Information Technology is the field of study that is defined by a clear dedication to the practical applications of computers in a work environment. The most popular careers in IT are software/app development, computer systems analytics, information security analytics, and computer user support specialty. The IT degree offers students a unique opportunity to both work with technology and serve people in tech support, which is also one the highest in-demand markets in IT. Besides being a lucrative, in-demand, and ever-evolving career path, some students may find it advantageous to note that IT programs are generally less math-heavy than computer science or computer information systems programs.
Common IT Careers and salaries
- Technical Support Specialist: $45,528
- Network Engineer: $63,956
- Software Engineer: $81,788
- Project Manager, Information Tech: $84,147
- Senior Software Engineer: $97,812
Methodology for Ranking:
- Flexibility-Granting Components (1/3): the number of flexibility granting components, including prior experience credit, self-paced learning, accelerated courses, and number of specializations.
- Academic Quality of School (1/3): the academic quality of the school as determined by a broad range of measures including dedication to support services, class size, financial aid, and prestige.
- Affordability (1/3): the estimated out-of-state (if applicable) tuition per credit hour for the program.
Colorado State University is a land grant public research university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The University is home to some 34,000 students on campus, and is the flagship university of the Colorado State University system. CSU Online — formally the Division of Continuing Education — provides online classes at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. For students wishing to take some in-person courses, or who are required to attend brief in-person orientations, Fort Collins is a beautiful and outdoor-sy town located within sight of the front range of the Rocky Mountains. As with many flagship universities — and particularly in the highly educated state of Colorado — CSU has a notable history, and is particularly noteworthy for its medicine, engineering, and environmental science departments.
The fully online bachelors of science in information technology at CSU is one of the most flexible programs we surveyed at computersciencezone. Distance courses are the same as those taught on campus, are also accredited by the Higher Learning commission, and lead to the same high standard degrees offered by traditional programs at the university. Flexibility enhancing components of the program include a large range of specializations that can augment your standard information technology coursework. Coursework is asynchronous, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be collaborative. And there are monthly start dates with 10 week courses, so you can fit in larger course loads when you have more time. Particularly for a nationally ranked university, tuition at CSU’s BS in Information Technology is quite affordable, coming in at $350 per credit hour (the 8th most affordable program surveyed).
- Tuition Per Credit Hour: $350
King University is a private, religiously affiliated (Presbyterian and Evangelical Presbyterian) university located in Bristol, Tennessee. Founded in 1867, the university offers some 80 undergraduate majors to around 3,000 on campus students (as well as many more online students). As with many smaller universities, student faculty ratios are good, at 14 to 1, with 75% of courses having fewer than 20 students. Information technology is one of the most popular majors at the school, as well as Business, Nursing, and Psychology. Though the university is private, tuition is lower than out-of-state tuition at many state schools, and the same for traditional and online students.
The fully online bachelors of science in Information Technology offers three specializations: cybersecurity, network management, or information systems. The program also allows for a quick time-until-degree, with it’s 16 month graduation time for students who take full advantage of the transfer policy. There’s hardly any need to go anywhere cheaper for your prerequisites, however, with King College’s online tuition at $300 per credit hour (or the 5th most affordable of programs surveyed). A unique requirement of this degree (common at many elite universities) is a comprehensive exam on survey topics taken in your time at the university. This exam must be completed prior to graduation.
- Estimate out-of-state tuition per credit hour: $300
Pennsylvania State University is a public, land grant, high research level university located in State College, Pennsylvania. The university’s flagship location at University Park is considered a Public Ivy institution, or a publicly funded university generally viewed as providing an education on par with an Ivy League School. Close to 100,000 students attend Penn State, with many attending online through the Pennsylvania State University World Campus. As with many longstanding and well funded elite universities, many leaders have come through the doors of Penn State, as well as work there in pedagogical and research roles.
The fully online bachelors in information technology and science is offered through the Penn State World Campus. The program is geared — though not exclusively — towards students who are already in an IT role, and can develop their skills academically as well as at work simultaneously. Two specializations are available, making the program the most customizable of elite universities surveyed. Specializations include an integration and application option, for people needing a high-level knowledge of leading teams and evaluating outcomes, as well as a design and development option, for students wanting to learn how to implement information technology changes within an organization. For such an elite university, tuition is also relatively affordable, coming in at $542 for in-state students, and $584 for out-of-state students.
