Four-year college degrees aren’t the only way to gain computer science knowledge. You can progress into a computer science role with one of the best Associate Degrees in Computer Science, too. Compared to a bachelor’s degree, computer science associate degree programs are quicker and cheaper while still providing a solid foundation of IT knowledge.
This detailed guide will dive into the best computer science associate degrees. You will learn about the top job opportunities for an Associate Degree in Computer Science and how computer science bootcamps compare to Associate Degrees in Computer Science.
What Is Computer Science?
Computer science is the study of computers and computational methods. There are many subsets of computer science, but primarily, the computer science field is concerned with computers and how their systems work together. Some subsets of computer science are data science, programming, data analytics, and network security.
Where Can I Get an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
The best colleges where you can get an Associate Degree in Computer Science are Austin Community College, Glendale Community College, and Seminole State College. Community colleges are usually where to get a computer science associate degree, as most universities don’t offer associate degrees. Keep reading to find out more about where to get an Associate Degree in Computer Science.
What Schools Offer the Best Computer Science Associate Degrees?
- Hudson County Community College
- Lincoln Land Community College
- Los Angeles City College
- Raritan Valley Community College
- Rogers State University
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
The admission requirements for an Associate Degree in Computer Science are typically a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools may require a minimum GPA, and you might have to complete standardized tests too. However, many community colleges don’t have many computer science associate degree requirements, as two-year associate degrees are meant to be accessible to anyone.
Computer Science Associate Degree Admission Requirements
- High school diploma or equivalent
- English proficiency
- Minumum GPA
- Standardized test scores
- Application essay and/or letter of recommendation
How to Get an Associate Degree in Computer Science
You can get a computer science associate degree by enrolling in the college of your choice and completing the degree requirements. The education requirement to get an Associate Degree in Computer Science will include a certain number of credits for courses specific to computer science as well as general education requirements.
The best way to get a computer science associate degree is to find a program that matches your interests and professional goals. You do not technically need any type of knowledge going to college for a computer science associate degree. However, interest or proficiency in subjects like coding, mathematics, and analytics will help you get a head start on your education.
How Many Credits Do You Need for an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
You need 45 to 60 credits for an Associate Degree in Computer Science. How many credits for an Associate Degree in Computer Science will depend on the institution to choose and any credits you may be transferring from a previous school. An Associate Degree in Computer Science takes an average of two years to complete.
Computer Science Degree Requirements
- Approximately 25 major-specific credits
- Approximately 18 general education credits
- Approximately 15 elective credits
- A capstone project or portfolio may be completed
Best Computer Science Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview
|Austin Community College||Associate of Science in Computer Science||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
|Glendale Community College||Associate Degree in Computer Science||Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)|
|Hudson County Community College||Associate of Science in Computer Science||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Lake Superior State University||Associate of Science in Computer Science||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Laramie County Community College||Associate Degree in Computer Science||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Lincoln Land Community College||Associate in Arts in Computer Science||Higher Learning Commission (HLC)|
|Los Angeles City College||Associate Degree in Computer Science||Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)|
|Montgomery County Community College||Associate Degree in Computer Science||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Raritan Valley Community College||Associate of Science in Science and Mathematics, Computer Science||Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)|
|Seminole State College of Florida||Associate in Arts in Computer Science||Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)|
Best Schools for Computer Science: Top Computer Science Associate Degree Programs
If you prefer to study in person, these computer science associate degree programs are ideal. You’ll find colleges and community colleges offering the best computer science associate degree programs and additional student services. Let’s take a deep dive and see what the best schools for an Associate Degree in Computer Science can offer.
What Is a Computer Science Associate Degree?
A computer science associate degree is a two-year degree program that teaches you the basics of computer science. This degree covers fundamental topics like data structures, discrete mathematics, software engineering, and information systems. Additionally, completing an Associate Degree in Computer Science can grant you entry to a four-year degree.
Students don’t require computer science skills for an associate degree, just a high school diploma or GED. If you don’t fulfill the minimum requirements for a certain program, many community colleges and universities offer preparatory courses.
