14 Top Options for an Online Bachelor's in Computer Science
This is a tough process, since there are several online computer science bachelor's degree programs to select from. Your personal motivations and goals come into play here. Factors that you may want to consider in your decision include exploring public and private schools, your vicinity to the college or university offering the online computer science bachelor's degree, the school's accreditation and/or the program's accreditation, career services and job finding assistance, and tuition costs. [See the list of schools offering an online computer science bachelor degree]
Choosing a Public or Private Institution
Public and private institutions each have their positives and negatives to consider. The most prominent of those being cost, class size (which isn't so much of an issue with an online program) and personalized attention. As far as cost is concerned, private institutions are, in most cases, going to be more expensive than public institutions. As you will see, some private college and universities offering an online bachelor's degree in computer science can be more affordable than some of the public schools offering these programs. Frequently, you will find that private colleges and universities have the most money to give away to students in the form of financial aid, so even if the private school program costs more than a public school program, you may be able to offset that cost with financial assistance from the school.
Public and private institutions each have their positives and negatives to consider.
A public college or university in a state may have a reduced tuition for in-state students (usually less expensive than private and out of state tuition) and may even offer in state tuition for students in neighboring states.
Personalized attention from student services, such as career services, is also an important component in the equation since this will be a resource you'll use often through your time in a program and after graduation. It is often thought that a private institution will provide more individualized attention to students, however this is not always the case and further investigation into your school choices is warranted prior to any decisions being made.
At this point in the game it is worthwhile to explore both public and private online computer science bachelor degree options to see which best fits your academic goals, career goals and budget.
The importance of accreditation
The school's accreditation and or the programmatic accreditation are very important criteria. Both institutional and programmatic accreditation assure that, as a student, the curriculum you will be completing is of high quality and consistently being reviewed and improved. Employers may look at where a computer science degree was earned and factor in the school's accreditation in their assessment as a means to ensure that the candidate achieved a skill set and knowledge base consistent with what they are looking for. Accreditation may also be important if you are considering pursuing a graduate degree later on. Accreditation does not guarantee employment or acceptance to a graduate program, but it can help in the process.
Employers may factor in accreditation as a way to ensure a job candidate has received the desired skill set and knowledge base a position requires.
Employment data has suggested that in some cases an employer will value a candidate with a degree from an institution based in the local region higher than that of one earned from an institution based somewhere else. This has been coined regional loyalty and is not imperative, but something to think about.
Considering the importance of accreditation, only online computer science bachelor's degrees offered by schools holding national or regional accreditationare included in the list.
14 Top Online Computer Science Bachelor's Degrees
Tuition is approximate based on per credit hours required for graduation and cost per credit hour for the 2012-2013 school year and excludes fees as well as supplies cost.
*Regis University offers the only ABET accredited online Computer Science Bachelor's degree in the country.
HLC = Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
MSA = The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
SACS = Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
DETC = Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council, which is not a regional accrediting agency but is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Nationally recognized accrediting agency.
MSCHE = The Middles States Commission on Higher Education, which is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
NWCCU = Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
WASC = Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which is a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
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