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The Best Associate Degrees in Computer Science to Launch Your Career

If you want to learn computer science in a short amount of time, you should try an associate degree program. These programs can help you grasp the skills and information you need to become a computer scientist.

Overview: The Top 10 Associate Degrees in Computer Science

Before you apply for a degree program, you should check which option is best for you. We’ve compiled a list of the best Associate Degrees in Computer Science to help you narrow your focus. These 10 academic institutions can provide the training you need to work in computer science.

The figures below were sourced from the school websites and reflect the tuition rates at the time of writing. Unless otherwise stated, the figures refer to tuition cost per credit.

School and Degree State Tuition Online Option
Bakersfield College
Associate in Science in Computer Science for Transfer
CA $283 (Out-of-State) No
Jamestown Community College
Associate of Science in Computer Science
NY $5,200 per year (In-State)
$10,400 per year (Out-of-State)
Yes
Lake Michigan Community College
Computer Science Associate in Applied Science Degree
MI $160 (In-State)
$225 (Out-of-State)
Yes
Lawson State Community College
Associate of Science in Computer Science–Business
AL $123 (In-State)
$246 (Out-of-State)
Yes
Manchester Community College
Associate of Science in Computer Science
CT $166 (In-State)
$498 (Out-of-State)
No
MiraCosta College
Associate in Arts in Computer Science For Transfer
CA $336 No
Park University
Associate of Science in Information and Computer Science
MO $440 Yes
Saint Paul College
Computer Science Transfer Pathway
Associate of Science Degree
MN $172 to $260 Yes
South Texas College
Associate of Science in Computer Science
TX $77 (In-District)
$87 (Out-of-District)
Yes
Union County College
Associate in Applied Science in Computer Science
NJ $214 (In-County)
$428 (Out-of-County)
No

What Is an Associate Degree in Computer Science?

An Associate Degree in Computer Science is a two-year training program that helps you advance your tech skills while only committing half the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree.

Associate degree programs in computer science typically cover database management, machine learning, programming languages, and more. According to the Pew Research Center, people say that their associate degree is just as useful as a bachelor’s.

There are different associate degree options. If you choose to pursue an Associate of Science, you will specialize in software development, network engineering, and computer information systems. This is a good option if you want to join the workforce immediately after graduation.

An Associate of Applied Science program offers a direct route, and you can get a more hands-on education. If you want to learn more about humanities and computer science, consider finding an Associate of Arts program. This will help you pursue a career in computer information systems.

Why You Should Get an Associate Degree in Computer Science

An Associate Degree in Computer Science can lead to multiple career opportunities or serve as a stepping stone for further learning. Read below to learn more about why this degree is a great education option.

  • Multiple career opportunities. Since computer science is a broad field, you will be able to apply for different kinds of jobs. The versatility of an associate degree program can help you jumpstart your career in tech.
  • Smooth transition to a bachelor’s in computer science. An associate degree program will give you enough transferable units to join a bachelor’s degree program and gain a deeper understanding of the field.
  • Relatively affordable. Associate degree programs cost much less than bachelor’s degree programs. This makes them a good option when you’re first starting your education.

In Detail: The Best Associate Degrees in Computer Science

The best associate degrees in computer science can equip you with job-ready skills. From a technical perspective, you can learn JavaScript and how to navigate computer systems and computer software. You can also advance to learning how to lead a team.

Bakersfield College | Associate in Science in Computer Science for Transfer

This associate degree program will give you a clear pathway to a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. When you complete this program, you will get guaranteed admission to California State University. You will learn software engineering, cloud computing, and more.

Associate in Science in Computer Science for Transfer Pros

  • Guaranteed admission to CSU
  • Affordable tuition

Associate in Science in Computer Science for Transfer Cons

  • Not available online

Jamestown Community College | Associate of Science in Computer Science

This computer science program is an exceptional choice if you want to learn about software design and development. Jamestown Community College can teach you about computer theory, database design, mathematics, networking, and programming.

Associate of Science in Computer Science Pros

  • Online and in-person
  • Career services like counseling and internships

Associate of Science in Computer Science Cons

  • More expensive for out-of-state students ($10,200)
  • Challenging coursework

Lake Michigan College | Computer Science Associate in Applied Science Degree

This is a great program if you want to learn the basics of computer science. You can learn technical skills like C++ and calculus and soft skills like communication and teamwork. At Lake Michigan College, you also have access to an advisor that can help you look at bachelor’s degree programs and transfer when you graduate.

Computer Science Associate in Applied Science Degree Pros

  • Access to financial aid
  • Online and in-person
  • Career services

Computer Science Associate in Applied Science Degree Cons

  • Small community
  • More expensive than other options

Lawson State Community College | Associate of Science in Computer Science-Business

Lawson State is famous for providing computer science learning solutions. The Associate of Science in Computer Science-Business program is a good option if you want to work in the business sector. At this school, you can also get a computer science degree with a math specialization or get a computer science certificate.

Associate of Science in Computer Science – Business Pros

  • Tuition aid options
  • Easily transfer to a bachelor’s
  • Workforce development program

Associate of Science in Computer Science – Business Cons

  • The business focus could be limiting

Manchester Community College | Associate of Science in Computer Science

If you want to earn transferable credits to join a bachelor’s degree program, you should consider this computer science program. Manchester Community College offers this computer science degree to teach you everything you need to know. It can help you transfer to a bachelor’s program from a Connecticut university.

