Online Information Sciences Degree

Online Information Sciences Degree

Information science is a growing field with plenty of diverse career possibilities. Information scientists enjoy an excellent job market, interesting work, and high salaries out of the gate. But why earn a degree in an information sciences field?

Here, we’ll give you the essential information about information science degrees. Today, there’s never been a better time to choose this growing career field. Due to the technological focus of the field, it’s also possible to earn an information science degree online.

If you’re interested in majoring in a high-paying field while attending college online, you’ve come to the right place. Online learning offers unrivaled flexibility and increased affordability. Here’s everything you need to know about online information science degree programs, online universities, and what to expect when you enroll.

But first, here are a few facts about online degrees and the field of information science.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for information science professionals is $77,173 per year in 2020.

Many careers in information science offer high salaries.

Most information science careers require a bachelor’s degree.

Students can earn a degree in the information science field entirely online.

What Is an Online Information Science Degree?

An online information science degree is the same as any other information science program; except it’s online. It really is that simple. Today, online education is up-to-par with traditional colleges and universities. And though it’s not as common, online degree program enrollment increases every year. There are numerous benefits to obtaining a degree online. We’ll go over the benefits of online education below.

Online Information Science Degree Benefits

There are benefits to both online education and information science degrees. Students who opt for an online degree in information science save money while earning the credentials necessary for a high-paying job in technology.

Students who attend online courses can save money. Cost of commuting automatically disappears, and (usually) living at home is less expensive than moving to attend school. Plus, some schools offer discounted tuition to online students. 

Computer science is a booming career path with rapid growth and high salaries. There are numerous career paths to choose from with a computer science degree, and each offers unique opportunities in the field.

Computer Science Salary: $86,370
Computer Science Job Growth: 16%

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top computer science careers are growing much faster than average. The BLS predicts the field will grow 16% over the next decade, far outpacing the occupational average of 5.2%.

  • Job Openings
  • Jobs Filled

Computer science associate’s degrees are a great first step to a technology career. Degree holders have an advantage in the economy, and outperform high school graduates in the workforce. These benefits tend to increase if students pursue higher education, such as a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

As the number of computer science graduates increases, opportunities in the workforce are filled. However, as the chart above indicates, the number of jobs available far outnumbers the amount filled. Even with a stark increase in graduates over the last decade, there’s still and enormous (and exponentially increasing) demand for fresh talent in the field.

In short, computer science is a future-proof career field that’s worth considering. Computer science salaries are high, and opportunities are plentiful. An associate’s in computer science is an excellent way to test the waters and see if an IT career is right for you.

Computer science certifications are the next step in a successful tech career path. With the help of a computer science AS degree, you can prepare for and pass numerous certification exams and give your resume a spectacular boost. Plus, certifications aren’t just useful for finding a job; you can get certified after hiring and advance within the company. Certifications for computer science tasks can open the door to wide range of career possibilities, and expand your technical skills to a professional level. Here, we’ll go over six of the most valuable certification programs for networks, operating systems, cybersecurity, communication, and product support.

Cisco is a major supplier of communications equipment for businesses across the world, especially in the United States. If you live in a town with office buildings, chances are you’ll find Cisco equipment inside. To service its massive customer base, Cisco offers a certification program for individuals looking to install, maintain, and repair these systems. Cisco Certified Network Associates also provide customer support.

Network+ certification from CompTIA is an asset to any computer science degree holder. This globally-recognized certification is designed for people with network and internet communications training. The certification allows you to work with large-scale networks, and prove your qualifications to prospective employers.  The examination takes roughly 90 minutes to complete, and costs $319 total.

This certification should speak for itself. Apple offers a certification program for people looking to work with and troubleshoot its products. ACA certification also equips professionals with the skills they need to help businesses set up Apple-based infrastructure, and help employees train with and understand the product they’re using.

CompTIA offers A+ Technician certification programs for anyone looking to work in the tech industry. CompTIA’s A+ program is one of the most comprehensive certifications available, and covers everything from data management to cloud computing. The program is designed to cover all of the essentials of working in a modern IT environment, with an element of security mixed in as well. Companies like Intel and HP accept this certification.

Today, system security is more important than ever. Cybersecurity analyst positions also offer great salaries. CISSP certification is an excellent way to gain the qualifications necessary for one of these prestigious positions. CISSP is a global certification that leads the pack in the cybersecurity industry. If you want to become a cybersecurity professional, a CISSP certification is highly advisable.

