This degree program provides students with knowledge in a wide range of computer information systems subjects, including software design, networking, business, and mathematics.

Degree Benefits:

  • Excellent pay ($151,150* is the average annual salary for Computer and Information Systems Managers)
  • Substantive job growth outlook for Computer and Information Systems Managers (11%)*
  • Multiple opportunities for career growth

Career Options Include:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Computer System Analyst
  • Computer Hardware Engineer
  • Senior Software Engineer

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer and Information Systems Managers, on the Internet at (visited March 24, 2022).

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If you don't take any terms off and you are allowed to take an overload of courses, you might take as little as three years to complete a four-year degree in CIS. Most students take even longer than the traditional four years. In fact, when the government studied how long students were taking to complete a four-year degree, they set the bar at six years.

To ensure that your degree has the maximum integrity and that your knowledge base is as cohesive as possible, strive to complete your degree in the assumed four years. Make a plan for yourself and don't allow external concerns to interfere with your education. After all, once you have a degree in Computer Information Systems, you will be able to start an amazing life, founded on a brilliant career.

A CIS degree can cost as little as $70,000 if you take your core liberal arts courses at a community college and then attend an in-state public college or university. If you attend a private institution, you can potentially pay as much as $300,000.

Consider that you will likely need to take certification courses after you graduate. The examinations for those aren't terribly expensive, typically costing somewhere around $200. However, you need to budget for study materials and any prep courses you find necessary.

Your CIS degree will include many fascinating courses that will challenge and enlighten you. If you are like many students, you will be so inspired that you strive to continue learning once you've graduated. In fact, if you're working in a field that is as rapidly changing as information systems, you will need to cultivate the habits of a lifelong learner.

In the meantime, you'll need to work through a series of courses that might include, but is not limited to:

  • SQL and Database Management
  • Java Programming
  • Advanced Networking
  • Game Design and Network Integration
  • User Experience and Systems Design
  • Information Analytics
  • Information Architecture
  • Computer Ethics
  • Visual Analytics

If you have your mind set on a career in Computer Information Systems, you certainly want to ensure that your school has an appropriate degree program. Even if you find schools that have CIS departments, dig deeper into your research to see if they offer the specific focus area you're interested in. Also, look for programs that offer a wide range of options. Your undergraduate years are a good time to explore the field. You might enter as a freshman intent on studying database management but find that you loved your computer forensics course so much that you decide to focus on cybersecurity.

This is a tricky question because when this issue is studied, the government allows six years for students to complete a four-year program. This could be that, due to rising costs of living and education, students are taking lighter, part-time course-loads.

Nonetheless, it has been found that you are more likely to graduate within six years if you attend a highly competitive institution. Schools that admit 25% or fewer applicants show a higher rate of on-time graduations. Also, women tend to graduate at slightly higher levels than men. Open-admissions institutions graduate the lowest rates of students within the six-year window.

Your CIS program might have any one of a number of accreditations. Undergraduate programs frequently are regionally accredited, but some are more closely affiliated with a business program. Business-focused programs might have national accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Other programs might be certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, and some graduate programs may be approved by the American Library Association.

If your program is accredited by one of those agencies mentioned above, your education will surely be recognized by hiring managers from coast to coast. Since each accrediting agency focuses on different aspects of education, you will find that your interests seem to be reflected in certain accreditations. Whatever accreditation your school claims, make sure you check out the accrediting agency with the US Department of Education to make sure they qualify for student loans and scholarships.

You study CIS primarily to get a job, so your college or university needs to have some sort of job placement assistance. When you research schools, make sure that you ask your admissions counselor about this. You'll also want to know if the department offers assistance with finding internships or other experiential learning opportunities.

When you seek employment, the status of your school will matter. Even some great schools aren't ranked very high, due to many factors, and this won't work to your advantage. Employers seek students from the schools that have the higher rankings, or which have more prestigious accreditation. If you are currently working, you might find that your employer only provides tuition reimbursement when you attend a highly ranked program. Try to keep your grades as high as possible and retake your standardized tests to ensure the highest possible score. School rank isn't necessarily everything, but it can make a difference.

Now that you know so much about CIS, it's time to find a college with an accredited program. Unless the CIS department is within a business school, there is no specific national accreditation for CIS. Thus, making sure that your college is regionally accredited is of vital importance, because a non-accredited degree is unlikely to help you with your job search and if you desire higher education you may have to re-take many, if not all, of your courses.