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Online Degree in Web Development Don’t Just Surf the Web, Build It

Encompassing both computer science and digital design, web development careers are one of the top jobs in the STEM industry, projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2024. With many jobs requiring just an associate degree, a modest educational investment can yield big returns. Convenient and technology-based, an online web development degree can provide the skills and experience necessary to move into this career field. Use this guide to learn more about degree benefits, program options and career opportunities.

Best Online Degrees in Web Development

The web development field is quickly growing its need for competent and credible professionals. Earning an online degree in this field can help graduates earn the necessary credentials to enter the field while maintaining other time commitments. However, it’s important for students to enroll in a program that best aligns with their individual needs. To help students find the best web development program with online learning opportunities, we’ve created the rankings list below, basing on findings off of extensive analysis of school’s statistics and offerings. Explore the top web development programs for 2017 below.

RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Mesa Community College Score98.67
Net Price
Financial aid %25%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

Key topics that students learn about while enrolled in Mesa Community College's Associate in Applied Science in Web Developer degree program include introduction to Java scripting, object oriented programming fundamentals, XML application development and management of information sciences. In required or core classes students need to earn at least a C. Before taking prerequisites like Microsoft Access data management students need to get approval from their instructor. Electives are also in computer technology. Graduates should have the skills to enter careers as a web designer, web developer, web programmer or web technician. It takes two years to graduate from the 64 credit program.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Collin College Score95.51
Net Price
Financial aid %2%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

Online classes in the Collin College web developer certificate program are compatible with Mac and PC operating systems. Although courses are delivered online, students must attend classes at least 90% of the time to graduate. It is necessary that students attend all core courses which concentrate on areas like Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop, introduction to Javascript and cascading style sheets. Strong technical skills are major outcomes of the training program. It is through the hypertext markup language that students gain firsthand skills to design web pages. A textbook is used with most classes.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3Texas State Technical College-Waco Score94.87
Net Price
Financial aid %38%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

Graduates of the web design and development program at Texas State Technical College in Waco acquire skills to directly influence a computer user's experience. Types abilities that students gain allow them to develop websites, program web applications and maintain web based systems. Specific certifications that technology students can earn at the college are as a professional webmaster, certified internet webmaster and as a certified professional web developer. At the two year level, the college awards an Associate of Applied Science in Web Design and Development Technology. It takes five semesters and 60 credits to graduate with the associate's degree.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Stark State College Score94.35
Net Price
Financial aid %7%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

Stark State College is located in North Canton, Ohio. The Midwestern college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The college's web design and development associate's degree can be earned fully online. Programming and design techniques that students gain cover areas like AJAX, CSS, Java and SQL. After classes are completed, students will have learned how to develop web based applications, develop multimedia products and design, monitor and maintain databases. During the 64 credit program, students also take classes in communications and math. Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash are software that all students use during the training.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5Central Georgia Technical College Score93.07
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio

The web design and development associate's degree at Georgia Central Technical College totals 64 credits. About 49 of the 64 credits are in core classes. Other classes are in humanities, math and fine arts. Students enrolled in the program full-time generally need two years to graduate. Computer information concepts, computer techniques and principles are technical areas that adults gain during classes. Programs generally start at the beginning of each semester. First time students entering the program must be at least 16 years of age. A high school diploma or equivalent is also required.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6Scottsdale Community College Score92.44
Net Price
Financial aid %23%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

Scottsdale Community College students who are taking classes in the school's Associate of Applied Science in Web Development learn how to design websites, develop web applications, design and repair e-commerce solutions and work with web based visual graphics. Required courses total 60 to 63 credits. Database management systems, Java programming, web scripting with an active server and introduction to Oracle are types of courses in the curriculum. Graduates can enter web based careers that focus on marketing, programming, server administration, project management and design. Prerequisites in communications and math may be associated with the degree.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7Milwaukee Area Technical College Score91.24
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio

Mequon and downtown Milwaukee are locations where Milwaukee Area Technical College teaches classes in its Associate in Applied Science in Information Technology Web and Software Developer degree. Core computer programming, database management and software development are abilities that faculty aim to provide students. Programs generally begin at the start of the year and during summer. Credit is given for previous related work experience. A high school diploma or equivalent and passing scores on a college placement assessment exam are required to get into the two year degree program. Credits earned in the program are transferable into four year degrees.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8Riverland Community College Score88.02
Net Price
Financial aid %15%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio

The Associate in Applied Science in Web Developer degree at Riverland Community College starts rolling out classes in the spring and fall. All 60 credits in the program can be earned online. Breakdown of the 60 credits covers 23 core credits, 15 general education credits and 22 elective credits. It is free to apply to the college and the degree program. Placement assessment tests may be given to new students. In reading new students are encouraged to score a 52 or higher. Entry careers that the program prepares adults to begin include web designer, web developer and software application manager.

Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9Gateway Technical College Score87.49
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio

Career pathways for graduates of Gateway Technical College's web software developer associate's degree program include web administrator, software development, web designer and software application administrator. The program is offered in two concentrations, specifically web programmer and web software developer. Java, advanced databases and PHP web programming are classes that students take as they work their way through the curriculum. Graduation requirements include a minimum 2.0 GPA, a high school diploma or equivalent and passing placement assessment scores. Students must also adhere to behavioral guidelines to continue in the program.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
University Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
Baker College Center for Graduate Studies Score99.67
Net Price
Financial aid %72%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate25%

The Bachelor of Science in Web Development at Baker College offers adults the skills and working knowledge to enter growing technological careers at for profit and nonprofit organizations. Hospitals, major corporations, schools and military facilities are places where graduates can work. Specific technical skills that students are taught are in web design, web development, website maintenance and software application implementation. In addition to receiving deep training in web development, students must complete general education courses. Online classes start with a three week course that is designed to help orient new distance education students to the world of virtual learning.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
Bellevue University Score94.85
Net Price
Financial aid %51%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate31%

An outcome of the Bachelor of Science in Web Technologies degree at Bellevue University is to adequately prepare adults to succeed while working in information technology and web science careers. While taking classes in the four year degree program, students are taught about more than a dozen subjects including information security, principles of web interface design and management and design of database systems. Three Kirkpatrick Signature Series classes must be completed before students meet all graduation requirements. These courses are in American vision and values, freedom and responsibility and tradition and change. The lowest number of credits in the program is 127.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
Wilmington University Score93.88
Net Price
Financial aid %20%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate34%

New Castle, Delaware is where Wilmington University's main campus is located. The school's web development based classes are taught in New Castle and Gloucester. Formats that Bachelor of Science in Software Design and Development classes are delivered in are online and traditional classroom. Abilities to stay apace of fast changing technology resources and coding enhancements are program takeaways. New students must enroll in the university's first year experience program, a course that is designed to help orient students to college life. Adults who plan on taking online courses are encouraged to enroll in the WebCampus tutorial.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
Stevens-Henager College Score88.46
Net Price
Financial aid %48%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate58%

The fastest that full-time students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Web Design and Development from Stevens-Henager College is 36 months. In addition to being taught at six on campus locations in Utah and Idaho, classes that lead to the degree are taught online. Key skills and hands on knowledge that students learn include graphic design, web design, database administration, digital imaging and web applications. Classes in the School of Technology's four year degree program are flexible. Applications can be submitted online. To allow for personalized training, class sizes are kept small. Transfer credits from other accredited schools are accepted.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
Franklin University Score86.73
Net Price
Financial aid %N/A
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate13%

Franklin University's Bachelor of Science in Web Development degree is an online academic program. Information security analysts, web developer, computer network architect and multimedia artist are types of careers that the degree prepares students for. Areas that instructors place emphasis on in the program include front end development, web design, database development and animation. Through the subsequent degree option, students can earn a second degree after they complete the web development coursework or earn another bachelor's degree. Marketing and digital, information technology, computer science and marketing are degrees at Franklin University that complement the four year web development program.

Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

Web Developer’s Milestone Map

A career in web development is open to anyone with the motivation to master web languages and technologies. See how one student spotted a need for user-friendly technology and turned it into a successful career.

High School

Sets up web version of yearbook where students can upload photos

First Job

Manages website for local real estate firm, adding user interaction features with JavaScript

Online Associate Degree

Builds personal websites in free time to help pay for

Moving Up

Takes front-end developer job at national bank, helps relaunch main website

New Languages

Picks up PHP and Node.js to expand programming skillset

Upper Management

Twelve years after starting, becomes bank’s VP of digital production

Learning Web Development Online

Affordability, flexibility and efficiency are the hallmarks of online learning, and for some types of degree programs, like web development, online learning is ideal. Students use many of the same programs and platforms, such as browser-based coding environments, that are used in professional settings, providing a powerful hands-on experience. With few exceptions, courses, exams, and study and discussion groups are attended online, and access to instructors, fellow students, and academic counselors is easily available.

Despite physical distance, students often report a great deal of camaraderie and collaboration with their peers, leading to an online experience that is both personal and productive. Team projects and group discussions play a vital role in online education, and most students find them both motivating and rewarding. Online institutions are also expert at facilitating the learning process through technological tools such as weekly class calendars, assignment reminders and graduation tracking.

