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.
Choosing a Program
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.
Accredited Online Database Management Degree Programs
New York University
|New York, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 84%||
Established in 1831, NYU is the largest private university in the U.S. with campuses across the globe. NYU's School of Professional Studies offers a bachelor of science in applied data analytics and visualization that provides students with the skills needed to translate data into intelligence. Graduates of this program may pursue career opportunities within government agencies, consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and corporations.
NYU's database management degree online program requires 128-130 credits, and students can take classes synchronously or asynchronously. Courses include visual analytics, designing infographics, introduction to cloud computing, and cultural and legal implications of digital technology. For a graduation project, online learners choose between a four-credit seminar, internship, or independent study. Full-time students may be eligible for study-away opportunities at one of NYU's portal campuses in Abu Dhabi or Shanghai or its academic centers in Ghana, Germany, Argentina, Italy, England, Spain, Czech Republic, France, or Australia.
Applicants to this program must hold an associate degree or 60 transferable college credits. Preference is given to applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.3. Prospective students must submit two letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and resume. NYU offers several financial aid options, and students are encouraged to apply for scholarships. NYU is a member of the distinguished Association of American Universities and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Western Governors University
|Salt Lake City, UT||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Western Governors University is a nonprofit online university based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Founded by a group of 19 U.S. governors, the school aims to provide high-quality education independent of time or place. WGU's bachelor of science in data management and data analytics follows a unique competency-based learning model in which students progress through self-paced courses as soon as they master a specific predetermined skill. Graduates from this program pursue careers as data analysts, research analysts, data managers, systems analysts, and IT project managers.
WGU's database management degree online program consists of 36 courses, which students can begin on the first of any month (terms run for six months). Distance learners are expected to take 12 competency units each term. Among the technical skills students learn are data engineering, data mining, security, communications protocols, Python, C++ programming, HTML5, and CSS. Notable classes in the curriculum include IT applications, networks, scripting and programming, web development foundations, and database server administration. The program culminates with a final capstone project.
Incoming students work with an enrollment counselor and a program mentor to build personalized degree plans. Distance learners typically transfer in 27 credits and earn their degrees in 9-18 months. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Prospective students must provide proof of IT experience through an associate degree, IT certification, three years of work experience, or high-level college coursework. Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Founded in 1971, Liberty University is an evangelical institution of higher education located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty's bachelor of science in information systems with a specialized track in database equips students with skills in technology management, information systems, and data networks. Graduates pursue careers in business, nonprofits, and government as database administrators, database analysts, database developers, and data management specialists.
A minimum of 120 credits is required for this database management degree online program, 90 of which may be transfer hours. Courses for this program -- which explore object-oriented programming, IS hardware and software, web architecture and development, and business data communication systems -- are offered entirely online in eight-week terms. Students choose between a three-credit internship or a class in web enterprise technology. The program culminates with a final capstone course.
Applicants to Liberty's program must hold a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum GPA of 2.0 (those below a 2.0 may be admitted on an "acceptance on caution" basis). As nearly 90% of Liberty students receive financial assistance in the form of payment plans, scholarships, and military benefits, all students are encouraged to apply for financial aid. This program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|St. Louis, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Webster University is a nonprofit institution based in St. Louis, Missouri, that enrolls students throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Webster's bachelor of science in data analytics teaches students how to analyze business data to transform information and generate intelligence. Graduates pursue careers helping business executives leverage data analytics to inform their strategic decision-making.
This database management degree online program requires a minimum of 128 credit hours. Students must take a minimum of 21 required credit hours and all upper-level courses at Webster University. Notable classes include descriptive statistics, electronic commerce, decision support systems, business mathematics, and programming for data analytics. Students are introduced to data mining techniques within business contexts and explore how to discover useful patterns in data. Online courses are offered asynchronously via Webster's WorldClassRoom platform with no on-campus requirements.
Applicants to this program must hold a high school diploma or equivalent with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Prospective students must submit a personal essay, a letter of recommendation, a resume, and ACT (minimum score 21) or SAT scores (minimum score 1,000). Transfer students are not required to submit test scores. Webster encourages students to apply for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, and loans. The Walker School of Business and Technology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Maryland-University College
|Adelphi, MD||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 9%||
A public university based in Adelphi, UMUC focuses on online education for working adults, military members and their families, and veterans. The school's bachelor of science in information systems management teaches students how to integrate information systems with general business processes. Students master the skill of conceptualizing systems that protect organizations' critical information and assets. Graduates become certified associates in project management, project management professionals, and PMI agile certified practitioners.
UMUC's database management degree online requires 120 credits, up to 90 of which may be transferred from other institutions. Notable classes in this curriculum include ethics in IT, relational database concepts and applications, software and hardware infrastructure concepts, and business continuity planning. The program culminates with a three-credit capstone course in which students discuss the trends and practical applications of information systems management.
Incoming students to UMUC can choose between an online or a hybrid option. Online courses are offered asynchronously via LEO, the school's interactive online classroom. Students who opt for a hybrid education supplement online coursework with face-to-face classes in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Texas, New York, Washington, California, or on the U.S. Coast Guard base in Honolulu. Prospective students must only hold a high school diploma or GED for admission. UMUC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
What to Expect From an Online Database Management Program
|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.|
Employment Outlook for Database Management Graduates
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)|
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
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.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Database Management
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.
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, 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.
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 Bachelor's in Database Management Programs of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 2 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA 3 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ 4 New York University New York, NY 5 Webster University St. Louis, MO 6 National University La Jolla, CA 7 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 8 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 9 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA 10 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME
- Best Online Bachelor's in Database Management Programs of 2017
Rank School Location 1 University of Maryland-University College Adelphi, MD 2 University of Massachusetts-Lowell Lowell, MA 3 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT 4 National University La Jolla, CA 5 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME 6 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 7 Baker College of Flint Flint, MI 8 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA