20 Best Computer Science Associate Degree Online Programs [2020 Guide]

Home » 20 Best Computer Science Associate Degree Online Programs [2020 Guide]

If you’re interested in breaking into one of the numerous tech companies that practically run our economy, earning your computer science associate degree online could certainly help.

Computer Science Associate Degree Online

An associates in computer science can make your resume stand out from self-taught programmers with no formal education and can potentially get you more pay.

Best Computer Science Associates Degree Programs

A number of accredited universities now offer an associate’s degree in computer science online. In addition, you can also chose to focus your studies in computer programming or software development.

Choose the degree field that most interests you to jump to that section of the guide:

While these online computer science degrees may seem similar, they each have slight variations that set them apart from one another.

Computer Science

computer programmer getting his associates in computer science

An associate’s in computer science is probably the most general, all-encompassing of the three. Usually the curriculum for this degree program includes a 50/50 mixture of coursework and hands-on work in the computer lab.

Additionally, towards the end of the program, you might be placed into an internship with a local company or corporation. This may be required of you even if you’re taking an online program.

In addition to general education courses, much of the focus will be on learning the different programming languages, putting them into practice as a programmer, learning about database management, data structures, algorithms, information technology (IT), data analysis and software development.

This degree gives you a broad overview of the entire computer science field. Potential jobs after earning this degree include IT technician, computer programmer, systems analyst, computer support specialist and more.

Computer Programming

computer programmer working on her computer

This degree is similar to a degree in computer science, but it’s less generalized and more focused specifically on computer programming. If you know you eventually want to pursue a career as a computer programmer, software engineer or programming analyst, this degree might give you more relevant information to those fields.

If you already have a basic knowledge of such concepts as using software, networking, html or basic programming, you could potentially do very well in this program.

The program will cover these skills, as well as other basics, such as advanced programming languages (C++, JavaScript, CSS, Java and more), how to create web pages, how to create object-oriented programming and more.

The curriculum for computer programming is similar to the curriculum for computer science in that you’ll have a mixture of both coursework and lab work. You may also be placed in a similar internship so you can use what you’ve learned in a real world setting.

By the time you’ve earned your degree in this particular field, you should be able to write and design code for not only computers, but also tablets, smart phones and other electronic devices.

Software Development

software developers thinking while working on his computer

Of all three of these degrees, the software development degree is probably the most specialized. There are elements of the other two fields in this program. For instance, you’ll need to know quite a bit about computer programming.

You’ll also want to know a little about all the things covered in the computer science degree, but mostly, you’ll have classes dedicated solely to designing, creating and testing new operating systems and software.

Most people who get this specialized degree go on to become software developers or engineers. Others find jobs in the fields of database administration, systems analysis and systems software engineering. Most colleges have this in mind when they design their curricula for the programs.

That’s why there is such a heavy emphasis on programming and software development courses.

Other classes you might be required to take are ones on scripting, web development foundations and applications, ethics in technology, applied statistics, applied probability, networking and communications, critical thinking and logic, IT and more.

Can You Make More Money with an Associates in Computer Science?

Computer Programmer working in the office

In addition to having a better chance of getting a job with an associate’s degree than a diploma, most companies also pay you more if you have some type of degree. This means that even if you could get a job without any formal education, you’d likely be paid less than those with degrees working around you.

According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people with associate’s degrees make approximately $124 a week more than people with the same jobs who have only a high school diploma.

Now, on the face of it, $124 may not seem like a lot, but when you consider there are 52 weeks a year, that adds up to an extra $6,448 a year for simply having a degree.

Computer Science Careers & Salaries

Computer Science Careers & Salaries

In addition to those listed above, there are many other jobs for which you could potentially be eligible simply by earning your associate’s degree in computer science or a related field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a number of lucrative careers in the computer science field.

Please keep in mind that many employers look for a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to be considered for some of these positions. However, you may be able to qualify for certain entry-level computer science careers with an associate’s degree in computer science.

