Best Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs

Check out this list of the best online associate in computer programming programs and learn what you can do with an associate in computer programming.

portrait of Bethanny Parker
by Bethanny Parker

Updated October 4, 2022

Reviewed by Brian Nichols

Our Review Network

BestColleges is committed to delivering content that is objective and accurate. We have built a network of industry professionals across healthcare and education to review our content and ensure we are providing the best information to our readers.

With their first-hand industry experience, our reviewers provide an extra step in our editing process. These experts:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Our growing Review Network currently consists of professionals in fields like business, nursing, social work, and other subject-specific industries; professionals in higher education areas such as college counseling and financial aid; and anti-bias reviewers.

Reviewers typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for BestColleges as a side project. Our reviewers are members of the Red Ventures Education Freelance Review Network and are paid for their contributions.

See a full list of our Review Network contributors.

Edited by Colin Weickmann
Share this Article

An associate in computer programming is a two-year degree that students can usually earn at a community college. This degree prepares learners for entry-level jobs in computer programming.

According to National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) data, tuition and fees at a two-year college cost an average of $3,621 per year, for a total of $7,242. This costs less than the average tuition and fees of $16,647 per year at a four-year school. Students who plan to complete a bachelor's in computer programming can save money by earning their associate degree at a community college and then transferring to a four-year institution.

www.bestcolleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to start your journey?

Some schools charge less for online students, while others charge additional technology fees. Many online schools charge the same rate to all students.

The job outlook for graduates with an associate in computer programming varies by occupation. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% decline in jobs for computer programmers from 2020-2030. The BLS also projects a 22% increase in jobs for software developers during the same period.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?

Students enrolled in an associate in computer programming must be patient. Programs do not always work on the first try. Programmers need the patience to troubleshoot the program and figure out how to fix it. Other traits that benefit both students and graduates of computer programming programs include passion, creativity, and logic.

The typical online associate in computer programming requires about 60 college credits and takes about two years to complete. Students can often complete the program faster by taking classes during the spring and summer terms.

Some schools feature concentrations in computer programming. For example, Atlantic Cape Community College offers a concentration in computer programming or database design and development. Some computer science or computer information systems degrees offer computer programming as a concentration.

Some schools may require labs or internships. Degree-seekers should check with their school to learn about any additional requirements beyond their regular classes.

Associate in science (AS) and associate in applied science (AAS) degrees are both common. Students may benefit more from an AS degree if they plan to pursue a bachelor's degree. An AAS degree may suit learners who want to enter the workforce after graduating.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?

Computer Programming - C++

This course introduces C++ programming language. Students learn object-oriented programming with C++. The course includes C++ syntax, input and output devices, and data and file structures.

Computer Programming - Java

This course teaches beginner programmers how to design and code applications using Java. Students learn how to create web-based applications with attractive graphical user interfaces.

Systems Analysis and Design

In this course, students learn how to analyze users' needs and determine the systems required for an organization. They consider various options for systems design, including open-source software, IT service firms, and in-house software developers.

Programming in Oracle SQL

This course teaches students how to design and create relational databases. They learn how to store, retrieve, display, and update data using SQL. This course covers functions, stored procedures, packages, and triggers.

Computer Programming - Visual Basic

In this course, students learn how to program computers using the Visual BASIC programming language. The course integrates object-oriented programming, with an emphasis on event-driven programming.

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?

Admission requirements vary by program. However, they all start with an application and usually an application fee. Most schools require official high school transcripts or proof of a GED diploma. Some schools may require test scores from college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT.

Depending on the school, students may need to write a college application essay or get letters of recommendation. Recent high school graduates should ask their high school teachers for recommendation letters. Otherwise, prospective students can ask their work supervisor.

Learners who have work experience in the computer programming field may get credit for their life and work experience. This process may involve taking tests to prove skills.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Computer Programming Degree?

