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Best online database management degrees 2021: Top picks

Database management is the process of storing and maintaining data. Graduates of a database management degree program have promising career prospects.

Organizations in every industry collect and analyze data from their customers, finances, and operations. The more these organizations rely on data, the more important the people who manage that information become. A database management degree equips students with the skills to store, maintain, and manage data, along with the credentials to start careers in this promising field. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 8% growth in database administrator occupations between 2020 and 2030. In addition to this career pathway, graduates can explore other attractive IT professions, such as computer analyst, administrator, and management positions. Here, we rank the best database management degrees and explore what a typical program looks like. 

The best online bachelor's in database management degrees

ZDNet's ranking methodology includes carefully collected information from reputable, publicly available national datasets. We then use our proprietary algorithm to determine the following ranking results.

Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.

1. Florida International University

Miami, Florida

About the program: FIU's 120-credit online computer science degree features courses in data structures and database management. Students can also choose electives in data mining and database administration.

  • Acceptance rate: 58%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Avg. annual net price: $7,296
  • Years to completion: Three to four
  • SAT range: 540-650
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Florida International University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon

About the program: Oregon State's 180-quarter credit online computer science program features an applied computer science track. In addition to database management courses, students can complete a database capstone project.

  • Acceptance rate: 82%
  • Graduation rate: 64%
  • Avg. annual net price: $20,016
  • Years to completion: Four (accelerated and part-time schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: 530-660
  • Minimum GPA: 3.0
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Oregon State University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

3. Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah

About the program: WGU's database management degree provides training in data collection and analytics. Students also take courses in full-stack engineering and network and security.

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 49%
  • Avg. annual net price: $9,805
  • Years to completion: Three to four (self-paced schedules are available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.75
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

4. Fort Hays State University

Hays, Kansas

About the program: FHSU's 120-credit online computer science program features training in data structures and database design and programming. Students also learn web development and software engineering. 

  • Acceptance rate: 91%
  • Graduation rate: 58%
  • Avg. annual net price: $12,053
  • Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

5. Regis University

Denver, Colorado

About the program: Regis' 120-credit online computer information systems degree features courses in database management and database applications. 

  • Acceptance rate: 71%
  • Graduation rate: 57%
  • Avg. annual net price: $25,483
  • Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and full-time schedules are available)
  • SAT range: 510-630
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over two
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Regis University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

6. Champlain College

Burlington, Vermont

About the program: Champlain's 120-credit computer and information systems program incorporates courses in database design, data visualization, and enterprise database design. 

  • Acceptance rate: 85%
  • Graduation rate: 61%
  • Avg. annual net price: $33,561
  • Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: 540-670
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE).

7. Limestone University

Gaffney, South Carolina

About the program: Limestone's computer science and information technology program includes training in internet databases, database management, and systems analysis and design. 

  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Graduation rate: 48%
  • Avg. annual net price: $22,707
  • Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: 480-580
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Rolling
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Limestone University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

8. Charleston Southern University

Charleston, South Carolina

About the program: CSU's 125-credit applied computing program offers three concentrations, including business, cybersecurity, and graphic arts. The core training in the degree features courses in database management and data structure analysis. 

  • Acceptance rate: 50%
  • Graduation rate: 39%
  • Avg. annual net price: $17,804
  • Years to completion: Two to four
  • SAT range: 500-620
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Charleston Southern University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

9. Central Methodist University

Fayette, Missouri

About the program: CMU's 120-credit online computer science program offers courses in database systems and SQL, data structures and algorithms, and computer architecture and operating systems. 

  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Graduation rate: 70%
  • Avg. annual net price: $15,196
  • Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Central Methodist University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

10. Saint Leo University

Saint Leo, Florida

About the program: Saint Leo's 120-credit online computer science program features training in database concepts and programming, computer architecture, and data structures. 

  • Acceptance rate: 72%
  • Graduation rate: 43%
  • Avg. annual net price: $18,869
  • Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Six
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous

Accreditation: Saint Leo University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

11. Bellevue University

Bellevue, Nebraska

About the program: BU's computer and information systems degree provides training in data and information management, IT infrastructure, and security. Learners can also choose several database-related electives. 

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 46%
  • Avg. annual net price: $15,616
  • Years to completion: Three to four (part-time and accelerated schedules are available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Four
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous 

Accreditation: Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

12. Davenport University

Grand Rapids, Michigan

About the program: DU's 120-credit online computer science program features courses in database design and data communications and networks. 

  • Acceptance rate: 82%
  • Graduation rate: 27%
  • Avg. annual net price: $16,098
  • Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous

Accreditation: Davenport University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

13. Hodges University

Naples, Florida

About the program: Hodges' 120-credit online computer information technology program features training in intro and advanced database management. Students can also choose database-related electives to form a speciality in the field.

