The Best Online Bachelor’s in Database Management Programs

Database management, also known as database administration, is a specialized technical field dedicated to data storage systems and the individuals who design, develop, and use them. Most companies and organizations today rely on databases to track accounting and finances, logistics, shipping, and other sensitive information. Database managers ensure that these records are secure, organized, up-to-date, and easily retrievable at any given time. Database managers are found across a range of industries, including business and management, education, healthcare, criminal justice, and law.

At the college level, database managers typically earn degrees in fields like computer science and information technology. As the industry expands, a growing number of colleges and universities are offering specialized degrees or undergraduate minors in database management. Most careers in the field are attainable to students with a bachelor’s, and today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor’s in database management online. Web-based degree programs follow the same rigorous curriculum as traditional modules, and the asynchronous format used by most schools is convenient for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties, or other responsibilities that may interfere with campus-based learning.

Read on to learn more about database management as an academic discipline, and to discover what you can do with an online database management degree in the field.

WILL AN ONLINE DATABASE MANAGEMENT DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

An online degree program in database management will introduce students to fundamental areas of the field like computer and web programming, software applications, data structure and network architecture. Students will also learn the best-practice methods and strategies for organizing, maintaining and updating organizational databases. Internships are somewhat rare in this major, but students will receive plenty of hands-on training as part of their coursework.

WILL AN ONLINE DATABASE MANAGEMENT BACHELOR’S PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

An online bachelor’s in database management offers a flexible alternative to brick-and-mortar education. Students are able to access course lectures and readings, participate in online discussions with fellow students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with professors from the comfort of their home computer. Current technology also allows them to study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other devices with Wi-Fi capabilities.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY DATABASE MANAGEMENT BACHELOR’S DEGREE?

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in database management, many students seek employment as database administrators. This large profession currently includes roughly 120,000 employees, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the industry will grow by more than 13,000 positions in the next decade. Other common pathways for database management degree recipients include roles in network and computer systems administration, information technology, computer systems analysis, computer support or network architecture. Above-average industry growth is projected for all of these occupations, as well.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE DATABASE MANAGEMENT BACHELOR’S PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online database management programs in the United States. If you want to study database management, and you value the opportunity to take classes online, read on to learn more about the top online database management programs in the country.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Location Description
1 University of Maryland-University College 61.47 2/5 Adelphi, MD

Developed in conjunction with local corporate chief information officers, UMUC’s online information systems management program focuses specifically on preparing students for leadership and management positions in IT-related fields. Coursework emphasizes key concepts in information system design, implementation, management, and security. Course content is regularly updated to reflect changing best practices and new technological developments.

Located in Adelphi, Maryland, UMUC maintains more than 140 locations on three continents, and specializes in delivering relevant, intensive online education to working professionals. Students can access courses through the school’s Learning Experience Online (LEO) platform, which features smartphone and tablet accessibility, interactive calendars, and advanced communications features that support timely and responsive student-instructor exchanges.

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2 University of Massachusetts-Lowell 60.64 2/5 Lowell, MA

UMASS-Lowell’s online BS in information technology program is designed to deliver a well-rounded, foundational education. Core courses build skills in fundamental areas, and are supported by a broad, flexible range of IT electives. Students interested in database management can concentrate up to one-quarter of their degree requirements in the specialization, making it an ideal choice for those earning a database administrator degree online. The curriculum includes a total of 40 courses, covering 120 credit units.

A public school since its founding in 1894, UMASS-Lowell adheres to a student-centered, not-for-profit model. The college’s division of online & continuing education has earned accolades from multiple prestigious educational rankings publications, including U.S. News & World Report. Online courses at UMass-Lowell are taught by accredited full-time faculty and adjunct instructors with extensive real-world, professional experience.

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3 Western Governors University 55.03 3/5 Salt Lake City, UT

The online BS in data management/data analytics program at WGU helps students develop valuable skills in data flow management and business-oriented information conversion. Specially designed for working professionals and students who have already completed college-level coursework in computer science, the program also provides an excellent platform for distance learners interested in graduate-level data analytics, data management, business analysis, and MBA programs. Students also have the opportunity to earn eight officially recognized professional certifications at no extra cost.