Career Outlook

The BLS projects the demand for computer programmers in the U.S. to drop due to employers hiring programmers from other countries. Computer programmers can work remotely from anywhere, so many companies hire programmers from places where wages are lower.

Still, the average base salary of $61,000 per year for those with an associate of applied science degree in computer programming compares favorably to other degrees. For example, Payscale reports that people with an associate of arts degree in communication earn an average base salary of $54,000 per year as of Feb. 2022.

Many computer programmers work for computer systems design and related companies. They can also work in finance, insurance, manufacturing, and software publishing.

See where an associate in computer programming can take you. Learn more about computer programming careers.

Career Paths

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers work with software developers to create the code that runs a software program. The software developer designs the program, and the programmer codes it. Programmers also test the code to make sure it runs properly. In addition, the programmer troubleshoots any problems and figures out how to fix them.

Median Annual Salary: $89,190

Software Developer

Software developers create a plan for the design of a software program. They talk to users and figure out necessary program features. They also plan how the user will interact with the software and decide what happens behind the scenes. The software developer then gives this plan to a programmer for coding.

Median Annual Salary: $110,140

Web Developer

Web developers create websites and keep them running smoothly. They troubleshoot problems, such as page errors and slow-loading webpages. They use markup languages such as HTML and XML to code webpages. In addition, they work with graphic artists to perfect the layout and look of the website. Web developers monitor website traffic and bandwidth.

Median Annual Salary: $77,200

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists provide technical support to computer users. They listen to customers describe their problems and ask questions to learn the source of the problem. Then, they either walk the customer through the necessary steps to resolve their problem, or fix the customer's issue in person or remotely. Computer support specialists may also provide training to help users learn to use computer equipment.

Median Annual Salary: $55,510

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators make sure a company's computer networks operate smoothly. They monitor the day-to-day operation of the networks and install software upgrades and new equipment as needed. They install wide-area networks, intranets, local area networks, and other data communication systems.

Median Annual Salary: $84,810

Computer Programming Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Continuing Education

An associate in computer programming prepares graduates for entry-level computer programming jobs. However, a bachelor's degree in the field may enhance job advancement opportunities. People may pursue a bachelor's in computer programming, computer science, or computer forensics.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Computer Programming Program?

Cost

According to NCES, the total program cost, including room and board, tuition, and fees, averages $11,391 per year for a two-year college. That averages to $22,782 for two years. Public schools are often cheaper than private schools. In-state students also typically pay less than out-of-state students. Some online schools offer in-state rates to out-of-state students taking online courses.

Program Format

Before enrolling, students should check to see if the school offers a synchronous or asynchronous program. Synchronous programs require learners to log in at specific times for live classes. A part-time class schedule may allow students to continue working, while a full-time schedule may allow them to finish school sooner. Students in an accelerated program may graduate in as little as 18 months.

Location

Students who choose an online associate in computer programming degree may not need to worry about location. However, learners should check with their prospective school for any in-person program requirements. Usually, online schools offer more flexibility, making it easier to balance schoolwork with life commitments.

Accreditation

Most colleges and universities hold institutional accreditation. This type of school-level accreditation ensures that an institution provides high academic quality. Individual programs can hold programmatic accreditation as well, but it is more common with programs like nursing and dental hygiene than computer programming.

Student Support

Many schools offer student support services, such as academic advising and mentorships. Students should also check what online student services, such as tutoring, their prospective schools offer. Learners concerned about job placement can look for schools with internship assistance or alumni networking events.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs

Rankings compiled by the the BestColleges Ranking Team

Is your school on this list? Get the BestColleges ranking seal.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Best Online Associate in Computer Programming Programs

  1. Southeast Technical Institute
    Location

    Sioux Falls, SD

    Tuition

    $12501

    Based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Southeast Tech offers an online associate degree in computer programming that trains students to collaborate with software developers and write new computer programs. The degree offers both full-time and part-time enrollment options.

