According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in computers and information technology are expected to grow 12% from 2014 to 2024, or by about a half a million jobs, which is faster than the national average. Indeed, some specific occupations are predicted to grow even faster, like in the information security field (at 18%). While it is now possible to learn some of the essentials to IT through web tutorials, what employers are looking for are credentials – ideally, a degree. Distance learning is an ideal way for a working professional to further their career while maintaining their current job. Our ranking for the top associates in information technology is listed below. For more generalized information on distance learning see our ranking of the top online colleges.
Featured Online Degree Programs
- Kaplan University – AAS – Information Technology
- Herzing University – AS – Information Technology
- Saint Leo University Online – AA – Information Technology
An associate degree typically only takes around 2 years to complete and introduces students to the basics to start your career, while keeping costs low. From there, you’ll be eligible for a number of entry-level jobs and/or certification exams. Further, if you decide to pursue additional studies, associate holders can transfer their credits into bachelor’s programs, gaining a significant head start on an advanced degree.
- Affordability (1/3): the average out-of-state tuition per credit hour
- Completion Time (1/3): minimum amount of course work required for certification
- Academic Reputation (1/3): the rank of the school’s parent institution according to US News
1. Daytona State College
Online AS in Computer Information Technology
Daytona State College offers an AS in Computer Information Technology that consists of 60 credits. Major core courses include Digital Imaging Fundamentals, Data Organization and Management Lab, Microcomputer Applications, Internet Web Foundations (HTML, CSS), Microsoft Windows Professional, Professional Performance for Technicians, and more. From there, students can choose from a wide range electives, many of which cover fundamental coding languages like C++, Java, PHP, and others. Students can expect to complete their degrees in as little as two years; for those who have already fulfilled general education requirements, it may be possible to finish course work even sooner. As an added bonus, two certificates – Information Technology Analysis and Information Technology Support Specialist – are embedded within the curriculum, and students have the opportunity to pursue further certificates. All associate graduates will be admitted into the BS programs for those who wish to continue their studies.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $311
- Composite score: 90/100
2 (tied). Liberty University
Associate of Arts in Business Management Information Systems Online
Liberty University offers an AA in Business Management Information Systems that consists of 60 credits – 20 major, 33 general education, 6 skills & knowledge. Major core requirements include Enterprise Business App. & Communications, Application Programming, Web Architecture & Development, Database Management Systems, System Analysis & Design, Business Law, and Principles of Management, among others. Thanks to a generous transfer policy of up to 45 credits, students with previous credits or work experience may be able to significantly accelerate course work. In particular, Liberty’s curriculum emphasizes how businesses can increase efficiency through optimized IT and prepares students for immediate employment and certifications in Cisco and Java. For those interested, associate graduates may also enter the school’s BS program. Note that, as a Christian university, religious course work is included in the general education component.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $360
- Composite score: 88/100
2 (tied). Penn Foster
Online Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems
Penn Foster offers a Computer Information Systems degree that consists of 63 credits. Core requirements include Advanced PC Applications, HTML Coding, Network Protocols and Internetworking, Visual Basic, Introduction to Database Technology, Programming in Java, Structured Systems Analysis and Design, and more. In addition, students have the opportunity to tailor their degrees with elective options and must complete a proctored exam each semester to demonstrate mastery of subject material. Emphasizing schedule flexibility, course work can be completed on a self-paced basis for those who choose to continue their careers or have additional responsibilities. Students also benefit from exceptionally low tuition payments. The school has partnered with the career development expert, Career Cruising, to help prepare and place students for the job market upon graduation, with resources like portfolio development, an employment guide, job posting, resume building, and more.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $79
- Composite score: 88/100
4 (tied). Phoenix University
AA degree in Information Technology with a Desktop Support Certificate or with a Healthcare Information Technology Certificate Online
Phoenix University offers two associate degrees in IT support: an AA in Information Technology with a Desktop Support Certificate and an AA in Information Technology with a Health Care Information Technology Certificate. Core requirements in the former include Office Software Support Fundamentals, Personal Computer Hardware Support, Personal Computer OS Support, Personal Computer Customer Support, and Computer Systems Maintenance. The healthcare track core includes classes in Information Systems Fundamentals In Health Care, Introduction To Health Care Industry Terms, Health Care Delivery In The U. S., Healthcare IT, and Information Systems Fundamentals, among others. Designed for maximum flexibility, Phoenix has a generous transfer policy, including credits for previous academic work and professional/life experience through prior learning assessments. Students also have the opportunity to develop and hone skills through a series of hands-on simulations.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $410
- Composite score: 86/100
4 (tied). Western Wyoming Community College
Online Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems
