This page explores several topics for prospective students to consider when thinking about pursuing an online information technology (IT) degree. This information will help you determine which online programs are best for your academic interests and career goals. It will also help you identify the characteristics and credentials of programs that position graduates to advance their careers, increase their earning potential, and stand out in the job market.
Information technology professionals are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects careers for those with a bachelor's degree in information technology, or a related field, to grow 13% by 2026. Additionally, according to the BLS, professionals in the information technology field earn more than twice the median wage for all other occupations. Those with bachelor's degrees from IT schools find employment in a variety of roles, including computer systems database administrators and software developers. Virtually every business depends on at least one professional with training in the computer or information technology field.
- HOW LONG DOES AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE TAKE TO GET ONLINE?
Most online information technology bachelor’s degrees can be completed with four years of full-time study. However, some programs offer accelerated options that allow students to earn their degree in less time. Read more here..
- SHOULD I GET AN ONLINE DEGREE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
- WHAT IS AN ONLINE DEGREE FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
- HOW MANY CREDITS ARE REQUIRED TO GET A BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
Most bachelor’s in information technology programs require students to earn between 120 and 128 credits. Learners should check with their prospective schools for more accurate information.Read more here..
- WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE?
An online degree in information technology prepares students to pursue a variety of careers in applications development, gaming design, information systems, and infrastructure and security.Read more here..
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
Online information technology degree programs cover many specializations, including app development and computer programming. This allows students to concentrate on a specific area of the field to further enhance their career prospects. Many programs also encourage students to find an internship, where they receive supervised onsite training from established professionals.
WILL AN ONLINE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
Online bachelor’s in IT programs offer a convenient alternative to classroom-based education. Most programs are taught asynchronously, which allows students to submit assignments and take exams on their own schedules from the comfort of their homes. Distance learners can study on the go using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. Students can usually arrange internship opportunities near their homes.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
An online bachelor’s in information technology will qualify you for many jobs. Your eligibility for specific positions will depend on things like your minor or degree concentration. Common career choices for IT degree holders include roles in network administration, system analysis, software and hardware development, computer programming, and database administration.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS?
Choosing a program is a personal decision, and only you can decide whether a school’s strengths match your needs and interests. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor’s in information technology programs in the U.S. If you are interested in earning a bachelor’s degree in IT and you value the flexibility of the online format, be sure to take a look at these top online programs.
Accredited Online Information Technology Programs
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology Program?
Colleges and universities offer different concentrations and courses depending on their resources, history, faculty strengths, and geographic location. As a result, each program has something different to offer. The chart below highlights some common concentrations offered in bachelor's degree programs in information technology, and some of the careers students qualify for upon graduation.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology
|Applications Development||Students on this learning track develop fluency in programming languages commonly used to design web and mobile apps. Coursework typically covers topics in scripting and programming, as well as security issues that affect software development. Students often demonstrate their acquired skills by constructing their own applications.||Software developer, mobile application developer|
|Health Informatics||Combining concepts in IT, communications, and medical coding, this concentration emphasizes the relationship between information technology and the healthcare industry. Through courses in medical coding and data management, students learn to assess the technological needs of healthcare providers, implement cost-effective programs, and keep patient information secure.||Nurse informaticist, medical information officer, clinical data analyst|
|Cyber Security||Designed for learners interested in information systems security, students on this track develop a strong background in cyberattack prevention. Commonly covered topics include system vulnerabilities and exploits, social engineering, and common countermeasures taken against threats. Some programs also address concepts in digital forensics and computer crime investigation.||Computer security analyst, digital forensic technician, information security engineer|
Curriculum for an Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology
- Foundations in Information Security: Students receive a general overview of information systems and the industry standard security measures enforced to maintain them. Topics in this course include identity theft, anonymity and privacy, cryptography, and intrusion detection. The course also explores data storage, private online networks, and cloud security.
- Circuit and Electronic Devices: This is an introduction to electrical circuit analysis and circuit design. Students gain a foundational understanding of impedance, phasor diagrams, power supply systems, and analog and digital technology. The course also addresses the maintenance and repair of electronic devices through hands-on troubleshooting and lab work.
