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An information technology (IT) management degree teaches students to use technical skills and knowledge to solve business problems. IT management programs combine business and IT training. Courses cover topics like project management, computer security, business operations, and emerging technologies.

Information technology management programs can prepare graduates to apply for in-demand tech jobs. Potential positions include chief information security officer, IT security manager, and information security analyst.

A degree in this field can help current IT professionals expand their job and salary opportunities. An IT management program may also appeal to career-changers working in other fields. Students interested in a career that combines business and tech skills may find IT management a fitting major.

This page explains more about why to get a degree in information technology management. We cover what to expect from a typical program, along with salary and career potential for graduates. Further below, consult our rankings list of 2022's best schools for IT management bachelor's and master's degrees.

Why Get a Degree in Information Technology Management?

Mastering the technical skills and business knowledge required for an IT management degree can be challenging, but it can pay off. Top IT management programs help students develop the skills and knowledge to qualify for high-paying jobs in this fast-growing tech sector.

Below, we explain some benefits of earning an IT management degree.

  • Earning Potential: Payscale reports that IT management bachelor's degree-holders earned an average annual salary of about $79,000 as of April 2022. Graduates with a master's in IT management made about $88,000 on average as of April 2022.
  • Versatile Skills: An IT management degree develops technical and business skills that can transfer to many occupations. Key transferable skills include strategic thinking, project management, and communication.
  • High Demand: A degree in information technology management can prepare you for a job in an in-demand field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% job growth rate — much faster than average — for information security analysts, one potential career for graduates, from 2020-2030.

Should You Go to College for IT Management or Cybersecurity?

Colleges for IT management and cybersecurity both prepare students for in-demand tech careers. Curricula in these fields often cover some of the same topics. However, cybersecurity programs and IT management programs also differ in key ways.

IT management emphasizes broad information technology knowledge and skills. College programs in the field usually cover some cybersecurity issues. Situations when an IT management degree may be better than a cybersecurity degree include:

  • You want to pursue a career managing IT for companies
  • You want a versatile degree that can prepare you for tech or business jobs
  • You want to pursue further IT management education

Cybersecurity is a specialized subfield of computer science and IT that focuses on keeping information safe. Situations when a cybersecurity degree may be better than an IT management degree include:

What to Expect From an IT Management Program

The best schools for IT management teach students how to help businesses achieve their goals using technology. IT management majors focus on topics like networks and security, leadership tactics, general business principles, and information systems management.

The types of cybersecurity courses offered vary by program. IT management majors might take cybersecurity classes like foundations of network and security or principles of information security.

Most programs, regardless of degree level, offer courses in data management, management principles, and financial and managerial accounting. Many programs include an IT management capstone, final project, or seminar.

Types of Degree Programs in IT Management

Colleges for IT management offer associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Generally, higher degree levels lead to more job opportunities and stronger salary potential.

Below, we explain what to expect from a typical IT management program at each degree level.

Associate Degrees

Students are more likely to find associate degrees in IT than in IT management. An associate degree in this field explores subjects like general information technology, project management, and computer systems.

Students learn to identify users' needs and to solve problems using basic technical skills. Most IT associate programs require about 60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. Popular classes include information technology concepts, Microsoft applications, and introduction to business.

Associate degrees in IT can prepare students for entry-level jobs like computer support specialist. Graduates can use this degree as a starting point for their studies and transfer to a bachelor's program.

Bachelor's Degrees

A bachelor's degree in IT management usually takes 3-4 years to complete. Most programs require around 120 semester credits. A typical curriculum includes classes like introduction to spreadsheets, finance skills for managers, digital forensics, and computer programming in Java.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in IT management can apply for jobs like information security analyst, IT security manager, and security director. Some positions may demand more experience or certifications. Students can get hands-on experience while still in school by completing an internship or co-op work program.

Most bachelor's in technology management programs follow general university admission requirements. Criteria typically include a high school diploma or GED certificate. Applicants may need to meet minimum GPA requirements and submit SAT or ACT scores.

Hundreds of colleges accept applications for IT management programs through Common App. This website lets students save time by applying to many schools with one general application.

Master's Degrees

A master's degree in information technology management builds on foundational business and IT knowledge to develop expertise in the field. This degree usually takes 1.5-3 years to complete. Programs include about 36-48 credits. Potential job titles for graduates include IT director, project manager, security consultant, and information systems manager.

Common master's-level IT management courses include technology and innovation management, business forecasting and planning, technical communication, and project management. Electives explore topics like marketing analytics, cloud and internet law, software and security, and software development management. Many programs include an IT management project capstone.

Admissions requirements for a master's in IT management program include a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Students with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field may need to complete foundational prerequisite courses. Other application requirements may include a resume, GRE or GMAT scores, letters of recommendation, and an essay.

