Many professionals in the tech industry begin their careers without a bachelor’s degree; after all, most of the most respected figures in tech had no degree. In fact, technology is one of the highest-paying fields for workers without a bachelor’s, and there are many rewarding jobs out there for workers with just a diploma or certifications. However, as in many other industries, professionals in information technology will find their ability to advance is limited without a degree. Managerial and leadership positions may be out of reach, and even experienced professionals may not have the skills for more specialized roles.
Colleges and universities all over the US have created online IT degree programs for exactly this purpose – to help working professionals in technology careers get a bachelor’s degree without having to leave their jobs or relocate. Getting an information technology degree online helps working adults advance in their careers, earn higher pay, and open up new career opportunities. Value Colleges has ranked the best information technology degree online programs, with a focus on programs that provide a real return on investment and career success within the field of Technology.
Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Online IT Degree Programs
For the Best Value Online Information Technology degree ranking, VC editors looked for accredited, trustworthy programs that offer a strong balance between cost and value. From our initial pool, we ranked online programs according to 4 elements: Cost, Alumni Salary, Student Satisfaction, and National Ranking. Data was drawn from College Scorecard, IPEDS, Niche, and U.S. News & World Report to determine what institutions offer a real career boost.
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities offers a BS in Information Technology Management. This program is unique in that it includes both business management and IT courses. This dual focus helps prepare students for a wide variety of different careers. Students who want to have IT management positions after graduation can get an information technology degree online from one of the leading online IT degree programs at Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Minnesota-Twin Cities is unique because it offers students the opportunity to take classes at other institutions in the University of Minnesota system. This public university system is one of the most highly regarded in the country. It even offers relatively low tuition costs. Minnesota-Twin Cities is considered one of the prestigious Public Ivy universities, which are public institutions that offer an education comparable to Ivy League universities.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University offers a BS in Information Technology that can be completed totally online. This program is distinguished by its accreditation from ABET, which is a highly respected IT organization. Students who are looking for an online IT degree from a well-known and prestigious program can complete their information technology degree online at Arizona State.
Long ranked as the most innovative institution in the US, ASU has become a world leader in online education. Further, ASU is known for its commitment to accessibility, especially financially. Arizona State is unique in offering a wide variety of different financial aid options to online students. Some universities limit the financial aid sources for online students. Prospective IT students who want to minimize student debt may want to consider Arizona State.
Penn State World Campus
The Penn State World Campus offers a BS in Information Sciences and Technology to online degree-seeking students. This program is unique because it offers students the opportunity to choose from several different specializations. These specializations can give online IT degree students specific experience in the professional field they want to enter after completing their information technology degree online.
The Penn State World Campus is ranked as one of the best online bachelor’s degree programs by U.S. News. This speaks to the high quality of the education students can receive from this institution. Also, this prestige will help graduates obtain employment after the finish their education. Penn State was a pioneer in distance education, and the World Campus has long been recognized as one of the largest and most elite online educators.
George Mason University
George Mason University offers a BS in Information Technology through an online educational mode. The IT program at George Mason is characterized by a focus on cutting-edge technologies and even emerging technologies. This prepares online IT degree students to work in the most advanced and groundbreaking areas of their industry once they have received their information technology degree online.
George Mason University is quite different than most American universities. It is very prestigious, especially in the IT field. Their program was ranked as one of the top online information technology degrees by several major websites. A degree from a prestigious university will no doubt help students get jobs after graduation. George Mason offers an integrated online educational system that includes many degrees in various fields.
Washington State University
Washington State’s BA in Business Administration with a focus in Management Information Systems is available fully online. This program prepares students for careers in both the business and IT worlds. This makes it perfect for working students in the IT sector who want to obtain advancement opportunities in the business world.