Career Annual Mean Salary
Computer and Information Systems Managers $146,360
Software Developers $107,510
Computer Systems Analysts $90,920
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $83,510
Computer Support Specialists $54,760

Because so many industries are moving online, the demand for people with computer science degrees is growing rapidly, and to fill the need, employers are paying employees well.

Curriculum For an Online Associate Degree in Computer Science

Curriculum For an Online Associate Degree in Computer Science

Whether you decide to pursue a degree in general computer science, computer programming, software development or another closely related field, there’ll be some overlap in the course curricula. Towards the end of your degree program, the classes tend to get more specific to your focus.

However, at the beginning of the program, many of the same classes will be required for all programs.

Some of the most common classes you’ll likely be required to take are:

  • Intro to Computer Programming: In this class, you’ll begin building your foundation for the computer science program. You’ll get an overview of the different programming languages and the process of programming and get some limited hands-on experience.
  • Intro to Operating Systems: This course gives you a broad overview of the most common operating systems, how to use them and how to make them work together.
  • Intro to Software Development: This is another fundamentals class that teaches you the basics of software development. After completing this class, you should have a firm foundation on which to build advanced developing skills.
  • Database Fundamentals: This is one of the most important classes you’ll take early on in your degree plan. It’ll provide you with the understanding and basic skills needed to build your own databases and use them effectively.
  • Computer Networking Fundamentals: This course teaches you internet fundamentals. It explores how the internet works, how computers communicate via the internet and localized networks and how to maintain the connections.
  • Programming II, III and beyond: These are core curricula for any computer science degree. Each level of these programming classes builds more and more upon your foundation, with the ultimate goal of making you a skilled, proficient programmer.
  • Programming Languages: There are many different programming languages out there, and a good computer programmer must have at least a passable understanding of them all. This class helps give you that understanding.
  • Pre-Calculus or Discrete Mathematics: The field of computer science includes a lot of math, so be prepared to take multiple math classes up-to and including pre-cal and discrete math.
  • Web Design and Development: This course teaches you the basics of designing, building and maintaining websites for private or commercial use.
  • Intro to Statistics: This is a basic statistics course. In it, you should learn the basic concepts of both statistics and probability and how to apply them into software design and computer programming.

These are a few of the basic courses most computer science students will be required to take. Each is a foundation from which you can build stronger and more advanced skills.

Educational Paths After Graduating with an Associate’s In Computer Science

The great thing about earning your associate’s degree in computer science it that it allows you to go straight to work in a field that can pay quite well. However, just because you start working doesn’t mean you have to stop your education.

As associate’s in computer science is a great place from which you can go on to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s in Computer Science

game developers working together to develop a game

A computer science associate’s transitions easily into a bachelor’s program for the same field. Most of the additional classes you’ll take will build off the classes you’ve already taken, and the degree can open up job opportunities for you at a higher level or allow you to be paid more for the job you’re already doing.

Some additional jobs with a bachelor’s degree include management positions in all the above careers, game developer or designer, cyber security analyst, forensic computer analyst, IT director and more.

Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering

hardware engineer fixing computer parts

Another easy transition would be to a bachelor’s in computer engineering. The classes you’ll take will build off the associate’s level classes, but you’ll also take many classes with more specific focus. These will include classes on circuits, microelectronics, computer architecture, logic design, signal processing and digital design.

Again, this degree will allow you to do many of the same jobs as those listed above, but for potentially higher pay. Additionally, you could also be qualified for such jobs as a digital gaming programmer, lead mobile app designer, IT consultant, hardware engineer, head systems analyst, testing engineer and more.

Bachelor’s in Information Technology

computer systems administrator checking the server room

The transition from associate’s in computer science to bachelor’s in information technology might not be quite as smooth as some of the others, but it’s still a pretty easy move. However, your class focus for this degree will be more specialized in the internet and information technology (IT) fields.

You’ll likely take many different IT and information systems classes, as well as courses on cyber security, programming, networking, project planning and implementation, troubleshooting technology and more.

