As a computer scientist, you'll utilize both theoretical and practical approaches to design and use computers and computational systems. Professionals in this field are trained in a combination of research, experimentation, and engineering, which blend to form the basis of so much of our technology-driven society.

Computer science careers are among the fastest-growing occupations in the nation, providing even entry-level job-seekers with a wealth of opportunities. Professionals with computer jobs earn an average of $82,860 a year and can expect to see 12% growth in employment by the year 2024. Pursuing an online computer science associate degree is the first step toward beginning your career in this diverse and exciting field.

What are the best computer science programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:

Rank School Location
1 South Texas College McAllen, TX
2 Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX
3 Ocean County College Toms River, NJ
4 Bucks County Community College Newtown, PA
5 Weber State University Ogden, UT
6 Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ
7 Montgomery College Rockville, MD
8 Park University Parkville, MO
9 Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell, PA
10 Ulster County Community College Stone Ridge, NY

2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Computer Science Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

South Texas College

McAllen, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%

Alongside more than 120 certificate programs and associate degrees, South Texas College is the only community college in the Lone Star State to offer five bachelor's degrees. Together, the school's virtual campus and physical campuses in Hidalgo County and Starr County serve approximately 32,000 students each year.

The college's online associate degree in computer science requires 60 credits, including courses in computer systems organization and fundamental programming concepts. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously and eliminates in-person requirements.

High school graduates and applicants with a GED are eligible for admission. The college also accepts students at least 18 years of age who complete a Texas Success Initiative Assessment placement exam.

2

Trinity Valley Community College

Athens, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 76%

Trinity Valley Community College operates a main campus in Athens, Texas, and satellite locations in Kaufman, Palestine, and Terrell. More than 1,600 students enroll in online programs at TVCC each year, pursuing certificates and associate degrees in the arts, science, business, and health.

The 60-credit online associate in computer science provides a solid foundation for students interested in a bachelor's degree in the field. Courses cover general education requirements, fundamental concepts in programming, and principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics. Some courses may require proctored exams at the TVCC testing center.

TVCC practices an open-door admissions policy. New students must submit a high school transcript or GED. Placement testing or standardized test scores are required for degree-seeking students.

3

Ocean County College

Toms River, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 34%

Headquartered in Toms River, New Jersey, Ocean County College has served the educational needs of area residents for more than 40 years. Nearly 25% of OCC's 13,000 students enroll in online learning. OCC's online associate degree in computer science prepares students for transfer to a bachelor's program in computer information systems.

The 60-credit curriculum features courses in programming, computer architecture, data structures, and systems analysis. Students can also pursue an optional cyber-information security concentration. OCC provides distance learners with resources, such as virtual tutoring, writing, and library services.

As an open-door institution, OCC accepts all high school graduates, GED recipients, and applicants who are 18 years old. Official transcripts and placement testing are required.

4

Bucks County Community College

Newtown, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 20%

Bucks County Community College is a two-year, public institution with more than 90 programs of study available at three Pennsylvania campuses and online. More than 9,000 students enroll each year. Bucks delivers all coursework asynchronously, with course material available 24/7.

To graduate with an associate in computer science, Bucks students must complete 62 credits of courses in areas of database design and application development, basic programming, and calculus. The major prepares students to take upper-division coursework in a bachelor's program.

Open admission guarantees acceptance to all prospective students with a high school education. Prospective students can complete the online application at no cost. The college does not require ACT or SAT scores.

5

Weber State University

Ogden, UT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 34%

Weber State University is a four-year, public institution headquartered in Ogden, Utah. To better serve the needs of working professionals, the university offers several flexible learning options, including multiple locations, evening classes, and online learning. Approximately 79% of WSU's 28,000 students have a job, and 59% attend class part time.

Students working toward an online associate degree in computer science at WSU learn fundamental skills in computing, programming, object-oriented programming, and computational structures. WSU delivers coursework asynchronously for maximum convenience. The 63-credit applied science program prepares graduates to enter the workforce.

Incoming freshmen must supply official high school transcripts or GED documentation. ACT or SAT scores are optional. However, students may need to complete placement testing in math and English.

