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Best Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs, Jobs, and Salaries

Leah Clark - June 07, 2022


If you want to become a software engineer , an associate degree can help you. These software engineering associate degree programs are ideal for recent high school graduates. You can get your associate degree and use those credits towards a bachelor’s degree or start looking for entry-level software engineering jobs.

This guide details the best Associate Degrees in Software Engineering. You’ll also find the top careers for Associate Degrees in Software Engineering, complete with the salary you can expect for each one. Let’s get started.

What Is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is a computer science discipline that requires advanced skills in programming, information systems, and network security. Professionals in this field apply engineering approaches to develop software. They also know how to design, test, and evaluate software to fulfill their duties.

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Where Can I Get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

The best colleges where you can get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering are community colleges and technical schools that teach in-demand technical skills and practical skills needed for a tech career. Looking up school reviews on reputable sites like Carma Karma will help prospective students find out where to get a software engineering degree and what programs are best for them.

What Schools Offer the Best Software Engineering Associate Degree Degrees?

  • Dallas College
  • Jackson College
  • New England Institute of Technology
  • Oakland Community College
  • Tacoma Community College

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

The admission requirements for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering are typically a high school diploma, a GED, or an equivalent qualification. Students should be at least 18 years of age on the first day of class. Associate in Software Engineering requirements may include a minimum GPA requirement, but most community colleges and technical schools have an open admission policy.

Prospective software engineering students don’t need experience or prior qualifications to complete this degree program as these courses will teach students fundamental skills in computer science. However, prior knowledge of computer programming languages like Python or Java is often required for more advanced courses.

Requirements for an Associate in Software Engineering usually include submitting your official transcripts. Further requirements for Associate Degrees in Software Engineering may also include an interview to ensure you align with the school’s core principles. Overall, the admission requirements for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering are not very strict.

Software Engineering Associate Degree Admission Requirements

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent. You must have a high school diploma or a GED to get accepted into a software engineering associate degree program. Most schools will require you to submit your official transcripts as part of the application process.
  • GPA Requirements. Most community colleges and technical schools have an open admission policy with no GPA requirements. However, some schools may require students to have a minimum GPA, which is typically between 2.0 and 3.0.
  • Age Requirements. You must be at least 18 years of age on the first day of class to apply for a place in a software engineering associate program.
  • Application Form. Application forms are typically found on the school’s website, but some schools will let you apply in person or over the phone. You will supply basic personal information on your application form and some schools will require you to sign up for their online portal where you can pay your tuition and register for classes.
  • Technical Skills. While software engineering associate degrees are open to everyone, you will need a basic level of technical and computer skills to complete the program. Students with no prior computer skills and knowledge will find a program like this nearly impossible to complete.

How to Get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering

The best way to get a software engineering associate degree is by submitting an application to your required program and meeting all the application requirements. You must then complete the minimum amount of credits and maintain a certain GPA. Most schools will expect students to maintain a GPA of between 2.0 and 3.0 to get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering.

Students must complete general education classes, such as English, math, and social sciences, as well elective classes that focus on core concepts of software engineering like networking, computer science, and coding.

You should have a basic understanding of computers and some familiarity with computer programming before starting a software engineering associate degree. You should have strong logical and critical-thinking skills and a strong background in math. Students can find an array of free programming courses online before beginning their associate degree.

How Many Credits Do You Need for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

You need at least 60 credits for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering. Some schools may require up to 70 credits to complete the program. Tuition is often broken down into a per-credit fee and students can decide how many credits they wish to enroll in per semester. It typically takes two years to complete a software engineering associate degree.

Software Engineering Degree Requirements

  • Minimum of 60 credits
  • GPA of about 2.0 or 3.0
  • Completion of lower-level general education classes
  • Completion of lower-level core classes
  • Pick a focus or specialization subject

Best Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs and Schools: Overview

School Program Accreditation
Anne Arundel Community College Associate of Science in Computer Science and Software Development Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Database Management, Software Engineering Technology Major Higher Learning Commission
Dakota State University Associate of Science in Software Development Higher Learning Commission
Dallas College Associate of Science in Software Engineering Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Ivy Tech Community College Associate of Applied Science in Software Development Higher Learning Commission
Jackson College Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering Higher Learning Commission
Lake Washington Institute of Technology Associate of Applied Science in Computing and Software Development Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
New England Institute of Technology Associate of Science in Software Engineering and Web Development New England Commission of Higher Education
Oakland Community College Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems, Software Engineering Option Higher Learning Commission
Tacoma Community College Associate of Science in Computer Engineering Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Best Schools for Software Engineering: Top Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs

The best schools for software engineering associate degrees are community colleges and technical schools that offer in-demand technical skills training, career support, and in-person activities.