Washington State is unique in that its online programs are targeted toward students from all over the world. Of course, students from America are welcome. Students from many different countries can get a quality education from an American university through Washington State. Washington State was ranked one of the best institutions in the nation for online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
The Colorado State University-Global Campus, also known as Colorado-Global, offers an online BS in Information Technology. This program is distinguished by its focus on helping students achieve industry-standard certifications. The certification exams are actually integrated into the program’s curriculum. Many employers expect applicants to have these certifications, but many programs do not integrate them into their degrees. Students that want to get an online IT degree which includes professional certifications can pursue an information technology degree online at Colorado-Global.
Colorado-Global is one of the most prestigious institutions that focuses on Internet education. It has achieved high rankings from many different educational websites. The affiliation to a respected state university also helps a degree from Colorado-Global look great on any resume. Students from outside the U.S. may want to consider Colorado-Global, and students from the United States should also keep this program in mind. Colorado-Global offers international students 24/7 support for non-academic issues, making it one of the few institutions to do so.
University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida offers a popular BS in Information Technology program that can be completed fully over the Internet. This degree program is unique because it offers a Cyber Operations Certificate. This certificate is comprised of a number of courses taught by cybersecurity experts. Few IT programs offer training in this field, and completing this certificate will certainly help graduates obtain employment after they finish the program. This online IT degree program is perfect for students who plan to go into the cybersecurity field after completing their information technology degree online.
The University of Central Florida doesn’t have a separate division for its online students, unlike some universities. This means that online students are eligible for everything that traditional students are eligible for in terms of financial aid. UCF is known for offering a wide variety of grants and scholarships to its students. UCF has more students enrolled on-campus than any other U.S. university.
Bellevue University offers a BS in Information Technology over the Internet. Bellevue’s IT program is different than other programs due to its cloud computing courses, which many programs have failed to integrate in any meaningful way. As cloud computing is one of the fastest growing IT sectors, graduates that finish their degrees with education in this area can expect more career opportunities. The online IT degree at Bellevue is a great choice for students who want to go into the cloud computing field after they get their information technology degree online.
Bellevue is unique as compared to other universities because it has very affordable tuition. Many universities that focus on online education charge high tuition fees. Even public state universities sometimes charge more for their online programs. Students who attend Bellevue online can rest easy knowing that they’re getting a good value for their tuition fees. Bellevue has discounts on tuition available to active military members.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology offers a top Bachelor of Technology in Information Technology program. This program can be distinguished from the many programs at competing schools by its many different available specializations, including study in Digital Forensics. The online IT degree at Oklahoma State is another good choice for students who want to pursue a career in cybersecurity after getting their information technology degree online.
Oklahoma State University distinguishes itself from other universities by offering many programs through an internal institute of technology. This allows a semi-autonomous school to focus on technology programs, thus allowing students access to specialized education that will serve them well throughout their careers. This education is available at tuition rates that are common for state universities, meaning that the tuition is much less than students could expect to pay at an independent institute of technology.
Florida International University
Florida International University offers students the opportunity to complete either a BA or BS in Information Technology over the Internet. This degree program is unique in that it offers a Bachelor of Arts track with a more theoretical approach and a Bachelor of Science track with a more practical approach. The BA program might be better for students that intend to attend graduate school, and the BS program might be better for students who decide to go straight into the workforce after graduation. Either way, this online IT degree will prepare students for the future after completing an information technology degree online.
Florida International University is known for offering accelerated degree programs over the Internet. Students are not required to complete their degrees at an accelerated rate, but can if they choose. Few public state universities offer online education with this degree of customization. Florida International University is known for its high numbers of students from outside the U.S., as the name implies.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham, better known as UAB, offers an online BS in Information Systems. The program is named “Information Systems” instead of “Information Technology” due to its focus on systems architecture. Few online programs offer this sort of focus. Students who are interested in obtaining an online IT degree and beginning their careers in the systems architecture field would be hard-pressed to find a better information technology degree online.
UAB’s business school, which offers the Information Systems degree, is accredited by AASCB. This is considered to be the most prominent business school accrediting body, and few business schools have this endorsement. UAB students can graduate with expertise in both technology and business. The Princeton Review has named UAB one of the top schools in the country for the diversity of its students and faculty.
