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While information technology is a career many people begin with no college degree at all – often just a certification or associate’s degree and hard work – an online information technology degree may be the step they need to take their career to the next level. Online programs provide convenience (no need to commute to campus or relocated) and flexibility (no need to change your schedule to work around class times). They’re often very affordable. But for many working professionals, online programs provide one more benefit – they’re fast.

Online programs are almost always built with the needs of working adults in mind, and one of the biggest limitations working adults face is time. There’s never enough of it, and busy professionals who are already several years into their career don’t want to wait to earn promotion and advancement. Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs give them the chance to earn the credentials they need quickly – sometimes in as little as one year or less. But where to find a quality accelerated information technology degree online? That’s where Bachelor’s Degree Center’s ranking of the 10 Fastest Online Information Technology Degree Bachelor’s Programs for 2019 comes in.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Online Information Technology Degree Programs

Of course, we can’t rank programs solely on how fast students can complete them – speed is critical, but not at the expense of quality. That’s why BDC ranks our list based on the same 5 factors as our other IT rankings: Cost, Reputation, Return on Investment, Graduation Rate, and Job Placement. With this data (from College Scorecard, Niche, and IPEDS), students know that they’re looking at programs that will help them get their degree fast, and make the most of it.

1. University of Denver

The University of Denver’s BA in Information Technology degree is an online Information Technology degree that can also be completed in a hybrid of online and in classroom courses. Each course is 10 weeks long. The University of Denver allows students to transfer up to 90 transfer credits to their accelerated information technology degree online program. The IT industry continues to grow and employers need information technology project managers across all industries, including health care, finance, construction, oil and gas, and manufacturing.

The BA in Information Technology allows students to develop their fundamental knowledge of technology. This degree will propel their career to the next level. Students will understand the value of strong interpersonal skills to work with teams, customers, and computer users. They will learn how to build databases and user-friendly and intuitive websites. Students will gain a better understanding of programming, web design, and system analysis. They will be better able to apply quantitative reasoning to their business.

Degree: BA in Information Technology

2. Regis University

Regis University’s BS in Information Technology degree is a highly regarded accelerated information technology degree online program. Regis offers three formats in which students can complete their degree program. The online format allows them access to their assignments at any time. The online classes are eight weeks long and no on-campus visits are needed. The accelerated format has six start times per year, with eight-week terms. Some classes are scheduled on campus. The traditional format has classes full time in the classroom and has 16 week semesters beginning twice a year.

Students in Regis’ online information technology degree program will gain in-depth knowledge of computer systems and how to design them. They will gain an understanding of LANs, WANs and mobile networks. They will learn how to build and maintain web applications. They will learn how to protect the networks they build and administer enterprise systems. They will learn the value in protecting systems from data breaches, identity theft, and cyber attacks.

Degree: BS in Information Technology

3. Bellevue University

Bellevue University’s BS in Information Technology degree program is offered online to allow students the most flexibility when completing this degree program. Bellevue will accept up to 90 transfer credits, making their accelerated information technology degree online program as short as just one year for qualified students. This program is geared towards students who are currently employed as a help desk or computer technician and would like to advance their career.

Bellevue online information technology degree students will gain a strong foundation in network security, data storage, servers, and cloud networking. Students will learn how to configure, install and upgrade computers and operating systems. They will understand best practices and standards for security within computer environments. They will learn implementation standards for local server and cloud environments. Students will have the opportunity for hands-on experience in which to implement the theory they learned.

Degree: BS in Information Technology

4. Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University’s BS in Information Technology – known as the WebBSIT – is designed to meet the specific needs of stay-at-home parents, working adults, and other nontraditional students. This program can be completed 100 percent online and Georgia State University may accept up to 90 transfer credits. This accelerated information technology degree online program gives students the opportunity to propel their careers to the next level.

With GSU’s online information technology degree, students will be able to understand the requirements of uses to satisfy their needs. They will learn how to analyze the needs of users to create an intuitive and effective IT system. They will learn how to utilize current technology and apply to properly to their needs of an organization or individual user. Students learn the value of working with a team to resolve problems. They will build on their current computer skills and techniques to be able to resolve advanced and complex problems.