- Estimated Out-of-state Tuition per credit hour: $584
Drexel University is a private research university located primarily in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Home to some 26,000 students (many online) following 70 undergradute and over 100 graduate courses of study, Drexel is noted for innovative practical and experential learning. Through what the university terms cooperative learning, students may be able to obtain up to 18 months of paid, full-time work experience in their field of choice before they graduate from their field of study. Drexel has also been a pioneer in the online learning space, launching their first online degree as early as 1996. A Sloan-C award (one of the highest honors for universities offering online educations) has lauded the university for intitute-wide excellence and “demonstratably high quality.” In recent years the university opened a new location in Washington D.C. to better serve their online student population.
The fully online bahelors of science in computing and security technology offers a variety of flexibility granting components, affordable tuition, and high institutional quality. Credit for prior learning is obtainable for students who have completed IT certifications in the past, and online courses are self paced. Students may further customize their degrees by choosing concentrations in Computing Security or Computing Technology. Courses are also slightly accelerated, occuring in 10-week quarters. Drexel University’s IT program was the 16th most affordable program of those surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-state Tuition per Credit: $479
Western Governors University is a private, online American University with operations based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Founded by 19 U.S. Governors in 1997, the university is home to some 72,000 online students, and unique for its competency-based learning model (more on that in our program description). Though fully online, the university is regionally accredited, the gold standard for university accreditation. The university is also noted as being a top innovator by Fast Company, and one of the top ranked producers of STEM teachers and nurses in the nation. Due to its unique and innovative approach, several states have replicated the Western Governors’ model by creating state-funded institutions in the same mold.
The fully online bachelors of science in Information Technology is great for students looking to start a new career or advance in their current workplace. Integration of preparation for many of the most prevalent workplace IT certificates, as well as a capstone provide well for either student scenario, and bode well for a course of study that is so career-centered. One of the largest flexibility-granting components of the program is the competency-based education provided by WGU, in which students work on their own schedule, and are able to test out of coursework on subjects they have already mastered. This enables around 6% of students in the program to graduate in as little as a year. Approximately 25% of students graduate in 2 years or less. Particularly for students who are quick studies, want a quicker time until graduation, or who have experience in the field, WGU is a great choice for an IT degree.
- Estimate Out-of-State Tuition per credit hour: $250*
*Depends on the speed with which you persue degree.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, regionally accredited school located between Manchester and Hooksett, New Hampshire. The University is home to some 64,000 students, over 90% of whom study online, and is known as a top provider for career-centered educations at the associates through doctoral levels. As with a handful of other notable largely online universities, SNHU has been heralded by Fast Company as the 12th most Innovate Company in the world, and also noted by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the best colleges for which to work. The University is also noteworthy through their commitment to carbon neutrality — a feat the university achieved in 2007 — and one largely unmirrored by other schools of comperable size. Over 100 degree options available online and on-campus, including the unique College Unbound@SNHU program, in which studens can graduate in three years in a hybrid format that includes apprenticeships and internships.
The Bachelor of Science in Information Technology offered by SNHU is career-centered. Focal points of the practical nature of the degree include a focus on building a prospective employer worthy digital portfolio, as well as both credit for prior IT certifications as well as preparation for future IT certifications. The program of study is also flexible through its 11 specializations, including everything from game design and development, to GIS< to data analytics. For a school with so many flexibility-granting components, tuition is also modest, coming in as the 6th most affordable program surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition per credit hour: $320
Colorado Technical University is a for-profit, regionally accredited university located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The university is noted for their large range of practical online degrees offered at the undergradute through doctoral levels. The university is one of a handful who recieve a large number of their students from the United States Armed Forces, and have in the past been known for their support services for servicemembers. The NSA and Depertment of Homeland Security recognize CTU as a Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. The university is also known for their nationally ranked engineering department.
The bachelor of science in Information Technology offered by Colorado Technical University fully online has one of the highest number of flexibility-granting components of programs surveyed here at computersciencezone. Secen specializations are available, which are completed after studens have completed their core curriculum. Specializations include data management, a generalist track, security, network management, software application programming, software systems engineering, and web development. For working or soon-to-be working students, the degree is a certified CompTIA partner for networking and security. The degree program is also noteworthy for being the 7th most affordable of programs surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition per credit hour: $325
The University of Massachusetts is a five-campus public university system enrolling some 73,000 students at five campuses and online. Noted for being one of the top universities in the world for granted U.S. patents, the University has noteworthy research faculty in a variety of fields. UMassOnline is the online wing of the University of Massachusetts, and one of the university system’s largest, offering over 1140 degrees and certificates specifically for lifelong learners, professionals or global students. UMass has operated in the distance education space for over 25 years.