Oregon Institute of Technology
The Oregon Institute of Technology, better known as Oregon Tech, offers a fully-online BS in Information Technology program. This program is unique in that it allows students to enter in the summer, which many universities do not. Students may be able to start their education several months earlier at Oregon Tech than they would be able to at other universities. Completing an online IT degree at Oregon Tech may allow students to finish their information technology degree online earlier and start making money sooner.
Oregon Tech boasts one of the highest job placement rates of any student on this list. The rate for most of their programs is well over 90 percent. For example, the job placement rate of the IT program is 95 percent. Students also command lucrative salaries upon graduation, with the graduates of many degree programs getting salaries of over $50,000 in their first job out of school. Graduates of Oregon Tech’s Information Technology program work for corporations like Intel, Google, Nike and many more.
University of Cincinnati
The prestigious University of Cincinnati offers a BS in Information Technology that can be completed over the Internet. This program is accredited by ABET, as are many of the best online IT programs. The program also offers students the opportunity to complete a master’s degree along with their bachelor’s degree, helping them further careers right from the start. Online IT degree students who want to get their careers off to a fast start after completing their information technology degree online may want to consider attending the University of Cincinnati’s program.
The University of Cincinnati is considered to be one of the best public schools in the state and even in the country. Students in the Ohio area and elsewhere in the country can expect a degree from the University of Cincinnati to carry a lot of weight with prospective employers. This all comes at much lower tuition rates than those that can be found at exclusive private schools at a similar level of prestige in the United States.
The BS in Information Technology program at UMass Lowell is a four-year degree from a well-respected public university. This program focuses on database development, computer networking, O.S. (operating systems) technology, programming and information systems. This focus on multiple vital areas of the information technology field prepares graduates of this program for careers in many different IT positions. Many IT programs force students to pick a narrow area of specialization that limits their job prospects when they get out of school. Graduates of the program at UMass Lowell will have a distinct advantage when it comes to job hunting due to this unique aspect of the program. Students who are looking to get an online IT degree can find an excellent holistic information technology degree online at UMass Lowell and benefit from the low tuition rates.
One of the unique aspects of UMass Lowell’s IT bachelor’s program is that it can be completed either totally online or as a blend of online and in-person classes. As a state university, it also has relatively low tuition. This makes it unique among institutions in Massachusetts, many of which are expensive private schools. UMass Lowell is known for its extensive alumni network.
University of Minnesota-Crookston
The BS in Information Technology Management at the University of Minnesota-Crookston is another solid option for online IT students. As the name states, this program focuses on IT, but also includes business management studies. This makes the program quite unique among the many online programs that focus solely on IT. This degree program may be the perfect online IT degree for entrepreneurial students who want to get an information technology degree online and start their own businesses.
The University of Minnesota-Crookston is notable for its low tuition, as are many state universities. Online students from outside Minnesota pay the same tuition rates as Minnesota residents, which is rare for a state university. Also, this relatively small campus of the large University of Minnesota system has a low student-to-teacher ratio. This ensures that students can get the personalized attention that they need to maximize the value of their educations.
Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University is home to a fully online B.S. in Business Administration with a specialization in Information Systems & Technology. This program has a dual focus on IT and business administration, instead of just focusing on IT. The dual focus enables students to pursue career opportunities in either field or opportunities that combine both business administration and IT. This makes it another great online IT degree for students who want to get their information technology degree online and launch their start-up upon graduation.
Old Dominion University is known for its long and storied history, which lends itself to the prestige of the institution. This prestige may help students get jobs after graduation. Few online degrees are available at prestigious universities, making this program unique. Old Dominion University IT students can earn credits toward their MBA while completing their bachelor’s degrees.