Degree: BS in Information Technology

5. Purdue Global

Purdue Global’s BS in Information Technology offers busy working professionals an online information technology degree that meets their needs in a fully online format. This online program has courses that are 10 weeks long. While this program is completely flexible, students will need to devote 15 to 18 hours per week to it. This accelerated information technology degree online program allows students to select from one of four concentrations. Purdue Global gives students a foundation in technical knowledge, thinking critically, and creative skills which they will be able to use in any workplace.

Purdue Global’s information security and assurance concentration focuses on network administration, computer forensics, and the ability to detect intrusion and respond to it. The IT management concentration focuses on certified ethical hacking, project management, application development, and information system security. The network administration concentration focuses on troubleshooting networks and infrastructure design. The programming and software development concentration focuses on the exploration of software development concepts and programming languages needed for web and application development.

Degree: BS in Information Technology

6. California Baptist University

California Baptist University’s BS in Computer Information Technology is an accelerated information technology degree online program designed for flexibility; it can be completed in 16 months. Classes begin every eight weeks, with three semesters offered per year. This program can be taken 100 percent online or a hybrid of online and in classroom courses. CBU’s Bachelor of Computer Information Technology is intended to help students with personal, professional, and spiritual growth. This program is intended to help students become critical thinkers, lead effectively, and make sound decisions while applying ethical Christian standards.

Students in California Baptist University’s IT program will be able to resolve technical problems through the strategic application of new technologies. They will have an understanding of the methodologies of information technology. Students will become proficient writers and speakers in describing and explaining information technology. They will be informed leaders and help make sound organizational decisions. They will learn the value in blending faith into whatever career path they take. Students will be highly competitive in the global market because of their unique set of skills.

Degree: BS in Computer Information Technology

7. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University’s BS in Computer Information Technology is a completely flexible degree program. It can be taken completely online. The online information technology degree requires students to take 120 credit hours to graduate, however, only 36 credit hours must be taken at WKU. With their transfer policy, WKU creates a convenient accelerated information technology degree online program.

WKU IT students will learn the foundation of efficient and safe transfer of information and the best ways to store and analyze that information. They will learn the importance of and how to build computer networks and systems and computer databases. This program prepares students for many career opportunities. Upon graduation, students will be able to find employment as a Computer Network Architect, a Database Administrator, a Web Developer, or a Software Developer. Students could also be an Information Security Analyst or a Network and Computer Systems Administrator.

Degree: BS in Computer Information Technology

8. Liberty University

Liberty University’s BS in Information Technology is just one of many examples of the exceptional, useful online degree programs that have made Liberty the largest and most successful Christian university in America. This accelerated information technology degree online program provides the utmost flexibility for students as it is 100 percent online. The courses are eight weeks long and this program takes approximately 3.5 years to complete. Students will be better prepared to be leaders in their technology field with a foundation in application and database design.

Students in the Liberty online information technology degree program have four concentrations from which to choose within the BS in Information Technology as Liberty. The Application and Database Development concentration focuses on problems commonly found in web application and architecture. The Data Networking and Security concentration will focus on securing data with real-world hands-on experience. The Game Design concentration focuses on the skills and tools needed to be successful in video gaming, including design, user interface, and images. The Web and Mobile Programming concentration focuses on a foundation in mobile and web programming, including design and images.

Degree: BS in Information Technology

9. Regent University

Regent University’s BS in Information Systems Technology is a flexible program that can be taken online or in the classroom. The program uses accelerated eight-week sessions to speed up its classes, and Regent University may take up to 90 transfer credits. This accelerated information technology degree online degree program puts students in a position to assume leadership roles in their current field. They will learn to manage information, design systems and deploy new technology that is secure and reliable.