While a software engineering bachelor’s degree is best for getting high-paying jobs and a more advanced skillset, the best schools for Associate Degrees in Software Engineering will give students a great start to their tech career or give them the required tools and knowledge to transfer for an advanced degree program.

If you want to learn the fundamental concepts of software engineering and experience on-campus life, these top software engineering associate degree programs are great options. Continue reading for details on the best software engineering associate degree programs.

1

Anne Arundel Community College

Arnold, Maryland

Anne Arundel Community College was founded in 1961 and it has a student population of 11,948. This community college has 46 associate programs and 62 certificate programs across its five campuses. Its computer science programs have been rated as some of the best in the country.

Associate of Science in Computer Science and Software Development

This associate degree program will teach you about software development technologies and computer science techniques. You’ll learn programming basics and math. The school allows students to transfer these credits toward a bachelor’s degree where they can choose between a computer science and information systems concentration.

At Anne Arundel Community College, students can become interns on campus, join clubs, and participate in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. This 60-credit program includes core subjects such as Introductory Object-Oriented Program Analysis and Design, Computer Science 1, and Computer Science 2. While the program is aimed at students looking to transfer to a four-year degree, students will have the required skills for entry-level jobs .

Associate of Science in Computer Science and Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $264 per credit hour (in state); $415 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 27%

Associate of Science in Computer Science and Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: $50 for AACC members, $75 for non-members
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: high school, SAT, or Accuplacer scores needed for class placement

Applying to Anne Arundel Community College

  1. Apply for admission using an online application form
  2. Explore your financial aid options on the AACC website
  3. Submit high school or GED transcripts, SAT scores, or Accuplacer test scores
  4. Meet with an advisor
  5. Register for classes
  6. Attend a virtual orientation
  7. Pay your tuition and fees

2

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College was founded in 1969 and has a student population of 6,873. This college has over 116 associate degree and certificate courses ranging from business to humanities to health to computer engineering. They provide students with one of the largest cooperative learning programs in the US and today they have 895 active co-op job placements.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Database Management, Software Engineering Technology Major

This degree program teaches you to develop software on various platforms like Windows and Linux. You’ll also learn to use SQL . There are many general electives to pick from in subjects like math, humanities, and economics. This college has many partner programs so transferring your credits to a bachelor’s degree will be easy. This is ideal for students who wish to eventually pursue a master’s degree or even a PhD degree .

Students who complete this 65-credit program will be able to enter the workforce as highly-skilled computer programmers, software engineers, or systems integrators. Students can choose between a wide variety of technical concentration electives such as C, Java, web programming, IBM Power Systems, mobile application, computer networking, database analytics, and game development.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Database Management, Software Engineering Technology Major Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $264 per credit hour (in state); $415 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person, hybrid, or online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 15%

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Programming and Database Management, Software Engineering Technology Major Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: high school, SAT, or Accuplacer scores needed for class placement

Applying to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

  1. Complete and submit the standard online application
  2. Request your official high school or GED transcripts to be sent to Cincinnati State
  3. Apply for your online FAFSA
  4. Use the MyCState student portal to view the status of your application
  5. Allow two weeks for your application to be processed and once accepted attend an orientation, register for classes, and pay your fees

3

Dakota State University

Madison, South Dakota

Dakota State University is a public university that was founded in 1881. The student population is 3,186 and the university offers 45 undergraduate majors and several graduate degrees. Dakota State University is one of the most technologically advanced campuses in the midwest.

Associate of Science in Software Development

Students will study how to design, develop, test, and maintain computer hardware and software during this program. They also learn about writing computer programs and various software engineering applications. Dakota State University’s high-quality curriculum is recognized by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

Throughout this 60-credit program, students work on software engineering projects and develop their technical portfolio. Graduates can transfer to a DSU bachelor’s program or work as entry-level software engineers, software developers, database programmers, programmers, or programmer analysts. Classes in this program include Web Application Programming, Software Security, Object-Oriented Design, and Database Management Systems.

