With so much of our daily lives dominated by computers, wireless networks, and handheld gadgets, it's no surprise that degrees in technology and IT are more popular than ever. Majors such as computer science, software engineering, and information systems security offer exciting employment options in cutting-edge fields, and can lead to some particularity high salaries.
In 2014, the median annual wage for computer and information technology jobs was $79,390, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That's more than double the median wage of $35,540 for all occupations combined that year. And the tech industry is expected to add nearly half a million jobs from 2014 to 2024.
"Few, if any, industries are expanding without strong ties to tech," explains Dr. Smita Bakshi, CEO of zyBooks, a California-based developer of interactive STEM learning materials for undergraduate computer science and engineering courses. That means jobs for IT professionals extend far beyond traditional technology companies to industries as diverse as journalism, healthcare, and even athletics.
Earning a bachelor's degree typically takes four years through a campus-based program. However, some online schools may offer accelerated programs which can help students get into the workforce more quickly. Studying online can also be a convenient option for those who have irregular schedules or who want to continue working while in school.
Why Get a Bachelor's Degree in Technology?
A bachelor's degree is sufficient for most jobs in the field, Bakshi notes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees, reporting that most careers in IT and technology require that level of education for entry-level positions.
While there are at least two occupations within this category that require less education, these workers also tend to earn less than their counterparts with a four-year degree, as the chart below demonstrates:
|Occupation||Entry-Level Education||Median Income (2014)||Expected Job Growth (2014-2024)|
|Computer Support Specialists||Some Post secondary Education||$50,380||12%|
|Web Developers||Associate Degree||$63,490||27%|
|Software Developers||Bachelor's Degree||$97,990||17%|
|Computer Systems Analysts||Bachelor's Degree||$82,710||21%|
|Information Security Analysts||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Given the greater earning potential for those with a bachelor's degree, students may find it is beneficial to stay in school and complete their undergraduate education. What's more, some employers prefer to hire those with a bachelor's degree in technology for managerial and supervisory roles.
How Do You Enroll in an Online Bachelor's Degree Program?
The application process for an online bachelor's degree in technology is usually the same or similar to that for an on-campus program. Students need to complete an application form and submit it along with transcripts, standardized testing scores, and possibly letters of recommendation. Generally speaking, the more competitive the program, the more requirements a school makes of applicants.
Although some schools don't charge students who apply, others require a fee to cover the cost of reviewing the application. U.S. News & World Report says the average application fee paid by students in 2015 was $41.
Depending on whether the school has rolling admissions or a defined admission schedule, students could get a response to their application in anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Once a student is accepted, the school will send detailed instructions on how to complete the enrollment process.
Filling out a Request Form
It's always a good idea to submit applications to several schools in case you're not accepted by your first choice. To be matched to institutions best suited for your career goals, click the "Find Schools" button and enter some basic information along with your field of study.
What's the Difference Between Online and Campus-Based Degrees?
At many schools, there is no difference in content. The programs use the same curriculum and credit requirements. They may even have the same faculty teaching online and in the classroom.
However, the delivery method is different. Online students typically watch lectures, participate in chat discussions, and complete coursework all through a virtual classroom or learning management system (LMS). Rather than traveling to campus at specific times each week, those studying online can often view lessons and complete assignments at any time that is convenient for them.
Why Is Online College Good for Bachelor's Degrees in Technology?
While some students may do better in an on-campus program, the convenience and flexibility of an online bachelor's degree in technology can make all the difference for those with busy work schedules or other obstacles impeding their education.
"Online degrees are ideally suited to those whose needs demand flexibility and who possess the necessary self-discipline," says Bakshi.
Online programs may also be well-positioned to rapidly evolve and adopt the latest education models. Another benefit of online bachelor's degrees in technology is that they improve the accessibility of higher education, particularly for students who live in rural areas or far from a school offering their desired major.
Does Location Matter for an Online Bachelor's Degree in Technology?
Many online degree programs in technology are offered entirely online, but others might have on-campus requirements. In addition, some students may find they want to travel to campus occasionally to use school services or participate in the graduation ceremony. For these reasons, students may want to give some thought to a college's physical location before enrolling in an online bachelor's degree program.
If you're interested in learning more about online bachelor's degrees in technology, request information from any of the schools listed below.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- Most Popular Majors, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=37
- Colleges that Charge Students the Most to Apply, Susannah Snider, U.S. News and World Report, December 1, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2015/12/01/colleges-that-charge-students-the-most-to-apply
- Interview with Smita Bakshi, CEO of zyBooks