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Best Online Associate Degrees in Computer Science: 2024

Best Online Associate Degrees in Computer Science: 2024

The number of associate degree programs in computer science available online can make selecting the right school a challenge. Get a detailed look at top-ranked programs that can get you career-ready as a programmer, web developer, or other in-demand role in only two years.

Associate degree programs are a great option if you’re looking to enter the computer science field quickly. The programs are shorter and less expensive than a bachelor’s degree but still provide the problem-solving and technical skills employers are looking for. Online associate degree programs in computer science can be a particularly good choice because they offer a flexible schedule to help you balance your studies with the rest of your responsibilities.

If you’re pursuing a computer science associate degree online, one of your top priorities will be to find a program with a dynamic and up-to-date curriculum so you’ll be ready to jump into a new career after graduation. The best online associate degrees in computer science also provide an affordable price tag, a personalized learning experience, and strong support for online students.

The college ranking below factors in these considerations to identify the best online associate degrees in computer science available today. See which schools earned top honors this year.

Best Online Associate Degrees in Computer Science for 2024

We have ranked the top schools below. Our Rankings Data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES.) Click the About the Ranking link below for more information about our methodology.


    Base Methodology for OnlineColleges.me’s 2024 Online College Rankings

    1. Create List of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on government data provided by The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least one program in the subject area offered partially or fully online.
    1. Assign Weightings

    After creating the list of eligible schools, OnlineColleges.me data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of affordability, support services, and online program availability metrics. Online program availability and overall affordability metrics received the heaviest weightings.

    Online Program Availability

    • Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to the U.S. Department of Education. Because exact numbers change often and can be difficult to verify, we use a range-based scoring system: 0-5 online programs = 1 star; 6-10 = 2 stars; 11-15 = 3 stars; 16-20 = 4 stars; 21+ = 5 stars. In our design, laptop icons = stars.
    • For degree-specific pages, ex: Psychology degrees, we list the current number of online programs available at that school for that degree type, as self-reported by the schools.


    • Cost – Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
    • Students w/ Institutional Aid – Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

    Support Services

    • Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.
    • Career Placement – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    About Our Data

    OnlineColleges.me’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: January of 2024

  • Tulsa, OK
    Public $

    Tulsa Community College offers two foundational degrees for anyone looking to enter the field of computer science. Their associate in computer information systems is designed as a transfer degree and upon completion, students will be ready to transfer to a four year institution. Their associate in applied science in information technology is also a two year degree, but unlike the program in computer information systems, it prepares students to enter the workforce immediately upon completion. If a student selects the computer information system degree, they can choose to complete their degree either fully online or in-person at the metro, northeast, southeast, or west campus. For the information technology associate degree, classes must be taken in person at the metro, northeast, southeast, or west campus.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate in Science – Computer Information Systems

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $116.55/credit (in-state) | $341.55/credit (out-of-state)
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    Associate in Applied Science – Information Technology

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 2 year
    • Cost: $116.55/credit (in-state) | $341.55/credit (out-of-state)
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Brockton, MA
    Public $

    Massasoit Community College offers two comprehensive computer science degrees. The first is an associate degree which gives students a general overview of the field. After completing the associate’s program, students can either complete their four year degree at Massasoit Community College or transfer. The school also has online resources available to help make the transfer process as quick as possible. Along with an associate degree, Massasoit Community College also offers a bachelor of science in computer science. This program is longer, goes into more detail, and offers opportunities for students to specialize in a certain area of computer science. In both programs, students attain certificates in specific types of programming, such as JAVA programming.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate in Computer Science

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $224.00 per credit in-state | $430 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

    • Credits: 120
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $224.00 per credit in-state | $430 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Bedford, MA
    Public $

    Students looking for a robust overview of the field of computer science should consider the associate degree from Middlesex Community College. The degree is fully online with flexible course schedules so students can work while pursuing their degree. Additionally, courses here are more affordable than at most four year institutions, so students can take fundamental courses before transferring to a different program. Since this degree is considered a transfer degree, the college recommends students transfer to a four-year institution after getting their associates. They also offer online resources and academic advising to make the transfer process as smooth as possible. After graduating with their four year degree, alumni in the program have entered fields such as national security, software engineering, software quality assurance, systems management, and more.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate in Computer Science

