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Completing an online master’s in database management degree program can help further students’ understanding of database management in particular and computer science in general. Such a degree is not required for a job as a database manager, but a graduate education can help students get more senior-level positions within the field. For example, graduates are qualified for a job as a database administrator or architect and can expect an average salary of $101,000.

Compared to the potential future salary, this graduate program is very affordable. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that a degree like this will cost an average of $19,792, which is notably cheaper than how much an undergraduate degree costs on average (around $26,000). And because these online programs can be completed in as little as one year via an accelerated program, it may not take long to complete the degree and enter the workforce.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Database Management Program

Choose your area of study

Most online master’s in database management programs do not have any separate concentrations or areas of study, which means prospective students don’t have to worry too much about specializing in a very narrow field. However, students can customize their graduate education by taking electives that align with their interests and future career goals.

If they have any questions about the courses they must take, students should contact the relevant department at the universities they are interested in to receive further guidance.

Research schools and programs

Chances are that more than one online master’s in database management program looks appealing, so it’s important to set criteria to narrow things down.

For example, students must ensure that any schools they eventually apply to are accredited. Accreditation ensures that coursework is rigorous and relevant to prospective employers. Reviewing which professors will be teaching courses at the schools in question is also helpful. Professors who have established names in database management will have the experience necessary to offer a higher-quality education, and they can help students network and either break into this field or further their current career.

Prepare for tests and applications

Most online master’s in database management programs no longer require students to submit GRE scores, but it’s essential to review each set of application requirements individually. If GRE results are necessary for the application, remember that it can take up to three months to study for the exam and up to 15 days to receive test results, and this timeline may affect which schools students can apply to because of application deadlines.

The online applications will also specify other materials students may need to submit, including undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application essays.

Select your program

After narrowing things down to a select group of online master’s in database management programs, students must identify the one that best suits their academic and vocational needs.

One important consideration is the overall cost of the program. Students can avoid graduating with more student debt than necessary by identifying affordable programs. Along those lines, students may focus on online graduate programs that offer specialized scholarships, grants, assistantships, or other financial aid opportunities. Additionally, those who work best as part of an academic cohort should consider identifying schools with dedicated social media groups for students in the chosen program.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Even students who can pay for their master’s in database management without taking out loans should still complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year. Completing it helps students qualify for federal loans that can help pay for books, cost of living, and tuition, and it may help students qualify for select grants and scholarships that consider FAFSA completion a prerequisite.

To discover additional aid opportunities, contact the school’s Financial Aid office and inquire about aid available via the school or the state.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Database Management Programs

Best Online Master's in Database Management Degree Programs

Regis University

University of Denver

DePaul University

National University

University of West Florida

Boston University

Florida Institute of Technology

University of Maryland at Baltimore County

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Northwestern School of Professional Studies

University of Maryland Global Campus

Bellevue University

Southern New Hampshire University

Austin Peay State University

University of Southern California

Lewis University

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How We Rank Schools

Our research focused on master’s-level programs in information systems or information technology with a database management emphasis. The most common degree awarded in this field is a Master of Science (MS).

One of our primary criteria was that programs be offered entirely or primarily online. Several programs can also be completed on-campus, and students may have the option of completing their degree through a combination of in-person and online classes.

We only included schools with regional accreditation to ensure the programs meet high-quality standards. Many of the reviewed programs also have programmatic accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).

We evaluated each program’s reputation, outcomes, faculty, flexibility, and cost. We then calculated an Intelligent Score for each program on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Database Management Program?

The online master’s in database management degree is very specialized and is designed to build upon a strong foundation of computer knowledge. Most online programs offer virtual labs to give students hands-on opportunities to practice the technical skills they learn.

In addition to virtual labs, some online graduate programs may require students to complete these labs on campus. While this offers students a valuable chance to practice database management, it’s essential to factor in the time and money necessary to travel to a nearby campus to complete these labs.

Most of these online graduate programs are designed to be completed in two years by full-time students. Students can sometimes complete an accelerated program in as little as one year. However, if students need more time, most programs offer flexible scheduling so students can complete coursework on their schedule.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in database management degree program

  • Data Management and Database Design. This course provides a data-centric examination of key database and data management concepts, including data modeling and entity relationships. The course helps students understand alternative data models, data normalization, SQL, and much more, with a dual focus on the material’s engineering and business applications.
  • Data Science Engineering with Python. This course offers a deep dive into the Python programming language with an application domain of data science. Throughout the class, students will master completing complex calculations and vector manipulations while fostering a greater understanding of space efficiency and fixed data types. Remember that incoming students should already have a high degree of programming and mathematical knowledge.
  • Designing Advanced Data Architectures for Business Intelligence. This course focuses primarily on teaching students how to design and develop advanced data architectures from various data sources, including structured, unstructured, and semistructured data sources. Students will learn more about databases such as NoSQL, cloud integration, and data virtualization.
  • Big Data Architecture and Governance. Many jobs in database management involve making and subsequently managing enterprises that increasingly rely on data, so this course helps prepare future IT professionals for every step of that process. Among other complex topics, students will master how to create an accurate road map for organizations that need a reliable database, including how to hit target benchmarks established by management.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Database Management?

