Database administration is an ever-growing and evolving field in the information technology sector. All sorts of businesses rely on their databases to maintain inventories, sales, research, and loads of data. Database professionals handle all of these matters and more for clients who run retail operations, warehouses, and even financial institutions. The field can even involve cyber security, networking, and software development.
This page is dedicated to students who are seeking the most affordable database administration programs in the United States. We cover the topic thoroughly and any aspiring database professional is sure to find useful information in these pages.
Best Affordable Database Administration College Rankings
Some of the factors we consider in our Rankings include:
- Student Loan Default Rate:
This number relates to how many graduates are unable to meet their financial obligations vis-a-vis student loans. The lower the number of defaults will reflect positively on the long-term earnings potential for graduates.
- Online Program Availability:
While this might be a given for a technology degree, we track this number to assure students in case they need to study from home for part of all of their database administration degree program. Even traditional students can take advantage when a program offers online courses in that the flexibility can open time for an internship in database administration.
- Variety of Programs Offered:
This is especially important at the undergraduate level. That's because undergraduate students frequently discover that their intended degree is not exactly what they desire. For instance, a computer science major might discover that they'd prefer a career in database management. When a school offers more variety, students can select the path that makes the most sense for them.
- Admission Rate:
Educational statistics show a direct correlation with competitive admissions standards and speedy graduation times. The lower the rate, the more students are found graduating between four to six years.
- Retention Rate:
This is a very important educational statistic that measures how many first-time, full-time students return to a school for a second academic year. There are often statistics for part-time students, as well. A high retention rate indicates strong levels of satisfaction among students and their families. When a high retention rate meets a high graduation rate, any program is sure to deliver top notch academic value.
Northern Kentucky University
- In-State: $10,296
- Out-of-state: $20,256
- Net Price: $9,664
- Retention Rate: 72%
- Graduation Rate: 47%
- Total Enrollment: 15,664
- Undergrad Students: 11,868
- Graduate Students: 3,796
- In-State: $2,444
- Out-of-state: $8,732
- Net Price: $9,782
- Retention Rate: N/A
- Graduation Rate: 44%
- Total Enrollment: 31,289
- Undergrad Students: 31,289
- Graduate Students: 0
Clayton State University
- In-State: $5,568
- Out-of-state: $16,290
- Net Price: $11,620
- Retention Rate: 71%
- Graduation Rate: 31%
- Total Enrollment: 6,879
- Undergrad Students: 6,368
- Graduate Students: 511
Purdue University Fort Wayne
- In-State: $8,730
- Out-of-state: $20,961
- Net Price: $12,071
- Retention Rate: 57%
- Graduation Rate: 40%
- Total Enrollment: 10,208
- Undergrad Students: 9,697
- Graduate Students: 511
- In-State: $8,303
- Out-of-state: $13,847
- Net Price: $14,967
- Retention Rate: 66%
- Graduation Rate: 48%
- Total Enrollment: 11,048
- Undergrad Students: 9,971
- Graduate Students: 1,077
Central Washington University
- In-State: $8,444
- Out-of-state: $24,520
- Net Price: $16,441
- Retention Rate: 71%
- Graduation Rate: 58%
- Total Enrollment: 11,658
- Undergrad Students: 11,111
- Graduate Students: 547
Old Dominion University
- In-State: 10,800
- Out-of-state: 30,960
- Net Price: $17,162
- Retention Rate: 80%
- Graduation Rate: 53%
- Total Enrollment: 23,675
- Undergrad Students: 19,176
- Graduate Students: 4,499
- In-State: 43,246
- Out-of-state: 43,246
- Net Price: $33,313
- Retention Rate: 79%
- Graduation Rate: 60%
- Total Enrollment: 6,022
- Undergrad Students: 3,542
- Graduate Students: 2,480
- In-State: $41,202
- Out-of-state: $41,202
- Net Price: $33,319
- Retention Rate: 83%
- Graduation Rate: 71%
- Total Enrollment: 21,922
- Undergrad Students: 14,145
- Graduate Students: 7,777
- In-State: $21,587
- Out-of-state: $21,587
- Net Price: $28,762
- Retention Rate: 81%
- Graduation Rate: 54%
- Total Enrollment: 93,349
- Undergrad Students: 47,988
- Graduate Students: 45,361
Why a Degree from an Affordable Database Administration Program?
A degree in database administration is a terrific idea for tech-minded students. Since most every organization relies on its database, there are loads of jobs available. Database administration professionals can work in large organizations, small businesses, or even work as freelance contractors who help a variety of clients. The earnings outlook for these tech professionals is also rosy.
