Information technology jobs offer high salaries and strong demand. Professionals can break into the growing IT field with an online degree.
Information technology professionals protect private data, keep networks running, and improve computing systems. IT programs with online courses offer an accessible, convenient way to earn a bachelor’s in IT or pursue a graduate degree.
After earning an online IT degree, graduates work as computer systems administrators, information security analysts, and IT managers. With more than 667,000 projected new jobs between 2020-2030, computer and IT jobs rank among the fastest growing occupations.
Our list ranks the top online information technology programs to help future IT majors find the right fit for their interests, needs, and professional goals.
The best online information technology degrees
To identify the best accredited online bachelor’s programs in information technology from public institutions, we drew from statistics from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Schools were assessed on the following criteria: programmatic quality, admission rate, retention rate, graduation rate, faculty excellence, affordability, and online enrollment.
We most heavily weighed the following: programmatic quality, tuition (both out-of-state and in-state), percentage of students awarded federal student loans, and graduation rate.
1. University of South Florida
Founded in 1956, USF serves more than 50,000 students across three campuses and online.
USF’s hybrid bachelor of science in information technology includes 120 credit hours of coursework. Alongside core classes in technical, applied, and managerial information technology, learners explore the fundamentals of programming, cyber security, web systems, and human-computer interaction.
The comprehensive curriculum prepares learners to meet the technology requirements of business, education, healthcare, and government organizations. Learners are encouraged to complete industry-related internships. All students complete a senior project in information technology. Applicants submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores for consideration.
The University of Southern Florida is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
2. Santa Fe College
Founded as a community college in 1965, SF began offering bachelor’s degrees in 2008. SF provides undergraduate programs to roughly 18,000 students annually.
SF’s online bachelor of applied science in information systems technology includes three concentrations. Students can specialize in networking, programming, or security.
Core classes emphasize computer processing, mobile security, and information systems management. Learners complete a comprehensive information technology project at the end of the program.
Applicants must hold a minimum of an associate of science in information technology with a 2.5 GPA for admission.
Santa Fe College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
3. Colorado State University – Global Campus
Established as the first nonprofit online state university in the U.S. in 2007, CSU Global enrolls 18,000 students annually. CSU Global provides undergraduate and graduate programs in 10 fields of study.
CSU Global’s online bachelor’s in information technology builds advanced computer, mathematics, and business acumen through 120 credit hours of general education, core, and elective coursework. Learners can choose from nearly 30 optional specializations, including digital marketing, cybersecurity, and computer forensics.
Undergraduate applicants submit transcripts for consideration. Students can transfer up to 90 credit hours into the program.
Colorado State University – Global Campus is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4. Florida International University
Built atop an abandoned airfield during the late 1960s, FIU holds distinction as Miami’s first and only public research institution. FIU provides undergraduate and graduate programs to 54,000 students annually.
FIU’s online bachelor of arts in information technology serves as a second degree. Designed for students enrolled in another major or individuals with a prior bachelor’s degree, the information technology curriculum includes 39 credit hours.
Core classes include computer operations systems, applied computer networking, and information storage and retrieval. Applicants submit transcripts and ACT or SAT scores for consideration.
Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
5. New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico
NMSU, a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, hosts learners at five campuses and extension centers throughout the state. With additional online programs, NMSU enrolls over 14,000 students each year.
NMSU’s online information and communication technology bachelor’s degree is a two-year degree-completion program. Coursework emphasizes networking and network security, information security, systems operation and integration, and database design and management. During a culminating capstone course, learners take part in a team design project.
Applicants provide documentation of previous college for consideration. Transfer students must have a minimum 24 credit hours of approved coursework for admission.
New Mexico State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
6. Kennesaw State University
Now the second largest university in Georgia, KSU opened as a commuter school in 1963. KSU offers over 170 academic programs to more than 41,000 students annually.
KSU’s online bachelor of science in information technology includes 120 credit hours. Core classes explore fundamentals of computer science, management, and information systems.
Students pursue a concentration in enterprise systems, information assurance and security, health information technology, or mobile and web technologies. During a capstone course, learners develop or implement an IT solution to a real-world issue.
KSU’s online bachelor of science in information technology holds accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.
Kennesaw State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
7. Columbus State University
CSU opened in 1958 and moved to its current main campus five years later. Over 8,000 students enroll in one of CSU’s nearly 100 academic programs each year.
CSU’s online bachelor of science in information technology combines theoretical knowledge with hands-on learning. Learners complete the 120-credit-hour degree in four years.
Forty-five credit hours of major classes include computer organization, project management, and database systems. Learners take part in practicum and internship opportunities in anticipation of a collaborative capstone requirement.
Applicants provide transcripts and ACT or SAT scores for consideration.
