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Best IT Bachelor's Degrees

Oct 20, 2021

IT Degrees

Many IT degree programs offer a hands-on approach to learning, allowing students to complete projects and practice the various skills and knowledge they learn through their courses. Students can then use this knowledge to start or advance in their information technology careers. The IT industry is constantly changing due to major advancements in technology, network development, and cloud computing. Earning a degree in IT can help students stay in front of these rapid advances and begin a new career as an IT specialist.

What Kinds of IT Degrees Are There?

Degrees in information technology are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate degrees typically focus on foundational skill development in a variety of topics, while more advanced graduate degree programs aim to teach experienced professionals leadership, management, and research skills. Students can also earn several specializations along with an IT degree. Details on these degree programs can be found below.

Associate Degrees in IT

Associate degrees in information technology offer students the core knowledge and skills needed to start a variety of careers in the field. Through these programs, students may learn computer programming, security fundamentals, network infrastructure, and website development. There are also concentrations available for IT associate degrees, such as application technology, network technology, and systems security. Many schools also offer an elective capstone project as part of their degree curriculum. Students can typically earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or an Associate of Applied Business (AAB) at this level. Combined with general education courses, these programs consist of about 60 to 70 credits and would take a typical full-time student about two years to complete.

Bachelor's Degrees in IT

Bachelor's degrees in IT are four-year programs designed to teach students a broad set of skills and knowledge for the IT field. Through a variety of course subjects, students can develop a foundational understanding of computing principles such as networking, operating systems, infrastructure, security, and more. One of the most common degrees at this level is the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.

Master's Degrees in IT

IT master's degree programs are typically designed for working professionals or those with a strong computing background. Since these are advanced degrees, many programs incorporate management or business skill development into their curriculum. Course topics typically include data analytics, application development, information security, and cyber defense or cybersecurity. Other courses might focus on research, business, and management topics. These include research in information studies, compliance and ethics, business communications, IT leadership, network administration, project management, and entrepreneurship.

Some master's degree programs may require a master's thesis or senior project to graduate. Most typically take two to three years to complete, although some schools also offer accelerated programs.

Doctoral Degrees in IT

Experienced professionals who obtain a master's degree in information technology or related subjects may wish to earn a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the IT field. Doctorate programs in this field are designed to help students pursue careers in research, leadership, and education. Common core course topics include information systems research, machine learning, cybersecurity, and human-computer interaction. Elective courses are typically chosen depending on the student's desired research area.

Most doctorate programs require students to complete a research project and thesis before graduation. Some schools may also require a teaching seminar or a comprehensive examination. Credit requirements can vary, ranging from around 40 to 75 credits to complete the degree.

Certificates in IT

IT certificate programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and typically offer a hyper-focused curriculum with no general education requirements. Undergraduate certificates offer computer and IT training for students new to the field or those looking to advance into a different career within information technology. Core courses for undergraduate certificates typically focus on information systems and network fundamentals. Elective course options provide additional technology and computing topics, such as machine learning, cryptography, and artificial intelligence.

Designed for working professionals, graduate and professional IT certificates provide students with the opportunity to build on their foundational computing and administrative skills. Through these programs, students can develop research, analytical, and leadership skills needed for management positions in the field. Some graduate certificates may also offer concentrations, such as business management or end-user support.

IT Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

Many schools offer concentration options for bachelor's degrees, allowing students to focus on specific areas within the broader IT field. Students can choose a focus in leadership skills such as system administration or information technology administration, or business-focused specializations such as IT entrepreneurship and management or business. There are also many options for specialized computing sectors, such as data management, systems security or cybersecurity, web design and application development, multimedia, and health information technology.

Best IT Bachelor's Degrees

1. University of Washington-Tacoma Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,639 87% 56% 83% No Yes AP Credits

2. New Jersey Institute of Technology

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$17,674 73% 67% 92% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

3. George Mason University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,564 87% 71% 74% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

4. Towson University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,198 76% 71% 81% Yes Yes AP Credits

5. The University of Texas at Dallas

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,442 79% 70% 78% Yes Yes AP Credits

6. Florida State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,517 36% 83% 97% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

7. University of Cincinnati

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,154 77% 71% 75% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

8. California State University-Channel Islands

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,802 86% 54% 83% Yes Yes AP Credits

9. University of Missouri-Columbia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,477 81% 71% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

10. Central Washington University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,273 85% 58% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

11. Purdue University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,992 60% 82% 65% Yes Yes AP Credits

12. University of Massachusetts-Boston

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,613 76% 49% 86% Yes Yes AP Credits

13. California State University-San Bernardino

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,952 69% 55% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits

14. Northern Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,296 90% 46% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

15. Kennesaw State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,456 75% 46% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

16. Wichita State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,299 92% 50% 89% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