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $252 per credit in-state | $279 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education

    Associate in Computer Science, Secure Software Developement

    • Credits: 63
    • Length: 4 years
    • Cost: $252 per credit in-state | $279 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education
  • Athens, TX
    Public $

    Trinity Valley Community College offers a robust associate degree in computer science. This degree is 100% online and offers flexible class times to suit students’ work and personal schedules. The program also gives the general overview students need to later transfer to a four year institution or to enter the working world with their associate’s degree. While the program is designed to take two years, students can finish slightly faster should they elect to take summer courses. After getting their four year degree, alumni have entered the working world with job titles such as computer programmer, computer systems analyst, information security analyst, and computer and information systems manager.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate in Computer Science

    • Credits: 60
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $39 per credit in-state | $150 per credit out-of-state
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Omaha, NE
    Public $

    Students who are looking to get a general introduction into the field of computer science should consider the program from Metropolitan Community College Area. In this program, students learn the foundational skills needed to either enter the field at the associate’s level or continue onto a four year degree at another institution. While the degree is general, areas of specialization include Logic C, C++, VB, and Java. Students can choose to take this program 100% online or fully in-person at the Fort Omaha Campus, Sarpy Center, or South Omaha Campus. Whether the student chooses the online or in-person option, they have access to professional development resources and academic resources to make the transfer to a four year institution as smooth as possible.

    Program Highlights:

    Associate in Computer Science

    • Credits: 96.5
    • Length: 2 years
    • Cost: $68 per credit
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tishomingo, OK
    Public $
  • Jamestown, NY
    Public $$
  • Rockville, MD
    Public $$
  • North Canton, OH
    Public $
  • Newtown, PA
    Public $$
  • Stone Ridge, NY
    Public $
  • Reading, PA
    Public $$
  • Toms River, NJ
    Public $$
  • Monroe, LA
    Public $
  • Brooklyn Park, MN
    Public $

What You’ll Take Away from Your Online Associate Degree in Computer Science

Online associate degree programs in computer science vary in course offerings, specializations, and course goals. Still, to achieve accreditation, all programs cover certain content and meet specific standards. Keep reading to learn about common goals and outcomes for online computer science associate degree programs and how they provide a blueprint for your career in the field. 

Analyze real-world problems to identify and implement the appropriate computing solution

Computer science is all about solving problems. Whether you’re in software development, web design, database management, or any other specialty, your day-to-day work will involve identifying issues and fixing them. By learning to approach problems in new and innovative ways, you’ll have more options available when addressing real-world issues. When you’ve completed your online associate degree in computer science, you’ll be able to demonstrate to potential employers that you’re ready to apply your skills to whatever problems you encounter. 

Gain proficiency in the latest computing techniques and skills

Computer science is a rapidly growing and changing field; new skills and techniques are constantly evolving. Your online associate degree in computer science should provide you with the latest knowledge and tools available. During your studies, you’ll have the opportunity to develop high-demand skills by mastering coding languages relevant to your field, exploring machine learning, diving deep into databases, and learning the newest and best ways to secure data. Demonstrating these skills shows a commitment to staying on the cutting edge and proves that you have new knowledge and fresh ideas to bring to the table. 

Apply mathematical reasoning to computer science

While you may not jump for joy when presented with a calculus syllabus, a solid mathematics background is essential for any computer science career. Databases, machine learning, software, and every other aspect of computing are built on mathematical frameworks. By gaining a firm understanding of these core concepts, you’ll be set to excel in your other courses. Once you’ve started your career, this background knowledge makes it easier to pick up new concepts and keep your computing skills up to date. 

Communicate effectively to a variety of audiences

Although the popular image of a computer scientist is someone alone in a room focused solely on a computer, that’s not really the case. Regardless of your specialty, you’ll need to be able to explain your work, the problems you encounter, and your proposed solutions to colleagues and clients. Therefore, communicating clearly to both lay people and experts is an essential skill in the workplace. 

