Online Degrees in Database Management

Database administrators, or DBAs, use specialized software to store, manage, access and mine data. Meanwhile, they are normally charged with protecting important data from hackers and external sources. This can include crucial organizational documents and financial information, along with various customer-related data.

Online degrees in database management can help students prepare for a career managing important data for businesses in the public and private sector. Entry into this profession is competitive, with most employers looking for candidates who have a bachelor's degree or higher. For certain advanced positions, employers may prefer to hire individuals with a master's degree or a related field like computer science, information technology, or information systems. Degree programs introduce students to various technology-related concepts including database languages, the most common of which is Structured Query Language, or SQL.

While anybody can enroll in a database management degree program, the ideal student is highly motivated, detail-oriented and good with computers. Other qualities that apply to prospective DBAs include superior critical thinking, analytical, and communication skills.

Database management degrees are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level, along with certificate programs for continuing education. Most of the time, the ideal candidate for a DBA certificate already has a bachelor's degree in a related field.

Most database management careers require a bachelor's degree as the minimum educational standard for entry and certain positions may require a master's. The following chart highlights some of the most popular degree options in the field, along with the average length of completion and some potential careers for each:


Length of Completion

Potential Careers

Certificate in Database Management

Certificate programs typically take 1-2 years to complete. These programs are often geared toward professionals already working in a related industry.

Information Security Analyst, Computer Network Architect, Computer and Information Systems Manager, Database Administrator

Associate in Database Management

These programs typically require two years of full-time study.

Computer Support Specialist

Bachelor's in Database Management

These programs typically take four years of full-time study to complete.

Information Security Analyst, Computer Network Architect, Computer and Information Systems Manager, Database Administrator

Master's in Database Management

These programs take up to two years of full-time study after completion of a bachelor's degree.

Computer Network Architect, Computer and Information Systems Manager, Database Administrator

As you can see, DBA jobs typically require a bachelor's degree or higher. Some candidates may find work in this field with just a certificate in database management. However, this is normally only possible if they have already earned a bachelor's degree in a related field.

While some students earn degrees strictly in database management, others may pursue programs in related IT fields but add a database specialization. Related degrees that offer database specializations commonly include information technology and computer science. Most of the time, your specific degree name will depend on the school and program you choose.

Coursework for students is mostly the same no matter which degree type they choose. Classes generally focus on different issues concerning data administration, such as protecting an organization's data from outside threats. Students will also learn how to write basic computer programs, analyze data, mine for data, and perform a broad range of DBA duties.

Core curriculum tends to be similar across DBA programs. Students can expect to take courses in the following fields:

  • Information Technology
  • Business Systems Analysis
  • Database Design
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cyber Law and Ethical Considerations
  • Information Systems Design
  • Database Administration
  • Data Mining Fundamentals
  • Data Analytics
  • Linux and UNIX
  • Structured Query Language (SQL)

Students intending to pursue DBA positions may want to consider an internship in the field. While not necessarily required, this unique arrangement can help students gain valuable on-the-job experience that may help them find employment after graduation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, all careers in database management require a bachelor's degree or higher. Most students will need to spend four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor's degree. However, some may choose to spend another two years pursuing an advanced degree in this field, or earning a MBA (master of business administration) to complement their degree. Employers are also interested in candidates who have some on-the-job experience and can demonstrate their abilities and technical skills.

With the bulk of database management education taking place online or with the help of a computer, degrees in this field are a natural fit for web-based learning. Students will learn the same principles and software programs as those in traditional programs, but with the added flexibility that comes with online education.

Online students have access to the same textbooks and course materials as their campus-based peers. However, they rely heavily on features such as message boards, video, and instant chat to communicate with their online professors and classmates.

Database management degrees are broad enough that they can lead to a wide range of careers. Even better, the high level of technical knowledge required for DBAs, along with the ongoing demand for skilled candidates, tends to support a job market where high pay is the norm. Here are a few of the most popular degree options, along with relevant wage and employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:


Projected Job Growth 2014-2024

Mean Annual Wage in 2014

Information Security Analysts

18 percent


Computer Network Architects

9 percent


Computer Support Specialists

12 percent


Computer and Information Systems Managers

15 percent


Database Administrators

11 percent


As you can see, on-campus and online degrees in database management can lead to several different opportunities in the interconnected worlds of computer science and information technology. Since each student's needs and career goals are different, individuals should do their research before choosing a degree to pursue. At the end of the day, any of the degrees offered in this dynamic and growing profession could help students achieve the career success they have always desired.

To learn more, check out any of the schools listed below.

Computer and Information Systems Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm
Computer Network Architects, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm
Computer Support Specialists, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm
Database Administrators, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/database-administrators.htm
Information Security Analysts, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm

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