Columbus State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
8. North Carolina A&T State University
Greensboro, North Carolina
Founded in 1891, N.C. A&T was the first school in North Carolina established for Black residents. N.C. A&T enrolls nearly undergraduate and graduate 13,000 students annually.
N.C. A&T’s online bachelor of science in information technology includes 120 credit hours of general education, core, and elective coursework. Students study computer programming, system integration and architecture, and computer database management in anticipation of a capstone sequence.
N.C. A&T partners with community colleges throughout the state for seamless transfer into the information technology degree.
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
9. Tarleton State University
Tarleton, a member of the Texas A&M University System, was established in 1899. With seven academic colleges, Tarleton offers nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Tarelton’s online bachelor of applied arts and sciences in information technology serves as a degree-completion program. Major coursework includes database theory and practice, programming languages, and management information systems. Tarleton provides an accelerated degree path for students who plan to earn a master’s degree in information technology.
Admission requires a minimum of 30 transferable credit hours, a 2.0 GPA, and completion of the Texas Success Initiative Assessment. Tarleton awards up to 33 credit hours of prior learning credit to enrollees.
Tarleton State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
10. Central Washington University
Founded as a teaching institution in 1891, CWU now serves as a comprehensive university to over 13,000 learners. CWU operates eight locations in Washington and offers over 20 online academic programs.
CWU’s online bachelor’s degree in information technology and administrative management includes potential specializations in administrative management, cyber security, project management, retail management and technology, and data driven innovation for information technology managers.
As a degree-completion program, this degree requires applicants to hold a direct transfer agreement associate degree for admission.
Central Washington University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
Why get an online degree in IT?
What is information technology? And why should you get an online IT degree? Earning your IT degree online offers key benefits, including a flexible schedule and high paying career paths.
1. Online courses can fit in with a busy lifestyle.
The best online information technology degrees prioritize flexibility so learners can fit school into their busy schedules. An online learning format also appeals to working professionals. Online colleges offer synchronous schedules for students who prefer live class meetings and asynchronous schedules with no set meeting times.
2. IT experts are in high demand across industries.
Demand for IT professionals continues to grow. Employment in the field may grow by 13% from 2020-2030, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections. And a bachelor’s in IT prepares graduates for many in-demand careers. As new technologies emerge, IT professionals who stay current in the field will increase their career opportunities.
3. IT skills can be transferred to multiple role types across industries.
An information technology degree strengthens in-demand skills for a variety of career paths. These key skills also help IT professionals move between different roles. Outside of the tech sector, IT professionals work in diverse industries, including finance, healthcare, and government.
4. IT roles are often high-paying.
Computer and information technology occupations offer high salaries. The median annual salary in these fields exceeded $91,000 in 2020. That’s more than double the national median salary. Within the computer technology field, professionals can also pursue even higher paying roles, such as computer network architect or IT manager.
5. Most jobs in IT can be done remotely.
Many IT career paths offer remote work opportunities. Employers increasingly allow flexible work schedules, including fully remote or hybrid schedules. That makes IT a good field for people seeking a work-from-home arrangement.
Information technology degree levels
Students can earn online information technology degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. Each degree prepares graduates for different career paths and earning potentials.
This section introduces the information technology degree levels to help future students find the best fit for their career goals.
Associate in information technology
Length: 2 years
Post-grad careers: computer support specialist; web developer; network systems administrator
An associate in information technology introduces college students to the field. Students take introductory courses in computer programming, information technology, and systems administration. These courses emphasize foundational IT knowledge and career paths in IT.
Professionals with an associate degree pursue entry-level IT jobs or undertake further study. After completing an associate degree, graduates can transfer into a four-year program to earn a bachelor’s degree in less time.
Since two-year colleges typically charge lower tuition rates, degree-seekers may save money by earning an associate degree and then transferring into a bachelor’s program.
Bachelor’s in information technology
Length: 4 years
Post-grad careers: computer systems administrator; database administrator; computer network architect
A bachelor’s in information technology represents the entry-level degree for many IT careers. Computer systems administrators, network architects, and database administrators often need a bachelor’s degree.
During a bachelor’s in IT, undergraduates take general education courses that emphasize critical thinking and communication skills. They also take core courses that cover programming languages, operating systems, and computer networking. Learners often choose electives to customize their course of study.
Degree-seekers build fundamental IT skills during a bachelor’s degree. The coursework and assignments teach students how to solve IT problems and best practices in the field.
Master’s in information technology
Length: 2 years
Post-grad careers: IT manager; IT project manager; IT consultant
A master’s in information technology provides graduate-level training in information technology management, information systems, and information security. Graduate students focus their studies around a specialization, such as healthcare informatics, digital forensics, or data analytics.
