The Best Data Science Associate Degree Programs
of 2021

To start your journey toward becoming a data analyst, a business intelligence analyst, or a computer support specialist, you should think about earning an Associate Degree in Data Science. There are data science degrees online as well as in-person degrees. Aspiring data scientists should consider a broad spectrum of associate degree programs.

A data science associate degree program prepares students with skills in big data, data engineering, and computer science, to name a few. If you’re considering this path, these are the best Associate Degrees in Data Science of 2021.

Why You Should Study Data Science

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms that jobs related to data science are projected to increase by 30.9 percent by 2029. This is significantly above the average rate. A career in data science comes with high job security and career opportunities.

BLS reports that the median annual salary for all data scientists is $98,230. While an associate degree is a good stepping stone, the highest-earning data scientists typically hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These professionals work full time and have the skills to move into high-paying jobs in database management, business intelligence, and more.

At a Glance: Top 10 Data Science Associate Programs of 2021

Data science associate degree programs typically cover statistical models, artificial intelligence (AI), computer science, and more. These programs help students reach their career goals by preparing them with foundational abilities in data science.

Below are the top 10 data science associate programs to help you become a data scientist. The information in the table was pulled from the schools’ websites. Tuition rates refer to the most recent academic year for which information is available.

School and Program State In-State Tuition Out-of-State Tuition Online Options
Bismarck State College
Data Analytics Technician Associate in Applied Science
(ND) $166.97 per credit hour $250.45 per credit hour Yes
Blinn College
Associate of Science
in Computer Science
(TX) $57 per credit hour (Washington County residents)
$115 per credit hour (Texas residents)
$274 per credit hour None
Community College of Allegheny County
Associate of Science in Data Analytics Technology
(PA) $118 per credit hour (Allegheny County residents)
$236 per credit hour (Pennsylvania residents)
$354 per credit hour None
Hocking College
Associate Degree in
Data Analytics
(OH) $5,200 per semester $9,570 per semester None
Nashua Community College
Associate of Science in Data Analytics
(NH) $215 per credit hour $323 per credit hour (Residents of Connecticut, Rhode Island,
Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont)
$490 per credit hour (Residents of every other state)
None
Northeast WI Technical College
Data Analytics Associate Degree
(WI) $157.65 per credit $228.15 per credit None
North Hennepin Community College
Associate of Science in Data Science
(MN) $175.11 per credit hour $175.11 per credit hour None
Saint Paul Community College
Associate of Science in Data Science
(MN) $171.54 – $259.97 per credit $171.54 – $259.97 per credit hour Yes, $191.54 per credit
South Dakota State University
Associate of Science in Data Science
(SD) $259.10 per credit hour $376.10 per credit hour Yes, $354.75 per credit hour
Wake Technical Community College
Associate of Applied Science in Business Analytics
(NC) $76 per credit hour $268 per credit hour Online and hybrid options available

What Are the Requirements for a Data Science Associate Degree?

To earn an Associate Degree in Data Science, you first need a high school diploma or GED. You must have earned at least a C average in math, English, and business. There are no other prerequisites you need for one of these programs.

International students may have to complete a TOEFL test to prove their English proficiency.

Should You Pursue a Data Science Associate Degree Online?

This primarily depends on the type of student you are. Completing an associate degree program at an online college allows you to work at your own pace, and set a schedule that suits your lifestyle. An online program also means lower tuition costs and no commuting to campus.

Online learning won’t work for students who need one-on-one guidance and students who prefer learning in groups. Online learning excludes physical interaction with your peers, and it requires students to have outstanding self-discipline.

Choosing the Right Data Science Associate Degree Program

Choosing the Right Data Science Associate Degree Program

When choosing an Associate Degree in Data Science, you should check the school’s reputation and make sure the curriculum covers valuable skills. Ideally, the program should include hands-on experience.

Below is a detailed summary of the top points to consider.

Reputation of the School

If the school providing the associate degree program has a poor reputation, it isn’t worth considering. Seek your degree from a well-known institute with a fantastic reputation and high-quality education.

Otherwise, employers might doubt the value of your degree. A school with a poor reputation could also mean low-quality study materials, services, and facilities. To check the reputation of program providers, find reviews on Google and social media, and speak to alumni.

Quality of the Curriculum

With an Associate Degree in Data Science, you can begin to explore a variety of exciting professions. You can pursue careers in business intelligence, computer support, database management, and more. The program needs to offer valuable skills aligned with your aspirations.

Avoid degree programs that cover topics irrelevant to your career goals.

Capstones and Other Projects

You want to build your portfolio while studying. A program with hands-on workshops, projects, or a capstone allows this. Since data science is a practical industry, you need an opportunity to practice your skills.

You can impress the hiring manager during your job interview if you have a project that you’re proud of and that demonstrates your skills.

Top Data Science Associate Degrees in 2021

To accomplish your career goals, you need to build expertise in data science. Below are the top associate degrees that can help you do just that.

Bismarck State College | Data Analytics Technician AAS

The Data Analytics Technician Associate in Applied Science program covers data collection, organization, data analysis, time management, communication, and problem-solving skills. You’ll also learn Python, XML, and SQL.

This program is a comprehensive way to study data science. Students will learn the basics necessary to succeed and you can complete this degree online or on-campus.

Top Features

The campus offers a wellness center, a library, an energy center, and an athletic complex. These resources encourage students to take part in more than just academics.

The college has been accredited by various institutions.

Students who need extra time can extend their program by a year.

Blinn College | AS in Computer Science

Blinn College has the lowest tuition for local residents on this list. The associate program teaches general mathematics and science courses covered in a four-year degree. The core curriculum is comprised of 42 credit hours.

Unlike many other programs, this program offers hands-on experience. Students will learn marketable skills too. These skills include problem-solving, social responsibility, and analytical skills.

