If you are keen to begin a career in software, online computer programming associate degrees are the fastest avenue to your goal. There are various schools, both in online and in-person learning formats, where you can get an online associate degree in computer programming.
While generally considered suitable alternatives, the comparison of an associate degree vs a bachelor’s degree can tip favorably towards associate degrees for more hands-on streams like computer programming, where experience is as important as theory. This article will help you find the best online computer programming associate degrees as well as computer programming associate degree jobs you can get after graduation.
Where Can I Get a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online?
Some of the schools where you can get a computer programming associate degree online are American Public University, Liberty University, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Southern New Hampshire University, the University of Toledo, and St. Petersburg University.
What Schools Offer the Best Computer Programming Associate Degrees?
- American Public University
- Liberty University
- Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
- Southern New Hampshire University
- The University of Toledo
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Computer Programming Associate Degree?
The admission requirements for an online computer programming associate degree are most commonly an online application, standardized test scores, placement tests, official high school transcript or GED score, or an online interview.
The online application is the most common element among all of these requirements and requires you to include necessary information like your name, previous schools attended, and contact details. Standardized tests, on the other hand, are not requested by all schools, but those who ask for them have specific score requirements. Similarly, online interviews are only requested by a few schools.
Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Admission Requirements
- Online application
- Placement test
- Official high school transcript
- GED scores
- Online interview
How to Get a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online
You can get a computer programming associate degree online by fulfilling all the necessary requirements for graduation, typically the general requirement of 60 credit hours and 20 courses. You can find a more detailed explanation below.
Computer Programming Degree Requirements
- 60 to 63 credit hours are required to graduate in total.
- 30 credit hours cover general education courses, including arts and humanities, civics, political and social sciences, communication, history, mathematics and applied reasoning, and natural sciences.
- 15 credit hours of required major courses in subjects like fundamentals of programming, web development fundamentals, IT project management, advanced productivity applications, human relations, and introduction to computer science.
- 12 credit hours of lower-level elective courses are required.
- 3 credit hours of the capstone course go towards completing the program, with a prerequisite of 57 minimum credit hours.
Best Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|American Public University||Associate of Science in Computer Technology||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|ASA College||Associate of Occupational Studies in Computer Programming and Information Technology||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Cincinnati State Technical and Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Database Management-Computer Software Development||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Delgado Community College||Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Technology||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
|Liberty University Online||Associate of Arts in Information Systems||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
|Stark State College||Associate of Science in Computer Programming and Database||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|St. Petersburg College||Associate of Science in Computer Programming and Analysis||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
|Southeast Technical College||Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Associate of Science in Computer Science||New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)|
|The University of Toledo||Associate of Science in Programming and Software Development||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
Best Schools for Computer Programming: Top Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Programs
We’ve put together a list of the best schools for computer programming with the top online computer programming associate degree programs. If an online degree is a better fit for you, we don’t blame you. You can study from anywhere in the world and skip out on in-person studying costs. Read on for more information.
What Is an Online Computer Programming Associate Degree?
An online computer programming associate degree is earned after the completion of typically 60 credit hours or 20 classes of online computer programming or computer science classes. The degree program covers topics relevant to a career in computer science like programming languages, business data communication, and databases. It is particularly popular because online classes offer a cheaper alternative to mainstream education.
The program can be completed in two years like most other associate degree programs, but some schools allow students to fast-track and complete it in a year and a half. These online programs are designed such that students can complete the entire program online and in their own time. However, some courses also offer a hybrid format for less-independent students to succeed.
Online vs In-Person Computer Programming Degrees
Whem comparing online vs in-person computer programming degrees, you should make a pros and cons list, because there are a lot of benefits for each. We’ve put together a list of the benefits of each type to help you in your decision.
Online computer programming degrees, as the name suggests, are completed online. The classes can be completed either fully online or in a hybrid format. The students take their classes as recorded videos or in live classrooms and typically complete their tests and exams online. Some programs, however, do require students to complete their tests or exams on-site.
In-person computer programming degrees require you to enroll into a program taken on a school campus, where students attend in-person classes and can communicate with instructors and other students. The section below covers the different benefits of an online and an in-person associate degree in programming.
Top 5 Benefits of an Online Associate Degree in Computer Programming
- Cost-effective. An online computer programming associate degree is more affordable as the learning is on the basis of a computer which online courses can support just as well as in-person courses, thus saving you money.