Apple doesn’t corner the market on OS and brand certifications, as Microsoft also offers a similar program for professionals. This certification covers desktop and system infrastructure, cloud computing, messaging, communication, Microsoft data, and business intelligence among other things.

Information Science Degree Jobs

Information science is a growing field with plenty of opportunities for graduates. Students with an information science degree (earned online or in-person) can start a career as a data scientist, data analyst, business analyst, and more. Computer science is also a popular career path for information scientists. Here are some common jobs and average salaries.

Data Scientist

Data scientists are responsible for managing and interpreting databases and large data sets. These professionals are well-paid and essential in many industries. Job growth exceeds the national average, and data scientists can work remotely.

  • Data Scientist Salary: $130,309
  • Data Scientist Jobs Available: 27,452

Information Scientist

Information science is the general term for people who manage and interpret information in a field, and it’s usually associated with technology. Pay for the information sciences field is generally high across the board.

  • Information Scientist Salary: $77,173
  • Information Scientist Jobs Available: 74,238

Data Analyst

Data analysts perform many of the same tasks as data scientists, but they focus primarily on interpreting data. These professionals turn large volumes of data into useful and actionable information, which helps businesses make important decisions.

  • Data Analyst Salary: $62,453
  • Data Analyst Jobs Available: 23,923
TitleMedian SalaryEntry-Level SalaryMid-Career SalaryLate-Career Salary
Computer Scientist $99,050$68K$100K$134K
Data Scientist$113,309$83K$113K$154K
Data Analyst$62,453$43K$62K$95K
Cybersecurity Analyst$86,643$63K$87K$100K
Information Scientist$77,173$51K$77k$112K
Business Analyst$68,346$50K$68K$93K
TitleMedian SalaryLate-Career Salary
Web Developer$68,500$111,000
Software Developer$76,500$107,000
Computer Support Specialist$48,600$70,000
Systems Administration Specialist$64,800$93,000
Data Scientist$113,300$154,000
Information Technology (IT)$84,800$125,000
Network Administrator$63,000$85,000
Help Desk Technician$41,800$58,000
Support Analyst$69,00$95,000

Online College Accreditation

College accreditation helps validate the degrees they issue. Third-party organizations are responsible for issuing accreditation. Many online schools are nationally accredited, but most major universities are regionally accredited instead. Here’s the difference.

National Accreditation

Many online-only schools are nationally accredited. This makes sense due to the diverse locations where students take classes. Here are the common types of nationally accredited programs.

  • Online-only (or mostly online) colleges and universities
  • Arts programs
  • Religious Colleges and Training 
  • Special degree programs

Degrees from nationally accredited schools are valid. However, transferring credits from a traditional university could be challenging.

Nationally accredited programs are designed for students seeking an education or certification in a specific field, such as theology or music. Agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges certify schools that meet certain requirements. Nationally accredited schools (and programs) generally don’t transfer to regionally accredited universities.

Regional Accreditation

Most well-known universities are regionally accredited. There are seven regional accreditation organizations in the United States; each covering a small pocket of states. Here are the organizations that are responsible for issuing accreditation for online and in-person information science degree programs (among others).

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Learning
  • New England Commission of Higher Learning
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • WASC Senior College And University Commission 

Regional accreditation is, by far, the most common kind of accreditation for four-year public universities. Students taking online courses from a public or well-known private institution will probably work under regional accreditation.

Students seeking an associate degree in computer science should attend a regionally accredited school. Four-year universities also use this accreditation system, which makes transferring credits possible. Each region (Western States, Middle States, New England, Southern, among others) is governed by an accrediting organization.

Admissions requirements for online information science degree programs are widely varied. Students must investigate the individual requirements of their school of choice. Generally speaking, community colleges admit students easiest. Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs are more selective.

Community College Admissions

Community colleges serve the community. As a result, they generally don’t set many (or any) admissions criteria apart from a high school diploma or GED. Students from all backgrounds can get into community colleges with relative ease.

University Admissions

Universities are much more selective than community colleges. Students must submit high school transcripts (or a GED), along with standardized test scores from the SAT or ACT. Recently, the SAT has fallen out of favor at many institutions, leaving the ACT as a wise choice. However, students can take the SAT alone or both tests.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate schools require a high level of academic documentation. Students must present proof of their bachelor’s degree, along with additional test scores. Transcripts are also required to be admitted into a master’s degree program at a graduate school. Online graduate degrees aren’t as common as online bachelor’s degrees, but information science fields offer more flexibility than lab-based STEM subjects such as chemical engineering.