The bachelors of science in Information Technology offered fully online by UMass Lowell is geared towards already working tech professionals and newcomers to the space alike. Online programming at UMass has been noted by a variety of organizations as being top notch, including the United States Distance Learning Association. The online branch of the university has also recieved excellence in faculty development, excellence in online programming, and excellence in online teaching awards over recent years, a high honor for online programming providers. UMass online is also relatively affordable, coming in as the 9th most affordable program of those surveyed.
The Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech) is the only public polytechnic university in the Northwest United States. With a home base in Klamath Falls, Oregon, the university is noted for programs in engineering and applied sciences. As one of the best public universities in the Western United States, Oregon Tech has a strong record for preparing students for technological and renewable resources roles, with over 90% of students employed or doing graduate work within 6 months of completing a bachelors degree. Currently degrees are offered at the associates through masters levels, which help to contribute to Oregon Tech’s top rank as a regional college in the west (third).
The bachelor of science in Information technology offered fully online by Oregon Tech is geared towards working adults, with a number of flexibility granting components. A generous transfer policy helps to cut down time until degree for students. While many courses are offered after work or one night a week so that coursework can more easily fit into a busy schedule. The program is also noteworthy for its focus on the people-centered and organizational aspects of IT, facets of IT not every program covers. A final benefit of the program is its cost, coming in as the most affordable of programs surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-state Tuition per Credit Hour: $227
The University of Denver is the oldest independent private university in the Rocky Mountain region. Established in 1864, DU is currently home to some 12,000 students, including a number of online students attending through their University College. Students attending the University College are offered the option of taking any class in their course of study online or in person, with online study offered asynchronously, for greater flexibility. Other noteworthy facts about the college include a top ranked business school, one of the highest number of students who study abroad during their undergraduate years, and regularly being noted as one of the fittest colleges in America.
The fully online bachelors in science in Information Technology offered by the University College of DU is built for busy adults. Allowing students to attend classes in the evening on campus or asynchronously online, where courses are accelerated into 10 week blocks. A generous transfer policy enhances flexibility further, allowing qualified students to graduate in as few as 45 credit hours. This degree completion option is optimized for ease of transfer for students coming into the program with an associates degree. While there are many flexibility enhancing options, and the university is ranked in the top 100 national schools, tuition is slightly pricier than other schools on our list, coming in at the 23rd most affordable. Tuition rates are on par, however, with most comperable private colleges nationally.
- Estimate Out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $590
Capella University is a for-profit, regionally accredited university with a home base in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The University is home to some 36,000 students, largely online and at the graduate level. This doesn’t mean Capella doesn’t offer a wide range of undergraduate options, however, with a total of 142 specialization options at the masters and undergraduate level. Noteworthy admission procedures include the ability to provide documentation of prior life of work experience for credits. Students in the admission process are also required to take a test of general core subjects if they do not have any applicable transfer hours or experience.
The fully online bachelor of science in Information Technology degree offered by Capella University is one of the most flexible of programs surveyed. Students may transfer in up to 145 of 180 credit hours, lowering the time until degree to as low as one year. Courses may be taken in accelerated five or ten week cycles, allowing students to fit in schoolwork when it works best for their lives. Additionally, the FlexPath course format allows for students to bypass weekly due dates for work and turn in assignments whenever they would like. This allows highly motivated or students with prior experience to accelerate their courses even further. A number of CompTIA industry certifications are also supported by the program, with Capella even providing students with vouchers to take their examinations for free. Capella is also affordable, coming in at the 10th lowest tuition rate of programs surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $367
DePaul University (DU) is the nation’s largest Catholic university by enrollment, with a central campus located in Chicago, Illinois. With over 23,000 total students, DePaul is also one of the largest private universities in the nation. According to the mission of its founders (Vincentians), DePaul emphasizes quality pedagogy through experiential and service-based learning. The university is also notable diverse, emphasizing the recruitment of first-generation university students, as well as students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Accolades of the school are numerous, with several centered around information and computing schools: DePaul is regularly ranked the best computer programming school in the Midwest, is home to the largest graduate program in the country (in their computing department), and is named as a national leader in computer network security and information assurance education by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security.
