Information technology professionals are in higher demand now more than ever. Nearly every organization needs a well-built IT infrastructure to keep its business running. If you're handy with the essential hardware and software that keeps a business and its employees connected to the world, you'll have the skills necessary to find steady work just about anywhere you go.
Most information technology degree programs can give you insight into how to troubleshoot and resolve issues that arise with the software and hardware solutions typically used in an organizational setting. Some programs may also train you in computer programming or Web administration.
If you're daunted by the prospect of returning to school full time, don't forget that many institutions offer an online degree for information technology students. Along with giving you more freedom to complete coursework on your own schedule, online IT degree programs often charge less for tuition and feature digital communication platforms interacting with classmates and professors.
Best Colleges for Information Technology (IT) Degree Programs
In order to track down the best schools for information technology, we put together a massive dataset using numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and analyzed hundreds of schools in eight specific categories. You can click the methodology button to see the details of how we built the rankings, and read on to find out which schools in the U.S. are the best colleges for information technology degree programs.
The most affordable average tuition and fees cost belongs to our No. 1 school, where students paid less than $2,500 on average for the year in 2015. Eastern Florida State College also posted the third-highest graduation rate among schools on our list and features an open admission policy that doesn't turn away applicants with less-than-perfect academic records.
The computer information technology program at EFSC culminates in an Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree and features an option to test for industry certifications from CompTIA, Microsoft and Cisco. Students looking for non-degree ways to bolster their skillset can earn Oracle Certified Database Administrator or Help Desk Support Technician college credit certificates in 15 and 18 credit hours, respectively.
Manageable tuition and fees costs were also a feature at Daytona State College. The Daytona Beach institution reported an average cost of $3,282 for in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, placing it at No. 3 for affordability among schools that made our top ten.
Students looking for online information technology degrees will find a range of options to choose from at Daytona State. If you've already got an A.S., the fully online 2+2 program can be your pathway to a bachelor's. A partially online associate degree is also available, as well as certificates in information technology administration and information technology analysis that can be completed without ever setting foot in a traditional classroom.
St. Petersburg College is the third Florida school in the top three, and its affordability of basic enrollment expenses is right on par with its counterparts in the Sunshine State. Just three other colleges on our list reported a lower average tuition and fees cost than this Gulf Coast school.
SPC is also another institution that features multiple online degrees for information technology students. IT programs here are structured in a tiered system, with a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree in technology development and management as the umbrella program into which credits from all other study plans may transfer. A.S. degree programs in computer information technology, computer programming and computer networking can each be earned on your way to the B.A.S.
If you want to use your IT skills to create enterprise software or work with databases to help businesses succeed, Bellevue College can help you get there. The information technology department at this accredited school offers some degree programs with specific applications on the business side of the field.
Bellevue has study plans in business intelligence, business analysis and software development for business, to name just a few. Numerous non-degree certificates, in such subjects as database administration, operating system support, cloud technologies and information systems, can be earned as well. A traditional B.A.S. in information systems and technology -- featuring concentrations in application development, business intelligence and cybersecurity -- is also available.
Based in Charles Town, West Virginia, the American Public University System is a for-profit institution that aims to provide accessible courses and degrees across the academic spectrum. Online information technology degrees that can be earned here include bachelor's plans in information technology and IT management as well as options for pre- and post-bachelor's students.
The online master's degree in information technology goes deeper into the skills and technologies discussed in the bachelor's program, including training in computer forensics, information systems architectures and object-oriented analysis and design. Undergraduate certificates can be earned online as well, in project management, infrastructure security and other discrete aspects of the IT field.
Florida's fourth entry on our list comes in at No. 6, bringing with it the same level of affordability as the other ranked institutions in the state. Students paid an average of less than $3,150, placing Seminole State College of Florida behind just one other school in our top ten.
The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in information systems technology at Seminole State consists of 120 credit hours, including 84 credits of dedicated IT coursework. A.S. degrees from the IT department include information systems technology, which comes with an optional networking specialization, and a network systems technology program that gives students three elective specializations to choose from.
The best graduation rate among the top schools for information technology degrees belongs to this central Missouri institution, which is also home to our list's largest total dollar amount per year of investment into instructional expenses like up-to-date classroom technology. The bachelor's degree in information science and technology includes some courses in accounting and finance along with its core IT coursework.
Certificates available for IT students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology include business intelligence, human-computer interaction, entrepreneurship and business project management. Students who want to take their education to the next level can pursue a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in information science and technology that makes use of specially equipped research labs.
Our No. 8 school, located in Madison, South Dakota, took the No. 1 spot among schools on our list for the prominence of its information technology degree programs as a percentage of total degrees awarded. Nearly 47 percent of Dakota State University graduates in 2015 earned information technology degrees -- a proportion nearly double that of the school that took second in that category.
The four-year IT degree at DSU is a B.S. in computer information systems that includes an internship or undergraduate research section. Numerous certificates are on offer for IT students as well, in subjects like database management and network and telecommunications administration. Residents of most states should be able to earn the B.S. fully online.
Flexibility was a key metric for National American University, where classes can be attended in the evening and on weekends and more than 70 percent of students take at least some of their courses via distance education.
IT programs on campus at NAU-Ellsworth focus on four-year degrees. Bachelor's students can augment their information technology degree with emphases in Web development, cybersecurity and forensics, network management and more. Students seeking a non-degree program to add to their skillset should check out the online or on-campus diploma program in network and server administration.
