20 Best Online Computer Information Systems Degrees [2020 CIS Degree Guide]

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An online computer information systems degree can set you up for a rewarding career in an industry that’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Computer Information Systems Degrees

Many people who work in computer information systems and technology find themselves in fantastic jobs with a lot of growth potential and personal rewards.

Best Online Computer Information Systems Degrees

software developers working together on a project

A Bachelor of Computer Information Systems allows you to expand your career path exponentially. There are several different directions that you can go in, and these are just a few ways that you can make the most of your degree.

The best candidates for this type of career path are those that are analytical, data-driven, and able to solve problems meticulously. You need to have a good knowledge of how computers function and an interest in learning new programs and systems.

You should also be able to understand how computers seamlessly integrate with business and visualize how to best work within the frameworks of different companies to improve them.

Since many people who work in computer science fields end up leading departments, people management skills are also a useful attribute. Candidates that excel are often very diplomatic and understand how to solve problems in a fair and expedient fashion.

Although you can study any number of different concentrations, the following are the most popular ones.

Regardless of the specialty you select, you will still receive a strong foundation in computer information systems and related courses.

Computer Information Systems

management consultants working in data center

This concentration looks at computer information systems as a whole and works on an executive level to ensure that they are functioning at the highest capacity within an organization. People who excel in this concentration have a high aptitude for management and a strong desire to lead.

This concentration is a highly competitive one, and although you only need a bachelor’s degree to get your foot in the door, many higher-paying jobs require a master’s degree or higher. You might want to continue your education to work in this concentration.

Computer Information Systems – Security

database manager working on her tablet

Security threats are a genuine part of life these days, and it’s imperative for companies always to be a step ahead of hackers. That’s where computer information systems security comes in.

People who work in this concentration must have their finger on the pulse on what’s happening in the security world and be able to address threats immediately and accurately.

The right candidate will have a high aptitude for being able to address and eliminate threats without over or under-reacting to them.

Computer Science

network administrator fixing her laptop

This essential concentration gives you a fantastic overview of what’s happening in the world of computer science and sets you up for a good career path. One of the benefits of having a more broad concentration is that you can always specialize in other areas later on. If you want to further your education, this is a good choice.

Good candidates are those who love learning about how computers work and have naturally analytical minds.

Software Engineering

software engineer working at home

Software engineering is one of the more lucrative areas of computer science, and it really allows you to write your own ticket in terms of a career path. People who work in software engineering design entire systems, so you need to have a strong understanding of computer languages and the ability to think outside the box.

All of these concentrations will set you up for a fantastic career in computers. Simply pick the one that sounds the best to you, and you are well on your way.

Computer Information Systems Curriculum & Courses

computer science student studying on his laptop

Although all colleges are different, there are a few standard courses that you can expect to take with your computer information systems degree. Check out the website for your school of choice to get the full course list of what they offer.

  • Integrated Information Systems – This vital course will teach you about system frameworks and is an essential way for you to get your feet wet with coding.
  • Computer Architecture – You will learn the nuts and bolts of how computers function with this course that teaches you about the physical equipment and its software.
  • Database Management – This course teaches you about the different languages that you need to know to set up and maintain databases properly.
  • Information Technology Ethics – Understanding the ethics surrounding information technology is an integral part of working in the field. This basic course gives you a good overview.
  • Computer Science 101 – This beginner-level course will introduce you to standard computer languages and the basics of coding and development.
  • Intro to C++ –  C++ is one of the most critical computer languages in the world, and you should have a good understanding of it if you want to work with computers.
  • System Analysis – This course covers a lot of the methodology that dictates how computers function and are programmed. It’s an excellent base course for anyone who wants to work on computers.
  • Project Management – Learn how to schedule projects and programs using different computer languages with this course.
  • Technical Communication – This course gives you the basics of industry jargon, which allows you to understand more sophisticated courses later on in your education.
  • Computer Networking – You will learn how computers function and “talk” to each other in this critical beginner course.

If these courses appeal to you, you might be suited for a career in computers!

Computer Information Systems Careers & Salaries

Computer Information Systems Careers & Salaries

Computer information systems is a very lucrative career path, and there is plenty of room for you to grow in the profession. Even entry-level jobs pay quite well, and there is plenty of job security when it comes to this particular field.

Many of the most successful people who work with computers are continually making sure that their skills are on point by getting additional training and furthering their education. This is one field where ongoing education is undoubtedly useful.

Those who have advanced degrees in computer information systems or technology tend to make a lot more money in the long run.

Of course, what you will make depends mostly on where you are in the United States and how competitive the job market is. The following are just ballpark estimates. According to the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the list below is generally what you can expect to make.

Careers Average Annual Salary
Information Technology Manager $146,360
Computer Network Architect $125,880
Information Research Scientist $122,840
Software Developer $105,590
Information Security Analyst $102,370
Database Administrator $93,750
Management Consultant $85,260
Network Administrator $83,510
Web Developer $73,760
Computer Support Specialist $54,760

Computer information systems is a solid field with a lot of growth potential.