Associate of Science in Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition and Fees: $319.35 per credit hour (in state); $397.90 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 49%

Associate of Science in Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: $20
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: none

Applying to Dakota State University

  1. Apply to Dakota State University using an application form
  2. Pay $20 application fee
  3. Send in high school or GED transcripts
  4. Submit housing form and $50 housing deposit if required
  5. Apply for FAFSA
  6. Apply for DSU Foundation Scholarship
  7. Register for classes
  8. Pay tuition and fees

4

Dallas College

Dallas, Texas

Dallas College was founded in 1965 and has an extremely diverse student population of nearly 75,000. This massive college offers over 300 academic and technical degrees and certificates and endeavors to transform lives and communities through higher education.

Associate of Science in Software Engineering

60 credit hours are needed to complete this program. You’ll learn to code across three levels of Programming Fundamentals classes and study advanced mathematical concepts. Dallas College will help you transfer to a four-year degree through guided pathways. It will also help you start looking for work with access to job resources and student support services to make a career choice.

Associate of Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $135 per credit hour (in state); $200 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person, hybrid, or online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 21%

Associate of Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: submit SAT, ACT, TAKS, or STAAR scores or take the TSI assessment at Dallas College

Applying to Dallas College

  1. Complete a new student application form
  2. Apply for financial aid and scholarships
  3. Submit high school or GED transcripts
  4. Submit SAT, ACT, TAKS, or STAAR scores or take the TSI assessment at Dallas College
  5. Attend the new student online orientation
  6. Meet with an advisor
  7. Register for classes
  8. Pay your tuition and fees

5

Ivy Tech Community College

Indianapolis, Indiana

Ivy Tech Community College was founded in 1963 and offers over 74 academic programs. The student population is nearly 65,000. Ivy Tech is the largest, singly-accredited community college in the US with campus locations all across the US. No matter where you choose to attend, you can join on-campus organizations and events.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development

This associate program consists of 60 credits over four semesters. The content explores software development basics, web development, and computing logic. Students can choose to transfer to a related bachelor’s program or look for entry-level work as an applications developer, a systems programmer, a web developer, or a webmaster, to name a few.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $149.55 per credit hour (in state); $292.57 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 28%

Associate of Applied Science in Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: Assessment documents such as SAT scores or high school test scores may be submitted

Applying to Ivy Tech Community College

  1. Submit your free Ivy Tech application online
  2. Upload assessment documents such as SAT scores or high school transcripts
  3. Wait seven to 10 business days for an application decision
  4. Contact the admission team with further questions

6

Jackson College

Jackson, Michigan

Jackson College was founded in 1928 as Jackson Junior College and has been accredited since 1933. The student population is 4,140 and the college has 48 associate degrees and certificate programs, as well as transfer agreements for Jackson county and Michigan residents.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering

This software engineering associate degree is awarded after the completion of 60 credits. You’ll learn database systems, web design and development, and Java. There is an internship phase of your program, so you can gain work experience. Jackson College also has student resources, a student government, and clubs for you to join.

Job opportunities include applications developers, computer consultants, IT analysts, programmers, software developers, and software engineers. Coursework includes cloud computing, multiple programming languages, systems design, and databases.

Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $168 per credit hour (in state); $190 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 60 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 12%

Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: none

Applying to Jackson College

  1. Complete and submit an online application
  2. Complete your free FAFSA online
  3. Send your high school transcripts and test scores
  4. Attend online orientation
  5. Meet with the admissions department
  6. Obtain any required course materials

7

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Kirkland, Washington

Lake Washington Institute of Technology was founded in 1949 and is the only public institute of tech in Washington. The school has 10 applied bachelor’s degrees, 35 associate degrees, and 86 certificate programs, many of which are STEM-focused courses . The current student population is 3,319.

Associate of Applied Science in Computing Software Development

Learners in this degree program gain skills in backend and front end development, coding, database systems, and maintaining applications. Once you’ve completed the required 92 to 93 quarter credits requirement and earned your associate degree, you can use those credits toward a four-year degree at this school. On campus, there are student clubs, a meditation room, counseling, and career support.