17. University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,879 84% 76% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

18. University of South Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,410 48% 75% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits

19. Brigham Young University-Provo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,790 67% 78% 71% Yes Yes AP Credits

20. East Carolina University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,238 79% 66% 79% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

21. University of North Carolina Wilmington

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,181 65% 72% 72% Yes Yes AP Credits

22. University of Kansas

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,166 93% 67% 85% Yes Yes AP Credits

23. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,701 81% 50% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

24. Oakland University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,520 83% 57% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

25. University of Central Florida

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,368 44% 72% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

26. University of Toledo

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,187 96% 50% 95% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

27. University of South Carolina-Columbia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,688 69% 77% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

28. Montclair State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$13,073 76% 67% 83% Yes Yes AP Credits

29. California State University-Los Angeles

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,768 48% 52% 94% Yes Yes AP Credits

30. Florida International University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,565 58% 63% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

31. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,905 65% 64% 74% Yes Yes AP Credits

32. Lindenwood University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,100 88% 50% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

33. Boise State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,068 77% 51% 84% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

34. Arkansas Tech University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,668 95% 38% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

35. Ferris State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,376 87% 47% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

36. Frostburg State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,410 80% 49% 92% No Yes AP Credits

37. Missouri State University-Springfield

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7,588 88% 56% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

38. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$3,490 85% 41% 90% Yes Yes AP Credits

39. University of South Alabama

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,396 79% 46% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

40. Western Kentucky University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,802 97% 48% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

41. Columbus State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,241 79% 38% 92% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

42. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$10,507 71% 68% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

43. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,722 66% 48% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

44. Stephen F Austin State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,844 68% 52% 86% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

45. Central Michigan University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,833 70% 61% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

46. California State University-Northridge

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,977 59% 55% 86% Yes Yes AP Credits

47. Austin Peay State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,303 95% 43% 99% No Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

48. California State University-Dominguez Hills

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,946 77% 44% 92% Yes Yes AP Credits

49. Minnesota State University-Mankato

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,438 63% 50% 88% Yes Yes AP Credits

50. Indiana State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,236 90% 41% 92% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in IT

The curriculum for many IT bachelor's degrees covers a wide range of topics, offering a broad foundation of skills and knowledge. Through these programs, students can explore several subjects within the IT field such as cybersecurity, system and network design, programming, and more. Common bachelor's degree courses include the following:

  • Web programming
  • Software development
  • Information systems security
  • IT infrastructure and architecture
  • Database management

Bachelor's degree programs may also offer senior capstone projects as part of their curriculum, which provides students a chance to hone their skills in a chosen area of interest.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in IT?

Many bachelor's degrees require 65 to 75 credits as part of their core curriculum. General education classes are then required as additional credits, typically bringing the total for most programs to around 120 credits. Students attending school full-time (about 15 credits per semester) can expect to complete a bachelor's degree program in about four years. Those with transferrable credits from previous education programs or skilled work may be able to shorten their program length.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in IT Degrees

Attending an accredited school or program can increase your chances of getting a quality education. Schools and programs that receive accreditation have undergone an extensive evaluation from an outside agency, comparing the institution's curriculum, staff, and resources against a set of standards established by the agency itself. Organizations provide either institutional or programmatic accreditation.

The Council for Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education provide official recognition for accreditation agencies. According to the Department of Education, an agency that earns recognition from either of these organizations has proven it is one that can be trusted in regards to the quality of education a school or institution provides.

The main accrediting agency for IT bachelor's degree programs is ABET, an organization comprised of four accreditation commissions: the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC), the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC), the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC), and the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC). Information technology degree programs fall under the CAC, which currently only accredits bachelor's degrees in computing.

IT Licensure & Certification

There are several sectors within the IT field, which means that certification opportunities are many and varied. Earning a certification is typically not a requirement; however, many professionals choose to add certifications along with their educational background to show their expertise in a chosen area. Certifications are also beneficial for those who do not yet have a degree in the field.

A common certification for entry-level professionals is the CompTIA A+ credential. It shows competency in foundational computing and security skills such as networking, cloud computing, various operating systems, and troubleshooting. Candidates must pass two exams to earn this certification.

Many platforms and software companies also offer their own certifications for IT professionals. Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Amazon, and many others provide specialized credentials that professionals can earn to demonstrate their knowledge to employers and clients. For example, Apple offers the Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) credential, which is designed for help desk support personnel and other entry-level professionals. Oracle offers several certifications, suitable for everyone from entry-level to industry experts. The Oracle Foundations Associate, for example, is designed for students and those with non-technical backgrounds. On the other end, IT managers, administrators and developers could instead consider earning the Oracle Certified Master or Oracle Certified Expert credentials.