Grantham University reported the second-highest graduation rate among schools that made our top ten and had the third-most prominent IT program on our list, with around 10 percent of its 2015 graduates completing IT degrees. This national for-profit institution also put up good flexibility numbers, thanks in part to its reported 100 percent online enrollment.
The bachelor's degree program in information systems at Grantham covers systems architecture, database applications, IT security trends, systems analysis and management information systems, along with a tech-focused general education core. Degrees in information technology and information management can be earned at the master's level, and online certificates in project management, computer programming and cybersecurity are also available.
IT Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
The world of information technology careers is vast and diverse, and candidates with a degree in the field are likely to qualify for a range of different positions. Here's some information about the jobs you may be in line for after earning your degree.
Career outlook for IT Majors
Certain jobs for information technology graduates are growing faster than others, and knowing which ones have the best outlook can help you spend your time in school wisely. Take a look at these employment projections for some top information technology careers.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Information Security Analysts||$102,470||108,060||28.4%|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$152,860||391,430||11.9%|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$93,610||587,970||8.8%|
|Computer Network Architects||$111,130||152,670||6.4%|
Financial aid and scholarships in IT
Many scholarships for IT students are awarded by individual U.S. states or the colleges themselves, but some programs have national eligibility. For example, the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)'s Christian Larew Memorial Scholarship is open to any qualifying student looking to focus on library IT. Here are a few other aid programs you might qualify for.
Based on continued positive academic performance
Reapplication required for renewal.
- Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2015-16, National Center for Education Statistics, accessed September 2017, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
- Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2016-17, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
- School pages, accessed October 30-31, 2017: Information Technology Program Outcomes, Kapi'olani Community College, https://www.kapiolani.hawaii.edu/academics/programs-of-study/information-technology-program/itoutcomes/; Information Technology Degree, Western Governors University, https://www.wgu.edu/online_it_degrees/information_technology_degree; Computer Information Technology, Eastern Florida State College, http://www.easternflorida.edu/academics/career-technical-programs/our-programs/computer-info-tech/; Online Programs, Daytona State College, https://www.daytonastate.edu/online/; Two-Year Programs leading to an AS Degree, Daytona State College, https://daytonastate.edu/comp_sci/as_degree.html; CCIT Degrees and Programs, St. Petersburg College, https://go.spcollege.edu/CCIT_Degrees/; Program Explorer, St. Petersburg College, http://www.spcollege.edu/degrees-training/program-explorer#categories=58; Degree Programs, Information Technology, Bellevue College, https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/prog/degrees/; Professional/Technical Degrees & Certificates, Bellevue College, https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/programs/degrees/proftech/#Computers%20&%20Technology; Information Systems and Technology, Bellevue College, https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/programs/degrees/bachelor/ist/; Online Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Technology, American Public University System, http://www.apu.apus.edu/lp2/information-technology/bachelors.htm; Bachelor's in Information Technology Management, American Public University System, http://www.apu.apus.edu/lp2/information-technology-management/bachelors.htm; Online Master of Science in Information Technology, American Public University System, http://www.apu.apus.edu/lp2/information-technology/masters.htm; Online Certificate Programs, American Public University System, http://www.apu.apus.edu/lp2/certificates/; B.S. Degree, Information Systems Technology, Seminole State College of Florida, https://www.seminolestate.edu/it/ist-bs; Computer Science and Information Technology, Seminole State College of Florida, https://www.seminolestate.edu/future-students/degrees-of-success/it; Information Science and Technology Undergraduate Program, Missouri University of Science and Technology, https://bit.mst.edu/business/ist/bachelorinist/; Masters in IST, Missouri University of Science and Technology, https://bit.mst.edu/business/ist/mastersinist/; Graduate Certificate Programs, Missouri University of Science and Technology, https://bit.mst.edu/business/ist/graduatecertificatesprograms/; Computer Information Systems (BS), Dakota State University, http://dsu.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/computer-information-systems-bs; Degrees and Programs, Dakota State University, http://dsu.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs; Online Degrees, Dakota State University, http://dsu.edu/academics/online-education/online-degrees; Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, National American University, http://www.national.edu/locations/campuses/ellsworth-afb/;
- Bachelors in Information Systems, Grantham University, https://www.grantham.edu/online-degrees/information-systems/?tab-curriculum; Online Master's Programs, Grantham University, https://www.grantham.edu/degree-type/masters-programs/; Online Certificate Programs, Grantham University, https://www.grantham.edu/degree-type/certificate/;
- Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, accessed October 17, 2017: Software Developers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Software-developers.htm; Information Security Analysts, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm; Network and Computer Systems Administrators, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/Computer-and-Information-Technology/Network-and-computer-systems-administrators.htm;
- Professional organization pages, accessed October 18, 2017: CompTIA AITP Member Benefits, Association of Information Technology Professionals, https://www.aitp.org/benefits/; NPA Member Advantage, Network Professional Association, http://www.npanet.org/public/join_member.cfm; About ACM, Association for Computing Machinery, http://www.acm.org/about-acm;
- LITA/Christian (Chris) Larew Memorial Scholarship in Library and Information Technology, The Library and Information Technology Association, accessed October 17, 2017, http://www.ala.org/lita/awards/larew;
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.