These classes can prepare you for many of the jobs listed already, but a bachelor’s in information technology gives you many more potential job options as well. These include network and computer systems administrator or manager, information security specialist/analyst/manager, director of cyber security, lead network architect and more.

Accreditation for Computer Science Associate’s Degrees

Accreditation for Computer Science Associate's Degrees

Technically, there are three types of accreditation – regional, national and programmatic. The best and most widely-recognized of these is regional accreditation. There are seven regional accreditation agencies that can accredit schools. They are:

If your school has accreditation from one of these agencies, your degree should be accepted anywhere in the U.S., and your credits should be transferable to any other college.

Computer Science Program Accreditation

Computer Science Program Accreditation

Programmatic accreditation is also an acceptable form of accreditation for computer science degree programs. With programmatic accreditation, specific degree programs, not entire schools, are accredited. Programmatic accreditation for computer science courses are done through ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

ABET has four main commissions that provide accreditation to computer science and related fields. These four commissions provide accreditation for programs based on the main focus of the degree program. They are:

  • Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission (ANSAC)
  • Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC)
  • Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)
  • Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission(ETAC)

Schools apply for ABET accreditation for their programs that fall under one of these particular fields. ABET then sends in professionals from one of the four commissions to evaluate the schools’ programs. If the schools meet or exceed all the requirements for accreditation, they’re then ABET-certified.

While not as prestigious as regional accreditation, ABET accreditation is widely accepted among employers in the tech and computer communities.

Computer Science Professional Organizations

computer programmers collaborating on a project

After you earn your bachelor’s degree in computer science, there are a few professional organizations for which you may qualify as a member.

These organizations can help you keep up-to-date with the most innovative technology and desired skills.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid for computer science degree student

If you’re looking for financial aid opportunities, you’re probably considering student loans. Those are one option but not the only option.

If you’re in good-standing with the U.S. Department of Education and haven’t defaulted on any loans, you can apply for a federal Pell Grant that, if you receive it and don’t abuse it, doesn’t ever have to be repaid. Some financial aid advisers refer to it as “free money!”

You can apply for both the Pell Grant and federal student loans by filling out the FAFSA. If you’re eligible for student loans, try to take out the subsidized as opposed to the unsubsidized if possible, as the repayment options for those are better.

Banks and private loans companies are other options. Just remember, grants don’t have to be repaid, but loans do. Borrow responsibly.

Computer Science Scholarships

computer science degree student searching for scholarships online

Scholarships are another great form of financial aid because they, too, are usually considered “free money” that doesn’t need to be repaid. You can find scholarships on your college’s website, under the “financial aid” or “how to pay for college” tab. These are known as school-specific scholarships.

There are often scholarships given away in your community by churches, community organizations, credit unions and even private businesses, so be sure you exhaust all your local options for scholarships as well.

Luckily for you, as a computer science (or related) major, there are also scholarships designed specifically for your major. Many of these will be listed on sites like those mentioned above, but we’ve taken the liberty of providing you with a list of a few here.

Scholarships are a great way to help pay for your college education and can save you thousands of dollars. If you’re serious about going back to school to pursue your bachelor’s degree in computer science or a closely related field, apply for all these scholarships and more.

computer programmers working in the office

Can you get a job with an associates degree in computer science?

Yes. There are many computer science-related jobs available to you with only an associate’s degree, many of which pay quite well.

How much can you make with an associates degree in computer science?

Your potential salary will depend on what you do with your degree once you’ve earned it. The general range, though, is usually between $50,000 and $75,000 a year, with some jobs paying more and some less.

software developer thinking in front of computer

Is an associates degree in computer science worth it?

A computer science associate’s degree can give you access to jobs not available to people with only high school diplomas and can potentially make you, on average, over an extra $6,000 a year doing the same job as someone else with only a high school diploma.

The increase in both career opportunities and salary is enough to make an associates degree in computer science worth it.

What classes are needed for an associates degree in computer science?