    Students complete a minimum of 62-63 credits, including courses that cover key programming languages like HTML, JavaScript, PHP, and CSS. The curriculum also stresses integrated development environment applications such as Visual Studio and Dreamweaver, along with database management systems such as Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Access. The program delivers most coursework asynchronously.

    Southeast Tech participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which makes it easier for out-of-state students to participate in online programs.

  2. Cochise College
    Location

    Douglas, AZ

    Tuition

    $6488

    Cochise's associate of applied science in computer programming teaches distance learners to develop software applications for various professional needs, emphasizing programming issues in a variety of computing environments. This Arizona-based public school helps students transfer seamlessly to many four-year institutions.

    Learners complete 64 credits while earning this associate in computer programming, including 18-19 credits of general education requirements and 45 credits of core courses. The program core introduces major topics in computer programming, including applied technical writing, systems analysis, programming logic, and operating systems.

    Successful completion of the program gives online students a broad understanding of information system functions, preparing them to devise solutions to typical IT problems. Participants also learn to program in several languages, including Perl and Python.

  3. St. Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $3477

    A public college based in St. Petersburg, Florida, SPC offers an online associate of science in computer programming and analysis that teaches students the skills needed to create and run applications using a variety of programming languages. Participants never need to visit campus.

    This associate program includes 36 major credits, covering key topics such as operating systems, web foundations, system analysis and design, and Java programming. Students also choose from several electives, including mobile device programming, application programming, web programming, and augment/virtual reality programming.

    SPC emphasizes experiential learning and practical preparation, and all students in the program can complete an internship during their final semester. The program also prepares graduates to sit for the Oracle Java certified associate industry certification.

  4. Minnesota State Community and Technical College
    Location

    Fergus Falls, MN

    Tuition

    $10235

    M State's online associate degree in computer programming teaches students the skills needed to design, code, document, and implement computer programs and information management systems. The program offers fully online and on-campus delivery methods.

    The program's 60-credit curriculum covers the technical and professional skills required to succeed as a programmer, including research and presentation skills. All students learn at least one command-level language, operating system, and database management system, along with other programming languages.

    M State's Steps to Success Program provides support for first-generation college students and women of color, providing mentorship, success coaching, networking and leadership opportunities, and a free laptop for incoming students.

  5. University of Toledo
    Location

    Toledo, OH

    Tuition

    $16588

    A major public university based in Ohio, UT offers an online associate in programming and software development. The degree prepares graduates to transfer into a bachelor's in computer science program or immediately enter the workforce as a programmer, data manager, or software developer.

    Most full-time students earn this 60-credit degree in two years. The curriculum covers information technology and business topics. Required courses include workplace communications, application programming, financial accounting, and network technologies.

    Learners can also earn a programming and software development certificate by completing a specialized subset of courses. Students planning to earn this certificate can work with an academic advisor to determine an appropriate course sequence.

  6. St. Johns River State College
    Location

    Palatka, FL

    Tuition

    $5183

    A public college with multiple campuses in Florida, SJR State offers a fully online associate degree in computer programming. This program builds foundational programming skills that students can apply to business practices, preparing graduates for work as information systems programmers and programming specialists.

    The program's 60-credit curriculum covers web programming, mobile app programming, information systems, and advanced database concepts. The program also helps learners build the skills needed to automate business systems and facilitate IT operations for businesses.

    SJR State's associate in computer programming transfers seamlessly into the school's bachelor's in organizational management. Students can also transfer into other information technology bachelor's programs or proceed directly into the workforce.

  7. Seminole State College of Florida
    Location

    Sanford, FL

    Tuition

    $8392

    Seminole State's online associate of science in computer programming and analysis emphasizes the skills needed to design, develop, and implement IT solutions. Students can also select from concentration options in programming, simulation, and web development. The program boasts a job placement rate of over 90% among its graduates.

    Seminole State's associate in computer programming includes 42 credits of major courses, divided between 30 core credits and 12 concentration credits. The core covers topics such as network concepts, operating systems, and web programming. Students can also complete an optional three-credit cooperative education internship in computer programming.