How Important Is an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
An Associate Degree in Computer Science is important for those who want to start a computer science career but can’t commit the time or money to a bachelor’s degree. The main reason why a computer science associate degree is important is that it offers a low barrier to entry for tech jobs. Computer science associate degrees are more affordable and shorter than four-year degrees.
What Types of Associate Degree Can You Get in Computer Science?
The most common computer science associate degree type is an Associate of Science. You can get the following types of Associate Degrees in Computer Science:
- Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science
- Associate of Arts in Computer Science
- Associate of Science in Computer Science
- Associate of Science and Mathematics in Computer Science
Is It Better to Get an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Science in Computer Science?
It is better to get an Associate of Science in Computer Science because it focuses on technical skills and their applications, whereas an Associate of Arts in Computer Science focuses more on theory and its applications. However, both types of associate degrees will get you an entry-level computer science job.
What Is the Difference Between a Computer Science Degree and a Computer Science Certificate?
The main difference between a computer science degree and a computer science certificate is that a degree will help you start your career path, while a certificate will help you improve the career you already have. It is better to get a computer science degree over a computer science certificate because a degree gives you foundational knowledge.
How Much Does It Cost to Get an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
The average computer science associate degree cost is $3,621 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. This doesn’t include the price of accommodation and food. If you consider housing and meal plans, the Associate Degree in Computer Science cost will be about $11,391 annually.
Computer Science Associate Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Computer Science Degree
You can pay for a computer science associate degree through federal grants, private loans, scholarships, and GI Bill benefits. The availability of financial aid for an Associate Degree in Computer Science varies between schools. Some schools also offer scholarships to students that excel academically or in sports. Community colleges are generally affordable and offer financial aid.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Computer Science Associate Degree?
It takes two years to get an Associate Degree in Computer Science. The Associate Degree in Computer Science length will vary depending on the institution. Some schools will allow you to complete an accelerated degree program or take classes during summer semesters.
How Hard Is It to Get an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
It is not hard to get an Associate Degree in Computer Science. Computer science associate degrees are easy because they are designed to be accessible to high school graduates with low GPAs, adult students, and career changers.
Why Should You Get a Computer Science Associate Degree?
The benefits of getting an Associate Degree in Computer Science are that it’s a short degree that provides a foundation of computer science knowledge and allows students to enter the workforce in two years.
Alternatively, the main benefit of an Associate Degree in Computer Science could be that it allows students to transfer to a four-year university and spend less money getting a bachelor’s degree.
What Courses Do You Need to Take in an Associate Degree Program in Computer Science?
You need to take courses on information technology and programming for an Associate Degree in Computer Science. The courses listed below are based on the Associate Degrees in Computer Science courses required by the schools on the list above.
Introduction to Networking
This course would cover wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LANs). It would teach the theory and application of WANs and LANs to solve business problems.
Programming in Java
This class would teach the basics of learning to code using the Java programming language. Java is used to do things like develop applications and process big data. It is one of the core languages for computer science.
Mathematics for Programmers
This course would focus on binary arithmetic. Students would use math to solve problems that come up while coding. It would teach problem-solving and mathematical reasoning skills.
This is a course that would focus on teaching computer literacy. It will teach students Internet basics, like how to use a word processor and spreadsheet.
Continuing Education Paths for Computer Science Associate Degree Graduates
The best path to take with a computer science associate degree is to use the credits achieved at a community college to transfer to a bachelor’s program at a four-year college or university. Most associate degree programs are designed with this path in mind.
Related Computer Science Degrees
What to Look for in the Best Computer Science Associate Degree Programs
The best computer science associate degree programs cover the basics of computer science while allowing some room for general education and electives. Schools should focus on supporting their students in all facets of their education.
Computer science is a broad field. Many schools offer specializations for students who want to concentrate on more specific subjects like information technology, cyber security, or programming.
Continuing Education Options
Most computer science associate degrees are designed to allow students to transfer to universities. If that is something you’re interested in, make sure the school you choose will make that easy to do.
Student to Faculty Ratios
The majority of the schools on our list have low student-to-faculty ratios. When there are fewer students in each class, the professors have more time to commit to providing support and guidance to their students.