Several other organizations offer certifications as well, and which one you choose simply depends on which area you specialize in. ISACA, an international association for information management and security professionals, offers several certifications in IT and cybersecurity. Another organization, (ISC)2 require an associate or bachelor's degree in IT or similar background. A computer support specialist, also known as computer information technician, is a common entry-level position. Specialists in this capacity provide support for computer users and organizations either through network support or direct user support. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2019, computer user support specialists (or help-desk technicians) earned a median annual wage of $52,270. Between 2019 and 2029, jobs are expected to grow in this area at an above-average rate. Network support specialists should expect a 6% growth, while user support specialists can expect an 8% growth.

How to Become a Network and Computer Systems Administrator

Network and computer systems administrators ensure the daily operation of their organization or company's computer networks. Their primary job duties include installing, organizing, and maintaining a variety of computer and network systems, including local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), and data systems. Network administrators are also responsible for maintaining network user access and information, as well as security protocols.

A bachelor's degree in information technology or similar fields is an expected requirement for network administrator positions, although some positions may only require an associate degree with additional experience. Some companies may also require certifications for the products and software they use within the system.

According to the BLS, as of May 2019, the median annual wage for these professionals was $83,510. Network administrators can expect a 4% job growth between 2019 and 2029 due to an increase in mobile technologies and faster networks.

How to Become a Computer Systems Analyst

A computer systems analyst, also known as a systems architect, studies, designs, and implements computer systems and networks for companies to meet business necessities and improve efficiency and performance. Computer systems analysts usually earn a bachelor's degree in computer-related fields, such as IT or computer science. Since these positions also typically confer with the business side of the company, some employers may prefer a master's in business administration (MBA) with a specialization in information technology or other computer-related fields.

BLS reports that, as of May 2019, the median annual wage for computer systems analysts was $90,920. This job sector is expected to grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029. This is due to an increase in companies contracting out to analysts for projects, as well as society's increased reliance on information technology.

Professional Organizations in IT

Professional organizations can help those in IT earn certifications, search for jobs, and network with others in the field. Some IT associations include the following:

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the largest international association for IT and computer professionals, educators, and researchers. Members have access to networking opportunities, ACM's career center, digital library, monthly and quarterly publications, volunteer opportunities, and more.
  • CompTIA offers memberships for both professionals and students in the IT industry. As a leading international organization for IT professionals, CompTIA provides international certifications, professional development training, scholarships, and career networking to its members.
  • The Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) is the only worldwide organization that builds a connection between information science and research. ASIS&T members span a wide variety of sectors, including information science, computer science, engineering, medicine, chemistry, and more. Students, professionals, and institutions in these areas are all able to join, and benefits vary depending on the level of membership.

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in IT Degrees

There are several options for financial aid and scholarships to help students earn a bachelor's degree in information technology. The U.S. Department of Education offers the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which helps students understand what financial aid they may use to pay for school. Eligibility is based on several factors including enrollment at an accredited institution or program, completion of a high school or GED program, and a signed statement that the student is not currently in default with other student loans.

Large corporations, such as Apple and Microsoft, offer a variety of scholarships and internship programs to IT students. The Oracle Corporate Scholars Program is a combined opportunity, which provides a summer internship for sophomore, junior, and senior students, as well as a scholarship for the following academic year. Apple, in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, offers the Apple HBCU Scholars Program. This scholarship also provides a 12-week summer internship along with a need-based scholarship for the following academic year.

Additional IT and technology scholarships are available through private organizations, such as the National Organization for Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP), which sponsors the Out to Innovate Scholarship to help promote LGBTQ+ recognition and excellence in STEM careers.

Other scholarships programs are available through the following organizations:

  • ARMA International Education Foundation offers the La ARMA Nostra Certification Reimbursement Program for certification scholarships.
  • PG&E offers the PG&E Better Together STEM Scholarship, available to California residents pursuing engineering, science, and technology degrees.
  • National Society of High School Scholars, or NSHSS, offers STEM scholarships to students pursuing a variety of STEM-oriented degrees, including computer sciences and information sciences.

How to Choose an IT School & Bachelor's Program

Deciding on an IT bachelor's degree program or school can seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. Follow this checklist to help narrow down your options:

  • Accreditation - Choosing an accredited school or program ensures that you will receive an education on par with industry standards. ABET is the accrediting agency for IT bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs. A list of these programs is available on the ABET website.
  • Certification - As detailed above, many professionals choose to pursue additional certifications on top of their educational background. A quality program should prepare students for these certification exams, especially for entry-level credentials, such as CompTIA A+.
  • Hands-on learning - In addition to certification preparation, learning through hands-on and experiential projects can help students gain valuable skills in the IT field. It's important to review if professors and schools provide these opportunities to their students, whether that is through access to research assistants, library and lab resources, and internship opportunities.
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