    Concentrations build knowledge in specialized topics related to a specific field. For example, the simulation concentration includes courses in gaming and simulation, C++ programming, and data analytics.

  8. Daytona State College
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $6171

    DSC offers an associate of science in computer programming and analysis that prepares graduates to design and develop computer programs for business situations. The program uses a hybrid format that combines online courses with classroom sessions held on the school's campus in Daytona Beach.

    Learners complete required and elective courses, building foundational knowledge in programming languages and computer concepts. Required courses include C# programming, mobile device programming, and software design and development. Electives explore topics such as web design, microcomputer applications, and Linux fundamentals.

    Students can also complete a certificate in computer programming as part of the curriculum. The certificate builds additional skills that can help graduates distinguish themselves on the job market.

  9. Hinds Community College
    Location

    Raymond, MS

    Tuition

    $4089

    A community college based in Raymond, Mississippi, Hinds offers an online associate degree in computer programming that prepares students to pursue entry-level employment or a bachelor's degree in the field.

    The program's curriculum explores fundamental topics in computer programming and information technology, giving students a broad overview of the field and its basic concepts. Required courses include computer applications, programming with C++, discrete structures, and data structures.

    Admission into the program requires an ACT score of at least 17. Alternatively, students can complete a placement assessment, which evaluates their preparedness in English, math, and reading.

  10. Central Texas College
    Location

    Killeen, TX

    Tuition

    $5258

    A Texas community college based in Killeen — about an hour north of Austin — CTC offers an online associate of science in computer science that prepares graduates to use computer languages to design applications and software. The program offers a fully online format, as well as daytime and evening/weekend options on campus.

    The program's 60-credit curriculum includes introductory computer science courses and general education requirements. Required classes include programming fundamentals, computer organization, and introduction to computing. Full-time students typically complete the program in two years.

    CTC also offers an online certificate of completion in web technologies that emphasizes programming in the context of web design.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Computer Programming Programs

Is an associate degree in computer programming worth it?

Yes, an associate in computer programming is worth it. An associate degree costs an average of about $23,000 and can help prepare students for jobs that pay more the national median salary.

Even if you consider the cost of not working for two years so you can attend college, you still may see a fairly quick return on your investment. If you make $30,000 now, you'll lose about $60,000 in income while attending school, which brings the cost of your education up to $83,000. However, you'll likely recoup your costs within a few years.

How fast can I get an associate in computer programming degree online?

An associate degree usually takes about two years. However, students can graduate faster by taking extra credits each term. They can also attend school during the spring and summer terms when most students take a break.

Some schools also offer accelerated programs. Schools design these programs to be completed faster than usual, sometimes in as little as 18 months. Learners in an accelerated program can get their degree faster and start working sooner.

Is an online associate degree in computer programming credible?

An online associate in computer programming is as credible as the college from which students receive it. A degree from an accredited school with a good reputation may stand out to prospective employers.

However, students can stand out even more if they continue their education and earn a bachelor's. Some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree.

How much money can I make with an associate in computer programming?

An associate in computer programming qualifies degree-holders for entry-level jobs in the field. Professionals often make a lower salary when starting out and gradually earn more in time. For example, an entry-level computer programmer makes an average of $58,440 per year as of Feb. 2022. But people with over 20 years of experience earn an average of $87,810 per year.

An entry-level web developer makes an average of $50,860 per year, but web developers with over 20 years of experience earn $79,910 per year on average. Other factors, such as geographical location, can affect salary as well.

Is an associate degree in computer programming in demand?

Although the demand for computer programmers is falling, the demand for related occupations, such as web developer and software developer, is growing. Students can improve their chances of finding employment by developing skills in these growing areas. For example, a computer programming degree may not teach web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, but students can easily learn them online.

Students unable to learn the skills they need on their own may want to consider attending a web development or software development bootcamp to fill in any gaps in their skillset.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.