Computer Information Systems Specializations & Concentrations

team of web developers working in the office

During the course of your education, you will probably find yourself gravitating towards a specific type of specialty or concentration. This is good because it gives you a leg-up on the competition after graduating.

You can show that you have a special kind of skill-set and that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to a particular area related to computers.

These are just a few sample specialties. Every school is different, and you could easily find yourself in the position where you are branching out beyond these particular concentrations.

  • Computer Forensics – This specialty gives you insight into cybercrime and helps you identify and eliminate threats. It’s one of the most sought-after skills in the industry.
  • Database Management – People who work in this concentration are responsible for setting up entire systems that others can access on the front-end. You have to have excellent coding skills and a deep understanding of how computers work.
  • Information Systems Security – Like Computer Forensics, this specialty focuses on eliminating security threats, but it also deals with protecting individual users. People who work in this concentration are often in managerial roles.
  • Software Programming – This specialty deals with writing the code that allows the computer to function properly.
  • Web Development – People who work in this concentration create websites for users to access online or on intranets. They are responsible for all of the back-end coding and creation.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways that these specialties can splinter off. This is just a brief overview of what you can reasonably expect.

Choosing a Computer Information Systems Degree

computer information systems student studying at a cafe

With so many collegiate options out there, it can seem downright overwhelming to choose where to get your computer information systems degree. Everyone has different preferences, but these are a few things to keep in mind before committing to a school.

Flexible class schedules are a huge advantage to many students, especially adult learners, who value the fact that they can effectively balance their family and work-life alongside their school.

Look at the type of technology offered by the school. Do you know how to use it properly? Does it work with your personality type and particular learning style? Additionally, it’s good to check out any kind of internships or mentor programs that are offered through the school. Often you can get good job leads this way.

Make sure that the college of your choice is accredited. We will get into accreditation later in this article, but it’s an essential component of any good school. You can easily find this right on the school’s website.

Finally, think about the atmosphere of the school. Does it offer the sort of class experience that you are looking for? Are you connecting with your fellow students? All of these things are important to take into account before committing to any college.

Admissions Requirements

computer information systems student studying at home

All schools are different, but there are some standard admissions requirements that you can expect to have to furnish before you can start your classes. Make sure that you check with your school before heading to admissions. You do not want to be in a position where you are lacking a critical document.

  • Application – You will need to fill out an application before you are accepted. Make sure that you fill it out completely to avoid any delays in processing time.
  • Diploma – You will need a diploma or a G.E.D. in order to enter college.
  • Transcripts – Many schools require a copy of your high school transcripts, which you can easily get from your school. Some of them look for a particular grade point average as well.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Although not required by all schools, many want to see letters of recommendation from trusted advisors or authority figures.

Not all schools will require everything listed above, but it’s better to have them just in case.

Accreditation

Computer Information Systems Accreditation

Accreditation is a stamp of approval for a school or university. It tells prospective employers that the school has been independently vetted by an objective and authoritative committee and found to have an excellent curriculum and good program.

Many employers take regional accreditation very seriously and will not even look at your application if your school has not been accredited. Find proof of accreditation on your school’s website.

Many of them will publish it right online in a place that is easy to access. If you can’t find it, don’t hesitate to call the school and ask. If they seem evasive about confirming accreditation, it’s a red flag.

Computer Information Systems Professional Organizations

software developers meeting in a seminar 

Computer Information Systems Licensing and Certification 

computer information student studying at home

Financial Aid & Scholarships

financial aid for computer information systems students

There is plenty of financial aid available for college, and you should take advantage of the federal, regional, and state aid that you can get. Loans are the most common type of financial assistance, and you will be expected to pay them back after your schooling is finished.

Don’t take out more than you can reasonably payback. A loan can cover the cost of your classes, books, or even housing.

You can also get grants or scholarships. You don’t need to pay these back. They are generally a lot more competitive than loans. Grants can be given on a merit or income basis, and scholarships are generally awarded for specific achievements or specialties.

Don’t hesitate to apply for all of the scholarships and grants that you can. You never know what you will qualify for, and you might surprise yourself.

Is Computer Information Systems a Good Degree

Is Computer Information Systems a Good Degree?

Computer science is an excellent degree because many of the jobs that you can get with it are quite lucrative and offer tremendous job security. Additionally, those who major in computer science often find themselves working in managerial positions.

With a computer information systems degree, you can get your foot in the door and start to make some serious money right after graduation.

How Much Does a CIS Major Make?

Although the salary varies depending on where you live, C.I.S. majors often make well over median wage and can even top six figures if they are good at their jobs.

C.I.S. is also a very stable field that is often hiring, so the job prospects are excellent, and you can usually find work at all levels.