- Basic Web Design: This course helps students learn basic skills in graphic and information design and general coding. Degree seekers analyze customer experience to learn how to create user-friendly interfaces, communication tools, and aesthetically pleasing designs. The course also includes basic instruction in working with typefaces and fonts, pictures, and video content.
- Networking: This course covers entry-level networking information including local area networks, wireless networking for businesses, file sharing, and file storage. Students focus on problem-solving data transmission errors, malware, and hardware faults. Upon completion of the course, learners understand network terminology and protocols, subnetting, IP addressing, router programming, and how to analyze data traffic.
- Ethics in IT: Ethics courses in the field address complex issues in the growing information technology field. Students examine case studies regarding intellectual property, file sharing, social media and privacy, and online crime. The course covers ethics topics concerning workplace environments, making use of information systems in a global context, and how to handle emerging technologies.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology?
Several factors can affect how quickly you complete your degree, including your schedule and ability to enroll as a full-time or part-time student. Not all online information technology bachelor's programs follow the same timeline or course delivery methods. Some schools allow students to take credits beyond a full-time course load, but this may affect how much you pay per credit. Some online IT programs offer a self-paced, asynchronous curriculum in which students complete assignments on their own timeline.
Alternatively, colleges can also offer cohort learning scenarios. Students in cohort learning programs begin coursework at the same time, participate in online discussions and projects, and complete assignments on the same schedule. Students in a self-paced program may be able to finish their degrees more quickly than those in cohort programs, provided they have the time and financial flexibility to do so. In most cases, a bachelor's degree from top online IT programs requires 120 credit hours for graduation. Full-time students often complete their programs in four years, depending on the school's graduation requirements.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor’s in Information Technology Degrees
Online students pursuing an information technology degree should consider programs with regional or national accreditation. Accredited schools meet academic quality standards set by a recognized accrediting agency. Attending a school with accreditation ensures the skills and credentials you earn will help you advance your career upon graduation. National accreditation is typically held by vocational and career-focused institutions. While the quality of your education at a nationally accredited school may be satisfactory and meet high academic standards, the credits you earn may not easily transfer to other schools. Regional accreditation is the most prestigious and commonly held by research- and academically-driven schools. Furthermore, transfer students typically receive credit for courses taken at regionally accredited institutions.
Online IT programs may hold a programmatic accreditation that is specific to the field. One of the most revered accrediting bodies in the information technology field is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Schools with regional accreditation may not seek out programmatic accreditation for their information technology online program. Schools with both regional and programmatic accreditation display their desire to go above and beyond to ensure the quality of their program.
The regulation of educational standards and recognition of accrediting bodies belongs to the Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The ED's primary purpose is to support education in U.S. schools by enforcing federal laws, distributing financial aid, overseeing research on education, addressing issues in the education system, and ensuring everyone has equal access to federally funded programs. CHEA is an organization that oversees approximately 60 private and nongovernmental organizations responsible for granting accreditation to educational institutions. Prospective students can find a list of accredited schools on the ED or CHEA websites.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor’s in Information Technology Graduates
Bachelor’s in Information Technology Salary
According to the BLS, professionals working in the information technology field can find rewarding careers that show promising growth. By 2026, the BLS projects a 13% increase in job openings in computer and information technology -- that's approximately 557,100 new positions in the field. The chart below, based on salary information from PayScale, shows a variety of positions commonly held by professionals with bachelor's degrees in information technology. Regardless of the position, information technology professionals enjoy a steady salary increase the longer they work in the field. In many cases, experienced individuals in information technology make an average of almost $47,000 more per year than all other occupations.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level||Median Salary for Mid-Career||Median Salary for Late-Career|
|Computer Technical Support Specialist||$48,349||$63,000||$67,000||$84,000|
|Information Security Analyst||$70,676||$63,000||$82,000||$91,000|
Bachelor’s in Information Technology Careers
With the rapid growth of computer and technology related businesses, graduates with an online IT degree have many employment options. These professionals must be systematic problem-solvers with the ability to troubleshoot complex systems and networks. Since many positions serve businesses, clients, and customers, they must display professionalism and poise in high-stress situations and be able to work well with others. They should also be organized, respectful of others' intellectual and physical property, and able to handle large amounts of sensitive information.