Associate of Applied Science in Computing Software Development Overview

  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition: $1,148 per quarter (in state); $3,316 per quarter (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 92-93 quarter credits (approx 61-62 semester credits)
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 39%

Associate of Applied Science in Computing Software Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: English and math placement through high school transcripts or guided self-placement test

Applying to Lake Washington Institute of Technology

  1. Connect with an LWTech admissions coach
  2. Submit an online application
  3. Obtain your student number and provide high school tests or equivalent for math and English placement
  4. Fill out your FAFSA form
  5. Activate your LionsLink account
  6. Pay your tuition and fees

8

New England Institute of Technology

East Greenwich, Rhode Island

New England Institute of Technology was founded in 1940 and provides its students with professional skill-building, hands-on learning, industry-leading instructors, small classes, student support, and flexible learning formats. It has a student population of a little over 2,000 and offers over 50 programs including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, master’s degrees, and online classes.

Associate of Science in Software Engineering and Web Development

The goal of this program is to prepare you for either an entry-level position or a NEIT software engineering or business management bachelor’s degree program . The school aims to teach its students to be self-motivated and continue learning even after graduation. You’ll learn basic data analysis skills, algorithm implementation, and database design as well as how computer applications can solve business issues.

This program will prepare students for work as entry-level software developers, computer network support specialists, software testers, and data entry clerks, to name a few. Students are required to complete between 98 and 101 quarter credits and during their studies, they will have access to an extensive set of computer labs to gain hands-on experience in a range of tech skills such as programming, networking, software application, and administration.

Associate of Science in Software Engineering and Web Development Overview

  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition: $32,100 per academic year
  • Required Credits: 98-101 quarter credits (approx 65-67 semester credits)
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 48%

Associate of Science in Software Engineering and Web Development Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: none

Applying to New England Institute of Technology

  1. Submit an application using the NEIT application portal or the common application
  2. Submit your official high school transcripts
  3. Two or three letters of recommendation and a 300-500 word open-topic essay are recommended but optional

9

Oakland Community College

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Oakland Community College was founded in 1964 and has a student population of 14,511. It's the largest community college in Michigan and offers 57 associate degrees and 41 certificate programs.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems, Software Engineering Option

Oakland Community College provides this associate degree to teach students critical thinking skills through courses in data structures and programming. This community college offers student services like tutoring, disability support, counseling, and a career services office. You can also join student clubs and on-campus events.

This program will teach students the fundamental computer skills that are required to transfer to a higher education program or work in the IT industry. Students must complete 62 to 63 credits and will take classes such as Networking Concepts, Principles of Software Engineering, and various computer programming classes that cover C++, Java, JavaScript, and HTML.

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems, Software Engineering Option Overview

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $99 per credit hour (in state); $192 per credit hour (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 62-63 credits
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person and online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 15%

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems, Software Engineering Option Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: information not provided
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: none

Applying to Oakland Community College

  1. Go to the Oakland Community College and log in to self-services
  2. Set up an OCC student email
  3. Search for the sections (classes) you want to enroll in
  4. Plan and register for sections in your program plan
  5. Plan and register for sections not in your program plan
  6. View your schedule and drop or add sections as needed

10

Tacoma Community College

Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma Community College is a public college and was founded in 1965. The current student population is 5,823 and the college offers nearly 60 associate and certificate programs as well as four Bachelor of Science degrees. Tacoma’s students represent the diversity of the Puget Sound area with ethnic minorities and students of various ages.

Associate of Science in Computer Engineering

You’ll learn a wider range of engineering skills than just software engineering in this degree program. These skills include conducting scientific experiments, designing software to meet users’ needs, and finding engineering-oriented solutions. Tacoma Community College has a career services office that offers services from an academic advisor.

Students who complete this 90-quarter-credit program can find entry-level jobs or transfer to a Washington state public university. Career options include computer hardware engineers, software developers, electrical and electronic engineering technologists and technicians, or computer network architects to name a few.