The fully online Bachelors of Information Technology offered by DePaul University is technically a degree completion program, but due to a number of quality enhancing features, as well as the ability to take prerequisite (associates level) courses online, included in our ranking. Flexibility enhancing components of the program include two concentrations — a general track and a web development track — as well as the ability to take replay some classes from previous cohorts entirely online. In line with the University’s goals, pedagogy is applied and real world. Community-based learning projects allow for students to help to develop IT solutions for employers and organizations in the community throughout their time in college, while students often learn from real-world practitioners of IT. While DePaul University is slightly pricier than some of the other ranked programs, their fees are in-line with comperable private programs nationwide. DePaul ranked 24th of programs surveyed in regards to affordability.
- Estimate Out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $600
Arizona State University is a public research university with a main campus in Tempe, Arizona. Home to some 82,000 students, the university is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States. While the university is noted for its research output (ranked 31st among U.S. Public Universities) pedagogy is not ignored. The University is routinely ranked as the most innovative school in America, including research efforts, a strong commitment to sustainability (the university generates more solar energy than any in the U.S.), and teaching. ASU offers over 250 degree programs, over 100 of which are available entirely online (at the undergraduate and graduate level). As many, many students can attest to, Arizona State University provides quality instruction and an innovative environment suitable for many student types.
ASU’s bachelor of science in Information Technology degree is offered entirely online through their ASUOnline branch and Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering. Three primary focus areas are available, including computer and network systems (security and administration), video game design and construction, and web applications. A further flexibility-enhancing feature includes the availability of six annual start dates. ASU is also a quality choice for students wishing to take advantage of support services, with qualified academic coaches available to help students stay on track. While Arizona State University is one of the pricier programs we surveyed, they are also one of the highest quality and flexibility.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $633
Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. The university is noted for its high research output, though student culture and collaboration is vibrant. NU is particularly noted for academic quality, experiential learning, and being interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial. Cooperative Education — a program implemented throug many courses of study at the university — features integrating classroom study with professional experience and is available worldwide. On top of its unique offerings, Northeastern is a highly prestigious school, ranked 35th in the nation in terms of student SAT scores.
The fully online bachelors in science in Information Technology at NU offers two optional specializations, including an applications development track and an infrastructure and security track. Other areas of study required of all students include systems analysis and design, programming, networking, human-computer interaction, databases, web and mobile applications, and an extensive array of professionalism courses. Particularly for online students who have never worked in an IT space, courses in professionalism are key in helping to bridge the gap between technical know how, theoretical knowledge, and the inner workings of organizations in which students may one day apply their IT expertise. For such a prestigious and flexible program, Northeastern is relatively affordable, ranking as the 17th most affordable program of those surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $504
Columbus State University is a public university located in Columbus, Georgia. Home to over 8,000 students, the university is a member of the Georgia Board of Regents System and serves students from all 50 states and particularly from Georgia. A relatively new school (founded in 1958), the university has quickly grown and is notable for its business school as well as for its servant leadership program. Currently the school offers over 100 degrees at the associates through masters levels.
The bachelor of science in Information Technology is offered by Columbus State University entirely online. The program of study emphasizes both quantitative and communications skills, making it a good fit (particularly) for students who have not worked in IT environments in the past. While not providing quite as many flexibility-granting components as some of the other programs surveyed, Columbus State University is a great value school, clocking in at the 3rd most affordable of schools surveyed.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $275
Excelsior College is a private, non-profit, regionally accredited university located in Albany, New York. Though founded in just 1975, the university has quickly grown to provide over 36,000 students degrees through some five schools. Degrees are available at the undergraduate and graduate level. The unviersity is also noteworthy through their generous transfer policy and flexibility in non-resident policies. Openness to transfer credits was part of the impetus for the university’s founding, in part to help alleviate the high number of un-finished degrees. Excelsior is also distinguished by their commitment and excellence in servicemember education and support. They are considered one of the “big three” regionally accredited schools that provide a large number of distance degrees to servicemembers.
The bachelors of science in Information Technology program offered fully online by Excelsior College is one of the more flexible programs surveyed for our ranking. Students may choose from four specializations, including a generalist track, a cybersecurity track, an information security track, or a network operations track. As noted above, the university offers maximum transfer credit opportunities, lowering time until degree for many students. In fact, the university will accept all transfer credit from regionally accredited schools as long as it fits within one of their degree programs. The university will also accept a great deal of eligble military or work experience as credit. While pricier than some schools surveyed, Excelsior is also quite accesible in regards to affordability. Ranked as the 19th most affordable school surveyed, Excelsior is on par with similar private institutions nationwide.