Online information technology degree students will be able to design and develop sound and reliable network systems. They will be able to manage the most complex information systems in their organizations. They will gain a strong foundation in technical knowledge and will become experts in their field. Upon graduation, students will be able to find employment as Computer Programmers, Software Engineers, Web Developers, or Network Administrators.

Degree: BS in Information Systems Technology

10. Western Governors University

One of the most unique modern universities, Western Governors University’s BS in Information Technology is a prime example of innovation in distance learning. This program can be completed online in anywhere from 7 to 37 months. Western Governors University uses competency-based education, which allows students to take an online assessment to determine if they have mastered the material. If the student passes the assessment, the student can move on past the course. This accelerated information technology degree online program provides students with a foundation in computer information systems and technology.

Students in WGU’s online information technology degree program have five concentrations from which they can choose: Systems and Services, Networking and Security, Scripting and Programming, Data Management, and the business of IT. Students will gain a foundation in IT services and support. They will design secure networks, write scripts and programming. Students will learn the value of managing data. They will learn how technology impacts every piece of an organization and the best way to implement new technology.

Degree: BS in Information Technology

What Will I Learn in an Accelerated Information Technology Degree Online?

Accelerated information technology degree requirements will be the same as a traditional information technology degree – just faster. The key difference is the information technology major subjects will be taught at a quicker pace. The online information technology courses needed to receive a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college can be finished in less than four years. In fact, students can fulfill information technology degree requirements at certain colleges in just over a year.

A bachelor of information technology syllabus will have a similar appearance for both traditional and accelerated programs. However, traditional information technology course subjects are taught over a 16-week timeframe. Online information technology courses from accelerated programs compress the subjects and can be completed in shorter five- to eight-week sessions. Typical offerings found on a bachelor of information technology syllabus include hardware and software troubleshooting; network management; cybersecurity; information assurance; cloud administration; and data analytics. Information technology major subjects in an accelerated online program can usually be completed at a student’s own pace.

Self-paced accelerated information technology programs will allow students to take as many or as few courses they find manageable. Accelerated information technology degree holders will have the same job opportunities as traditional degree holders. Students will be taught subjects that prepare them for careers as data analysts, information systems managers, information technology consultants, and technical support specialists.

Will I Get a Better Job with an IT Bachelor’s than with an Associate’s?

A bachelor degree in information technology offers more job opportunities and room for advancement than an IT associates degree online. An online IT associates degree will take less time to earn with programs completed in less than two years. A bachelor IT degree will take longer to finish, but can be earned in under two years with accelerated degree options.

According to Payscale, the average IT associates degree salary for individuals with two to four years of work experience was $32,700. In comparison, computer specialist careers that require a bachelor degree in IT earn a median wage of approximately $82,000, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Entry level IT jobs requiring a bachelor’s will usually have a starting salary upwards of $50,000.

After an online IT associates degree is earned, potential job opportunities include a career as a web developer or computer support specialist. Bachelor degree holders could secure jobs as computer programmers, software developers, computer network architects, network administrators, and computer systems administrators. Employers may look at an applicant with an IT associates degree online, if he or she has also completed certification programs. Professional certifications that online IT associates degree holders should consider include Cisco Certified Network Associate, CompTIA A+, and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.

Is an IT Certification Easier than a Degree?

Information technology certification programs do require less of a commitment than degree programs. Despite the reduced timeframe and cheaper cost, information technology certification programs have a narrow focus. Top IT employers desire candidates who have degrees that have given them a well-rounded knowledge base of various hardware and software components. Once employed, the company may pay to send staff to various information technology certification programs.

IT degree graduates who want their resumes to stand out from the competition may also decide to earn information technology certifications. Recruiters prefer candidates with information technology certifications because it means less training is required to prepare the worker for the job. Certifications enhance hard skills, but will not focus on soft skills. Bachelor and associate IT degree programs teach more than technical skills. They provide candidates with a solid business foundation. Students learn about finance, business strategies, leadership, effective communication, and analytics before taking specialized information technology courses. The good news is that many of the subjects taught in degree programs will prepare students to pass examinations for information technology certification programs.

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