Is a CIS Degree Hard?

Computer Information Systems student studying at a cafe

Most technology-related degrees are hard, but if you have a passion for computers and a desire to learn new systems, you will enjoy the challenges of getting your C.I.S. degree.

Plenty of students find that they love learning about different systems and how they operate.

Can You Become a Software Engineer With a Computer Information Systems Degree?

The short answer is that you can, but the field is quite competitive, and many people go on to get advanced degrees in order to give themselves an advantage when it comes to being hired.

The path that you choose to take is up to you.

Computer Information Systems vs Computer Science – What’s the Difference?

Computer science is largely more theoretical, and computer information systems rely more on concrete systems and applications.

It’s good to have an excellent knowledge of computer science if you want to work in any kind of computer information field because it gives you a good background and basis on which to draw.

Is a CIS Degree Worth It?

Since those who work in C.I.S. generally make a good living, many people consider a C.I.S. degree to be worth every penny.

If computer information systems is a field that interests you, and you want to work in the technology sector, this degree will be very useful.

What Can You Do With a CIS Degree?

management consultant working on her computer

You can get many different kinds of jobs with this degree. Many people work in the security sector, or on the back end of websites.

Others prefer to take on managerial roles where they are responsible for making sure that computer technology works across the board. Your concentration will set the tone for what kind of job you get.

How Much Does a C.I.S. Major Make?

It’s difficult to say how much you will make with your computer information systems degree. The salary range largely varies depending on where you are in the country and how competitive the market is.

It is true that many C.I.S. graduates make well over minimum wage, even right out of school.

What Does CIS Major Stand For?

C.I.S. stands for computer information systems and is a convenient shorthand to describe that particular degree.

Is CIS a Good Degree?

Many people find C.I.S. to be an excellent degree because of the job opportunities that they have after graduation.

Since computers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, there will always be a need for people skilled in C.I.S.

What are the Requirements for Getting a Computer Information Systems Online Degree?

Computer Information Systems student thinking in front of his laptop

All schools vary, but you will generally need your admission application, any applicable application fee, transcripts, diploma, and letter of recommendation to be considered for a program.

Some schools require a specific grade point average or a copy of your S.A.T.s as well.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Online C.I.S. Degree?

Typically it takes four years to complete your online C.I.S. degree, although it could take shorter or longer depending on your schedule.

Some students prefer to accelerate their schooling, while others take longer to complete their classes because of work or family commitments.

How Much Does a Bachelor of Computer Information Systems?

Although costs vary from college to college, several online C.I.S. programs are quite affordable.

You can also get loans, scholarships, and grants to offset your college costs.

What Skills are Required for a Career in Computer Information Systems?

The best candidates are highly analytical and have a deep appreciation for computers and how they function.

You should also be independently motivated, have good attention to detail, and know how to communicate with people on all levels of an organization.

Universities Offering Computer Information Systems Online Programs

Each of the universities included below are regionally accredited and offer computer information systems bachelor’s degree online.

#1  Arizona State University

Arizona State University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Arizona State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#2  Austin Peay State University

Austin Peay State University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems – Information Assurance and Security
  • BS in Computer Information Systems – Systems Development

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

#3  Bellevue University

Bellevue University

  • BAS in Computer Information Systems
  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Bellevue University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#4  California University of Pennsylvania

California University of Pennsylvania

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

The California University of Pennsylvania is a public university accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#5  Champlain College

Champlain College

  • Bachelor’s in Computer and Information Systems

Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#6  Dakota State University

Dakota State University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Dakota State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#7  Davenport University

Davenport University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#8  DeVry University

DeVry University

  • Bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems

DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#9  Florida Tech

Florida Tech

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Florida Tech is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#10  McKendree University

McKendree University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

McKendree University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#11  Mercy College

Mercy College

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

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

#12  Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

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

#13  Post University

Post University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Post University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#14  Regis University

Regis University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Regis University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#15  Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

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

#16  Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems – Cybersecurity
  • BS in Computer Information Systems – Data Analytics

Saint Louis University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#17  Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Southeast Missouri State University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#18  The College of St Scholastica

The College of St Scholastica

  • BA in Computer Information Systems
  • BS in Computer Information Systems

The College of St. Scholastica is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#19  University of Maine – Augusta

University of Maine at Augusta

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

The University of Maine at Augusta is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#20  Walden University

Walden University

  • BS in Computer Information Systems

Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Computer Information Systems Degree Online

software developers working in the office

If you have wanted to take your career and life to the next level, a computer information systems degree can help you get there. This degree can open doors to more lucrative jobs, help you rise up to management positions, and equip you with a unique skill-set that makes you attractive to employers.

With online degrees, you can get your college completed on your time. Plenty of schools offer flexible class schedules, so there’s no reason not to take the plunge and start the path to getting your degree today.

James Chen
WRITTEN BY
James Chen