There are many different classes you’ll have to take to earn your associate’s in computer science. There’s a heavy math component, so be ready to take college algebra, pre-cal, statistics and discrete math.

You’ll also take many different courses in computer programming, software development, web development, programming languages, cyber security, networking and more.

Universities Offering Online Computer Science Associate’s Degree Program

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer computer science associate’s degree online.

#1  Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College

Anne Arundel Community College began educating students in 1961. Today Anne Arundel assists more than 50,000 students in obtaining vocation certifications, continuing education credits, and associate degrees. AACC offers traditional classroom settings, online learning, and weekend and night classes.

Recognized for excellent academics and community programs, AACC serves as a public facility for all ages.

  • AS in Computer Science

AACC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#2  Bucks County Community College

Bucks County Community College

Established in 1964, Bucks County Community College provides a multitude of vocational Certifications and associate degree programs. Students interested in career development or college transfer credits turn to Buck County Community College as a flexible, affordable educational option.

This public Community College gives students the opportunity to attend both online and in-person.

  • AS in Computer Science

Bucks County Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#3  Community College of Baltimore County

Community College of Baltimore County

Gaining higher education from the public Community College of Baltimore County Maryland gives students the ability to achieve personal and career advancement. CCBC opened in 1998 and has grown to be able to serve students from around the globe.

Students at CCBC have the opportunity to earn an associate degree in arts or science, workforce certifications, or technical training.

  • AS in Computer Science

Community College of Baltimore County accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#4  Cowley College

Cowley College

Cowley College is a public vocational school that has been serving the state of Kansas since 1922. Students at Cowley College have access to more than seventy program majors, which leads to an A.A., A.A.S., A.G.S., or an A.S. Cowley College also awards vocational certifications.

Cowley gives students the opportunity to study either online or on-campus.

  • AS in Computer Science

Cowley College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#5  Faulkner University

Faulkner University

Operating as a Christian private school since 1942, Faulkner University combines a rigorous academic curriculum with a spiritual liberal arts foundation to help students gain educational, personal, and career advancement.

Students at Faulkner University can earn in associates, bachelors, or graduate degree. Popular programs at FU include computer science, technology, and education.

  • AS in Computer and Information Science

Faulkner University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#6  Georgia Military College

Georgia Military College

Georgia military college is a public liberal arts college that is open to all members of the community. Opening in 1879, Georgia military college now has fifteen campuses and a dynamic distance learning program.

Awarding a variety of associate degrees in art, science, and applied science, GMC also has bachelor’s degree programs in applied science.

  • AS in Computer Science

Georgia Military College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#7  Georgia State University

Georgia State University

Georgia State University is an esteemed research academic institution that began in 1913. GSU enrolls more than 50,000 students from countries around the globe every year. Georgia State University is a public school that provides an assortment of associate, undergraduate, and graduate degrees that are rich in research in technology.

  • AS in Computer Science

Georgia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#8  Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College commenced in 1963 as a public technical school in Indiana. Students attending ITCC strive to earn one of its many two-year degrees in arts, science, or applied science or its vocational certifications. Ivy Tech Community College is known for its are excellent programs in computer science, business, technology, and nursing.

  • AS in Computer Science

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#9  Jamestown Community College

Jamestown Community College

Commenced in 1950, Jamestown Community College is a public liberal arts school that works to assist students in building their academic profile. Offering a range of associate degrees, most credits earned at Jamestown Community College can be transferred and used as first two years of a bachelor’s degree when transferred to a four-year University.

  • AS in Computer Science

Jamestown Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#10  Monroe Community College

Monroe Community College

Opening in 1961, Monroe Community College offers public education to more than 40,000 students annually. Not only does MCC provide a variety of associate degrees, but they also allow students to achieve industry-related vocational certificates. Allowing students access to online learning is one more way that MCC strives to meet every student’s needs.