Western Wyoming Community College offers an associate of science degree in Computer Information Systems that consists of 68-71 credits. Core requirements include Programming in Visual Basic, Introduction to Computer Science, and a number of computer science electives to tailor the degree. Students also have the opportunity to earn valuable certificates in Website Development and Digital Design Technologies. (Note that these certificates typically add another 18 hours to the course work.) While most students opt to complete their course work in 4 consecutive semesters, WWCC gives its students flexibility over their schedules, and students can consult their advisors with regards to curriculum planning. Throughout the degree, students have the opportunity to design real websites, work in small, collaborative groups, and solve challenging, real-world case studies to develop their skill sets.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $199
- Composite score: 86/100
7 (tied). Indiana Wesleyan University
Online AS in Computer Information Technology
Indiana Wesleyan University offers an AS in Computer Information Technology that consists of 62 credits. Core requirements in the major include Operating Systems Concepts, Intro to Programming Concepts, Network Communications, Database Concepts, Basic Web Design and Development, Hardware and Software Troubleshooting, and more. In addition, all students must complete a capstone in Project Management and Integration. For students’ scheduling flexibility, there are numerous entry dates throughout the year, and students with previous academic credit may be eligible to accelerate course work (or enter directly into the BS program.) Students can expect to complete their degrees in 26 months, and the school’s cohort model encourages an intimate, collaborative learning environment. Note that, as a Christian university, the general education curriculum includes religious course work.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $277
- Composite score: 80/100
7 (tied). Kaplan University
Associate of Science Degree in Information Technology Online
Kaplan University offers an AS in Information Technology that consists of 90 total credits. Core requirements include Programming Fundamentals, Microsoft Office Applications On Demand, Foundations in IT, Desktop Administration, and Networking Concepts. Students then have the opportunity to tailor their degrees by choosing one of the following 3 concentrations: Multiplatform Software Development, Networking, and a generalist IT track. Kaplan emphasizes maximum scheduling flexibility, and new courses begin each month. For full-time students, degree completion time is approximately 7 semesters or a little over two years. For students with previous academic credits or work experience, you may be eligible for transfer options, accelerating course work. Related programs include a BS in IT and graduate and postgraduate certificates in Information Security.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $371
- Composite score: 80/100
9. UMass Online
Online AS Information Technology
UMass Online offers an Associate of Science in Information Technology that consists of 60 credits – 18 in general education, 9 in professional skills, 6 in IT core, 18 in IT electives, and 9 in concentration electives. Some example classes available in the IT component include Microsoft Office, C Programming, Introduction to Information Systems, Survey of Programming Languages, JAVA Programming, Linux/UNIX System Administration, Computer Ethics, TCP/IP and Network Architecture, and Network Management, and more. Students may take courses 100% online or blend online and traditional face-to-face classes. All students have 24/7 access to technical support and are encouraged to reach out to academic advisors and program coordinators. Course loads are flexible, and students who choose to take 3-4 courses per semester are able to complete course work on an accelerated pace.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $370
- Composite score: 76/100
10. North Dakota State College of Science
Associate of Applied Science in Information and Communications Technology Online
North Dakota State College of Science offers an associate’s degree in Information and Communications Technology that consists of 66 credits and two central clusters: Information Technology Support (which leads to a certificate) and Information Systems Administration. The former cluster includes courses in Hardware, Microsoft Windows Operating System Client, Operating Systems (UNIX), Web Server Management, and an internship, among others. Upon the completion of the certificate, students take course work in HTML and CSS, Implementing a Microsoft Windows Server Environment, Implementing a Microsoft Windows Network Infrastructure, and Security Awareness and Policy, among others. Program outcomes include ability to configure and install systems; ability to assist management in the selection of computer hardware and software; and the opportunity to pursue further studies in Web Design, IT Forensics, and Mobile Application Development.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $328
- Composite score: 74/100
11. Southern New Hampshire University
Associate of Science in Information Technologies Online
Southern New Hampshire University offers an AS in Information Technologies that consists of 60 total credits. Core requirements in the IT major include Foundation in Application Development, Foundation in Information Technology, Computer Platform Technologies, Introduction to Data Management, Business Systems Analysis and Design, Website Design, and more. Students also have 9 credits worth of electives to tailor their degree. Graduation time is typically around 2 years, though, thanks to a generous transfer policy of up to 45 credits, the degree can be significantly accelerated for eligible students. SNHU also emphasizes maximum schedule flexibility, with self-paced coursework over six 9-week terms per year. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to solve technology-related problems using effective methods and tools; implement strategies for maintaining and securing existing IT systems, and identify current and emerging tools to further optimize an organization’s goals.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $320
- Composite score: 72/100
12. Regent University
Online Associate of Art in Information Systems
Regent University offers an AA in in Information Systems that consists of 64 credits. Core requirements include Introduction to Information Systems, Introduction to Programming, Information Systems for eCommerce, Database Fundamentals, and IT Hardware and Software, in addition to 49 credits worth of general education credits. For those interested, Regent students also have the opportunity to choose from nearly 20 minors. Graduates of the program are encouraged to apply to Regent’s BS in Information Systems Technology, which they will immediately be on an accelerated track to complete. Associate’s earners will gain knowledge of computing, business, and mathematics, in addition to essential communication skills in order to disseminate complex information in the work place. More important, all graduates will be able to analyze tech problems and development quick, practical solutions in order to maintain an efficient network environment. Note that, as a Christian school, religious components may be incorporated throughout the curriculum.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $395
