate level, an online computer science degree consists of three major components: general education, major core courses, and electives. Students can expect to complete a minimum of 60 credits. Core courses like those listed below provide a solid foundation in computer science concepts and techniques.
- Programming Fundamentals: Often presented in 2-3 consecutive courses, studies in programming fundamentals introduce learners to the major concepts of structured programming and the techniques used to develop software applications. Topics include object interaction, algorithms, data structures, and the mechanics of running, testing, and debugging.
- Computer Organization: A course in computer organization examines the components, structure, and function of contemporary computer systems. Using assembly language to strengthen and reinforce course concepts, students learn about computer arithmetic, data types, memory hierarchy, performance metrics, and other fundamental topics. This course may include a lab component.
- Discrete Mathematics: Often required or recommended for computer science majors, a course in discrete mathematics provides a background in abstraction, notation, and critical thinking. Covered topics include sets, logic, the nature of proof, recurrence relations, and Boolean algebra.
Educational Paths for Online Computer Science Associate Programs
Associate degrees are an affordable way to complete the lower-level requirements needed for a bachelor's degree. After completing an associate, many graduates transfer to a four-year school to complete additional major core courses and electives. A computer science associate degree can qualify students for bachelor's programs in computer programming, health informatics, and digital marketing.
After earning an associate in computer science, many graduates transfer to a four-year computer programming degree. Programming majors study major programming languages like C++, Java, and Python, which they use to write code for software applications. Students also learn to test programs, troubleshoot errors, and debug systems.
Health informatics is an evolving field that combines elements of information technology, communications, and healthcare to improve patient care quality. A bachelor's program in health informatics provides training in the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of healthcare data and information. Transfer students with an associate in computer science enter healthcare informatics programs with a foundational knowledge of database systems, software development, and programming.
A digital marketing curriculum develops fundamental skills in market research, project management, communication, and e-marketing strategy. These skills, combined with a foundation in computer science, allow graduates to create digital marketing campaigns from the ground up.
Computer Science Jobs
Earning an online computer science associate degree can provide you with the foundation needed to pursue various careers, though many employers prefer bachelor's degrees.
Information security analysts plan and implement security measures to protect an organization's network and computer systems. These IT professionals monitor networks, investigate issues, evaluate and report damage caused by breaches, and discover solutions to mitigate system weaknesses.
Entry-level information security analysts typically hold a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, computer science, information science, or a related field. Professional certification is voluntary but preferred by many employers. Relevant experience in information technology or network systems administration can be beneficial. Information security analysts must be detail-oriented, analytical problem-solvers who can anticipate risks and develop new protection methods.
Database administrators store and organize data like financial information and shipping records for businesses, employees, and customers. Using specialized software, database administrators ensure this data remains available to intended users and secure from unauthorized access. These professionals ensure error-free database operation, design and test modifications, and perform other maintenance duties as needed.
Most database administrators hold a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field and several years of work experience as database developers or data analysts. Software-specific certification may be required by some employers. Database administrators must possess excellent analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills.
Computer network architects design and build local area networks, wide area networks, and intranets, including both small connections and major infrastructures serving multiple customers. Responsibilities include creating plans and layouts, presenting plans to management, upgrading hardware, and researching new technologies.
Most computer network architects hold a bachelor's degree in a relevant field like computer science or engineering, plus 5-10 years of relevant information technology experience. Employers may require certain product- or software-specific certifications. Network architects must have a strong understanding of an organization's business plan to design networks that reflect and achieve its overall goals.
Web developers design and create websites according to client needs. Web developers are responsible for all aspects of the site, including its visual appearance, speed and performance, traffic capacity, and functionality. To create websites, developers may write code using programming languages, create and test applications, and work with other professionals, such as graphic designers.
Web developers may specialize in front-end development, which focuses on how a site appears on screen, or back-end development, which focuses on how a site performs and behaves. While educational requirements vary, many web developers hold an associate degree in web design or a related field. This job requires creativity, customer service skills, and attention to detail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Computer science is all about software and hardware, whether you focus on theory, design, development, or application. Practitioners can build careers in fields like database systems, programming, security, and artificial intelligence.
Students can complete an associate degree in computer science in two years of full-time study. Bachelor's degrees typically require four years of full-time study.
Although pay varies by employer and geographic location, it's common for computer science salary rates to be six figures, especially for computer network architects and software developers.
=Many schools offer excellent computer science programs. Our ranked list of the top online programs in the country is a great place to start the search.
After earning an associate in computer science, graduates may pursue entry-level employment or professional certifications, or they can transfer to a bachelor's program.
The skills learned during a computer science degree apply to careers like information technology, cybersecurity, software development, and database administration.
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