Western Governors is a competency-based, entirely online, not-for-profit institution with affiliated schools in six states. Students have full access to the school’s central library, which provides 24/7 research assistance and a comprehensive collection of scholarly journals, ebooks, and periodicals.

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4 National University 54.64 4/5 La Jolla, CA

Headquartered in La Jolla, California, National University was founded in 1971. The school maintains a long-standing commitment to diversity and has granted more master’s degrees to Hispanic and African-American students than any other college in California. NU’s online platform leverages cutting-edge technology to create an interactive, integrated learning environment that allows students to complete coursework at their convenience.

National’s BS in information systems program is designed to bridge technology and business, delivering learning outcomes that position graduates for success in a variety of professional capacities. Students can also elect to join a unique transition program that prepares them for graduate-level study in information systems management.

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5 University of Maine at Augusta 52.00 2/5 Augusta, ME

UMA’s BS in computer information systems (CIS) program is available entirely online. Distance learners can access course materials through a combination of in-class, multimedia, and online delivery methods. As Maine’s third-largest public university, this school serves over 6,000 students at two physical campuses (Augusta and Bangor), eight University College centers, and 56 other sites throughout the state.

Students in the online CIS program can specialize in several concentrations, and can earn their bachelor’s degree alongside documented professional competencies in networking, information system security, or web design and development. In 2015, the University of Maine at Augusta was listed at #30 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs category by U.S. News & World Report; it was the school’s third consecutive appearance in the rankings.

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6 Southern New Hampshire University 50.44 5/5 Manchester, NH

Southern New Hampshire gives online students the opportunity to earn a degree on an accelerated schedule. Students can begin classes at multiple start dates throughout the year, and flexible transfer policies can help you seamlessly transfer previously earned credit to SNHU. Distance learners can pursue a specialization in database management as part of the school’s BS in information technologies program.

In the program, students focus on the relationships between data and business strategy, and build in-demand data analysis, network troubleshooting, and database integration skills. Students also enjoy 24/7 access to the school’s Smarthinking Tutoring Services, which connect distance learners with over 2,000 tutors who can offer tips and techniques to foster success in virtual educational environments -- making this one of the best online database management programs for independent learners.

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7 Baker College of Flint 50.03 2/5 Flint, MI

Baker College of Flint helps students to earn a database administrator degree online through its bachelor of computer science in database technology program. Participants develop advanced database programming and administration skills using Oracle software, and graduates leave school ready for a variety of professional careers. All graduates are also eligible for the school’s Lifetime Employment Services, which include job postings, job search assistance, help with crafting a resume and cover letter, and interview training programs.

Founded in 1911, Baker is Michigan’s largest independent, not-for-profit educational institution. The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) has awarded Baker College of Flint its OLC Quality Scorecard Exemplary Endorsement in recognition of the school’s excellent online learning resources and innovative educational platform.

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8 Liberty University 36.81 4/5 Lynchburg, VA

Founded in 1985, Liberty is the largest private, not-for-profit online university in the United States. All courses are taught through the lens of a Christian worldview, making Liberty ideal for students looking to earn an online database administration degree in an environment that supports traditional religious values.

Liberty’s BS in information systems program with a database speciality prepares graduates for careers in database administration, database analysis, database development, and data management. Coursework covers 120 total credit hours, and students with previous educational or professional experience can earn transfer credits for accelerated degree completion. Liberty’s students can also use school resources to prepare for dozens of industry-recognized certification exams, including Cisco, JAVA, Apple, and Oracle.

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Timeline
4 to 5 years
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Computer Science, Network Administration, Computer Information Systems, Information Technology, Computer Programming, Data Analysis, Business Administration
Accreditation
There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.