Associate of Science in Computer Engineering Overview

  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition and Fees: $116.05 per credit (in state); $131.27 per credit (out of state on waiver), $299.12 per credit (out of state)
  • Required Credits: 90 quarter credits (approx 60 semester credits)
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Learning Format: in-person and online
  • NCES School Graduation Rate: 25%

Associate of Science in Computer Engineering Admission Requirements

  • GPA: not required
  • Standardized Tests: not required
  • Application Fee: none
  • Minimum Education: high school diploma or GED
  • Other Requirements: math or English placement tests may be required

Applying to Tacoma Community College

  1. Complete an online application
  2. Set up an online TCC account
  3. Apply for financial aid
  4. Submit high school or GED transcripts
  5. Take math and English placement test if required
  6. Take the online student orientation and new student survey
  7. Register for classes

What Is a Software Engineering Associate Degree?

An Associate Degree in Software Engineering is an entry-level degree requiring two years of study. A software engineering associate degree covers the content of the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. An Associate Degree in Software Engineering program is available to students with no prior qualifications.

Your core courses will cover foundational skills for software engineering. Many schools offer part-time or full-time study options, and after your program, you will have a lot of career paths to pursue if you don’t transfer to a bachelor’s program. You might also find a degree program that provides student resources like career support and tutoring.

How Important Is an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

It is very important to have an Associate Degree in Software Engineering because you can start working in the tech industry or transfer to a higher degree program. The main reasons why a software engineering associate degree is important are:

  • Continuing education. It is important to get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering if you want a computer science or tech-related bachelor’s degree. An associate degree can be used as a pathway to a four-year program.
  • Entry-level jobs. Software engineering associate degrees will prepare you for entry-level tech jobs in just two years.
  • In-demand skills. Associate Degrees in Software Engineering provide students with in-demand skills and up-to-date curricula to prepare them to enter the workforce.
  • Two-year program. An associate degree typically takes two years to complete compared to a bachelor’s degree which typically takes four years to complete.

What Types of Associate Degree Can You Get in Software Engineering?

You can get the following types of associate degrees in software engineering:

  • Associate of Science in Software Engineering
  • Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering

You should get an Associate of Science in Software Engineering if you plan on transferring to a bachelor’s program. While you can use an Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering to transfer to a four-year program, they are typically more career-focused and are aimed at students who want to enter the workforce straight after graduation.

Is It Better to Get an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering?

High school grads often wonder which is better, an Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering. Both degrees will give students foundational knowledge of software engineering such as computer programming, databases, and web development as well as general education courses.

However, an Associate of Science is more focused on general education electives to ensure graduates can quickly transfer to a bachelor’s program. While students who earn an Associate of Science may be somewhat qualified for entry-level positions, the program is not focused on helping graduates find work.

An Associate of Applied Science will focus on in-demand skills, soft skills, and career services to ensure graduates are job-ready. Students who hold an Associate of Applied Science may transfer to a bachelor’s degree at any time, but they will often be required to complete additional general education credits to do so. Therefore, an Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering is better for getting a job.

An Associate of Science or an Associate of Applied Science, which is better? The answer entirely depends on your long-term goals. If you have no interest in higher education or continuing your studies, then an Associate of Applied Science is your best choice.

What Is the Difference Between a Software Engineering Associate Degree and a Software Engineering Certificate?

The main difference between a software engineering degree and a certificate in software engineering is that you can complete a certificate in software engineering in less time without the need for general elective credits. Just like associate degrees, these sub-baccalaureate software engineering programs are offered at community colleges and technical colleges.

When it comes to a software engineering certificate vs an associate degree, a certificate program holds less weight but will focus more on a specialized field or core subject. This makes it ideal for those who already have a degree and who want to quickly upskill and seek advanced career opportunities.

If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree, then an Associate in Software Engineering is the better option when compared to a software engineering certificate. If you are career-switching from another IT job with similar skillsets to software engineering, a certificate program in software engineering will be ideal to help you master the required skills you may already possess.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

A software engineering associate degree costs $3,621 per year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. If you factor in living costs, an associate degree in software engineering costs you an average of about $11,391 per year.

Software Engineering Associate Degree Degree Financing Options: How to Pay for Your Software Engineering Degree

When it comes to financial aid for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering, students have many options available to them. If you are wondering how to pay for an associate degree in software engineering, you are not alone.

You can use private student loans, scholarships, federal loans such as FAFSA, or even GI Bill benefits. With these financing options, you can look for either partial or full financial aid for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree?

It takes two years to get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering. This typically equates to between 60 and 67 credits per semester which include general education classes and core electives.

Some programs may require students to complete an internship or a capstone project. The number of credits you take each semester will determine the Associate Degree in Software Engineering length of study.

How Hard Is It to Get an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

An Associate Degree in Software Engineering is hard to get because students are required to learn strong technical skills and use advanced logic, critical thinking, and analytical skills to complete the program.

A software engineering associate degree is so hard because students must also complete general electives in math, English, and social sciences. They must do this while maintaining a GPA of between 2.0 and 3.0 depending on the school.

Why Should You Get a Software Engineering Associate Degree?

The benefits of getting an Associate Degree in Software Engineering are that you will learn the required skills for various entry-level jobs or obtain the credits to transfer to a bachelor’s degree. The benefits of an Associate Degree in Software Engineering are:

  • Affordability. Associate Degrees in Software Engineering are considerably cheaper than bachelor’s degree programs.
  • Transferable Skills. Students who earn an Associate in Software Engineering will learn a wide variety of technical and personal skills that will help them in a wide range of jobs.
  • Continued Education. An associate degree is the first step to completing a bachelor’s degree.
  • Flexible Learning. Software engineering associate degree programs are often offered with flexible learning options such as in-person, online, or hybrid. Some schools may even offer part-time programs to allow students to study in the evenings.
  • Financial Aid. Community college and technical college tuition can be financed using FAFSA or scholarships.

The benefits of getting a second Associate Degree in Software Engineering are up-to-date skills and learning new technologies. Software engineering requires advanced knowledge of programming languages and computer science fundamentals.

With tech constantly evolving, new languages are being created and current languages are being updated. A second associate degree will ensure students have advanced knowledge of these emerging technologies.

What Courses Do You Need to Take in an Associate Degree Program in Software Engineering?

The required courses for a software engineering associate degree teach students strong foundational computer science and programming skills. Associate Degrees in Software Engineering courses often employ hands-on training to ensure students are efficiently trained. It is recommended that prospective students consult their Associate Degree in Software Engineering course list for detailed information on the subjects offered.

Programming Fundamentals

Object-oriented programming is key to software engineering. Some programs may cover multiple languages whereas others may focus on just one or two. Typically, software engineers should have a good understanding of Python, C, C++, Java, HTML, and JavaScript.

Web Applications Development

This class will cover the basics of web development such as interface principles, design, HTML, and CSS. The best courses for software engineering associate degrees will encourage students to use hands-on and collaborative learning by building their web applications.

Data Structures

Courses required for software engineering associate degrees will often include data structures. Understanding how to design, analyze, and implement data structures is key for software engineering jobs and best practices.

Information Systems Analysis and Design

Students will learn the fundamental skills required for systems analysis and design as well as communication skills needed to ensure the success of IT businesses. This is an ideal course for students interested in computer architecture or technical managerial roles.

Operating Systems

This class will teach students the fundamental principles of operating system design and structure. Topics typically include Windows, macOS, and Linux. Students might learn about the history of different operating systems and how they have advanced and changed over the years.

Continuing Education Paths for Software Engineering Associate Degree Graduates

The best path to take with a software engineering associate degree is to transfer your earned credits to a bachelor’s program in a related field. Alternatively, graduates can get an entry-level job to gain experience and build their professional portfolio. The right path after an Associate Degree in Software Engineering for you will ultimately depend on your career and educational goals.

Related Software Engineering Degrees

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What to Look For in the Best Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs

The best software engineering associate degree programs have classes that cover all the technical skills and prerequisites needed to transfer to a bachelor’s program. However, what to look for in a college for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering will depend on your goals. If you plan to enter the workforce straight away, you will want a program that teaches soft skills and offers top career services as well as technical skills.

Format

Community colleges and technical schools will offer a wide range of programming formats, such as online, in-person, or hybrid learning. Some of the best schools will allow students to study full-time or part-time. Part-time learning is ideal for working professionals.

Cost

While associate degree programs are more affordable than bachelor’s programs, they still come at a high expense. Prices will vary from school to school so research is important if you are on a budget. You can also apply for scholarships and financial aid.

Career Services

Students interested in entry-level jobs after graduation should look for a school with reputable and extensive career services. These services may include career coaching, resume writing, portfolio building, and mock interviews.