Career outlook

In today’s digital landscape, data is the lifeblood of businesses and organizations. Managing and leveraging data effectively is essential for making informed decisions and achieving operational excellence. An online master’s degree in database management equips individuals with the expertise to design, implement, and optimize data systems. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for database administrators and architects is expected to grow by about eight percent over the coming decade, much faster than the economy as a whole. The median salary of someone in this role is $112,120 annually.

Career paths

The rapid growth in data generation, storage, and utilization across industries has led to an increasing demand for professionals who can manage and secure this invaluable resource. This growth is fueled by the growing reliance on data for decision-making and the ongoing digital transformation of businesses.

A master’s degree in database management opens up many career options, each focusing on different aspects of data management and database technologies. Here are some common career paths within the database management field:

  • Data analyst — analyzes data to extract valuable insights and support business decision-making.
  • Business intelligence analyst — designs and implements reporting tools, data visualization, and dashboards to facilitate data-driven decision-making.
  • Data scientist — uses statistical techniques, machine learning algorithms, and data visualization to solve complex programs and inform decision-making.
  • Data engineer — manages and processes large volumes of data, often using technologies like Hadoop and Spark.
  • Academic researcher — contributes to the advancement of knowledge in the field as a professor or researcher.

Database Administrator

Earning Potential: $53,850-$140,850 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in database management, computer science, or a related field

Database administrators (DBAs) manage and maintain an organization’s database systems. They oversee the creation, organization, and security of databases to ensure data availability, integrity, and performance. DBAs perform tasks such as installing and configuring database software, monitoring system performance, optimizing database queries, and implementing security measures to safeguard sensitive data. They also manage data backups and recovery procedures to prevent data loss. Database administrators work closely with IT teams and stakeholders to address data-related issues, ensure that databases run efficiently, support critical business processes, and adhere to best practices for data management.

Data Architect

Earning Potential: $72,850-$161,500 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in database management, data science, or a related field

Data architects design an organization’s data systems to ensure they meet long-term storage, accessibility, and performance needs. They create data models, establish data standards, and plan data storage solutions that align with business objectives. Data architects also work to integrate various data sources, ensuring data consistency and accuracy. They collaborate with database administrators, developers, and data analysts to ensure data infrastructure is well-organized, scalable, and supports data-driven decision-making. Their role enables organizations to leverage data efficiently and effectively, facilitating business processes and informed decision-making.

Database Developer

Earning Potential: $52,500-$130,000 annually

Education Required: Master’s degree in database management, software engineering, or a related field

Database developers create and maintain database applications. They work closely with software engineers and IT teams to design and optimize software that interacts with databases. Database developers write code to store, retrieve, and manipulate data as needed by an organization. They design data structures, develop database queries, and ensure the efficient functioning of database systems. These professionals are responsible for troubleshooting issues, implementing security measures, and enhancing database performance. Database developers play a crucial role in ensuring that applications can effectively and securely access and manage data, supporting various business functions and data-driven decision-making.

Online Master’s in Database Management Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s in database management degree program?

To apply to an online master’s in database management program, students can access the online application and follow its instructions. This application will specify any paperwork that will be required, including GRE scores, undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application essays.

Not all applications have the exact requirements, so check everything carefully to avoid omitting something important. If there are any lingering questions or concerns, contact the admissions counselor for the prospective schools: this allows students to get direct answers from the most authoritative source.

How much does an online master’s in database management degree cost?

While the National Center for Education Statistics reports that degrees such as this cost an average of $19,792, costs may be higher or lower depending on certain factors.

For example, a private school education will be more expensive than a public one, and programs with more required credits will likely cost more. Additionally, attending school part-time may be more costly because semester fees can add up. These online costs are cheaper than taking the same program in person because students won’t have to pay for expenses ranging from an on-campus parking pass to temporarily relocating to a university town.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s in database management degree?

Most online master’s in database management degrees are designed to be completed within two years by students who are attending full-time. If attending part-time, it could take three years or longer, depending on students’ schedules. Conversely, those who take an accelerated program may be able to complete everything in only one year. Regardless of what kind of program students apply to, the most important thing is finding a program that works best with their current schedule.

Is an online master's in database management worth it?

A master’s degree in database management provides a pathway to a rewarding and impactful career where professionals play a crucial role in managing and optimizing data systems, supporting critical business operations, and enabling data-driven decision-making in various industries.

With the exponential growth of data, there is a substantial demand for experts who can manage and optimize databases. Data professionals often earn competitive salaries due to the specialized skills and expertise they bring to organizations. The salary range for a data engineer, for example, is roughly $100,220 to $133,212, according to

Earning a master’s degree online offers numerous benefits, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking advanced education while balancing work, family, and other commitments. Online programs allow you to set your own study schedule, offering the flexibility to balance education with work and personal life. They also provide access to a wide range of master’s degrees, including those not available in your local area. This means you can choose a program that aligns with your interests and career goals, regardless of your location.

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