Doctoral Degrees

Some top IT management programs offer doctoral degrees. These programs let students focus on a narrow part of the field and develop an area of expertise. This degree usually takes about five years to complete.

After completing coursework, doctoral candidates conduct research and write a dissertation that contributes new ideas to the field. Most programs also require a comprehensive exam.

A Ph.D. in IT management prepares graduates for careers in research, university teaching, and private industry. After earning their doctorate, some students complete a fellowship before taking a permanent job.

Jobs for Graduates of Technology Management Programs

The top schools for IT management help prepare graduates for well-paying information technology careers. Potential jobs include IT security manager, security director, and chief information security officer. IT management degree-holders can also apply for positions like information security analyst and security consultant.

Salaries for these positions start around $85,000 for security consultants. Top-earning professionals like chief information security officers can earn more than $168,000. Below, we explain what to expect from these occupations.

IT Security Manager

Security managers oversee high-level information security issues for their organizations. Daily responsibilities vary depending on industry, employer, and experience level. Senior IT security manager positions may prefer applicants with a master's degree.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): Not available
Average Annual Salary: $117,030

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts help organizations protect their computer systems and networks. These professionals develop security best practices and analyze networks to detect security breaches. They also install data encryption and firewall programs and help computer users. Key skills include scripting, hacking, operating systems, and networking.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): +33%
Median Annual Salary: $102,600

Security Director

Security directors oversee the programs that keep an organization's information safe. Responsibilities may include managing incident response and prevention, training staff, and strategic planning. Security directors usually need years of information technology experience. Important skills include leadership, communication, and teamwork.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): Not available
Average Annual Salary: $90,890

Chief Information Security Officer

A leadership-level job, chief information security officers create organizational security policies and manage IT staff. Their main responsibility is to ensure the safety of their company's data. A master's degree can help prospective chief information security officers stand out from other job applicants. They need significant industry experience.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): Not available
Average Annual Salary: $168,530

Security Consultant

Security consultants analyze IT security measures, help organizations respond to security incidents, and oversee security plans. They may work for one company or consult for many. Typical tasks include running systems tests, coding, and implementing security measures. Key skills include penetration testing, problem-solving, and communication.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree
Job Outlook (2020-30): Not available
Average Annual Salary: $85,430

Choosing the Best IT Management School for You

Finding the best schools for IT management takes work. Think about what matters most to you. Below, we outline some important factors to consider.

  • Cost and Financial Aid: What is your budget for college? Calculate your expected cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, supplies, and living expenses. Research financial aid opportunities by contacting your school's financial aid office or IT management program.
  • Location: Do you want to go to a local school? Are you prepared to move to attend the best program? Even if you choose an online degree, location can affect your tuition and the types of student services and resources available.
  • Accreditation: Attending an accredited university helps ensure that you get a high-quality education that prepares you to apply for the job you want. Accreditation also makes it easier to qualify for financial aid, transfer credit to another institution, and apply for graduate programs and professional certifications.

Should You Get Your Degree Online?

Online education is increasingly prevalent and recognized as a successful learning format. Some top IT management colleges offer their programs fully online or as hybrid in-person/online degrees.

Earning your information technology management degree online can provide greater flexibility and convenience than a traditional on-campus program. Online learning may add to your understanding of IT management, since remote learners need to be comfortable working in a digital environment.

Some online technology management programs take place synchronously. In a synchronous format, students attend virtual classes in real time. Other programs offer asynchronous courses, where learners can log on to view lectures and complete coursework any time.

Top Schools for IT Management Bachelor's Degrees

Explore 2022's top five schools for IT management bachelor's degrees. The link below explains the methods we use to rank schools for all degree levels.

Top Schools for IT Management Master's Degrees

Learn about 2022's five best schools for IT management master's degrees in the following ranking. Visit our methodology page to find out how we rank higher education institutions.

FAQ About Information Technology Management

Should you get a bachelor's or master's degree from a top IT management program?

Whether to earn a bachelor's or master's degree in IT management depends on your education and experience, career and future study goals, and budget. A master's degree may open the door to better jobs and higher salaries.

Is information technology hard to study?

IT management programs demand technical skills and knowledge, which can be challenging. However, most people can successfully earn an IT degree if they put in the necessary time and work.

Is IT management a good career?

Information technology management can be an excellent career choice. The BLS projects 13% growth (faster than average) for computer and information technology occupations from 2020-2030. The agency also reports higher-than-average pay for this field, with a median annual salary of $97,430 as of May 2021.

Which college has the best IT management program?

Use our rankings as a starting point to find the best schools for IT management programs. Make sure to identify your individual priorities, needs, and preferences to figure out what to look for when choosing a school.


Featured Image: Maskot / DigitalVision / Getty Images

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