Searching for an online computer science associate degree that will set up a long and prosperous career without breaking the bank starts with GetEducated. Beginning a new academic pathway is one of the more substantial financial choices adults make in their lifetime, so it should also be one of the most informed decisions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer science careers will be on the rise throughout 2029. Many entry-level positions require more than just an associate degree, but with so many AA and AS transfer degree options, as well as vocational AAS programs, an online computer science associate degree is a great place to start building a career.
GetEducated has compared 27 online computer science associate degree programs from 27 regionally accredited schools to create this ranking. Below is our editorially independent list of the current 2020 “Best Buys” for an affordable online computer science associate degree. Become an informed consumer before taking the academic plunge.
Average Cost (In-state): ~$15,900
Least Expensive: Palomar College ~ $2,864
Most Expensive: Endicott College ~ $26,564
Our data-driven research creates a truly reliable system of scientific rankings. There are no fancy formulas here. We meticulously calculate total full-time tuition—including any fees—for the most accurate total cost. Our rankings cannot be bought, and therefore factually showcase the cheapest online computer science associate degree. The online computer science degrees listed above the gray dividing line are official 2020 “Best Buys” and cost less than the national average.
Most Affordable Online Computer Science Associate Degrees
|Rank||School / Degree||State||Price||Note|
Metropolitan Community College Area
Central Texas College
Northwest Florida State College
South Texas College
Cowley County Community College
Ivy Tech Community College
Ulster County Community College
Jamestown Community College
North Hennepin Community College
Finger Lakes Community College
Murray State College
Ocean County College
Georgia Military College
|School / Degree||State||Price||Note|
Anne Arundel Community College
Southern New Hampshire University
Montgomery County Community College
Rogers State University
Bucks County Community College
14 Program is no longer accepting new students.
To qualify for a ranking, a program must be regionally accredited. Additional programmatic accreditation is noted in the rank table.
These online college rankings are based on a GetEducated Fall 2020 review of regionally accredited online computer science associate degree options. Associate ranks include Associate of Science, Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science degrees from both 4 & 2 year schools. AS & AA are typically best for transfer, while the AAS degree is career-oriented. Total cost includes full-time tuition and fees and was valid at the time of collection and specific to the online learning program. School profiles for the online associate degree programs in our directory may reflect a slightly different cost based on different editorial update schedules.
The published cost is an estimated sticker price for the entire online degree including fees. Actual costs may vary by student. Factors such as transfer credits, prerequisite courses, professional licensing and financial aid availability will affect final cost.
Online schools do NOT pay to be included in any GetEducated online degree ranking. These rankings are editorially independent, open to any regionally accredited or candidate college that offers an associate degree that is available at least 80 percent through online learning and that is open to enrollment by the public. If your online college is regionally accredited and not currently reviewed by GetEducated, please contact us for inclusion.
These rankings of the cheapest online schools for computer science may NOT be re-posted online or reprinted in any format without a license from GetEducated ®. Consumer finance bloggers and writers can contact our editors for a free custom article on the best online computer science associate degree for use on your website. Our mission: Help consumers GetEducated ® about the best online colleges for cost and credibility.
Career Guide for an Online Computer Science Associate Degree Grad
This, we know, is certain: computer science is here to stay. There has been a rapid adoption of computers, mobile devices, and connected technology into virtually every aspect of our daily lives. This increase in technology has led to an increase in the need for professionals who understand computer science.
Associate’s Degree in Computer Science: An Overview
While enrolled in an online associate’s degree in computer science, you will study a wide range of tech-based topics. But to really understand the education, you first need to understand what computer science really is…
Computer science is, at its core, the basic study of computers and computing. It draws from both mathematics and engineering, and includes statistics. It also encompasses both the physical hardware that makes computing possible, as well as the software and algorithms that compute information.
While studying computer science, you will gain a strong understanding of programming, as well as a theoretical knowledge of computers and technology, which can then be applied to multiple careers. You will not only be prepared to enter a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field, you will also have the in-demand skills that include both technical and problem-solving abilities.
Generally, an online computer science associate degree will take roughly four semesters, or two calendar years, to complete. This can be accelerated if you compress the education, but it could also be lengthened if you take on a lighter study load.
Best Careers for Graduates of Computer Science
An online computer science associate degree is a wonderful entry point into the field of computer science. Whether you transition immediately into the work force, or you enroll in further studies, potential careers for computer scientists include…
- Salary: $73,760
- Education: Associate’s
- Training/Experience: None
- Growth: 8%
This is one of the best careers for people with an associate’s degree in computer science. A web developer creates the form and functionality of websites. With only two years (in most cases) of post-secondary classes and no previous work experience, you can enter a field that brings a median salary over $73,000, while the top 10% earn over $142,000!
Many web developers specialize in a specific aspect of website creation. For example, some focus specifically on the back-end functionality, making sure the website functions properly, but are not so concerned with the visual quality of the site. Studying graphics design in addition to computer science is often useful as well.
Information Security Analyst
- Salary: $99,730
- Education: Bachelor’s
- Training/Experience: None
- Growth: 31%
With a growing number of security attacks on businesses, governments, and organizations, the need for highly-experienced IT security professionals is growing. In fact, this career field is expected to grow by 31% between 2019 and 2029, adding almost 41,000 jobs!
Security analysts monitor an organization’s cyber network and investigate breaches to a company’s information. They may install software, prepare reports, and research the latest advancements, all in an effort to create greater information security.
Computer Research Scientist
- Salary: $122,840
- Education: Master’s
- Training/Experience: None
- Growth: 15%
If you complete an online associate’s degree in computer science and discover a deep passion and inherent talent for the field, you may consider advancing your education and becoming a computer research scientist. The education requirements are large, but the top 10% can expect salaries over $189,000.
Inventing, designing, and implementing new ways to use technology is the core responsibility of this position. An associate’s computer science degree is a great start towards this position, which explores the fundamental issues that make computing possible, and assists scientists and engineers to solve highly complicated computing issues.
Additional Requirements, Including Licensing & Exams
One of the top advantages to careers that come after an associate’s in computer science online is that there are no requirements for certification or licensing, at least in most cases. If you have the basic skills, you can work as a research scientist, a developer, or a software programmer.
However, for many positions an online computer science associate degree may not be enough to get hired. For higher-paying positions, you likely need to complete a bachelor’s degree, and if you aspire for highly advanced positions, such as a computer research scientist, you may need a master’s degree.
Regardless of which position you hold, or how much education you have, continual learning is critical. Reading tech publications, attending conferences, and meeting with people who work in your industry is critical. Because computer technology changes rapidly, you need an attitude geared towards constant learning.