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If you have a strong desire to understand the inner workings of computers and are fearless in the face of programming languages and rapidly changing technology, earning an online associate in computer science can prepare you for an exciting career. A few of the many career options available to you include web developer and computer support specialist.

According to Business Insider, web developers boast one of the highest-paying jobs for those with an associate degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, in 2019, web developers earned a median yearly salary of $73,760 — far above the median annual wage of $38,640 for all workers in the U.S.

Our associate in computer science program guide offers a comprehensive look into available programs, how to apply, and what to expect while pursuing your degree.

What Are the Best Online Associate in Computer Science Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 5:

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Rank School Location
1 Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell, PA
2 Lincoln Land Community College Springfield, IL
3 Lake Superior State University Sault Ste Marie, MI
4 Seminole State College of Florida Sanford, FL
5 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, MN
How We Rank Schools

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

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.

2021 Best Accredited Online Associate in Computer Science Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Montgomery County Community College

Blue Bell, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%

A public community college located in Bluebell, Pennsylvania, Montco offers an online associate of science in computer science program that prepares graduates to apply algorithm design to solve problems and communicate with others in a technical work environment.

The 61-credit program includes 26 credits of general education requirements, 32 credits of major courses, and an elective. Topics covered in the major include database management systems/SQL, probability and statistics, and computer architecture and organization.

Montco is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Science in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $144 per credit (in-state); $432 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 61 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

2

Lincoln Land Community College

Springfield, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 34%

A public college in Springfield, Illinois, LLCC offers an associate of arts in computer science that can be completed online. Graduates can pursue entry-level positions in various computer science and business settings, although many students transfer to a four-year school and earn their bachelor's degree.

In addition to general education courses in subjects like introductory statistics and public speaking fundamentals, students cover major-related topics like computer applications and concepts, discrete structures, computer programming concepts, and computer science.

LLCC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Arts in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $135 per credit (in-state); $404 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60-67 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

3

Lake Superior State University

Sault Ste Marie, MI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Seminole State — based in Sanford, Florida — offers an associate of arts degree in computer science in both hybrid and online formats. The degree is set up to be easily transferable to an upper-division public college or university in the state of Florida.

Students can complete the 60-credit program in two years. Course topics include principles of computer programming, programming in Java, web applications programming, and data-driven websites. The program also requires students to dedicate four credits to an internship.

Seminole State is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Arts in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $80 per credit (in-state); $317 (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT or ACCUPLACER required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

4

Seminole State College of Florida

Sanford, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

A public school in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, NHCC offers an online associate of science in computer science. This degree is designed to be transferable to a state university in Minnesota.

The 60-credit program features a 23-credit core, which covers topics like SQL, computer architecture, database modeling and design, and object-oriented programming. Students also complete seven credits of technical electives, choosing from classes like programming in Python and introduction to mobile programming.

NHCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate of Science in Computer Science - Transfer Pathway
School Status: Public
Tuition: $197 per credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

5

North Hennepin Community College

Brooklyn Park, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 20%

A public college located in McAllen, Texas, South Texas College oversees an associate program in computer science that teaches students the skills and knowledge needed to pursue advanced study in the field of computer science.

Students who follow the suggested course sequence take four courses each fall and spring semester, as well as two classes during the summer term. Major-related classes go over topics like programming fundamentals, computer organization, introduction to logic, and C programming.

South Texas College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Associate Degree in Computer Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $77 per credit (in-district, in-state); $87 pe credit (out-of-district, in-state) $200 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum requirement
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

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

Creative people who possess an analytical nature and have a passion for the latest technology trends may be well-suited for a career in computer science. While programs vary, most computer science associate degrees take approximately two years of full-time attendance to complete and require about 60 credits of coursework. Some online programs provide accelerated coursework for those seeking shorter-term, intensive programs.

Prospective students interested in computer science may choose from several educational pathways.

  • Associate of Science (AS)

    An associate of science degree provides a solid foundation in core computer science skills, such as software development. It prepares students to enter the job market or to continue their education and pursue a bachelor's degree.

  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

    If you are looking to enter the workforce directly after graduation, an AAS degree may be your best option. Classes focusing on computer science and concentrations in specific areas ready graduates for direct immersion into the field.

  • Associate of Applied Business (AAB)

    This degree is less common and is suitable for the business-focused computer science professional.

  • Associate of Arts (AA)

    This associate degree is best suited for individuals planning on continuing their education. An AA degree offers well-rounded classes, including humanities, that transfer to four-year institutions.