Main Program Types in Web Development

There are online educational options in web development at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The list below outlines the scope of each, so prospective students can identify which will best fulfill their career goals.

  • Certificates
    (1 to 6 months)
  • Associate Degrees
    (18 months to 2 years)
  • Bachelor’s Degrees
    (4 years)
  • Master’s Degrees
    (2 years)

Certificates in web development vary widely in price and quality. Most programs fall into one of two categories: those that emphasize skill acquisition, and those that offer testing-based certificates. The highest rated programs offer both in-depth instruction and exams; however, for those who are already proficient in web development skills but lack traditional credentials, certificates based on skill testing alone are a reasonable option.

In the tech industry, knowledge and experience often outweigh formal training, so an associate degree is often acceptable for entry-level employment. Many quality programs can be completed in as few as 18 months, with students fulfilling the equivalent of about 60 semester credits. Options include an associate of science degree (AS), an associate of art degree (AA), or an associate of applied science degree (AAS). The first two include courses that generally can count towards a future bachelor’s degree, while an associate of applied science degree generally does not.

A bachelor’s degree can mean more extensive preparation, and lead to higher pay and leadership opportunities in web development. Completing a bachelor’s degree signifies to employers that students are dedicated to learning and doing the necessary work to move into management positions. A bachelor’s degree generally requires 120 semester hours of course credit; it often includes a senior seminar or capstone course, usually taken during the final program semester, and may require a major paper, project or internship. Online colleges and universities offer part-time and accelerated programs, allowing students to continue to work and gain experience while earning their degrees.

A master’s degree in web development offers the promotion potential of a bachelor’s degree, in addition to other professional opportunities. Not only are average annual salaries higher, a master’s degree can open up new career options such as teaching or consulting. Master’s degree programs require about 30 semester credit hours and are made up of approximately two-thirds graded coursework and one-third faculty-supervised research and thesis writing. Some programs may substitute a project or internship in lieu of a written thesis. Working students may find that challenges they face on the job can be channeled into opportunities for thesis research and projects. In addition, many companies reward employees who want to obtain advanced education by helping pay for the cost of the program.

Core Classes in Web Development Degree Programs

From website design and front end development (the part of the web that users see and interact with) to back end development (the hidden code that powers the website), web development is a broad discipline. Online web development degrees offer a range of courses, from introductory to advanced levels, which allow students to match their interests to different areas of expertise. Some classes offered in a web development degree program may include:

Intro to HTML, CSS, and JavaScript

In this beginner course, students learn the basics of building web pages through project-based assignments that introduce core technologies.

Back End for Beginners

Students become familiar with server-side languages—including PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby, Python and Java—to learn the fundamentals of back end development.

Design for Web Developers

Design theory, managing and meeting client expectations, budgeting, brand strategy, and usability are topics covered in this course.

Mobile Application Development and Business Strategy

Topics covered include mobile platforms and development environments, the creation of single activity and multi-activity applications, user interface design, and business marketing basics.

Advanced Server-Side Development

Students use advanced server-side techniques to enhance user interactivity. Projects include interactive RESTful application programming interfaces (APIs) and API-driven web applications that use asynchronous scripting language callbacks.

Web Dev Program Selection: Advice & Tips

During the process of researching web development degree programs, it’s important to keep in mind the intellectual and time commitments that will be required, and students should choose a program that will optimize those investments. The following guidelines are some things to consider:

  • Choose a program that works with your schedule now, and best suits your future career goals.
  • Make sure you understand and meet program requirements such as GPA, course prerequisites, etc.
  • Ensure that the school is accredited by a reputable organization.
  • Speak in person with an academic counselor or other students to get a feel for the learning environment.
  • Find out what services the school offers for job placement.
  • Check out the financial aid options offered through the school.
  • Talk to professionals in the field about the programs you’re considering. If
  • If you’re currently working, speak with your boss or human resources department about the program to see if they might offer any accommodations or incentives.

Accreditation: A Key Consideration

As students begin to narrow their choices for a program in web development, it’s vital to consider the accreditation status of schools. Accredited schools are recognized and respected as ones that meet the high quality standards of accrediting institutions endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education; thus, accreditation can directly affect the value of a degree.

Several other factors also come into play. For example, it’s much more likely to be able to transfer credits from an accredited school than from one that is not. In addition, students are only eligible for federal financial aid if they attend an accredited school.