Common Courses in Online Computer Science Associate Degree Programs

Curricula, core courses, and degree titles vary from program to program. However, all reputable online computer science associate degree programs provide a solid foundation in the basics of computer science. Elective courses or specialized requirements allow you to pursue your interests in specific field areas. Some standard core courses across all computer science associate programs are described below. 

Introduction to Computer Science

This is one of the first courses students take in their online computer science associate program. The curriculum covers computer science’s theoretical and practical applications and explains tools and essential terminology. If you’re unsure of what direction you want to take with your degree, this class can be a great way to explore various specialties and see what speaks to your interests. 

Foundations of Computer Programming

This and similar courses introduce you to the fundamentals of computer programming. During the semester, you’ll learn basic code statements, explore the most common coding languages, and begin to write simple scripts. A strong programming background is essential to all computer science-related careers, so you’ll find that the skills you develop in this class are ones you’ll call on again and again. 

Database Systems Management

Database systems management deals with the knowledge and skills required to extract and store useful information from records systems. Most programming and development tasks require database referencing during the building process, so a basic understanding of databases is essential. If you plan to work in information technology (IT) management, information security, or computer service roles, accessing and maintaining databases will be a regular part of your duties. Learning about database systems early on can set you up for success later in the program and help you narrow your interests within the computer science field. 

Software Development

Software development requires creative thinking and attention to detail—essential skills for all students pursuing an online associate degree in computer science. Whether you intend to pursue a career in development or focus on a different specialty, the knowledge you’ll earn in an introductory software development course will help you identify new approaches to computing problems.

Algorithm Analysis

Algorithms are the sets of instructions used in computing to solve a problem or complete a task. So, it makes sense that any good computer science program requires a strong background in understanding and creating effective algorithms. These courses introduce you to the basics of algorithms, how they apply to various specialties, how to troubleshoot, and how to write your own. 

Web Development

A good website is more than just a pretty landing page. To make a website work, you need to have systems running on the front and back end. A web development course introduces you to both sides of this equation. This course will be the starting point for students who aspire to a career in web development before moving on to more advanced classes. However, even if you don’t want to pursue web development as your specialty, the processes involved in this course are excellent practice for database management, HTML coding, and building a product to customer specifications. 

FAQs About Online Computer Science Associate Degrees

Sorting through your program options can be overwhelming. Opportunities for specialization and class formats vary widely from school to school, and it’s not always easy to understand exactly what options are available. As a result, potential students often have unanswered questions before applying to a computer science associate degree program online. According to our readers, here are seven of the most pressing questions about online associate degrees in computer science.

  • Are online associate degree programs in computer science 100% online?

    Yes, for the most part online associate degree programs in computer science are 100% online. However, some programs require occasional in-person visits for labs or exams. It’s also important to note that online course requirements vary from school to school. Some programs are entirely asynchronous, allowing you to view lectures when it works best for your schedule. Other programs require you to attend classes in real time. Additionally, programs might operate on a standard or accelerated schedule. Read the program details carefully before applying to ensure that pacing and attendance options are the right fit for you. 

  • What career paths are open to those with an associate degree in computer science?

    An associate degree in computer science opens a broad range of career paths depending on your strengths and interests. Outgoing and creative types may enjoy a career in web development or software design. Systems thinkers may find a good fit with database management. The skills you’ve gained during your education can also apply to many different interests, from artificial intelligence to national security to public health. In other words, your interest in computing can be a good match with almost any industry. Common job titles for students with an associate degree in computer science include:

    • Computer Support Specialist
    • Web Developer
    • Network Systems Administrator
    • Computer Systems Analyst
    • Information Security Analyst
  • What accreditation should I look for in an online associate computer science program?

    When selecting your program, look for one that is accredited. The accreditation process ensures that your program meets educational standards of quality. Participating in a nonaccredited program may make transferring your credits or obtaining financial aid difficult. Worst of all, many programs aren’t accredited because they are low quality and won’t prepare you for a career in computer science. 