Accelerated Options

Students who want to continue with higher education will want to do it as quickly as possible. Career-focused classes such as soft skills learning or even internship programs will not be of much benefit. Some schools may offer accelerated programs to help students learn only what they need to transfer and earn accelerated computer engineering degrees .

Accreditation

Students must choose a school that has been accredited. This will ensure they can trust the program to teach the best curricula that is up-to-date and approved by a higher board of education. Furthermore, accredited schools look more impressive on a resume.

What Is the Most Affordable Software Engineering Associate Degree?

The most affordable Associate Degree in Software Engineering is the Associate of Science in Software Engineering offered by Dallas College. Public community colleges tend to offer some of the most affordable Associate Degrees in Software Engineering. These schools include:

  • Tacoma Community College
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Ivy Tech Community College

Salary and Job Outlook for Software Engineering Associate Degree Graduates

Woman drinking coffee and listening to AirPods while working at a table with a laptop  Software Engineering Associate Degrees
Putting in the hours it takes to earn your degree will pay off when you get your first opportunity for entry-level work in tech.

Software engineering associate degree jobs are high paying and in-demand, especially when it comes to upper-level positions. Your Associate Degree in Software Engineering salary can be increased by gaining experience and learning additional tech skills. For example, you could enroll in a top coding bootcamp .

How Hard Is It to Get a Job With a Software Engineering Associate Degree?

It is quite easy to get a job with a software engineering associate degree because these jobs are high in demand. An Associate of Applied Science in Software Engineering will give you the required skills to quickly land an entry-level tech job.

If you are a recent graduate wondering how hard it is to get a job with an Associate Degree in Software Engineering, then you don’t need to worry. This degree will also ensure you learn the required soft skills and have access to career services to help you find the best entry-level job.

What’s the Average Software Engineering Associate Degree Salary?

The average salary for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering graduate is $58,000, according to PayScale. This typical annual salary for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering can be further increased by gaining more experience, getting a certification, or earning a bachelor’s degree.

What Types of Jobs Can You Get With a Software Engineering Associate Degree?

The jobs you can get with a software engineering associate degree include software developer, software engineer, project leader, and various other tech-related jobs. The highest paying software engineering jobs for associate degree holders are IT project leaders and software development managers.

Software Engineering Degree Jobs

  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Web Developer
  • Computer Research Assistant
  • Junior Software Developer

Potential Careers With a Software Engineering Degree

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How Much Money Can You Make With an Associate Degree in Software Engineering?

You can make between $28,000 and $158,000 with an Associate Degree in Software Engineering. While entry-level software engineering jobs pay well, you will need to gain further experience within your field and get higher qualifications if you want to earn a higher median salary.

Highest-Paying Software Engineering Associate Degree Degree Jobs and Salaries: Overview

Software Engineering Associate Degree Jobs Average Salary
Computer Systems Analyst $93,730
Computer Programmer $89,190
Web Developer $77,200
Computer Research Assistant $69,000
Junior Software Developer $63,523
Junior Software Engineer $62,474
Junior Application Developer $59,290
Computer Support Specialist $55,510
Web Designer $52,114
Junior Software Tester $48,548

Best Jobs for Software Engineering Associate Degree Grads

The best jobs for software engineering associate degree grads are computer programming and computer development jobs. The best jobs for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering will also depend on your chosen area of specialization. For example, if you choose a software design-focused path, you should consider looking for entry-level web designer jobs.

An Associate Degree in Software Engineering will allow you to work for tech firms or as a freelancer. Big companies often employ both in-house software engineering associate degree grads as well as freelancers when they need to complete large-scale projects.

1

Computer Systems Analyst

Average Salary: $93,730

Computer systems analysts have a comprehensive understanding of information and database management systems. They analyze computing systems and prescribe more efficient and effective solutions. If you want to apply for this career with a software engineering associate degree, you also need industry experience in a related field.

2

Computer Programmer

Average Salary: $89,190

If you’re interested in becoming a computer programmer, an Associate Degree in Software Engineering is a great place to start. You’ll rely on your excellent coding skills to solve computer problems and develop programs for computers.

3

Web Developer

Average Salary: $77,200

Like software engineers, web developers rely heavily on their coding skills. These developers create websites according to their client’s requirements. Their websites need to be functional, responsive, and bug-free.