Associate degrees should be affordable. Make sure to speak with the schools you’re interested in attending to find out what financial aid options are available to you in addition to FAFSA. An online computer science associate degree might be more affordable for prospective students.
Consider how you’re treated during the admissions process. If you feel that the school isn’t helping you when you have questions, that might be a sign that the student services are lacking. Whether you choose a public college or private college, make sure there is a strong foundation for students. This can include career advancement assistance and financial aid packages.
What Is the Most Affordable Computer Science Associate Degree?
The most affordable Associate Degree in Computer Science is offered to in-state students at Los Angeles City College. Tuition and fees are just over $1,000 for California residents. However, most community colleges offer affordable computer science associate degree programs.
Salary and Job Outlook for Computer Science Associate Degree Graduates
There are many computer science associate degree jobs available across a wide variety of fields related to technology. Computer science is a broad field and an associate degree will equip you with the skills necessary to start a career in tech. While Associate Degree in Computer Science salaries may not be as high as those for people with advanced degrees, there are many well-paying jobs available.
How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Computer Science Associate Degree?
It is not hard to get a job with a computer science associate degree. Many careers in tech accept people who are educated through non-traditional forms of education or lower-level degrees. There are many entry-level and junior positions available to those with Associate Degrees in Computer Science.
What’s the Average Computer Science Associate Degree Salary?
According to Payscale, the average salary for professionals with an Associate Degree in Computer Science is $65,000 per year. The more experience you have, the higher your earning potential will be. Most technology occupations pay computer science students well, even if they come from online programs.
What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Computer Science Associate Degree?
The jobs you can get with a computer science associate degree are junior or mid-level IT jobs. These include entry-level jobs like computer support specialists and higher-level jobs like software engineers. If you want to climb to a higher position, you should get a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Computer Science Degree Jobs
- Computer systems analyst
- Computer programmer
- Network and computer systems administrator
- Associate software engineer
- Web developer
Potential Careers With a Computer Science Degree
How Much Money Can You Make With an Associate Degree in Computer Science?
You can make between $40,000 and $95,000 with an Associate Degree in Computer Science. Usually, computer science majors make a lot of money. However, you will likely need many years of industry experience and technical skills in addition to an Associate Degree in Computer Science to land higher-paying jobs.
Highest-Paying Computer Science Associate Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview
|Computer Science Associate Degree Jobs||Average Salary|
|Computer Systems Analyst||$93,730|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrator||$84,810|
|Associate Software Engineer||$78,500|
Best Jobs for Computer Science Associate Degree Grads
The best jobs for computer science associate degree graduates are jobs related to programming and information technology. The short list below details the job descriptions for careers across a range of specializations.
Best Jobs According to Your Major
Is an Associate Degree in Computer Science Worth It?
Yes, getting an Associate Degree in Computer Science is worth it if you want an entry-level career in computer science. Many community colleges and universities offering these degrees provide financial aid solutions. Additionally, you can apply some of the credits you earn toward a bachelor’s degree to further your education.
More importantly, computer science graduates with an associate degree can find employment quickly and leverage their practical experience for countless career opportunities. An associate degree will help you land an entry-level job and get the experience you need to pursue a fulfilling career in this industry.
Additional Reading About Computer Science
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Computer Science Associate Degree FAQ
Yes, you can land an exciting career with a computer science associate degree. With an associate degree, you can become a web developer, web designer, and data administrator, to name a few. Since associate degrees only require two years of studying, you will be able to enter the workforce faster than if you were to opt for a bachelor’s degree.
Yes, an Associate Degree in Computer Science is worth it. Many computer science graduates from two-year institutions go on to launch successful tech careers. In addition, earning an associate degree will make it easier to gain admission into and complete a bachelor’s degree because you can transfer some of your credits.
Associate degrees are typically offered by community colleges, but some universities offer them too. For example, Franklin University and Southern New Hampshire University offer associate degrees.
Whether you choose to get an associate or a bachelor’s degree ultimately depends on how much time and money you can invest into school and how soon you want to start working. If you can commit to a bachelor’s degree, then this degree option is ideal. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable and quicker option, an associate degree is the best choice.
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