- Flexibility. The programs are flexible enough to allow students to engage in other activities outside of school, like having a part-time job.
- More accessible. Online programs are more accessible as you can partake in them from anywhere and sometimes, at any time for a course that doesn’t require live classes.
- Demonstrated self-motivation. Completing an online education where you aren’t constantly monitored shows a strong sense of self-motivation which can be good for you in the job market.
- Learn time management skills. An online associate degree program will help you practice time management as you will have to balance your schedule and learn to complete your classes in time without any monitoring.
Top 5 Benefits of an In-Person Associate Degree in Computer Programming
- Networking opportunities. In-person programs allow for networking opportunities as students get to communicate with one another and with in-field professionals in person and build real-life connections.
- Shorter learning period. In-person classes are usually completed in a shorter period than online classes, as online classes are often balanced alongside another job.
- Easier communication with instructors. On-site programs allow students to communicate with their instructor better as they can easily ask to see them after classes for any questions or clarifications. This level of support also results in a higher graduation rate for the program.
- Better academic experience. Students tend to have a better learning and academic experience in on-site programs as they tend to be less distracted, and more engaged and interactive.
- Hands-on learning experience. In-person programs have more potential to involve hands-on training for each course, which aids the students’ learning experiences.
What Types of Online Associate Degrees Can You Get in Computer Programming?
The most common types of online associate degrees you can get in computer programming are an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS), an Associate of Science Degree (AS), and an Associate of Arts Degree (AA). While the type of degree you get depends on the institution and the college and school that the program is offered through, the core curriculum of all three degree types remains fairly similar.
Is It Better to Get an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming?
It is better to get an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming if you want to start working right away as this degree prepares you for immediate employment in the field because the courses are career-oriented. If you can’t decide between an Associate of Science (AS) and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS), the type of degree better suited to your requirements depends entirely on your academic and career goals, especially considering the wide range of what you can do with a computer programming degree.
However, it is important to note that mostly only the AS degree can be used to transfer credits for a bachelor’s degree in a four-year college. It can also be used to start a career, but is usually the preferred option among colleges. The AAS degree is generally less likely to be accepted for transfer credits for a bachelor’s degree.
How Much Does a Computer Programming Associate Degree Cost?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of an online computer programming associate degree across all institutions, both private and public, is $11,391. This number represents the average cost of associate degrees in general. The average cost of a public two-year institution is not too far off at $11,069, but the average price among private institutions is nearly double at $26,749. While the exact constituents of these rates will differ with each college, the cost of a degree generally includes tuition, fees, room, and board. The exact price of an online associate degree will likely be a little less because you won’t have to pay anything other than tuition and a few small distance learning fees.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online?
It takes about two years to get a computer programming associate degree online. Some programs may allow students to complete the program in one and a half years if they can meet the accelerated degree program requirements.
A student of this program must complete about 60 credits throughout the program to be eligible for graduation. These credits would be completed within four semesters, with each semester requiring a minimum of 15 credit hours.
Are Online Computer Programming Degrees Respected?
Yes, online computer programming courses are respected in the industry. Just in 2019, over seven million students were enrolled in a distance learning program, according to NCES. As long as the school you choose is accredited like the schools on our list are, you should have no problem finding a job with an online computer programming associate degree. Moreover, the information technology field has evolved to value applicative skills. Thus, students can now start a successful career with just an associate degree, regardless of whether it is earned online or in person.
Is Computer Programming Hard to Learn Online?
No, it isn’t hard to learn computer programming online. In fact, an online computer science degree is one of the easiest distance learning courses you can partake in. The nature of the course aside, schools also adopt various methods to ensure that the students have easy access to the foundational knowledge they need to practice in the field, including virtual tutoring and recorded classes.
Computer Programming Bootcamp vs Online Computer Programming Associate Degree: Which Is Better?
If you want to start working ASAP and are self-motivated, then a computer programming bootcamp is better for you. If, however, you prefer to have a traditional degree to put on your resume, then you should choose an online computer programming associate degree.
Computer programming bootcamps and online associate degrees each have their own benefits. You can gain practical skills very quickly via a bootcamp, but an associate degree will give you a more well-rounded education. To get the full scope of which option works better for you, below are the advantages of each education pathway.