  • AS in Computer Science

Monroe Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#11  Montgomery College

Montgomery College

Montgomery College in Rockwell, Maryland, was established in 1946 and serves its region by attending to public educational needs. Serving students across three campus locations and through an online learning platform, Montgomery College has an array of associate degrees and vocational and technical training.

Some of the programs offered at MC include business, arts, education, and computer science.

  • AA in Computer Science and Technologies – Computer Science

Montgomery College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#12  Ocean County College

Ocean County College

Ocean County College has been dedicated to public education since 1964. OCC has a variety of credit and non-credit courses that serve students of all ages. Non-credit courses are open to both kids and adults. OCC has many associate degree programs for adults looking for career advancement or hoping to transfer to a four-year college.

  • AAS in Computer Science
  • AS in Computer Science

OCC is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#13  Rogers State University

Rogers State University

Rogers State University is a public education Institute that opened in 1909. Offering more than just a traditional class setting, Roger State University has online learning opportunities for students hoping to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree. RSU has an array of programs, including business administration, healthcare, computer science, and education.

  • AS in Computer Science

Rogers State University is a member of and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#14  South Texas College

South Texas College

Established in 1993, South Texas college works to provide top-notch public education to thousands of students every year. With five campuses and several other learning centers, South Texas College has more than one-hundred associate degree programs and vocational certifications in various academic areas.

STC also has a path to several bachelor’s degrees.

  • Associate’s in Computer Science

South Texas College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#15  Stark State College

Stark State College

Offering one of the most inexpensive public-school tuitions in its area, Stark State college opened in 1969. Stark State College has hundreds of associate degree options and vocational training programs for students looking to move forward in their academic and career goals.

Business, engineering, and computer science are a few examples of majors that are offered at SSC.

  • Associate’s in Computer Science and Engineering Technology

Stark State College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

#16  SUNY Ulster

SUNY Ulster

SUNY-Ulster started in 1961 and is a community college in the New York public college system. Students attending SUNY-Ulster are able to take part in internships, co-ops, and other hands-on learning opportunities while gaining an associate degree in over 60 areas of study.

Vocational and technical certifications are available as non-credit courses at SUNY.

  • AS in Computer Science

SUNY Ulster is accredited by: Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

#17  Thomas Edison State University

Thomas Edison State University

Looking at public education through a different lens, Thomas Edison State University has been exploring new ways to assist students in earning a higher education since 1972. With over 100 areas of study that lead to a two-year, four-year, or graduate degree, students attending TESU can complete their degrees virtually and on a self-paced timeline.

  • ASNSM in Computer Science

Thomas Edison State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#18  Tompkins Cortland Community College

Tompkins Cortland Community College

Tompkins Cortland Community College was established in 1968 as a public school for adults and is now a leader in campus sustainability. Offering vocational certificates and associate degrees in an assortment of academic majors, TCCC helps students worldwide reach their educational dreams.

Innovation and technology are incorporated into each academic plan at TCCC.

  • AS in Computer Science

Tompkins Cortland Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#19  Vincennes University

Vincennes University

In 1801, Vincennes University Was the first college commenced in the state of Indiana. As a public school, VU brings quality education into each associate and bachelor’s degree that they offer. VU serves students throughout the nation through online and campus-based learning. Serving military members is an essential aspect of Vincennes University.

  • AS in Computer Science

Vincennes University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#20  Weber State University

Weber State University

Weber State University opened in 1889 and is rooted in the values of the Mormon church. As a public educational Institution, Weber State University gives students several paths to achieve an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree. With over 100 program majors, WSU works to support each student in their academic endeavors.

  • AAS in Computer Science

Weber State is regionally accredited through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Getting an Online Associate’s Degree In Computer Science

computer programmer working on his computer

If you want access to jobs beyond those you could get with a high school diploma and if you want to be paid more, enrolling in an online associate’s computer science degree program could be the way to go.

Especially now, with online classes being so affordable and convenient and with financial aid being easier to find, there’s never been a better time to enroll.

Conner Thomas
WRITTEN BY
Conner Thomas