  • Acceptance rate: 61%
  • Graduation rate: 33%
  • Avg. annual net price: $21,577
  • Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Over three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

14. Franklin University

Columbus, Ohio

About the program: Franklin's 124-credit online computer science program provides training in data structures and database management. Students can also take electives in data visualization and assurance. 

  • Acceptance rate: Not publicly available
  • Graduation rate: 34%
  • Avg. annual net price: $12,895
  • Years to completion: Four (part-time and accelerated schedules may be available)
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: Not publicly available
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Franklin University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

15. Baker College

Flint, Michigan

About the program: Baker's 120-credit online computer science degree features a data analytics concentration. In this program, students complete courses in database programming and big data analytics.

  • Acceptance rate: 73%
  • Graduation rate: 23%
  • Avg. annual net price: $15,049
  • Years to completion: 460-530
  • SAT range: Not publicly available
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Enrollment periods per year: Three
  • Course delivery method: Asynchronous and synchronous 

Accreditation: Baker College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Database management bachelor's courses

Every database management degree features its own unique offerings. In general, however, the training aims to teach learners how to effectively manage and organize databases on different servers and operating systems. 

Students may learn how to design and create databases for various purposes, how to maintain and upgrade them, and how to secure them and the information within. Some courses may help expand the role of the database manager, such as data analytics and data visualizations.

Database management

In this course, students are introduced to database management systems. They learn about the importance and functions of these systems and how to use structured query languages.

Data structures and algorithms 

Students in this course learn to identify and use various data structures, such as trees, stacks, and queues. They also learn to design and use algorithms for different structures based on the most effective application.

Data visualizations

This course teaches students about data analytics and how to present data in a clear and appealing manner. The training also shows learners how to use various open source and data visualization tools and techniques. 

Database design

In this course, students learn how to plan, design, and produce a working and effective database. They study methods for identifying client needs and user requirements before creating a conceptual and logical model.

Database management degree levels

Database management training comes in different depths and degree levels. Prospective students should identify their career goals and choose the degree that gets them on that path. They can, for example, choose a certificate to specialize, an undergraduate degree for entry-level training, a master's degree for leadership careers, or a doctorate for research and academic positions. 

Database management certificate

  • Length: 2-12 months
  • Cost: $100-$10,000
  • Post-grad careers: Computer support specialist, database manager, and computer programmer

A database management certificate can have multiple functions depending on the program. Some certificates offer introductory training, while others feature more advanced or graduate-level materials. 

Typically, these programs provide condensed and focused training. They may replace the need for a degree in some entry-level careers or help experienced computer professionals expand their skills. Certificate courses usually call for independent and hands-on training. 

Associate in database management

  • Length: One to two years
  • Cost: $11,389/year in 2018-19
  • Post-grad careers: Computer support specialist, computer programmer, and web developer

An associate degree covers the fundamentals of database management. In addition to learning the basics of database design, systems, and analytics, students complete general education and basic computer science courses. 

Graduates with an associate degree can pursue entry-level careers in the computer field or continue on with their studies. The programs combine both theoretical and practical training and may include internships and practicums.

Bachelor's in database management

  • Length: Three to four years
  • Cost: $28,123/year in 2018-19
  • Post-grad careers: Database administrator, network administrator, and information security analyst

A bachelor's degree in database management provides comprehensive training, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced database management courses. Students also build a solid general education and computer science foundation.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree can qualify for many computer and information technology professions. They can improve their chances of finding employment in a database-related field by choosing a specialization or focusing their practical assignments, internships, and capstone projects in a specific direction. 

Master's in database management

  • Length: One to two years
  • Cost: $19,792/year in 2019-20
  • Post-grad careers: Information research scientist, computer systems manager, and top executive 

A database management master's program builds on the foundational computer science training from undergraduate degrees. Students typically develop a specialization at this level, learning to manage, mine, and analyze data from extensive database systems. They also learn to design, implement, and safeguard these systems on different platforms. 

Most master's programs feature significant research and practical training. Graduates can pursue most computer occupations, along with management positions in numerous organizations.

Doctorate in database management

  • Length: Three to six years
  • Cost: $19,792/year in 2019-20
  • Post-grad careers: Postsecondary teacher, information research scientist, and database developer

Students in a doctoral program in database management conduct a significant amount of research in the areas of their choice. They develop a specialization through their studies in high-level management techniques, security, and database design. 

Doctoral graduates can pursue careers in academia, research and development, or in management with most organizations. They help drive innovation in the field, designing the databases and processes that improve how businesses store information and creating new models for analyzing it. 

In conclusion

An online database management degree can lead to some of the computer industry's most promising careers. By first figuring out their ideal degree and program direction, prospective students can choose from among the best schools and programs on this list that provide training in their dream field.