Central Washington University
Central Washington University offers a BAS in Information Technology that is popular among online IT students. BAS stands for Bachelor of Applied Sciences, which signifies that this program emphasizes hands-on experience. This makes the Central Washington program perfect for students who prefer to learn this way. Also, some employers may prefer graduates with more practical experience. Students that want to get an online IT degree that gives them plenty of real-world experience should consider doing an information technology degree online at Central Washington University.
Central Washington University is known for its affordable tuition rates. It is also known for being located in an idyllic small college town, which even online students can enjoy when they visit for their graduation ceremony. CWU is also known for its high job-placement rates, especially in Washington State. Central Washington University’s online programs can accept international students, unlike many similarly low-priced public universities.
University of Wisconsin Stout
The University of Wisconsin-Stout offers a highly regarded BS in Information and Communication Technologies. This program is distinguished by its multiple available internships, which many online IT programs do not offer. Also, this program educates students in a wide range of IT areas, instead of forcing them to choose a narrow area of specialization. The internships and wide-ranging knowledge of IT taught in this online IT degree program make it a viable option for any student who wants to do an information technology degree online.
The University of Wisconsin-Stout is notable for offering specialized advising and support for online adult students. Many universities offer programs that are aimed at students in this demographic. However, UW-Stout is in the minority of schools that offer the specialized support which many students feel is vital to their academic success. The University of Wisconsin-Stout has an advisory committee overseeing the online IT program to ensure it stays current with the latest developments in the field.
University of Denver
The University of Denver offers an online or hybrid BA in Information Technology. This program is unique in that it focuses on interpersonal skills, which are often ignored by online programs. Employers value these skills highly, and most IT professionals do end up working as part of a team instead of working alone. An online IT degree at the University of Denver will help graduates develop their interpersonal skills to a degree that will distinguish them from other graduates who have received an information technology degree online.
The University of Denver is one of the most prestigious universities on this list. It is a top 100 university in the country, according to U.S. News. This prestige may help graduates get a better position after their graduation. The online IT program at the University of Denver lets students build their own functional websites from scratch.
Georgia Southern University
The BS in Information Technology program at Georgia Southern University is popular among students both in Georgia and elsewhere in the United States, as it is offered in both online and in-person formats. The program is characterized by the many available areas of specialization, from Information Management to Web and Mobile Foundations. This online IT degree offers specializations that many students who complete an information technology degree online may not have access to.
Georgia Southern University is considered to be one of the leading public universities in Georgia. It is known for having low tuition rates, even by state university standards. GSU is also noteworthy for its many strong athletic programs, including a football program that is one of the most successful in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) of NCAA’s Division I.
Herzing University, which has its main campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, offers a fully online BS in Information Technology. This program is unique in that it focuses on helping students obtain sought-after certifications like the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). Employers are always looking for graduates with these certifications, but many programs do not incorporate them into their curriculum. Students looking for an online IT degree that does so can get an information technology degree online from Herzing University.
Herzing University is known for having many campus locations in various states. Their locations range from Akron to Orlando and more. There is a good chance that students could take a class or two online, if they wanted. Herzing University is also known for offering students the opportunity to accelerate their educations and graduate in three years or less. Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer a variety of different undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Regis University offers a BS in Information Technology over the Internet. This program distinguishes itself from the many similar programs by focusing on computer systems design and management. This is one of the most lucrative areas of IT, making this specialization highly advantageous to the careers of Regis University’s graduates. Prospective online IT degree students who are planning to specialize in computer systems design and management would be well-suited to pursuing an information technology degree online at Regis University.
Regis University is unique in that it is Jesuit-affiliated. Online education students don’t have many opportunities to choose a school that reflects their faith. Jesuit students from anywhere in the country may want to consider attending Regis University. Regis University offers special tuition options for members of the military and for veterans.
Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers a BBA in Management Information Systems. BBA stands for “Bachelor of Business Administration.” This program an online IT degree that has a dual business and IT focus, making it perfect for students who want to start a business after completing an information technology degree online.