Online degree tuition varies between schools (and even between programs). The average cost of a bachelor’s degree has increased over the last several decades. Today, earning a degree can be prohibitively expensive for some. However, some online information science degrees cost less than the in-person alternative. Plus, online college students save money on transportation and rent. Here’s how to pay for an online information science degree.  

Scholarships

Scholarships are the absolute best way to save money on tuition. There are thousands of scholarships available for students pursuing STEM degrees online or in-person. It’s a good idea to apply to as many scholarships as possible; it’s essentially free money for education.

Student Loans

Student loans are a popular way to pay for an online degree. However, student loans come with a fairly large amount of risk. Many student loans aren’t forgivable through bankruptcy, which is why you should be cautious about taking them out. Read up on interest rates and be sure to know what you’re signing up for.

An online degree in information science is considered part of the “STEM” field. This means that the curriculum will (most likely) mirror other STEM courses such as engineering. Students will spend a great deal of time studying mathematics, computer science, statistics, data, and other industry-specific subjects. Here’s the breakdown of online information science degree courses and curriculum.

Mathematics

STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) include, as you could imagine, lots of math. The amount of math-related courses in an information science degree isn’t as high as engineering, though students will spend ample time working with the subject.

Computer Science

Computer science is technically a sub-field of information science, but many students focus on CS-related courses while in school. Computer science is one of the most popular majors in the field, and the industry is heavily influenced by it. 

Statistics

Statistics is vital for information science careers. This is especially important for data scientists and data analysts. Data professionals rely heavily on their knowledge of statistical best practices to make sense of data.

Data

The modern economy runs on data, which is why it’s an integral part of any information science curriculum. The amount of information about data varies between courses and majors. Most students will spend some time on the subject.

Online Information Science Degree Types

Information science is a broad field with many subtypes. There is more than one way to study information sciences in college. Information science students can land a variety of jobs in the tech field, especially if they graduate with an advanced degree. Here are the levels of degree in the information sciences field. 

Online Associate’s Degree in Information Science

Associate’s degrees are the first education option for information science students. An associate’s degree in information science is earned through a two-year community college program. An associate’s degree is economical, and these students can transfer to a four-year university.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Information Science

A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum education requirement for information science careers. Bachelor’s degree holders have plenty of opportunities in the field. However, some information science positions require more (or don’t require as much) education to land a job.

Online Master’s Degree in Information Science

A master’s degree in information science is the next level above a bachelor’s degree, and brings a new level of qualification for jobs. Master’s degree holders can land higher-paying positions in many companies. After a master’s degree, students can earn a doctorate (PhD) or additional degrees. 

Computer Science Professional Organizations

Joining a computer science professional organization can help jump-start your career and keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends. Membership sometimes comes with additional perks, such as access to a strong peer network, coaching, job opportunities, and employment workshops. Computer science degree students benefit from mentoring opportunities in professional organizations.

The Association for Women in Computing, founded in 1978, is a computer science professional organization catered directly to women in tech. This organization provides a strong network, education opportunities, and support for female computer science professionals though its system of nationwide chapters.

The Association for Information Science and Technology is a popular choice for computer science graduates.  This organization offers an enormous amount of resources to technology professionals, and covers everything from jobs to legal information.  Additionally, the Association for Information Science and Technology welcomes current computer science students.

The Computing Research Association is a top organization for computer science professionals seeking networking opportunities and more. Additionally, the CRA offers opportunities and resources for computer science students and researchers, thereby delivering an all-in-one destination for the field. The organization focuses on technology, leadership, and networking.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, or ITE for short, is a multinational professional organization for engineers and technology professionals in over 150 countries.  With over 160,000 current members, the ITE is one of the most popular and diverse professional organizations for students with a computer science degree.

The IEEE Computer Society is a technology-focused organization for software engineers, web developers, and all kinds of computer science professionals.  The IEEE Computer Society hosts dozens of annual conferences on some of the coolest technology developments, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and security.

The Association for Information Systems is a premier computer science professional organization with chapters located all around the world. This organization hosts conferences, offers career support, provides educational webinars, and gives computer science workers access to a vast global professional network.

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