Even though database administration experts can earn a lot in their jobs, students are still advised to seek out the most affordable database administration degree college or university possible. The term affordable in this context can mean cheap, but it can also refer to the schools that help students form the best possible academic foundation. That is, the best programs will prove to be more affordable when students are able to succeed and improve their income outlook in the IT world.
One way to keep costs low is to start with an associate degree. This option enables students to complete the core college curriculum for a low cost. In fact, many states are implementing cheap or free community college educations. Database administration students can use their community college get started on their focus area and then finish a bachelor’s degree program in a full four-year college or university. Even if you choose a more expensive bachelor’s option, as long as your credits transfer you will still save money overall.
Further, when students spend a few years in community college and do some work in an IT department, they may have a clearer idea of how to proceed. They may learn that they need a program that focuses on cloud computing, cybersecurity, Linux databases, or some other concentration within database administration.
Choosing an Affordable Database Administration College
When students decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in database administration, they are faced with a bevy of options. The cost of education can vary widely, as can the academic opportunities available to technology students. In fact, when students are looking for the most affordable database administration college or university, they have many factors to consider.
First off, database administration students should seek out the programs that offer the specific subjects they are looking to study. That is to say, not all database administration programs are created equally. Some will focus on cloud computing, for instance, while others may approach database administration from a cyber security angle. So, the first step may be to review the database administration curriculum and determine if it provides the desired focus. In fact, some may prefer a more broad-based approach that is geared toward preparing students with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of database administration. This approach seeks to open students up to the widest range of opportunities. Students who attend these more broad-based programs may then apply their knowledge to certifications which will hone their resumes for specific employers. Students can also specialize in a master’s degree program.
Once students have determined what they specifically want from a bachelor’s degree in database administration, financial considerations can come into play. One way to alleviate costs right off the bat is to focus on public, in-state colleges and universities. Students in western states, including the Dakotas, can also investigate the Western Undergraduate Exchange program, which allows them to attend a database administration program in an affiliated state for no additional, out-of-state costs.
On top of this simple financial solution, students can look at the possibility of attending a community college for their first two years. No matter where they live, community college is sure to offer cheaper college credits than a full four-year institution. Some states even offer free or dramatically subsidized community college degrees.
Another option is to seek out one of the many online database administration degree programs. These are generally more affordable on a per-credit basis. Plus, if a student finds a university that is too far away, if they offer the online degree option, they won't have to move or travel during every school break, which can save more than pennies. This may also result in a significant savings when they don't need to move far away and possibly live in a more expensive city.
An increasing number of database administration degree programs are available via online portals. Since the subject matter is inherently well-suited to online learning, students are encouraged to investigate this possibility. Computer science departments in particular may have devised clever solutions that enable students to collaborate with their fellow students without leaving their kitchen table.
The online option has many advantages over traditional, classroom instruction. For one thing, online education may facilitate even more instructor access than in a classroom. That's because even the shyest student can easily email questions to their professor and thus establish a connection that might be stymied by the bustle of a classroom.
Online database administration programs also render geography a moot point. They can attend any college or university that offers the database administration program they desire. Thus, a student in small-town California can attend a program in New York City, for example, without having to move across the nation. Students in similar situations also avoid the costs associated with both moving and living in a more expensive area.
As for the quality of an online degree, that all depends on the student. Students in online programs are encouraged to email with their instructors directly. Students who engage with their instructors are more likely to ask important questions and have a more rewarding educational experience. It also depends on the program's accreditation status. Students should seek out programs that have regional accreditation from a CHEA-approved accreditation agency. They can also look for database administration programs that boast programmatic ABET accreditation, as this is the gold standard of accreditation in many places.
Are Database Administration Programs in High Demand?
Since every business of any considerable size relies on a database for its day-to-day operations, database administrators are nearly always in high demand. Businesses also need database architects, cloud computing experts, and cyber security professionals who will ensure that the database is safe and secure. Thus, the field for database administration is growing all the time. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% growth rate for the profession through 2029.
The BLS also shows that database administrators rake in a healthy salary. The agency reports that these IT professionals earn a median salary of over $98,000. This is on par with many similar occupations, according to the BLS. For instance, computer programmers earn a media salary of $89,000, while computer systems analysts earn a median salary that hovers around $94,000. For database administration, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) salary figures are factored with the typical education level at the undergraduate level. When a database administrator achieves their MBA or other master’s degree, their salary goes up, and they probably earn a new title that falls into a different category for the BLS.