4

Computer Research Assistant

Average Salary: $69,000

Computer research assistants help improve software programs by creating algorithms. Computer research assistants experiment with datasets and technologies to find unique research routes for computing.

5

Junior Software Developer

Average Salary: $63,523

Similar to junior software engineers, these professionals assist software development and engineering teams. They assess their company’s needs and use design principles to help the software development process.

6

Junior Software Engineer

Average Salary: $62,474

Junior software engineers assist senior engineering and development teams. They evaluate software, perform troubleshooting, create software designs, and code. It often takes some experience in this role to prepare to become a professional software engineer.

  • Average Salary: $62,474
  • Job Outlook: 22%*
  • Number of Jobs: 1,847,900*
  • Highest-Paying States: Washington, California, New York*

7

Junior Application Developer

Average Salary: $59,290

Junior application developers work beside professional mobile and desktop application developers. They apply design principles and brainstorm application ideas. These professionals also depend on their communication skills to voice suggestions and provide feedback.

  • Average Salary: $59,290
  • Job Outlook: 22%*
  • Number of Jobs: 1,847,900*
  • Highest-Paying States: Washington, California, New York*

8

Computer Support Specialist

Average Salary: $55,510

If you have fantastic communication, interpersonal, and critical thinking skills, this career will be enjoyable. These specialists help clients navigate their way around programs and provide solutions to technical challenges. Your knowledge of software engineering will come in handy for this job.

9

Web Designer

Average Salary: $52,114

Web designers know how to use HTML , CSS, and JavaScript to design interactive elements for websites. They work with web developers to provide an aesthetically pleasing and well-performing website.

  • Average Salary: $52,114
  • Job Outlook: 13%**
  • Number of Jobs: 199,400**
  • Highest-Paying States: Washington, California, Georgia**

10

Junior Software Tester

Average Salary: $48,548

Junior software testers work in teams to test and evaluate software. They detect and monitor bugs to find solutions, perform troubleshooting with their software development skills, and communicate feedback.

  • Average Salary: $48,548
  • Job Outlook: 22%*
  • Number of Jobs: 1,847,900*
  • Highest-Paying States: Washington, California, New York*

* Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Software Developers, Software Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers

**Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data on Web Developers and Digital Designers

Best Jobs According to Your Major

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Is an Associate Degree in Software Engineering Worth It?

Yes, an Associate Degree in Software Engineering is worth it if you want to break into a software engineering entry-level job. Students learn foundational concepts for software engineering while gaining hands-on experience. Many schools also have transfer programs so you can progress into a four-year degree. This makes an Associate Degree in Software Engineering worth it if you are on a limited budget.

Technology has become more important than ever before, so an Associate Degree in Software Engineering will ensure you have plenty of career opportunities. It is easier for unqualified students to enter the software engineering job market when they start with an associate degree. Software engineering associate degree holders may also consider the best software engineering bachelor’s programs .

Additional Reading About Software Engineering

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Software Engineering Associate Degree FAQ

Can you become a software engineer with an associate degree?

Yes, you can become a software engineer with an associate degree. These degrees will get you an entry-level role even if you don’t have prior experience. You can also use the credits toward a four-year degree in software engineering or a related field, such as a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science .

What is the average software engineer associate degree salary?

The average annual salary for people with an Associate Degree in Software Engineering is $58,000, according to PayScale. This average salary is slightly higher than the average salary for other tech professions.

Is an Associate Degree in Software Engineering worth it?

Yes, an Associate Degree in Software Engineering is worth it. You can earn this degree in about two years. Then you can either work in this field while you earn your bachelor’s, or work your way up through the ranks with only your associate degree.

What are the requirements for a software engineering associate degree?

You only need a high school diploma or equivalent for an Associate Degree in Software Engineering. This is a great entry-level degree because you don’t have to have any other experience to start the program.

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.

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Leah Clark

About the author: Leah, from South Africa, joined Career Karma in April 2021. She has worked for seven startups in the B2B, digital marketing, and music industry sectors. A versatile freelance writer, she has worked on both SEO content and copywriting, producing blog posts, landing pages, and social media content for a variety of publications. Her work has recently appeared in MND X MTR, PeertoPeerMarketing, Eunoia Gifts, Systeme, and TiaraEssentials. She enjoys studying content marketing technologies and researching and writing informed content. She also loves listening to podcasts and TED talks.

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