Computer Programmer: Programmers work with Java, Java/EE, C++, .NET and other programming languages to write and systematically test code for computer applications and software. In some cases, they are also computer program designers who control aesthetic components of their software and creations. Professionals must have a bachelor's degree and prior work experience for entry-level positions.
Software Developer: These professionals develop applications that perform specific tasks for users. They customize existing computer and software systems and work with various computer languages such as Python, Java, and PHP. Developers often work with systems engineers, graphic designers, market researchers, and computer programmers.
Computer Network Architect: Network architects are in charge of designing and maintaining shared computer networks for their employers. They handle information security tasks, hardware and software upgrades, and identify new technologies that may improve the quality of their work. Entry-level positions usually require a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field.
Computer and Information Systems Manager: These professionals are the head of information technology departments and typically manage teams of programmers, designers, analysts, and information officers. They must be organized, technologically and financially savvy, with clear short- and long-term goals for their teams and employers. Entry-level positions in information systems management require management experience and a bachelor's degree in information technology or a closely related field.
|Position||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate|
|Computer Network Architect||$104,650||6%|
|Computer and Information Systems Manager||$139,220||12%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many information technology degree-holders choose to continue their education in a master's program. For more information, please visit our Online Master's in Software Engineering Guide.
Making professional connections and learning as much as you can about IT is crucial to your success in the field. Professional organizations offer an excellent 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 for IT professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for students and professionals.
- Association of Information Technology Professionals: Founded in 1951, the AITP is considered one of the largest global organizations for IT managers and personnel. The association hosts 55 U.S. chapters across nine regions of the country, and also sponsors college chapters at postsecondary institutions in 36 different states.
- Association of Software Professionals: The ASP is a trade organization dedicated to software developers and engineers who design programs, apps, and networks. The website features an extensive calendar of upcoming conferences and events, as well as full issues of the ASPects monthly newsletter.
- Network Professional Association: The NPA supports computer networking personnel through advocacy, professional development, and networking events. The association’s website features information about the CNP certification credential, an online career center, an electronic journal, and an events calendar.
Financing Your Online Information Technology Degree
Despite the relative affordability of online 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.
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.
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 learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning. Learn about the different funding opportunities available to online students.
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.
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.
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.
- Best Online Information Technology Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 2 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA 3 University of Illinois at Springfield Springfield, IL 4 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA 5 Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA 6 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL 7 Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg, ID 8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 9 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL 10 George Mason University Fairfax, VA 11 Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 12 Troy University Troy, AL 13 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 14 LeTourneau University Longview, TX 15 Excelsior College Albany, NY 16 University of North Texas Denton, TX 17 University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie, WI 18 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 19 Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA 20 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 21 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 22 City University of Seattle Seattle, WA 23 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 24 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE 25 Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA
- Best Online Information Technology Programs of 2016
Rank School Location 1 Northeastern University Boston, MA 2 East Carolina University Greenville, NC 3 George Mason University Fairfax, VA 4 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA 5 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO 6 Elmhurst College Elmhurst, IL 7 DePaul University Chicago, IL 8 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 9 University of West Florida Pensacola, FL 10 Champlain College Burlington, VT 11 New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM 12 Lawrence Technological University Southfield, MI 13 Oregon Tech Klamath Falls, OR 14 King University Bristol, TN 15 Pace University New York, NY 16 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA 17 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY 18 Bellevue University Bellevue, NE 19 University of South Carolina - Upstate Spartanburg, SC 20 Granite State College Concord, NH 21 Columbus State University Columbus, GA 22 Hodges University Naples, FL 23 Ottawa University - Milwaukee Brookfield, WI 24 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL 25 Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL