Information and technology are vital for modern life, so an online degree in information technology can propel job seekers to the forefront of any search for employment. Online degrees offer the convenience of distance education by eliminating the hassle of commuting and walking to class. This method of education can range in cost from $5,000 to $20,000 per year, depending on the school and type of degree.

See our ranking of the Top 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Information Technology Degrees Online.

The Difference Between Public and Private Online College

When it comes to online learning, students have the choice of attending public, non-profit colleges or private, for-profit colleges. Whether or not a degree in IT can be obtained from a public college depends on the school and the types of degree programs it offers. Most traditional brick-and-mortar colleges offer online classes for a wide range of majors, including technology-related majors. Traditional brick-and-mortar institutions are typically more affordable than for-profit, online-only colleges.

Attending a traditional university or community college instead of a for-profit college can reduce the cost of education considerably. The most affordable choice would be an associate’s degree from a community college that offers courses online. A two-year degree from a community college can cost as little as $10,000 in tuition. Many IT jobs are available with a two-year degree in information technology or a related field such as Web design.

For students who would rather get a four-year degree, a bachelor of science in information technology, management information systems, or computer science may be more appropriate. These popular bachelor’s degrees can be obtained at most traditional four-year colleges. Math, technology, and computer science courses can often be taken completely online at both two-year and four-year brick-and-mortar institutions although some classes may require one to two trips to the campus during the semester.

Students who live in remote areas or don’t have time to visit a campus in person can enroll in a for-profit, online-only college. These schools typically cost about $20,000 per year and provide a more customer-oriented service experience. Online schools are required to have the same accreditation as brick-and-mortar colleges, so the quality of the education is essentially the same between the two types of schools. Some students naturally perform better than others in an online setting, so the experience of attending class and learning the subject matter will vary from student to student.

Job Prospects and Salary

Employment for technology professionals is projected to increase much more quickly than average over the next 10 years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. With just a two-year associate’s degree in a technical subject, graduates can work in the booming field of Web design. The median annual salary for this profession is about $67,000, and the highest-earning 10 percent take home over $90,000 per year. Most other technical professions require at least a four-year degree and pay about $85,000 to $115,000, on average. Most students choose to major in Web design, computer science, or management information systems. MIS is a four-year degree that qualifies graduates for management positions in IT departments at large companies.

Information technology is a fascinating subject that can be a very rewarding and affordable college major. If you enjoy taking technical courses over the Internet, you should definitely consider getting an online degree in information technology.