Updated: August 1, 2017
Whether you see yourself in a sky-rise office, flexing your creative muscles to design and manage the most secure and economical databases, or collaborating closely with a small team of non-profit developers, organizing and implementing critical information, a bachelor’s degree in database management is a fantastic career option. Managers, designers, and administrators of database systems are needed in a wide range of industries and disciplines, from healthcare to nonprofit, government to technology. As more data is stored digitally and in cyber spaces, the demand for database managers is only going grow, which evidences just some of the reasons why the job satisfaction of database managers is above and beyond most other occupations: most administrators and designers respond to career happiness surveys by saying they are “extremely satisfied” with their work.
Currently, those holding a bachelor’s degree in database management can expect the next few years to be very kind to them: it’s projected that demand will rise at least 11 percent in the upcoming seven years, if not more. And one can be confident that those numbers will continue to rise for many years after. Also, the average salary of database managers is modestly set around 84k annually, though one has the potential to earn up to 110k annually.
If you’ve considered starting (or finishing) your degree but have wavered at the cost and time commitment, now is an optimal time to consider distance education. Undergraduate online education is a flexible, affordable way to better your vocational potential without going broke, as most online degrees are more affordable than those earned on campus and many online schools do not have residency requirements. In addition to its flexibility and affordability, an online bachelor’s is considered an equal to a traditional bachelor’s.
What are the Best Online BS in Database Management Degrees?
To create a definitive ranking of the best online undergraduate degrees in database management we at College Choice went through exhaustive means to find the best in the nation at training and educating future database administrators. First we examined the academic reputation of each online BS in Database Management degree in the nation, and from there we looked at student retention (a reflection of student satisfaction) affordability, and the early salaries of graduates (to expose the return on investment). Though some of these database management programs emphasize data mining and others cloud computing, while some promote flexibility and others require online class participation, they all share one thing in common: they are the best online undergraduate programs in the country for those interested in data management. Our figures and information come from the university and colleges’ websites, PayScale, and nationally recognized U.S. News & World Report and The National Center for Education Statistics.
Colorado State University
College Choice Score: 100
Credit Hour Cost: $350
Colorado State University kicks off our top-ten list as the best online bachelor’s degree in database management for a number of reasons: its affordability ($350 per credit hour), its strong online reputation, and its high student satisfaction rate. Out of its nearly 33,000 students, the university maintains an impressive 86 percent retention rate. Colorado State—a land-grant university based in Fort Collins, Colorado—is known for its excellence in research and international educational programs.
When it comes to flexibility and specificity, you get the best of both worlds at Colorado State University. The online degree specialization in Database Management and Analysis allows you to customize your college career by taking a “building blocks” approach: you can choose from twelve different undergraduate degrees (among them are a BS in Information Technology and a BS in Project Management) and then add on the 15-credit data management specialization. The five upper-level classes consist of:
- Database Concepts
- Database Management
- Cloud Computing and Big Data
- Statistics and SPSS
- Data Mining
Colorado State University holds down a respectable status among other public universities (US News & World Report ranks it 121st in the country), though the school really shines when it comes to its online programs. Colorado State ranks 48th in the country for its online bachelor’s programs and 30th in the country for its online graduate computer information technology programs.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
College Choice Score: 98.5
Credit Hour Cost: $375
One of the five campuses in the University of Massachusetts system, UMass Lowell serves around 18,000 students each year through its six schools and colleges, as well as its online services. Known for having one of the largest selections of online programs that are delivered through a traditional university (45 degrees in total), UMass Lowell brings the all the qualities of an in-person classroom to the online format, with all of its online classes taught by full-time professors.
The program at UMass Lowell takes the form of an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with specialization classes in database management. The philosophy of this program is breadth over depth, which could be an astute strategy for your undergraduate degree. The 120-credit-hour curriculum includes a number of project-based classes, as well as an impressive list of electives (30 credits are required). Some of the data management-related electives include:
- Website Database Development
- Relational Database Concepts
- Network Management
- Linux/UNIX Systems Administration
The University of Massachusetts Lowell has a strong reputation when it comes to affordability and return on investment. Recently, Forbes named it on their top 10 list for “Best Value” among all US universities and colleges. Graduates of UMass Lowell make on average $54,100 in their early career. If you factor in the $375 per credit hour cost, and the top-notch online education at UMass Lowell, you’ve got yourself a great deal!