Top Features

You can gain hands-on expertise through real-world projects.

There are many student services available. These include career services, counseling services, and disability services.

Many accrediting bodies have given Blinn their stamp of approval.

Community College of Allegheny County | AS in Data Analytics Technology

This 60-credit associate program teaches students to identify and define data challenges, collect and organize data, and discover actionable insights from data. This program also covers data mining, data visualization, and communication tactics.

This program focuses less on marketable skills for data science and more on the principles of data analytics itself. For students who only want to learn data analytics, this is an excellent choice.

Top Features

The college is located in a comfortable environment close to Pittsburgh.

The programs’ tuition costs are much lower than most colleges.

You can attend many community events. These include workshops, camps, musical events, and athletic events.

Hocking College | Associate Degree in Data Analytics

Besides hands-on experience, the Data Analytics Associate Degree program covers resource allocation, problem-solving, cost analysis, project management, and communication. This program aims to equip students with entry-level job skills for data science.

Unlike many learning institutions, Hocking College has an all-inclusive pricing structure. This means that you’ll know exactly how much your program will cost before you begin.

Top Features

You can take part in various activities such as camps and athletic events.

The college offers commercial driver education.

You will gain hands-on expertise and learn essential data science skills.

Nashua Community College | AS in Data Analytics

The Data Analytics associate program covers collecting data from credible sources and applying statistical tools to large data sets. Students also learn how to use data mining techniques.

Marketable skills are missing from the curriculum. Even so, you will build a firm foundation in computing, data science, and mathematics.

Top Features

You can apply for dual admission, which allows you to continue your studies after earning your associate degree.

The college has received regional and specialized accreditation from many institutions.

The program solely focuses on intricate data analytics techniques.

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Northeast WI Technical College | Data Analytics Associate Degree

While enrolled in the Data Analytics Associate Degree program, you learn how to collect, organize, and visualize data to create actionable insights. The curriculum covers quantitative reasoning, Python, data visualization, career planning, statistics, and logistics.

This data analytics degree, unlike most others, grants advanced data analytical skills. Students can enroll in a bachelor’s degree program afterward or apply for junior roles.

Top Features

The program covers advanced data analytics concepts.

The college offers a study abroad opportunity.

You can participate in academic coaching, student services, mental health counseling, and disability services.

North Hennepin Community College | AS in Data Science

In this data science program, you will learn JavaScript, Python, database modeling, data structures, and much more. This program aims to equip students with foundational data science skills.

After this program, students can conduct scientific research, assess databases, and develop algorithmic solutions. This program is ideal for students who want to specialize in data science.

Top Features

The program primarily focuses on valuable skills for data science.

Many institutions have accredited the college.

Students who complete this program are guaranteed a transfer to Metropolitan State University, where they can complete a four-year degree in data science.

Saint Paul Community College | Data Science AS

This data science program covers translating and capturing big data, analyzing data, and applying complex data frameworks. You will also learn SQL and explore how to apply data analytics tools. This program is available online, hybrid, or on campus. The program includes hands-on training.

At Saint Paul Community College, you have a guaranteed transfer opportunity to Metropolitan State University.

Top Features

The program includes hands-on projects.

There are many student services available, like academic advising, career services, and counseling.

Students can directly contact the program advisor with any concerns about the program.

South Dakota State University | AS in Data Science

This data science program is available both on-site and online. It helps students identify data challenges and prescribe accurate solutions. Students will also conduct expert data mining techniques. These useful skills allow students to work in the finance, business, ecommerce, social media, and research industries.

The 60-credit curriculum covers six modules. While there are no hands-on projects available, students benefit from career-ready knowledge.

Top Features

SDSU has a sophisticated online learning platform.

The university offers a study abroad opportunity.

You can seamlessly progress to studying for a bachelor’s degree.

Wake Technical Community College | AAS in Business Analytics

This associate program combines technical skills and marketable soft skills. It covers the theory of data mining, data warehousing, statistics, project management, and operations management, as well as analytical techniques.

You will use the latest technology software and business solutions for statistical and analytical theory. You will also learn communication, critical thinking, decision-making, and related leadership skills.

Top Features

You can study on a well-established online learning platform or attend hybrid classes.

For students who don’t have prior experience, there is an intro course available.

The school offers study abroad programs.

Career Options With a Data Science Associate Degree

Career Options With a Data Science Associate Degree

Completing any of the best Associate Degrees in Data Science will open many doors for you. You can become a web developer, a data analyst, or a database administrator. However, these will be junior positions.

Top Data Science Associate Degree Careers

Profession Average Salary
Computer Network Support Specialist $65,450
Assistant Database Administrator $62,206
Junior Web Developer $61,762
Junior Software Developer $57,500
Computer User Support Specialist $52,690
Junior Data Analyst $51,686
Data Center Technician $50,979
Statistical Assistant $50,360

How Much Can I Expect to Earn With a Data Science Associate Degree?

With an Associate Degree in Data Science, your options are somewhat limited. The overall average of the salaries in the table above is $56,579 per year. While this is enough for a decent living, an associate degree doesn’t guarantee you a position. You can increase your job prospects by enrolling in additional short courses or the best data science bootcamps.

For high-paying, senior roles in the data science field, earn your Bachelor’s in Data Science, and then a Master’s in Data Science.

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Should You Get an Associate Degree in Data Science?

If you love statistics, analytics, and working with big data, get an Associate Degree in Data Science. This degree will give you a reliable foundation to further your studies while qualifying you for a host of junior-level jobs.

By picking from any of the best Associate Degrees in Data Science, you can quickly gain foundational skills to enter the industry. Plus, the job growth for this profession is high, which is another reason to study data science in 2021.

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