Top 5 Benefits of an Online Computer Programming Associate Degree
- Save money. As you only study for two years, an associate degree program is typically cheaper than university. Furthermore, by taking classes online, students save a lot of money otherwise spent boarding or commuting.
- Learn in-demand skills. Associate degree programs focus on in-demand skills to help students secure a job immediately after graduation. These skills also look great on your resume in the long run.
- Credit transfer opportunities. In many cases, it is possible for students to transfer into a bachelor’s degree. This is particularly easy if the bachelor’s degree is offered by the same institution.
- Prep for certification exams. Associate degrees equip students with the relevant skills necessary to earn professional certifications in programming, which in turn make it easier to land a well-paying job.
- Few admission requirements. To enroll in an associate degree program, you don’t need qualifications or experience. While previous experience is always useful, it is not a requirement.
Top 5 Benefits of a Computer Programming Bootcamp
- Short and intensive. Computer programming bootcamps generally last only three to nine months. In that time, you will acquire the skills needed to launch your career.
- More flexibility. You’re more likely to find flexible study options at bootcamps, like part-time studying, remote learning, or accelerated programs, to suit various lifestyles.
- Focus on practical skills. Hard skills are vital for tech careers like computer programming. Fortunately, bootcamp providers know this and design their programs around gaining hands-on expertise.
- Career guidance and support. After graduating from a coding bootcamp, you’ll have the relevant hard and soft skills to launch your dream career. In addition, the bootcamp’s career services can also offer invaluable help in getting you to land your first job.
- Build a large portfolio before graduation. Throughout your computer programming bootcamp, you’ll work on many projects that you can add to your portfolio. Having a solid portfolio is often the key to standing out during a job hunt.
Why You Should Get a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online
You should get a computer programming associate degree online because the programs are significantly less expensive and more flexible as students can earn their degrees while working part-time and in the comfort of their homes. They are also easier to get into as they don’t have as many admission requirements compared to four-year institutions.
These types of programs also tend to be less affected in the case of major events, like a pandemic or a natural calamity. So, as long as you can manage your personal work-life balance, it is very easy to incorporate an online computer programming associate degree into your work schedule.
What Courses Do You Take in an Online Associate Degree Program in Computer Programming?
The courses you would take in an online associate degree in computer programming program include Programming Languages, Database Design and Management, Web Development, Business Data Communications, and Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. It is also common for computer programming associate degrees to provide specialization credits specific to computer science careers alongside the above curriculum.
Database Design and Management
Database design is the organization of data according to a database model. A database management system is used to manage the data that makes up the database design. In this course, students learn how to store data and determine the relationship between various data elements.
Programming languages are one of the most important aspects of computer programming. Every computer science student must have strong programming skills. They should know at least two out of the current 700 computer programming languages. Because there are so many to choose from, all programming courses tend to include a few of them in their curriculum.
Web development is a must-have course for prospective computer programmers as it is an essential part of programming. It involves the development of a website or web app for a business on the Internet. As a whole, web development can be divided into front end, backend, and full stack web development based on whether or not the code is meant to interact with an audience.
Business Data Communications
Business data communication studies the movement of data and information from one device to another through computing and communication technologies like electrical, optical, radio, or satellite transmission systems. This is a staple course in a computer programming associate degree program, as communication is a major sector for programming careers.
Macroeconomics and Microeconomics
Microeconomics is the study of how individuals and companies make decisions on allocating scarce resources, while macroeconomics is the study of the economy as a whole. Most associate degree programs choose one of these two courses to teach their students, either for core credits or for general education credits.
Continuing Education Paths for Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Graduates
The most common continuing education path for online computer programming associate degree graduates is to transfer their credits toward a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Programming. Most schools allow you to transfer about 45 credits for the degree. Those who prefer to start a career immediately after graduating can alternatively choose to get certifications in the industry that can back up their associate degree.
Related Online Computer Programming Degrees
What to Look For in the Best Computer Programming Associate Degree Programs
While there are several things to look for in the best computer programming associate degree programs, some of the most important factors are the accreditation of the school, the cost of the program, flexibility, the admission requirements, and the career services the school provides.
You should research to check whether the program is recognized by the necessary bodies so as to ensure you can be employed with a degree associated with this program. More often than not, the credibility of your degree is a critical factor in validating your skillset.
The program should be affordable. A good online associate degree program should be an average of $150 per credit hour and should also offer financial aid options. Programs that cost more than that are generally difficult for students to afford, and have to be highly specialized to be worth the investment.