    Reputable online associate computer science programs are accredited regionally or nationally. Regional accreditation is the most common. National accreditation typically focuses on trade schools, vocational programs, or career programs. Either type of accreditation means that you are looking at a quality educational opportunity. 

    Since you’re specifically interested in computer science, it’s also a good idea to see if your program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET accreditation is an additional certification specifically for computer science programs. This secondary accreditation means that you can feel confident that you are attending a quality school and a quality program. 

  • What should I expect from the admissions process?

    Admission requirements vary from school to school. Most require a high school diploma, standardized test scores, and an application that may include an essay or letters of recommendation. Some programs specify a minimum GPA to be considered for acceptance. Other programs require a placement test to determine your reading or math skills, but in many cases this exam takes place after you’ve already been accepted. Some of these requirements may be waived if you’re transferring from another program or institution. 

  • How much does an online associate degree in computer science cost?

    Degree costs vary from school to school. Most programs list a price per credit, which makes it easy to compare base costs. But don’t forget to consider other factors such as total credit hour requirements, application fees, materials fees, and additional technology you might need to purchase. 

    Certain types of schools may be more expensive. Typically, private schools are the most costly, public schools fall in the middle of the price range, and community colleges are cheaper. While accreditation ensures that you will receive a quality education at any school, more expensive programs may look better on your resume, have more resources, or offer more opportunities for specialization. To better understand how costs stack up between programs, we’ve compared the tuition of reputable public, private, and community colleges below.

    College NameCost per CreditCredit RequirementsTotal Estimated Tuition
    Southern New
    Hampshire University
    $342 (in state)
    $468 (out of state)
    60$20,520 (in state)
    $28,080 (out of state)
    SUNY Finger
    Lakes Community College

    The good news is that plenty of options are available to cut down the out-of-pocket cost for your associate degree in computer science online. Most public schools offer a discounted rate for in-state students. Many programs allow you to transfer credits, so you could start your degree at a lower cost community college and then transfer to a more prestigious program. Need-based financial aid is typically available. You can also look for scholarships and grants. Many are open to all types of students, and you’ll also find targeted scholarships based on military service, marginalized status, merit, and many other factors. 

  • How long does it take to earn an associate degree in computer science online?

    Full-time students taking 15 credit hours per semester generally earn their online associate degree in computer science in two years. However, some programs offer accelerated options with year-round classes and condensed timelines that you can complete in as little as one and a half years. If you’re a part-time student you’ll need more time to complete your degree; the duration depends on your course load. If you’re planning on pursuing your degree part-time, read your program details carefully, as some programs require that you complete your studies within a specific time frame. 

  • Are there any specialization tracks for associate degree computer science programs?

    All associate computer science degree programs require several core courses to ensure you are well versed in all field elements. From there, you’ll have the option to choose electives that fit your interests and career goals. Some schools offer official avenues for specialization with degree titles that reflect your focus. Other programs provide a single degree title but many elective options that allow you to focus on a specific area of computer science. Regardless of the specialization structure, most online computer science associate degree programs offer opportunities to focus on popular skill sets including:

    • Computer Programming
    • Web Development
    • Information Security
    • Database Management
    • IT Networking
    • Software Development

Job Demand and Salary Potential After Your Associate Degree in Computer Science

Computer science professionals are in high demand across many industries. An online associate degree in computer science can help you access exciting careers with high growth potential. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 15% growth in computer and IT jobs by 2031. This growth rate is much faster than the workforce generally and equates to about 682,800 new jobs over the next few years. Because computer science is essential to most industries and offers countless opportunities for specialization, an online associate degree in computer science is an excellent opportunity to set you up for a well-paid, fulfilling career. Learn more about salaries and projected job growth for several computer science careers in the table below.

CareerMedian Annual Earnings
Job Growth
Computer Support Specialist$57,9106%
Web Developer$77,20030%
Network Systems Administrator$80,6005%
Computer Systems Analyst$99,2709%
Information Security Analyst$102,60035%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics