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2014′s 14 Best Online Colleges for Information Technology

Information technology is a thriving and evolving industry that makes up an essential component of most modern businesses, corporations, and other organizations in the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., the IT services industry comprises about 100,000 companies with revenues adding up to $290 billion, according to Hoovers. Major players in this industry include IBM and HP. Highly-skilled and educated individuals are needed to fill the demands of this high-growth field, and earning a degree from an accredited college can help those seeking to enter the industry to qualify for the best IT careers.

IT degrees are important for those who want to launch a career in the IT industry or advance in an IT company or division. While it is possible to get started in IT with skills or certification alone without a degree, many careers will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree even for entry-level positions. For instance, computer network and systems administrators are often required to have a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau goes on to report that a bachelor’s degree is generally required for network architect and database administrator positions. Those looking to enter careers as webmasters will need to hold certification or a minimum of an associate degree, the Bureau reports. In addition, those considering careers in IT should note that in a recession, when many people are out of work, a degree can help set them apart in the job market.

Another high-growth career, computer systems analysts, also generally favors those with bachelor’s degrees, the Bureau points out. The most technical computer systems analyst positions may even prefer a graduate degree, the Bureau notes.

A graduate degree in IT can also help qualify individuals for positions in upper-level management. While a minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for most computer and information systems managers, a master’s degree is often preferred, according to the Bureau. A particularly preferred graduate degree for those seeking to become computer and information systems managers is an MBA with an emphasis in technology, the Bureau notes. Such MBA programs consist of core courses in both management and technology. Master’s or doctoral degrees in IT are often required for those who desire to teach IT courses at the college level or to conduct research in an area of IT.

A degree in IT provides graduates with a broad knowledge base in areas such as writing, communications, and the liberal arts, as well as focused core studies in the areas of Web development, network security, systems administration and management, software development, database management, and even technical writing. These courses help train and equip students for their future careers in IT.

When choosing an IT degree program, make sure that it is offered by an accredited college or university because employers typically only accept degrees from accredited institutions. Secondly, select a program that is directly related to the career field you are most interested in pursuing, whether it be health informatics, management, software, or network administration. It is also a good idea to ask past students about their experiences in the IT program from your school of choice, as they may offer valuable insight into what to avoid and how to increase your chances for success.

Methodology

When we decided to rank the best colleges online, we strove to use a method and formula that would produce the most objective and fair results possible. All of our data is quantified and taken from authoritative and reliable sources, such as the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool, the U.S. Department of Education’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs, and the official websites of the schools included in these rankings.

Read more about our Methodology

Rankings

Want to view the full rankings? Download the PDF

Rank School Name Average Rating
1 Peirce College 7.55
2 Ottawa University 9.82
3 Fisher College 12.57
4 Saint Leo University 14.70
5 Post University 14.89
6 Southern New Hampshire University 15.33
7 National University 15.89
8 Columbia College 16.88
9 Virginia College  17.08
10 Salem International University 17.50
11 Colorado State University 17.82
12 Regent University 18.18
13 Harrison College 18.70
14 Champlain College 18.73

 

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