Database administration is the process of managing software programs that store and extract information from databases. Database administrators organize data, make modifications, and ensure that databases are secure and work efficiently. To enter this technical field, students will need to earn a degree in database administration or another information- or computer-related subject. An associate degree is an excellent starting point for those who want to work in this field immediately or continue on to a higher degree.
Why an Associate Degree?
Earning an associate degree in database administration is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to enter this field. At this degree level, students will receive a basic introduction to database development and languages, and they’ll learn the technical skills needed to resolve problems quickly. Unlike the vocational certificate in database administration, students in the associate degree program will get more comprehensive instruction and specialized training in storing, organizing, and maintaining data. From here, students either enter the workforce or go back to school for their bachelor’s degree in database administration.
Getting Into an Associate Degree Program
All applicants must meet the school’s minimum educational requirements. Although admissions criteria vary from school to school, most associate degree programs require the following:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- Desired score on the SAT, ACT, and/or entrance exam
- Minimum required GPA
Inside a Database Administration Associate Degree Program
Database administration online programs vary in length, but most standard associate degrees can be completed in two years or less. Students will take courses in database security, professional communication, business intelligence reporting, operating systems fundamentals, business ethics, and more. Some online programs require additional general education courses, electives, and capstone courses to provide a diverse and well-rounded education. In addition to quizzes and tests, distance students may also be given individual or group projects, essays, and assignments to assess their understanding of the course material.
Like most distance programs, the online database administration degree includes audio or video lectures, interactive modules, and slideshow presentations. Students can access their course content, assignments, and grades on a learning management system, like Blackboard or Moodle, which is provided by the school. Even though most online programs are self-paced, independent study, it’s important for distance learners to maintain good communication with their instructors and classmates to stay informed and ensure success.
What’s Next for Database Administration Associate Degree Holders?
Graduates of the database administration associate degree are qualified to work in a number of exciting careers. A popular career path is to become a database administrator, who has the responsibility of making sure databases are secure and running smoothly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of these workers is expected to increase 31% by 2020, with significant growth occurring in healthcare industries. The BLS also reported that database administrators made an average annual salary of $73,490 in 2010. Computer systems design, finance and insurance, and federal, state, and local government were the top-paying industries for this occupation.
Although it is possible for associate degree holders to earn an entry-level administrator job, some employers will require applicants to have a higher degree. In this case, most students will return to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in database administration. Doing so can greatly increase your career opportunities and make you more marketable to employers. A bachelor’s degree also provides excellent job flexibility should you decide to switch fields.