Learners strengthen their IT skills through coursework, projects, and assignments. Many master’s programs offer an internship to gain hands-on experience.
Master’s students may complete a project or exam in their final semester. A graduate degree helps current IT professionals move into supervisory roles like IT manager or director of IT. A master’s degree also leads to opportunities as an analyst or consultant.
Doctorate in information technology
Length: 3-5 years
Post-grad careers: information technology professor; data scientist; IT researcher
A doctorate in information technology represents the field’s highest degree.
During a doctoral program, graduate students complete coursework, pass comprehensive exams, and write a dissertation. Learners specialize in an area within IT, such as information systems, data science, and machine learning.
The degree builds strong research skills, which doctoral students draw on to write an original dissertation.
After completing a doctorate in information technology, graduates meet the requirements for research and academic jobs. Tenure-track information technology professors typically hold a doctorate. Professionals may also work in managerial roles.
What to expect in an online IT degree program
Online IT programs build the knowledge and skills required for tech careers. Learners take online courses in computer programming, information systems, and computer networking. In online programs, self-motivated students who take a proactive approach to learning tend to thrive.
IT courses provide a theoretical foundation for computing technologies while also emphasizing practical applications.
These courses often incorporate project-based and experiential learning to build hands-on skills. Students may also take exams, make presentations, and complete an internship.
In addition to analytical and problem-solving abilities, IT courses strengthen technical skills. At the conclusion of an IT program, learners may complete a capstone project.
Choosing which IT program is right for you
No information technology program is perfect for every student. When choosing a program, you should weigh factors including total degree cost, program length, and accreditation status.
ABET accredits information technology programs, and many employers prefer to hire candidates with an accredited degree.
In addition, applicants should research specialization options, tuition discounts, and job placement records to find the best fit. For instance, some colleges offer tuition discounts for fully online learners.
Finally, keeping career goals and interests in mind helps applicants evaluate programs.
Alternatives to earning an IT degree
IT professionals enter the field and expand their skills in several ways besides degrees. Coding bootcamps, IT certificates, and professional certifications can help you reach your goals.
Depending on those goals, professionals may pursue one of the following options before, after, or instead of earning a degree.
Coding bootcamps offer a focused, accelerated path to tech skills. A bootcamp can help someone new to tech learn how to code. They also help current IT professionals expand their skills or move into specialized roles.
Some bootcamps focus on specific programming languages, like Coding Nomad’s Python bootcamp. Others train learners for specific career paths, like Coding Dojo’s software development bootcamp. Most bootcamps take around 12-24 weeks.
Unlike degree-granting programs, however, most coding bootcamps do not hold accreditation. Before enrolling in a bootcamp, prospective students should research its cost and job placement record.
Certifications in IT
A professional certification demonstrates expertise in a field. The best tech certifications showcase a job applicant’s strengths and help professionals advance their careers.
In IT, professionals can choose from a variety of certifications. Some show proficiency in a particular software program, like AWS certification. Others test candidates on general IT skills. The CompTIA A+ certification, for example, demonstrates entry-level experience with IT.
A certification generally does not require classes. Instead, candidates meet experience or education prerequisites and pass an examination. After completing the certification’s requirements, professionals maintain their credential through continuing education.
Certificates in IT
An information technology certificate trains learners in a specific IT field. Compared to degree-granting IT programs, a certificate takes less time and does not include general education courses. Most certificate programs take 4-12 months.
An undergraduate certificate introduces students to IT. In some cases, credits earned by completing courses for a certificate may later be applied toward a degree.
Learners can also enroll in a graduate certificate program. These certificates help IT professionals specialize their skills, move into new roles, and stay on top of industry trends.
What is information technology?
Information technology focuses on using computers to create and store electronic data. Many businesses rely on IT to create networks, operate computing systems, and protect private data.
What’s the difference between information technology and computer science?
Computer science researches and builds new computer systems and networks. Information technology operates computing devices and networks. Both fields offer above-average salaries.
What can you do with a bachelor’s in IT?
A bachelor’s degree in information technology prepares graduates for careers as database administrators, IT project managers, systems analysts, and security specialists.
How long does it take to earn an IT degree?
A bachelor’s in IT typically takes four years, while an associate degree or a master’s degree often takes two years. Doctoral students may spend 3-5 years completing their degree.
How much does it cost to earn an IT degree?
The cost of an IT degree varies depending on the school and degree level. Undergraduates spend a minimum of around $40,000 in tuition for a bachelor’s degree.
An IT degree helps professionals launch careers in high-paying, in-demand areas. The best online information technology degrees offer a flexible route to an IT career.
Tech professionals also add new technologies and knowledge to their skill set throughout their career, so early career professionals should plan for lifelong learning.