On top of this, any quick internet search will reveal countless colleges and universities that offer database administration as part of their information technology or computer science department. Some business schools are also home to database administration degrees, due to the fact that database management is so imperative to the proper operations of any good business. There are also innumerable certification programs that help database professionals focus their skills to one specific technology, coding language, or other niche within the profession.
What Can You Do with a Degree in Database Administration?
A degree in database administration can launch a career in multiple directions. Many will start their careers with a job as an entry level database administrator or elsewhere in an IT department. In this position, they will oversee the database and its day-to-day operations. Database administrators also work with the rest of the staff to provide them with permissions to various portions of the data.
However, there are many other sorts of careers available for students of database administration. Some options include data management, database design and architecture, database management, and information security. A data management expert helps their organization organize, collect, securely store, and use its data efficiently and effectively. To excel in this career, every data management professionals must be expert at working with big data, which is essentially a rushing river of data on the scale of the Amazon or Ganges.
Database design and database architecture are avenue for degree holders that also promise rewarding careers. As a database architect, IT professionals are involved in creating a customized approach to data management. To master this skill, professionals need to spend a lot of time studying the theory behind data management as well as topics such as cyber security, user experience, and all the code that makes it all possible.
With that in mind, database professionals need to master programming languages such as Python and SQL. Python is one of the primary languages that is used to arrange the data in a system. Big data experts rely on Python every day. SQL is the language that is fundamental to database technology. There are many variants to SQL but, once the core language is mastered, the rest should come fairly easy.
Database administrators thus might decide to branch out from their work with big data and become software engineers. They might even create new careers for themselves designing custom databases for clients. The entrepreneurial-minded can even work as independent contractors who employ their mastery of big data to create models for clients.
Finally, database administration experts can pursue careers in information security. Since cyber security is vital to the integrity of databases, all database administration students should take at least one course in the topic. Others might seek out a CAE approved program and focus their database work on security issues.
Database Administration Graduates Earn More After College
A degree in database administration is sure to yield graduates healthy earnings for a lifetime. Database administration graduates hit the ground running. According to Payscale.com they average $73,000 a year. Those that specialize in Microsoft SQL server reportedly earn a bit more at $76,000, while those who focus on ordinary SQL are on par with the average database administrators, earning $73,000.
When database experts add special skills to their resume, their earnings are positively impacted. For instance, Payscale reports that learning NoSQL can increase one's salary by over 50%. The same can be said of Sybase Adaptive Server and database management. Another option is to achieve a certification as an Oracle Database Administrator. While some academic programs groom students to pass the Oracle database administrator examination, there are non-credit programs that also prepare students to earn the $97,000 that Payscale reports for this specialty database career path.
Students should always keep in mind that a graduate degree can not only alter the trajectory of their career, but it can also inflate their earnings outlook. For this step, students can consider many options. For those who love math and working with numbers, a career that veers towards data science can be very fruitful. Others might be more interested in the business side of database management and thus work towards an MBA with a concentration in database administration. Those who can afford three years of full-time study might find a dual MBA program that pairs business education with a second graduate degree such as database administration, mathematics, computer science, or cyber security.
- What are the admission requirements for database administration programs?
This depends on the program. For instance, most community colleges have minimal admissions requirements. On the other hand, large universities may have secondary admissions requirements to their database administration programs. This could mean a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater, on top of a list of prerequisite courses.
- What is the average time it takes to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or MBA in database administration?
Assuming that students maintain a full-time schedule and don't take time off, an associate degree should take two years, a bachelor’s degree should take four years, and a master's degree will take another two. However, there are accelerated graduate programs where undergraduate students can complete both their bachelor’s and master's degrees in 5 intense years.
- Is a bachelor’s degree in database management worth it?
Yes! In fact, a bachelor’s degree in database management will help most any graduate launch a career in information technology. For many employers, a bachelor’s in database administration is a core requirement for employment.
- What is the top earnings potential for those with a database administration program?
While it’s impossible to say exactly what a person will end up earning with any degree, database administration is in such high demand that we can speculate. With a general database administration degree, the average salary is in the $70,000 range. However, database professionals who specialize in, say, cyber security are likely to earn more, especially as the gap between the needed professionals vs. available professionals continues to increase. Information security professionals can start out with salaries in the $90,000 range. When bonuses and befits are factored, salaries can exceed $100,000.
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