In addition to choosing the type of associate degree that matches your career goals, specialized concentrations within a program can enable you to focus on an area of interest. A few of these specialized areas include the following:

Concentration Description
Computer Programming This concentration places a focus on the rapidly changing landscape of the computer languages used to write programs and applications.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Also known as machine learning, this rapidly expanding segment of computer science covers fundamental algorithm design, which is the basis of AI.
Web Development A concentration in this field involves hands-on experience creating interactive web designs. Students may cover content creation, programming, and web hosting.
Video Game Design Are you a gamer dying to tell a story while immersing yourself in advanced graphics, artificial worlds, and artificial intelligence? These topics are covered in a video game design concentration.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

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

You can expect to encounter coursework that focuses on the fundamentals of computer science, including networking, programming, and database design. While coursework varies between schools and concentrations, the following list describes courses often found in an online associate in computer science program.

Computer Networks

This course introduces students to common network technology and the main types of computer networks, including local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). Upon completion, participants should understand the design, functionality, installation process, and configuration of network devices like hubs, bridges, switches, routers, and gateways.

Programming

This course examines the common languages with which computers speak and how they are used in program development. Different languages that may be covered include HTML, JavaScript, Python, CSS, and C++. Students come away understanding their basic construction, including semantics and syntax, as well as how to design interactive web pages using these programs.

Database Management

Participants build upon a solid foundation with concepts that include common data encodings and the theory of data science. Students build data structures and learn SQL so they can analyze data. Coursework also covers various design methods and how to model complex data sets.

Introduction to Computer Science

This course teaches the fundamentals required for a successful career in computer science and leads to a broad understanding of programming and algorithms. Covered concepts include data structures, security, encapsulation, and software engineering.

Web Development

Students create a feature-rich website using common programming languages and software such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Additional lessons may focus on interactive graphics and techniques for writing and running scripts. Participants learn to understand front-end and back-end web development and applications.

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

An online associate degree in computer science can lead to a variety of lucrative career opportunities. Graduates can pursue positions as web developers, computer support specialists, and computer programmers.

According to the BLS, the median annual pay for a computer support specialist in 2019 was $54,760; this is a common position for associate degree-holders. Additionally, the median salary for all professionals working in computer and mathematical occupations was $88,340. From 2019-2029, the BLS projects web developers and computer support specialists to see 8% growth in employment, which is twice as fast as the average projected growth rate for all occupations.

Read our guide to see where an associate in computer science degree can take you, and learn more about computer science careers.

Web Developer

These creative individuals demonstrate an understanding of both graphic design and programming. Most companies, from large corporations to small businesses, need web developers to create and design their websites and troubleshoot issues that arise. Back-end web developers focus on the technical construction while front-end developers integrate graphics/applications and create the site's basic layout. Full-stack developers work on both aspects.

Computer Support Specialist

As the name implies, computer support specialists provide support for computer users and organizations. They may provide technical assistance or test, maintain, and troubleshoot computer network systems. The latter duties require an understanding of LANs, WANs, and the internet.

Software Developer

Designing computer programs and applications can be a lucrative profession. The median pay for software developers in 2019 was $107,510, and the BLS projects 22% growth in this field from 2019-2029. Software developers design, develop, and test software programs. Some developers also write code, while others turn this task over to programmers.

Most of these jobs require a bachelor's degree, although associate degree-holders who have a strong professional portfolio may qualify.

Computer Programmer

Programmers write and test computer code for programs and applications. Their daily tasks include debugging and troubleshooting software and systems. They require solid knowledge and skills in a variety of computer languages, such as Java, HTML, CSS, and C++. In 2019, computer programmers earned a median pay of $86,550.

Systems Analyst

This technical position involves designing, developing, deploying, and monitoring computer systems and applications. The role includes analyzing and conducting hardware and systems checks, as well as recommending upgrades and new technologies. According to U.S. News & World Report, computer systems analyst is the sixth best technology job, and the BLS reported that these workers earned a median salary of $90,920 in 2019.

A bachelor's degree is a common requirement for this role, so associate degree-holders may need to return to school to qualify.

Computer Science Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Computer Science Programs

Is an online computer science degree worth it?

Few degrees are better suited for online learning than a computer science degree. Afterall, your learning portal and subject matter are one and the same. Whether your interest lies in programming, web development, or software programs, an online computer science degree can lead to a variety of lucrative job opportunities.

Is a degree in computer science hard?

Do you have an analytical nature? Are you interested in how computers work? In some ways, computer science is like learning a new language. While hard at first, once the basic fundamentals are learned, the concepts usually become easier to grasp.

What can I do with a computer science associate degree?

Graduates with an associate in computer science often go on to become web developers, computer support specialists, and computer programmers.

How much money can I make as a computer scientist with an associate degree?

The annual salaries for computer scientists with an associate degree vary dramatically depending on a worker's experience, location, and industry. However, according to PayScale, the average salary for a professional with an AS in computer science is $65,360.

What are the highest-paying jobs in computer science?

Computer and information systems managers enjoy one of the highest-paying jobs in computer science. These managers work in numerous fields, including systems analysis and computer programming. They are responsible for coordinating and planning computer-related activities. In 2019, their median annual wage was $146,360, with top performers making more than $208,000 a year. To qualify for this position, computer science professionals generally need a bachelor's or master's degree and ample experience.