Online Associate Degree in Management Information Systems

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Become Team
December 9, 2019

An online associate degree in management information systems (MIS) covers both information technology and business processes. With such a broad curriculum, students graduate with the skills to compete in a modern workforce.

An online associate management information systems degree prepares graduates for entry-level positions across diverse industries. MIS plays a vital role in an organization's management, administration, and operation. These systems use information in a way that best serves managers, staff, and customers.

Use this guide to learn how to research and choose the best online colleges for an associate degree in management information systems.

What Will You Learn in an Online Management Information Systems Associate Degree Program?

MIS students study information technology (IT), as well as how to use information systems within a business context. For this reason, MIS students gain an education in IT-related tools and concepts, such as databases, networks, and computer security. They also learn the best practices for analyzing complex business processes and developing improvements.

Generally, students who pursue the MIS major possess an aptitude for mathematics and problem-solving. Through a balanced curriculum of theoretical and applied studies, students further develop their core skills in analysis, reasoning, collaboration, and teamwork.

MIS students graduate with the skills to help successfully guide an organization's management information systems. They gain a sound understanding of business systems and current technologies, along with broadened abilities in communication and critical thinking.

Common Courses

Introduction to MIS

This course provides students with the foundational knowledge needed to understand the role of information systems and how they help organizations solve business problems and improve day-to-day operations. Learners explore business processes and information systems, network security, and business intelligence. Students also discuss how information systems help with mapping strategy and competitive advantage.

Spreadsheet Applications

Spreadsheets are essential tools for businesses today, especially when it concerns data analysis and problem-solving. This course introduces the features, functions, and formulas of Excel. Learners explore how to harness the various tools in spreadsheet applications, including quick analysis, visual tables, and graphs.

Financial Accounting

MIS combines both IT and business. All MIS students get an introduction to accounting principles, economics, marketing, and management. In this course, students learn how to prepare, read, and communicate financial information to external users for decision-making purposes. Students examine income statements, balance sheets, cash flow, and analyses.

Principles of Marketing

This course focuses on marketing methods and institutions. Students gain an overview of management and marketing strategy, performance computations, and key actors in marketing. Learners also examine how marketers collect, assess, and use information.

Elementary Statistics

This course explores statistical theory and its applications, specifically how businesses use statistics to make decisions, handle uncertainty, and plan strategy. Topics include data mining, probability theory and models, forecasting, sampling distributions, and hypothesis testing. Students learn how to work with data, including its analysis, interpretation, and application within the business framework.

Core Skills

Earning an online associate degree in management information systems prepares students to enter the workforce or to pursue a four-year degree in MIS or a related field. This degree develops 21st century generalists -- individuals who can deftly navigate both an organization's technical side and business side and provide solutions.

Online management information systems associate degree programs develop core skills, including problem-solving, analysis, reasoning, and teamwork. The ability to communicate across teams and organizational levels is key for MIS professionals as they manage people, technology, and change.

The MIS degree curriculum, starting at the associate level, is comprehensive. Students learn not only about programming and IT concepts, such as databases and networks, but also about financial accounting, macroeconomics and microeconomics, and statistics. Through these varied but focused courses, students gain a broad understanding of data, information, technologies, and business processes, which makes them attractive hires across diverse industries.

MIS opens doors to a variety of careers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for MIS professionals to grow 11% through 2028, which is much faster than average. With this said, many associate graduates go on to pursue a four-year degree or higher in this in-demand field. A higher degree enhances candidates' employment prospects and can improve career mobility.

What Can You Do With an Associate Degree in Management Information Systems?

With an online associate management information systems degree, students gain a versatile skill set and knowledge base that they can take straight into the workforce or apply towards a four-year degree.

The following subsection focuses on career options for new graduates with an MIS associate degree. Just like the major, the careers available to MIS graduates are dynamic and varied. Businesses of all sizes rely on information, creating strong yet competitive demand for MIS professionals.

Potential Careers and Salaries

The BLS projects there will be nearly 47,000 new jobs for computer and information systems managers from 2018-2028. MIS professionals with a four-year degree and more than five years of experience earn an average of nearly $70 an hour.

MIS experts with an associate degree can qualify for various entry-level positions, such as computer support specialist or systems administrator. They can immediately command a higher median salary than the national average for all occupations, $38,640.

The skills MIS professionals provide transcend any one industry or sector. Their expertise can apply to businesses of any size that use computers and IT systems.

Database Coordinator

These professionals build, modify, maintain, and troubleshoot single- and multi-user database applications for various industries. Duties include managing data entry, overseeing quality assurance, and providing timely information and reports in support of organizational or departmental goals.

Average Annual Salary: $43,082

Help Desk Analyst

These workers resolve problems related to hardware and software. Experts in IT, they troubleshoot most issues and find experts for any challenges that are beyond their scope. They serve as a first point of contact for customer support.

Average Annual Salary: $44,401

Computer Support Specialist

These specialists assist users in identifying, troubleshooting, and resolving issues with their software, computers, or computer components. They provide assistance onsite, but can also help external users remotely by phone, chat, or email.

Average Annual Salary: $44,937

Computer Systems Analyst

These workers optimize sales, distribution, manufacturing, marketing, and other core business functions through automation. By automating these processes, they help achieve accuracy, efficiency, and cost savings.

Average Annual Salary: $67,858

Systems Administrator

These professionals ensure that a company's computer systems are functional and reliable. Their primary tasks include performance and security monitoring, installation and set-up, and general upkeep of systems and servers that connect entire teams.

Average Annual Salary: $61,548

What's Next After an Online Associate Degree in Management Information Systems?

Many MIS associate graduates wish to continue their education, either by pursuing a four-year degree in MIS or by focusing on an IT-oriented field such as computer science or database management.

Students who aspire to earn a BA, BS, or higher should begin their research early. Many factors, such as accreditation and curriculum, can impact the ease of transfer, program length, and overall cost.

Transferring to a Four-Year Degree Program

An online associate degree in management information systems can help students succeed in a four-year program, though learners should map out their transfer options early to avoid any enrollment delays.

When comparing the best online colleges for associate degree in management information systems, students should check each school's accreditation status, transfer agreements, and whether the school describes the two-year program as transfer-ready. Learners should also work closely with an academic advisor to ensure the transfer process goes smoothly and that they stay on track.

What Degrees Can You Pursue after Earning an Associate in Management Information Systems?

Upon completing an online associate management information systems degree, students can pursue various four-year majors beyond MIS. The broad, balanced curriculum of an MIS degree makes it simple to pivot to another field, such as computer science or computer security.

Bachelor of Computer Science

For aspiring programmers, a CS degree is a natural fit. Alongside courses in computer programming, students also study the theory and design of computing systems and acquire a conceptual foundation that serves them well, no matter their career.

Bachelor's in Database Management

Graduates of an online associate degree in management information systems may wish to focus on databases. This major takes what MIS students learn during their first two years and applies it specifically to information storage systems. This program teaches students how best to balance access and protection of data. Students learn to design, create, test, manage, and secure various types of relational and non-relational databases.

Computer Forensics Degree

Students interested in security, privacy, and protecting data and information might want to earn a degree in computer forensics. This program teaches learners how to fight cybercrimes, such as data breaches, identity theft, and virus transmission.

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