University of Maine at Augusta
College Choice Score: 97.5
Credit Hour Cost: $285
A public university associated with the seven-school University of Maine system, the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA) is home to around 6,000 students throughout its three core campuses: Augusta, Bangor, and its online platform. Within its two academic colleges—College of Arts and Sciences and College of Professional Studies—UMA delivers bachelors, associates, and non-degree certificates.
The online BS in Computer Information Systems at the University of Maine at Augusta offers students concentration options in programming, web development and networking, and, most notably, data science. This degree uniquely features an e-portfolio template, which prepares students to advertise their skills immediately post-graduation. Within the 121-credit-hour degree, 78 credits are required in the computer information systems major, 30 credits are required in electives, and close to 21 credits are required in a concentration. A few of the data science concentration courses include:
- Database Management
- Data Visualization
- Data Mining
- Database Management Systems: Oracle
Ranking in the top 50 of US News & World Report’s “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” (48th), the University of Maine at Augusta enrolls nearly 3,500 students completely online. Though most online students use the online platform for a liberal arts degree, about 8 percent of the online students are enrolled in information technology degrees. The school notably offers online courses to Maine Army National Guard units both at home and serving in Afghanistan.
College Choice Score: 96.75
Credit Hour Cost: $362
Designed almost exclusively for adult learners, National University is a private institution primarily based in La Jolla, California, but with over 14 additional campuses spread throughout the state, as well as a thriving online branch. Since the university is primarily aimed toward working professionals, most of the courses are organized into a condensed format, lasting just 4-weeks per class.
At National University, students in the Bachelor of Science in Information Systems get a chance to combine business with data management, a unique combination that serves students well in the working world. The curriculum braids together data communications, database management, and enterprise strategies to make you completely fluent in your field. You also have the option of jumping into the Transition Program, which launches you directly into National University’s Master of Science in Management Information Systems. Some of the core classes in this major are:
- Database Management Systems
- Management Information Systems
- IT Infrastructure
- Information Systems Strategy, Management, and Acquisition
National University claims a historical corner in the field of online education, with a program that spans back over 10 years, starting in 1996. It offers an impressive 1,500+ courses online, as well as providing nearly 100 different undergraduate and graduate programs exclusively online. Out of the total enrollment of around 23,000 students, nearly half of them (10,500) are online learners.
Southern New Hampshire University
College Choice Score: 96.5
Credit Hour Cost: $320
A private university that caters primarily to online students, Southern New Hampshire University’s main campus is located in Manchester, New Hampshire, though only about 3,000 students attend on the main campus out of its 60,000 enrolled students. The others attend virtually through Southern New Hampshire University’s College of Online & Continuing Education.
Southern New Hampshire University’s online BS in Information Technology includes a robust list of 10 possible concentrations, one of which is in Database Administration. The crux of the curriculum stems from learning the insides and outs of Oracle Database 11g. Students will not only learn how to design a similar system, but will also experience the implementation stage of a database system. Some of the highlighted courses in this 120-credit-hour program are:
- Database Design and Management
- Human Relations in Administration
- Oracle SQL Fundamentals
- Unix/Linux Operating Systems
Across both educational and business sectors, Southern New Hampshire University is widely known for its ingenuity. Fast Company recently named the university the 12th most innovative organization in the world. High praise! Additionally, since the online program at Southern New Hampshire University is so firmly established, the depth of student resources for the program stand out.
American Intercontinental University
College Choice Score: 96.25
Credit Hour Cost: $302
Originally founded in Switzerland during the 1970s, American Intercontinental University (AIU) is a global institution that is now based in Illinois, but has branches all over the world. Out of its 15,000 students, about 80 percent of them attend through AIU’s online campus, which was established in 2002.
The online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in Network Administration is a 36-month program that takes you through the ins and outs of industry-relevant tools related to database management. Some of the tools and projects you can expect to work on in this degree are LAN and WAN systems, networking layers, team-based learning, and more. This 180-credit-hour curriculum includes some of the following classes:
- Data Structures and Implementation
- Network Security Management
- Introduction to Databases
- System Architecture and Integration
When it comes to online learning technology and tools, American Intercontinental University is making unique strides. For example, its My Unique Student Experience (MUSE) program is an online tool that uses data to customize classes to each student. Its no surprise, then, that Computerworld Honors Program recently gave American Intercontinental University a “Best of the Best” ranking for its online offerings.