6

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 54%

Thomas Edison State University is a primarily online university serving adults seeking professional advancement and personal fulfillment. Students at TESU can earn credit toward their degree through prior learning assessment, credit transfer, and credit-bearing exams.

TESU's 60-credit online associate in computer science provides a strong liberal arts background designed to prepare graduates for transfer to a bachelor's program. The 16-credit major consists solely of computer science electives, allowing students to customize their studies according to individual interests. The program delivers all coursework asynchronously.

To qualify for admission, prospective students must be at least 20 years of age, or at least 18 years of age and an active duty member of the U.S. military. A high school diploma, GED, or equivalent is required.

7

Montgomery College

Rockville, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 22%

Among the top community colleges in Maryland, Montgomery College serves more than 20,000 students each year. Nearly 30% of MC students take at least one online course. MC offers five online associate degrees in business, computer science, criminal justice, general studies, and early childhood education.

The 60-credit online associate in computer science primarily serves students who plan to transfer to a four-year program. Graduates demonstrate proficiency in a high-level programming language, object-oriented design, and computer algorithms.

As an open admissions college, MC welcomes all high school graduates. Placement testing is required of most new students, with exemptions available based on prior academic and/or examination performance.

8

Park University

Parkville, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 33%

Park University enrolls more than 16,000 students at its two campuses in Parkville, Missouri; Gilbert, Arizona; at its 41 regional centers; and online. The four-year institution offers more than 50 online minors, certificates, undergraduate, and graduate degrees.

To graduate with an associate in computer and information science, distance learners must earn 60 credits. Core courses cover Python programming, data management, and information systems management. Park encourages students to participate in internships as part of their curriculum.

Admission requires evidence of high school graduation or a GED. Math and English placement assessments are required prior to enrollment.

9

Montgomery County Community College

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

Boasting a comprehensive catalog of more than 100 certificates and associate degrees, Montgomery County Community College has served the educational needs of Pennsylvania residents since 1964. In addition to a central campus, west campus, and culinary arts institute, MCCC operates a virtual campus for distance learners.

The school's primarily online associate degree in computer science requires 61 credits. Course topics include data structures and algorithms, programming concepts, and database management systems. Seamless university transfer options are available within the Pennsylvania state system.

MCCC accepts applications throughout the year. Documentation of high school graduation or a GED is required. New students may need to take placement tests in reading, writing, and math.

10

Ulster County Community College

Stone Ridge, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

SUNY Ulster is a two-year, public college supported by the State University of New York. Approximately 3,500 students enroll each year. While most students take classes on campus in Stone Ridge, New York, SUNY Ulster offers several online courses and programs.

One of these flexible options -- an online associate in computer science -- prepares graduates for careers or transfer into a bachelor's program. Required courses in the 62-credit curriculum include information literacy, theory and practice of object-oriented programming, and discrete mathematics.

Admission requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, placement testing, and completion of a college-level algebra and trigonometry course.

What Will I Learn in an Online Computer Science Program?

Each school that offers an associate degree in computer science has its own curriculum, although associate-level coursework typically covers broad topics that are designed to prepare graduates for entry-level employment or to pursue a bachelor's degree. Generally, computer science associate degree courses provide an introduction to programming languages, tech applications, and other multimedia tools. Below are a few of the most common courses that students take while pursuing an online computer science associate degree.

  • Introduction to Computer Applications: In this course, students learn the basics of folder and file navigation and manipulation. They also gain a broad overview of office productivity, word-processing, and presentation skills.
  • Computer Networks: Computer networks courses are designed to introduce students to common types of networking technologies, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), protocols, topologies, transmission media, security, and the internet protocol suite (TCP-IP).
  • Programming Essentials: This course emphasizes programming fundamentals and problem-solving/logical reasoning skills by introducing students to structure logic, data, and diagramming and charting methods.

Financing Your Online Associate in Computer Science Program

When it comes to financing your online computer science associate degree, the process begins with filling out the FAFSA form. This form is a requirement for most applications and is used to determine your eligibility for government-funded programs. Most schools and even some private lenders also look at your FAFSA in order to determine your eligibility for additional funding. With a variety of scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study awards available to students from nearly every demographic and cultural group, computer science students can find numerous opportunities for educational and career program funding that is specific to their field of study.

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 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 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.