The program should be very flexible, such that students who work can still manage to complete the program at the stipulated time. An ideal degree should offer part-time, full-time, and hybrid options to enable students to choose the learning format that is best for them.
The school admission requirements should be such that regular students can get accepted into the school without barriers like high GPA, high standardized test scores, or costly application fees.
A good program should offer its students college career services focused on market trends to help them navigate the labor market more easily and land good jobs after graduation. Knowing which sectors in their career fields are booming and which are stagnating also helps students make informed decisions about their specializations.
What Is the Most Affordable Online Computer Programming Associate Degree?
The most affordable online computer programming associate degree is St. Petersburg’s Associate of Science in Computer Programming and Analysis. The program costs $111.75 per credit for in-state students and $386.90 per credit for out-of-state students. This sums up to $6,705 for tuition for the full program for in-state students and $23,214 for out-of-state students.
Can I Get a Computer Programming Associate Degree Online for Free?
No, you can’t get a computer programming associate degree online for free. However, you can apply for financial aid when applying for most programs. In fact, most schools make it a requirement for students to apply for financial aid during their application process. Federal funding is another option if you’re applying to an accredited school. You can also explore the option of massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are mostly free.
Salary and Job Outlook for Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Graduates
There are various employment opportunities available for online computer programming associate degree graduates. The technology industry is broad, with many opportunities that these graduates can benefit from. The following sections will cover a few of them.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Computer Programming Associate Degree?
It is not that hard to get a job with a computer programming associate degree. There are various job opportunities in top companies for computer programmers and having a degree further increases your chances in the job market. The programs also prepare students to start a career immediately after graduation by offering career services that help them better maneuver the labor market.
These career services typically include career coaching, career counseling, interview prep, resume building, and even online branding. The services differ by school but are all designed to help students land good jobs.
What’s the Average Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Salary?
The average salary for a computer programming associate degree is $64,000, according to PayScale. This figure is much higher than the median salary for other technology-based occupations, making it a highly profitable degree to start a career on.
What Jobs Can You Get With an Online Computer Programming Associate Degree?
The jobs you can get with an online computer programming associate degree include software developer, web developer, computer programmer, and system analyst. You can also become a computer support specialist or network architect. The most trending and lucrative of these positions, however, is to become a game developer.
Computer Programming Degree Jobs
- Software Developer
- Web Developer
- Computer Programmer
- System Administrator
- Database Administrator
Potential Careers With an Online Computer Programming Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With an Online Computer Programming Associate Degree?
You can make between $55,510 and $110,140 annually with an online computer programming associate degree. This amount is the average earned by working as a software developer, web developer, or computer programmer, which are the most common career paths following a computer programming associate degree. While it is possible to earn more, there are various other factors like experience and expertise that come into play.
The section below covers some of the highest-paying jobs that you can get with an online computer programming associate degree and their salaries.
Highest-Paying Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Computer Programming Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Computer Support Specialist||$57,910|
Best Jobs for Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Grads
The best online computer programming associate degree jobs range from software development to computer support specialist jobs. This section gives you an insight into essential details like their average annual salaries, job outlook, and highest-paying states.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Is an Online Computer Programming Associate Degree Worth It?
Yes, an online computer programming associate degree is definitely worth it. If you want to break into the technology industry and don’t have the means to get into a four-year college, this degree can give you a headstart and you will be learning the same curriculum taught in the first two years of a college degree.
At the end of the program, you can either choose to transfer into a bachelor’s degree or proceed to start a career, depending on your career and academic goals. Regardless of your decision, you won’t regret getting an associate degree as it will open the doors to various opportunities while also saving you money and time.
Additional Reading About Computer Programming
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Online Computer Programming Associate Degree FAQ
Yes, you can become a computer programmer with an associate degree. You can do this by applying for a course in computer programming, computer science, information technology, or related fields focused on coding.
Yes, you can become a computer programmer online. There are several online bootcamps, degrees, and certifications that can help you establish a successful career as a programmer.
Yes, an associate degree in programming is worth it, especially if you can’t afford to go to a four-year college due to different admission barriers like grades, cost, or physical availability.
You can do many things with an associate degree in programming, including working as a software developer, web developer, game developer, computer programmer, systems analyst, computer support specialist, database administrator, and computer technician.
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