Colorado Technical University
College Choice Score: 93.75
Credit Hour Cost: $325
Offering degrees in business, management, and technology, Colorado Technical University serves around 21,000 students at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level. Though the school is based in Colorado Springs, over 90 percent of its students earn their degrees online.
Requiring a total of 184 credits, the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Database Management at Colorado Technical University takes a thorough and wide-reaching approach to the field. The curriculum integrates not only core topics like database systems and network management, but also key areas of the field like data warehousing, master databases, and business intelligence. Some of the highlight courses include:
- Data Structures for Problem Solving
- Data Security, Quality, and Integrity
- Operations Management
- Data Extraction, Transformation, and Loading
Colorado Technical University was originally founded to educate students who had formerly served in the US military, and it continues to live up to its name. In 2016, it was named “#1 Best for Vets” by the Military Times and a number of its graduates go on to work for government-related organizations like the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security.
College Choice Score: 93.5
Credit Hour Cost: $390
The largest evangelical Christian university in the world, Liberty University is a private institution that is based in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty University enrolls an astounding amount of students through its online branch—close to 100,000 students annually. LU Online uses a unique hybrid format of online scheduling—with some classes 16 weeks and others 8 weeks in length—and boasts a policy of capping class sizes at 25 students.
The Bachelor of Science in Information Systems with a Database concentration pulls together a number of elements within the technology field. Liberty University adds another unique element to the curriculum by incorporating a 12 required hours of Christian Life & Thought courses within the total 120 credit hours. In addition to the core classes in this degree, Liberty also includes a number of certification options related to data management (e.g., in JAVA, Oracle, and Cisco). Some other course highlights are:
- Database Management Systems
- Business Data Communication Systems
- System Analysis and Design
- Advanced Oracle
Along with Liberty University’s extensive online learning network, it pulls in some respectable online rankings. Among other regional universities in the south, US News & World Report ranked it 80th, and it ranks 79th among other online bachelor’s programs. Liberty is perhaps most known for its conservatism; Young America’s Foundation consistently lists it in the top 10 most conservative colleges in the nation.
Western Governors University
College Choice Score: 92.75
Credit Hour Cost: $240
Located in the beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, Western Governors University is a private university that offers its classes completely online. The 78,000 students take classes via WGU’s competency-based learning model, which means the students advance through their degree by showing they have mastered certain milestones. WGU operates through four academic colleges: business, information technology, education, and the health professions.
At Western Governors University, you can earn a BS in Data Management/Data Analytics and go straight to the heart of the degree. The 120-credit-hour program covers both the basics of IT and the specifics of data systems. The program at WGU also features eight IT certifications that you can tack onto your degree for free! Some of these include: Oracle Database 12c, CIW Data Analyst, and CompTIA Project+. This is a great way to gain some industry-relevant tools and get ahead in your career. Some of the classes you can expect to take are:
- Data Management Applications
- Data Structures
- Database Server Administration
- Data Wrangling with MongoDB
Western Governors University stands out not only for its innovative competency-based teaching model, but also for its tuition rates. WGU is the most affordable school on our list at $240 per credit hour. Within the BS in Data Management degree, WGU is also unique in incorporating a Udacity Nanodegree in Data Analytics, which is a certification that is widely respected and acknowledged in the IT field.
College Choice Score: 86.75
Credit Hour Cost: $390
Originally founded in 1911 as Baker Business University, Baker College is now a private career college that operates out of a number of locations throughout the Midwest, though primarily in Southern Michigan. Currently, its students have access to over 100 degree programs via fourteen different ground campuses, as well as Baker College Online.
The Bachelor of Computer Science with a concentration in Database Technology not only preps you for setting up database applications, but it also gives you the know-how for managing software and large-scale database systems. The 123-credit-hour curriculum covers all the bases of software programs—from C++ to Java to Oracle. The degree program includes some of the following stand-out courses:
- Database Management Using SQL
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- System Modeling and Design
- iSeries CL and File Design
Baker College is known as “America’s leading career college.” Its no-frills approach to online learning bundles together small class sizes, industry-educated faculty, and fully-established student services (including Handshake, Baker College’s free recruiting service) gives graduates of Baker College a distinct advantage post graduation. All online students attend a 3-week online orientation before starting their degree to ensure optimal success in their program—yet another example of Baker College’s care and attentiveness to their students.