Fort Hays State University is known for its impressive job placement rates. This is a rare accomplishment for a small public university. The BBA Information Technology program, in particular, has job placement rates of near 100%.
Tennessee Tech University
Tennessee Tech University offers a BPS in Information Technology. BPS stands for “Bachelor of Professional Studies.” This program is distinguished by its focus on transfer students who have already completed their prerequisite courses, whether this is through an Associate’s degree or through starting a Bachelor’s degree at another institution. Many working professionals who are interested in completing an information technology degree online find themselves in this boat, so this online IT degree may be a good choice for them.
Tennessee Tech University offers online programs that allow students to take classes and study with faculty from across the Tennessee public university system. The other schools in this system include the University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State, and more. Tennessee Tech’s program allows students access to faculty members with a variety of expertise. This program is one of the few that accept military transfer credits.
Kennesaw State University
Kennesaw State University offers a BS in Information Technology that can be completed in fully online, hybrid or in-person modes. This program is unique in that it is accredited by ABET, which is one of the most respected IT institutions. Students who are looking for a prestigious online IT degree may want to consider getting an information technology degree online at Kennesaw State.
Kennesaw State offers all of the general education courses for all Bachelor’s degrees online through a system called E-Core. This means that students don’t have to worry about trying to transfer credits. They can complete their degree in full online at Kennesaw State.
Are Online IT Degree Programs Respected?
Many prospective students of online IT degree programs wonder if their degree will be respected or not by employers. In years past, some employers did look down on online degrees. However, this is not really the case anymore. As long as the program that students graduated from and the university they attended are both accredited, employers will respect their degrees just as much as they would respect a degree earned through a traditional educational mode. In fact, employers may respect online degrees from ABET accredited online schools more than a traditional degree from programs without this endorsement.
ABET accredited online schools are in the minority, and this accreditation serves as evidence of a high-quality program’s effectiveness. These accredited information technology programs will prepare students to enter the workforce in numerous IT fields. Employers will not look down on degrees from accredited information technology programs, especially if they are both regionally accredited and ABET-accredited.
Will an Online IT Degree Help Me Get a Job?
Online IT degrees are accepted by entry level information technology jobs for recent graduates. The entry level information technology jobs salary will be roughly the same for someone who holds an accredited online degree and an applicant who attended a traditional program. Many entry-level IT jobs are available to recent graduates of online programs. Most of these positions are in general IT, with experienced professionals, many of whom have graduate degrees, taking many of the more specialized positions. Common entry level IT job titles include IT specialist, UX designer, mobile developer and web developer. Many recent IT grads also work as customer service specialists for tech companies, including start-ups. Recent grads searching “What are some entry level information technology jobs” will be encouraged by the many opportunities that they will see.
There are many entry level IT job titles outside those mentioned in the paragraph above. If a graduate has managed to gain practical experience before they receive their degree, they may be able to go into more specialized field. For example, if they have a part-time tech job during school they may be able to go above and beyond the typical entry level information technology jobs for recent graduates. Of course, this will also help these grads make more than the average information technology jobs salary. The answer to the question “What are some entry level information technology jobs?” is limited only by the ambition of online IT degree graduates.
What If I Have No Experience?
A quick Google search for “entry level tech jobs no experience” will return many low-quality results and few legitimate opportunities. However, there are opportunities for new graduates who do not have any experience yet. They just have to know where to look. A really clever information technology graduate will actually have experience by the time they graduate through internships and possibly part-time jobs. Even if they don’t, getting into the IT industry with a degree is easier than finding entry level tech jobs no degree.
There’s a big difference between entry level tech jobs no experience and entry level tech jobs no degree. Tech jobs that IT degree holders can get with no experience usually still pay well and offer plenty of advancement opportunities. The positions that applicants can get with no degree and no experience are few and far between. The few jobs that are available generally provide low pay, few benefits and offer little in the way of advancement opportunities. In summary. IT graduates without experience are in a much better position to get into the IT field than people who hold neither a degree nor have experience.