Associate of Science in Computer Science Pros

  • Accredited by New England institutions
  • Easily transfer to a bachelor’s
  • Scholarships available

Associate of Science in Computer Science Cons

  • Not available online

MiraCosta College | Associate in Arts in Computer Science For Transfer

MiraCosta College can help you learn computer science basics before you get your bachelor’s degree. Expect to learn data structures, programming, and computer architecture. You can also opt for an Associate in Arts in Software Engineering from this school, which is a more specialized option.

Associate in Arts in Computer Science For Transfer Pros

  • Easily transition to a bachelor’s
  • Accredited by Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

Associate in Arts in Computer Science For Transfer Cons

  • Not available online
  • No option for an Associate in Science program

Park University | Associate of Science in Information and Computer Science

This degree from Park University is one of the most versatile options. You can learn completely online or in several states. The associate degree program will only take you 29 to 30 hours of study.

You can choose different concentrations like computer science, IT, cyber security, data, and more. If you want to specialize, Park University is the place to go.

Associate of Science in Information and Computer Science Pros

  • Preparation for CISCO certification
  • Internship opportunities and career services
  • Different locations, including online

Associate of Science in Information and Computer Science Cons

  • Less intensive

Saint Paul College | Computer Science Transfer Pathway Associate of Science Degree

This exceptional program from Saint Paul College will help you land a job or enter a bachelor’s degree program. Before you apply for this associate degree, you should have experience with mathematics. The Computer Science Transfer Pathway program is a good option because you can study in person, online, or both.

Computer Science Transfer Pathway Associate of Science Degree Pros

  • Many career services
  • Financial aid available
  • Delivered in-person and online

Computer Science Transfer Pathway Associate of Science Degree Cons

  • The online option is not self-paced

South Texas College | Associate of Science in Computer Science

This program can help you prepare to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. There are history and English courses in the curriculum, so you will get a well-rounded education with this program. If you want to focus on systems administration, you can also choose the computer information systems major.

Associate of Science in Computer Science Pros

  • Extensive curriculum
  • Online option

Associate of Science in Computer Science Cons

  • Difficult to get into

Union County College | Associate in Applied Science in Computer Science

This two-year degree program will help you land an entry-level job as a computer programmer or software engineering assistant. Like most associate degrees, it will also help you prepare for a bachelor’s. Union County College’s Associate in Applied Science is a good option because you can learn hands-on techniques to use in the real world.

Associate in Applied Science in Computer Science Pros

  • Workforce development resources
  • Financial aid
  • Available full time and part-time

Associate in Applied Science in Computer Science Cons

  • No online option
Online vs In-Person Associate Degrees in Computer Science

Online vs In-Person Associate Degrees in Computer Science

Online degree programs are limited to virtual classes, where in-person classes are conducted on campus. If you are self-motivated, you can pursue an online option. Otherwise, an on-campus program might be best for you. When it comes to online and in-person degree programs, you should choose based on your learning style.

Most online associate degrees are flexible and can be manipulated to fit your schedule. You can find a self-paced option and learn when you have time. This is a good option if you enjoy working on your own and have the determination to finish by yourself.

If you prefer a more engaging way to learn, you should consider attending an in-person associate degree program. The instructor will give you a more personalized approach. You may also have access to more student resources.

Benefits of an Online Associate Degree in Computer Science

  • Flexible classes. Online associate degree programs are more flexible than in-person classes. In most cases, you can set your own schedule.
  • More affordable. Online courses tend to cost less than on-campus options. If you want to save money, learning online can help you.
  • Not dependent on location. If you are traveling or just want to work from home, this is a good option. You can study from anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection.

Benefits of an In-Person Associate Degree in Computer Science

  • Friendships and networking. In-person classes attract industry professionals from different career levels. You can easily form long-lasting professional relationships and friendships with your peers.
  • School facilities. When on campus, you can access career services, libraries, study spaces, and more. Some are also available online, but in-person degrees give you the classic college experience.
  • More motivation. If you have to take time out of your day to travel to class, you may be more motivated to finish. Some online students say they struggle to stay determined.

How to Pick the Best Computer Science Associate Degree for You

The best associate degree program will equip you with essential skills and knowledge in computer science. It can help you start your career and become successful in the industry. Be sure to choose the program that works best for you.

Read below to see what you should consider when choosing a computer science associate degree.

Learning Style

If you require extra help when learning, you will want to look for a school that offers more resources. Both online programs and in-person degrees offer many different options for your learning style.

Accreditation

Most employers prefer hiring graduates from accredited colleges and universities. This means that the school abides by specific industry standards when it comes to quality of education. If you want to get the best degree possible, look for an accredited institution.

Transferable Credits

You may need to pursue a bachelor’s degree after you complete your associate degree. It is important to check whether the units are transferable. You should also check whether the school has partnerships with universities to make the transition smoother.

How Much Can You Earn With a Computer Science Associate Degree?

According to PayScale, the average salary for a computer science associate degree holder is $64,000 per year. Your salary will change based on your experience level and location. It can also change depending on the career path you select.

The below salaries are sourced from PayScale. Keep in mind that these numbers can vary slightly.

The Top Computer Science Associate Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Software Engineer $87,146
Computer Hardware Engineer $85,590
Information Technology Consultant $79,380
Database Administrator $73,372
Software Developer $72,283
Systems Analyst $66,891
Computer Programmer $64,481
Computer Operator $49,219
Computer / Network Support Technician $47,632
Computer Technician $41,704

Why You Should Study Computer Science in 2021

You should study computer science in 2021 because computer science jobs will only grow.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer science jobs are expected to grow by 15 percent by 2029. This is much faster than the four percent average growth rate across occupations.

Computer science impacts everything around us. It has taken over the transport, agriculture, and communications industries. If you choose to study computer science, your knowledge and skills in the topic will remain relevant for a long time.

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