Web development degree programs may not always have specialized programmatic accreditation. At minimum, look for institutions accredited by one of the six major regional accrediting organizations.

Please review our accreditation guide and computer science degree page for a more detailed look at the accreditation process.

Sample Enrollment Timeline: Steps for Success

While researching programs and accredited institutions, it’s imperative to know the timeline for meeting application requirements. Some programs, for example, may require applications more than six months in advance. However, online programs often offer a more relaxed timeline, with applications accepted only a couple of months before the start date, such as in the example below for an online bachelor’s program. In any case, students applying for federal financial aid should start the process as early as possible to maximize their chances for funding.

Time Before Program Start Date
9 months
Step 2

Graduate High School or obtain GED and take any requisite academic, skill, or language proficiency exams.

3 to 4 months
Step 3

Research programs and identify several candidates.

3 to 6 months
Step 4

Forward high school transcripts, credit transfer requests, and standardized test scores (such as the SAT or ACT), as necessary.

3 months

Step 5

Complete and submit applications and any personal essay requirements.

2-3 months

Taking some extra steps can give you an edge in the applications process, as well as increase your ability to succeed once enrolled in a program. Consider some of the following prep work:

  • Get involved in clubs, activities and projects that are web- and technology-related, such as a STEM club, robotics engineering, or game design.
  • Try an introductory computer science or web development class at your high school or local community college.
  • Volunteer or intern with a company or organization that has a web team to gain experience dealing with real-world issues in design, maintenance and troubleshooting.

Career Pathways in Web Development

An online web development degree can lead to a wide variety of jobs and careers, each with a different blend of technical skills and creative abilities. Some will require in-depth knowledge of server-side technologies, for example, while others require less technical expertise and instead focus on design skills that enhance the user experience. Take a look at some of the possibilities below:

Web Designer

A web designer works with clients, web developers, and marketing and sales teams to design user interfaces for a variety of websites and mobile applications. Successful web designers have excellent design skills, can develop and adhere to brand identity standards, thoroughly understand all aspects of web development, and may use front end development technologies.

Front End Web Developer

Responsibilities for front end web developers range from user interface design to front end engineering. Like web designers, they must have strong design skills, an understanding of marketing and branding, and an ability to work as part of an interdisciplinary team. However, because their jobs delve more deeply into the technical realm, they must also be able to handle the programming aspects associated with front end development, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and have a working knowledge of server-side processes.

Back End Web Developer

Back end web developers are responsible for the server side of web development. They write web software and Application Program Interfaces known as APIs; since they are responsible for enabling the front end development work, they must also be familiar with front end technologies. Back end developers must be proficient in multiple server-side languages and technologies, and have the ability to integrate their code with front-end design. Security is also within the purview of back end development.


A webmaster is someone who monitors and maintains a website or multiple websites, fixes problems, makes improvements, and liaisons with various teams to ensure a positive and productive user experience. They must be familiar with all aspects of web development and design. Webmasters function as server administrators, and generally manage the day-to-day tasks associated with operating websites.

Vice President, Technology

A vice president of information technology manages technology-related investments, innovations and initiatives. They plan and implement IT strategies, as well as identify requirements for web systems, such as servers, software, and operating systems. They also manage the teams responsible for all web activity, development, monitoring and maintenance. A vice president of information technology is a senior level management position requiring extensive knowledge and experience.

Career National Job Growth(2014-2024) National Median Annual Salary (September 2015) Minimum Education
Web Designer 27 % $45,912 Associate degree
Front End Web Developer 27 % $66,516 Associate degree
Back End Web Developer 27 % $70,000 Associate degree
Webmaster 27 % $51,073 Associate degree
Vice President, Information Technology 6 % $148,166 Bachelor’s degree

Sources: Job growth data (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Note: Salary data (PayScale)

Web Development Certifications

Certifications are available in all aspects of web development and can either stand alone as evidence of acquired skills, or complement a degree program. Some web development certificates are issued by technology companies themselves, while others are offered by consulting and educational firms. Below are some of the top certifications.

Similar Online Programs in Computer Science

In addition to web development, students may also be interested in exploring other educational options in the fields of computer science and information technology. Below are some programs related to an online web development degree:

Online Software Engineering Degrees:

Software engineers combine creativity and technical expertise to create operating and control systems, games, programs, and other platforms.

Online Data Science Degrees:

The field of data science is driving much of the innovation in the web and mobile app industries, and the ability to extract, organize and analyze data is in high demand.

Online Computer Programming Degrees:

Computer programmers turn ideas into instructions a computer can follow. Computer programmers may work in areas such as software development, security or social media.

Additional Web Dev Resources