The 10 Best Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Programs of 2021
Software engineering is an excellent career choice that will benefit you in the long run. There are schools that offer software engineering associate degrees to those who want a short path to a career or a bridge to a four-year bachelor’s degree.
The best online Associate Degrees in Software Engineering prepare students for entry-level positions in the tech industry. This article breaks down the 10 best colleges that offer software engineering degrees at the associate level. It also covers how to choose the right school, as well as what software engineering jobs you can get with an associate degree.
At a Glance: The Top 10 Software Engineering Associate Degrees of 2021
The table below lists the top 10 associate degree programs for aspiring software engineers. Keep in mind that software engineering degrees are not especially common. So, some of the schools listed below offer software engineering as part of another program or as a specialization. You will still be able to find employment as a software engineer.
The table contains the degree names and estimated tuition costs for each program. The tuition might change by the time you’re ready to enroll, so make sure you research the latest figures. These numbers, which we collected from the schools’ official websites, don’t include mandatory fees or other costs associated with attending the school unless explicitly stated.
|School and Degree||Tuition||Notes|
Associate of Science (AS) in
|$250 per credit
$318 per credit
|Students in the military
All other students
|Gateway Technical College
AS in Information Technology:
Web Software Developer
|$10,228 for full program||Tuition and fees for all students|
|Guilford Technical Community College
Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in
Simulation and Game Development
|$76.00 per credit
$268.00 per credit
|Lincoln Land Community College
Computer Science: Associate in Arts
|$154.50 per credit
$289 per credit
$423.50 per credit
|Montgomery County Community College
AS in Computer Science
|$144 per credit
$288 per credit
$432 per credit
|North Hennepin Community College
AS in Computer Science
|$206 per credit||All students|
Online Associate Degree in Software
|$167 per credit
$260 per credit
|Students in the military
All other students
|St. Petersburg College
AS in Web Development
|$127 per credit
$138 per credit
$402 per credit
$441 per credit
|University of Toledo
AS in Programming and Software Development
|$4,598 per term
$9,278 per term
|Wayne Community College
AAS in Software Development
|$1,216 per term
$4,288 per term
Why You Should Pursue a Software Engineering Associate Degree Online
An online Associate Degree in Software Engineering isn’t any different from a traditional degree. You’ll learn the same skills and be able to get a job as a software engineer. However, an online software engineering degree comes with additional flexibility and cost-saving benefits when compared to an in-person school.
The best online colleges and universities also offer a customized learning experience. You may enjoy more liberty in choosing your preferred courses rather than following a rigid curriculum. If you’re worried about the quality of fully online education, make sure you research your options thoroughly before making a decision.
Below is a summary of the main benefits of studying software engineering online.
- Getting your Associate Degree in Software Engineering online reduces the cost of attendance.
- You will have more control over what classes you take.
- You can learn from anywhere in the world.
What Are the Requirements for an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?
You will need a high school diploma or a GED. You will also need to submit school transcripts and an application form. Other admission requirements vary from school to school.
Associate degrees are usually offered by community colleges, which often require lower GPA requirements for admission.
Top 10 Online Software Engineering Associate Degrees: 2021 List
Let’s dig deeper into the schools and associate degree programs listed above.
Champlain College | AS in Software Development
Champlain College is a Vermont-based private school that offers 100 percent online degrees. The school is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education and has a graduation rate of 62 percent.
The online Associate of Science in Software Engineering is made up of 60 credit hours, with the bulk coming from the technical aspects of software engineering. In the program, you’ll learn HTML, Python programming, C++ programming, and more. You’re allowed to transfer up to 45 credits to a bachelor’s degree upon graduation.
Gateway Technical College | AS in Information Technology: Web Software Developer
This program is offered by a technical college in Wisconsin. The school has been around since 1911 and it is one of the largest technical colleges in the state. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award associate degrees.
The Web Software Developer program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. This 62 credit program prepares students for roles in the tech industry. Local internship opportunities are available, allowing students to build their portfolios and professional networks.
Guilford Technical Community College | AAS in Simulation and Game Development
This program is offered by the fourth-largest community college in North Carolina. Guilford Technical Community College was established in 1958 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Associate of Applied Science in Simulation and Game Development is particularly for those who want to focus on game software development. However, you will learn the general principles of software engineering. Courses cover graphic design, programming, and the non-technical aspects of software development.
Lincoln Land Community College | AA in Computer Science
Popularly known as LLCC, this Illinois-based community college has a range of associate degree tracks. The school was founded in 1967 and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is known for its excellent career services and for offering low-cost education to students.