- Estimated Out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $510
Kennesaw State University is a public university located within 20 miles of Atlanta in Kennesaw, Georgia. The university is a part of the University System of Georgia, and serves over 35,000 students. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and are generally practical and career centered: business, education, nursing, criminal justice, and sports management. KSU has been noted in recent years for being nominated an “up-and-coming” university by the most other school officials by US News, as well as for being a top school for veteran and regionally ranked university.
Kennesaw State University’s bachelors in Information Technology (fully online) is one of the more flexible and affordable programs surveyed for our rankings. Students may choose from four concentrations, including enterprise systems, information assurance and security, health information technology, and mobile and web development. Students also have the choice of attending any number of their classes online or in person, giving the choice for students to make their program hybrid, face-to-face, or online at any point in their progression. While the university is even more affordable for students who live in the state of Georgia or who have a border state matriculation agreement, even out-of-state tuition is very affordable at KSU. KSU was ranked as the 4th most affordable school surveyed for its out-of-state tuition.
- Estimated out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $277
18.) George Mason University
George Mason University is a public research university located in Fairfax, Virginia. The university was founded as a portion of the University of Virginia and became its own institution in 1972. Currently home to some 34,000 students, George Mason is known for their programs in economics, law, creative writing, computer science, and business. Despite being a larger university, students have ample opportunity for attention from faculty, with a student faculty ratio of sixteen to one. Also of note, GMU’s freshman retention rate of 87% is a solid indicator of student satisfaction. In line with this metric, the university is noted for founding a well being initiative in 2013 in an effort to help students, faculty, and staff all build a life of vitality, purpose, and resilience.
The fully online bachelors of science in Information Technology degree offered by George Mason University is one of two degree completion programs in our rankings. The program requires just 30 credit hours from within the major, meaning that some students can obtain the degree in just two calender years. Five concentrations are available, making the program one of the more flexible of those surveyed in this regard. Concentrations include database technology and programming, health information technology, information security, network and telecommunications, and web development and multimedia. Students are also required to take a two semester senior design project capstone, a great opportunity to build out a portfolio for employers. Furthermore, the program is accredited by the computing accreditation commission of ABET, one of only a few programs surveyed to be so. George Mason University was the 15th most affordable university surveyed.
- Estimated out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $462
Hodges University is a private, regionally accredited university with a main campus in Naples, Florida. The university offers a broad range of academic programs for a school of just 1,500 students, including 11 associates degrees, 19 bachelors, and 9 masters degrees. The university is also noted for their comprehensive English as a second language university program, in which non-native English speakers may learn at the university level. Flexible scheduling is available throughout the university’s offerings, including the option of taking day, evening, weekend, or online classes, as well as competency based and self paced courses. As one would expect with a relatively small school, Hodges offers a good student faculty ratio of fifteen to one, with over 86% of classes having less than 20 students.
The fully online bachelors of science in Computer Information Technology offered by Hodges University is one of the more flexible and career-centered programs surveyed. Courses powered by UPOWER allow students to take couses at their own pace, as well as apply credit for prior learning (including skills learned on the job or in military service). This ability to accelerate learning lowers both time until degree and potential total cost of Hodges University’s students. A number of industry certifications are also integrated into courses of study. Hodges University ranked 21st in terms of affordability of programs surveyed.
- Estimated out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $550
Champlain College is a private undergraduate college located in Burlington, Vermont. The university is home to some 3,400 students at campuses in Vermont, Montreal, Dublin, and online. Both undergraduate and masters-level offerings are available online, with coursework assembled in the tradition of career preperation established at Champlain over several generations. In line with this goal, the university has many opportunities for hands-on learning, including the “bring your own business” program, emergent media center, center for financial literacy, and the center for service and civic engagement. The university also boasts a solid fourteen to one student to faculty ratio, as well as expert faculty in over 80 subject areas.
Champlain’s Information Technology degree focuses on Health Information Technology (the only option of this kind in the ranking), and awards graduating students with a bachelors of science degree. The degree program is quite flexible, allowing for students to accelerate time until degree with 7-week courses as well as a generous transfer policy. The degree is also career-centered, employing a unique “upside-down curriculum” that allows students to take classes in their major from the first day of their matriculation. This affords students the opportunity to begin applying critical work knowledge from the start of the degree process. Students are also required to take a senior capstone project, in which students can work on research or projects to build out a portfolio to impress future employers. Champlain University is the 26th most affordable university of those surveyed.
- Estimated out-of-State Tuition per Credit: $641