Job Placement

Due to high industry growth projections and a steady demand for qualified professionals, the employment outlook for computing and information technology professions is relatively high. A recent survey from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) found that college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in ‘computers, statistics and mathematics’ fields face an unemployment rate of 4.3% after a few years in the workforce; by comparison, the national unemployment rate for all occupations is currently set at 4.9%.

However, unemployment rates in this industry depend on the employee’s specific field of undergraduate study. Using current data from U.S. News & World Report, the following table looks at unemployment projections for database administration and other common careers in computing and information technology.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

As the table indicates, database administrators are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate among the top technology jobs. And with healthy industry projections for database administrators and other related careers in the years to come, students should expect these favorable unemployment rates to remain steady.

Earning a Living

In addition to a healthy job outlook, employees in the tech industry also enjoy relatively high earning potential. The same CEW survey noted a median annual salary of $48,000 for inexperienced college graduates with a bachelor’s in ‘computers, statistics and mathematics’; college graduates with the same degree earn a median annual salary of $85,000 after a few years in the workforce.

However, salary expectations in technology vary by specific job titles, as well as other factors like company size and city/state of employment. The next table looks at career salary growth for database managers, database administrators and other professionals in related tech professions.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Database Manager $48,511 $54,687 $71,862 $92,956
Database Administrator $61,088 $77,572 $88,251 $87,955
Database Developer $64,293 $79,967 $88,720 $97,153
Network Administrator $50,542 $58,281 $62,619 $66,713
Systems Analyst $57,958 $67,549 $75,229 $79,392

Source: PayScale

All five of the careers listed experience significant career salary growth. Database managers saw the highest growth rate: a 91.6% increase between the entry-level and late-career stages. Database developers ranked second, with a 51.1% salary increase after 20 years on the job. Salary growth for the remaining three occupations ranged from 32% to 44%.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in database management will be qualified for dozens of entry-level positions, as well as select managerial roles normally reserved for candidates with a formal education background. Four of the most common career pathways for database management degree recipients are outlined below.

Database Administrators: Database administrators (or DBAs for short) use a wide range of tools and platforms to keep data ordered, updated and easily accessible. They also run software programs and applications to safeguard the information in these databases from hackers, computer viruses and other outside threats. Many DBAs work for computing and software companies, while others offer their services to insurance providers, banks and other non-tech organizations with consistent database needs.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators: These administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of computer networks and information systems. Their responsibilities include monitoring traffic, performing hardware and software upgrades, running tests and implementing security permissions when additional users need to be added. BLS projects average growth for this profession, although jobs for administrators in the computer services industry are expected to rise by as much as 31% between 2014 and 2024.

Computer Systems Analysts: Computer systems analysts are responsible for creating customized tools, platforms and applications for companies that hire them. First they must carefully research the company and learn about day-to-day operations; this background knowledge enables them to develop systems that are efficient, cost-effective and sustainable for the employees who plan to use them.

Computer Support Specialists: Consumer support specialists assist consumers with computing questions or needs. This catchall profession demands employees who are knowledgeable about software and hardware, applications, servers, networks and other individual computing components. Support specialists can usually be found at any company with employees that utilize computers; others may work remotely as desk-help technicians or provide on-call support services.

Occupation Median Annual Salary Projected Industry Growth (2014-24)
Database Administrators $81,710 11% (+13,400 jobs)
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $77,810 8% (+30,200 jobs)
Computer Systems Analysts $85,800 21% (118,600 jobs)
Computer Support Specialists $51,470 12% (+88,800 jobs)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to database management is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for database management professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • Data Management Association International: Founded in 1980, DAMA International today represents thousands of members worldwide. The association hosts more than 70 global chapters on six continents, and hosts dozens of international events every year.
  • DBA International: This nonprofit trade association currently works with employees of roughly 575 database-oriented companies. Membership benefits include discounted professional development courses, business planning guides and reduced entrance fees for industry events.
  • International Association of Administrative Professionals: Established in 1942, the IAAP today offers certification in areas like organizational behavior and strategic planning. The association’s website includes a vast resource library, job listings and a comprehensive industry events calendar.

Despite the relative affordability of online criminal justice master’s programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.