There is no online software engineering associate degree, but there are a couple of relevant online programs in computer science. The best is the Associate in Arts in Computer Science. It was designed for people who want to mix business with computer programming and software solutions.
Montgomery County Community College | AS in Computer Science
This community college was founded in 1964 and is based in Pennsylvania. The school doesn’t offer an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering. However, it offers one in computer science, which covers the fundamentals of software engineering. The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The associate program is project-based. So, you should expect to handle a lot of practical projects that provide hands-on experience. Students will learn SQL, computer architecture, statistics, probability, and more.
North Hennepin Community College | AS in Computer Science
This is a Minnesota-based community college that was founded in 1966. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. While the graduation rate is only 19 percent, it has an intensive computer science program for prospective software engineers.
The program runs for about two years and covers all the key subjects for software engineers. This includes Android development, iOS development, web development, data structures, objective-C programming, as well as non-technical subjects.
Rasmussen University | Online Associate Degree in Software Application Development
This school has physical locations in Florida, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and many other locations. They also offer degrees online. The university has been around since 1900 and it is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
You can get your software development associate degree from Rasmussen University in 18 months. You will study major programming languages and frameworks, learning C++, Java, C#, and SQL, among others. There are also courses on systems integration and cloud computing.
St. Petersburg College | AS in Web Development
This school is located in Florida, but it has a fully online Associate of Science in Web Development. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Toledo | AS in Programming and Software Development
The University of Toledo, or UToledo, is an Ohio-based public research school that is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. There are exceptional online programs across all departments and education levels.
The Associate Degree in Programming and Software Development prepares students for careers in the tech industry. Students can apply for admissions, complete their education, and graduate without ever visiting the physical campus.
Wayne Community College | AAS in Software Development
This is another great school in the North Carolina college system. It was founded in 1958 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The online Associate Degree in Software Engineering covers programming, network systems, software development, and the use of modern technologies in the development and deployment of software. You will also have to take a few general education courses and some electives.
Choosing the Right Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Program
There are some variables you should consider when choosing an online Associate Degree in Software Engineering. These are the same factors that would help you choose any other degree program for software engineering. They include internship opportunities, accreditation, and transfer credits.
An internship is a crucial part of your software engineering training. It gives you the chance to put everything you’ve learned into practice. You shouldn’t be left to fend for yourself when it’s time for an internship. So, find out if the school has any standing arrangements with local companies to offer student internship programs.
As far as online learning is concerned in the United States, accreditation must come from the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). If a fully online school doesn’t have this accreditation or any other relevant accreditation for online learning, think twice before enrolling. The school should also be accredited to award post-secondary degrees.
Most people who opt for associate degrees eventually upgrade to a bachelor’s degree. Find out if the school you’re interested in allows you to transfer credits within and outside of the institution. This way, you will not need to start as a freshman when you’re ready for your bachelor’s degree.
What Can You Do With an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?
With an Associate Degree in Software Engineering, you can get entry-level positions within and outside the tech industry. You can work as a software engineer, web developer, IT technician, and more.
While you may be equipped with the same skills as someone with a bachelor’s degree, your salary prospects will be lower until you complete a bachelor’s program or gain more experience.
Entry-Level Software Engineer
Average Salary: $67,751
Entry-level software engineers build and maintain software. They often work under the supervision of a more experienced software engineer during product development.
Entry-Level Web Developer
Average Salary: $43,297
As an entry-level web developer, you will work on web development projects independently or on a contract with a company. If you’re attached to a company, you may have to answer to a more experienced developer.
Average Salary: $44,933
Typically, an IT technician installs and maintains an organization’s computer systems to ensure maximum performance.
How Much Can I Expect to Earn With an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree?
You should expect to earn an average of $67,751 as an entry-level software engineer. According to ZipRecruiter, this is equivalent to $32.57 hourly and $1,303 weekly. Salaries could range between $38,000 and $115,000 depending on several variables, such as the job description, company name, and your level of experience.
Job location is another factor that affects the prospective salary of software engineers with associate degrees. Entry-level software engineers in Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, and Santa Cruz, California are among the highest paid in the United States.
Is an Online Software Engineering Associate Degree Worth It in 2021?
Yes, an Associate Degree in Software Engineering is worth it for anyone who needs foundational knowledge of the subject. The benefit of opting for an associate degree instead of simply teaching yourself online is that you will enjoy a well-rounded education. It also makes it easier to advance to a bachelor’s and subsequently a master’s degree.
An Associate Degree in Software Engineering is the first step to a long and fulfilling career, especially in the tech industry. After all, the demand for software developers is predicted to rise by 22 percent between 2019 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’re not going to be at a loss for job opportunities if you start down this career path.