- Composite score: 70/100
13. Alexandria Community College
AS in Computer Information Systems Online
Alexandria Community College offers an associate degree in Computer Information Systems that consists of 60 total credits, 30 of which are technical credits in hardware, database, and spreadsheet applications, and Windows. Some example technical credits – all of which are elective to give students maximum control over their degree curricula – include Spreadsheets & Database Applications, Desktop Publishing Essentials, Social Technology, Linux Administration, Cisco, Server Administration, Virtual Computing, Healthcare Information Networking, and more. Most students can expect to complete their degree in as little as 2 years. AMC has developed transfer agreements with similar bachelor’s degree programs in and around Minnesota, allowing for students who wish to pursue further study to easily gain entrance into a BS program on an accelerated track.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $199
- Composite score: 68/100
14. Penn State World Campus
Online AS in Information Sciences and Technology
Penn State World Campus offers an Associate in Science in Information Sciences and Technology that consists of 60 credits – 45–47 major course credits, 21 general education credits, 2–6 elective credits. Core requirements include Information, People, and Technology; Organization of Data; New Media and the Web; Introduction to Systems Analysis and Design; Seminar in Information Sciences and Technology; Networking and Telecommunications, and more. To give students maximum control over their course work, Penn State World Campus offers 3 tracks: a generalized business option, an individually customized option, or a baccalaureate option, which is designed specifically for students who intend to pursue a related bachelor’s degree upon completion of their associate. For those interested, the university also an undergraduate certificate in Information Sciences and Technology and bachelor’s degrees in Security and Risk Analysis, Information Sciences and Technology, and Information Sciences with a concentration in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $535
- Composite score: 62/100
15. Strayer University
Associate of Art in Information Technology Online
Strayer University offers an AA in Information Technology that consists of 60 credits. Core requirements include Computer Programming Design, Introduction to Networking, Web Design and Development, Networking Security Fundamentals, Introduction to Relational Database Management Systems, Systems Analysis and Development, Computer Architecture, and Human Computer Interaction, among others. With several start dates throughout the yeat, Strayer emphasizes scheduling flexibility. Further, course work is designed to be as practical as possible, with the goal of preparing students for immediate employment upon graduation; as so, much work is devoted to hands-on practice in order to gain exposure to real-world scenarios. Among the many program outcomes, Strayer students can expect are the ability to: locate, evaluate, and solve business problems with technology solutions using the qualitative and quantitative information; and design, implement, and evaluate computer-based systems, processes, components or programs.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $437
- Composite score: 54/100
16. Excelsior College
Online AS in Technology
Excelsior College offers an Associate in Science in Technology that consists of 61 credits: 30 in arts and sciences; 30 in the technology component to include at least 18 credits in the area of focus, plus a maximum of 12 credits in technical electives. The areas of focus are Computer Technologies, Electromechanical Technologies, Electronic/Instrumentation Technologies, Nuclear Technologies, and Power Plant Technologies. Some elective options include Software Engineering, Computer-Based Robotics, CAD, Computer Security, and more. Thanks to generous transfer policies, students may be able to graduate at an accelerated pace via previous academic credit or work/life experience. Upon graduation, Excelsior students will be able to: apply algebra, trigonometry, or higher order mathematics to solve technology-related problems; demonstrate a proficiency in computer applications used in technology areas; and more.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $510
- Composite score: 52/100
17. Herzing University
AAS in Information Technology Online
Herzing University offers an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology that consists of 62 credits that students may complete in as little as 20 months. Upon completion of the degree, students will have earned a foundation to prepare for 10 practical, professional certifications: Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT); Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Routing and Switching; CompTIA A+; CompTIA Network +; MCP – Configuring Windows 8; and Red Hat Certified System Administrator I, among others. (Note that Herzing offers 16-credit certificates in some of these areas, which can be completed in 4 months.) For those interested, Herzing also offers BS degrees in Information Technology, with concentrations in in Network Management and Security Technology. All students receive personalized attention and flexible course scheduling options.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $565
- Composite score: 46/100
19. Florida Tech University
Online AS in Computer Information Systems
Florida Tech University offers an Associate of Science in Computer Information Systems that consists of 61 total credits. Major core requirements include Introduction to Visual Basic, Programming in Java, Programming in C++, Survey of Software Systems, Systems Analysis and Design, Electronic Commerce, and more. From there, students have the opportunity to take electives to tailor their degrees according to professional needs and interests. With the ability to complete the degree in under 2 years, Florida Tech students learn practical, professional skills that prepare them for immediate employment in a wide variety of roles, such as a Help Desk Administrator, Junior Program Analyst, SQL Developer, SEO Marketing Specialist, or Field Support Analyst, among others.
- Estimated Cost Per Credit Hour: $510
- Composite score: 40/100