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2021 Data Processing Degree Guide

Are you good with numbers? Do you enjoy analyzing information and drawing conclusions? Data Processing may be the major for you.

Data Processing is no longer the mundane task of inputting numbers into a computer. Professionals are able to create their own programs, help businesses or governments retrieve and store data, or teach others how to properly incorporate new technology into their business. When working towards your degree, you will take classes that teach you everything you need to know about computers, software, and data analysis. Some courses students take include computer science, word processing, information technology, computer systems analysis, and business communications. These classes will equip you with the skills to collect, analyze, and report different types of data necessary for conducting business.

Data Processing Degrees Shrinking in Popularity

#227 Most Popular Major
2.1k Degrees Awarded
-2.2% Increase in Graduates

Data Processing was the 227th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 2,138 degrees in this year alone. This 47 less than the prior year, a decrease of 2.2%.

The United States has 76 different schools where you can get a degree in data processing. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of data processing programs later in this article.

Data Processing Degree Requirements

Data processing technicians are very computer savvy. Professionals spend their time working with different types of computer software and programs to collect and analyze information. Those who are successful in this career have a strong background in computer information systems and mathematics. Critical thinking, problem solving, and writing skills are also necessary in this career as professionals must be able to analyze data and effectively communicate results and conclusions.

Graduates with a [Data Processing degree]( can expect to work a typical 40-hour workweek in an office setting. The majority of Data Processing Professionals work for companies, but some decide to become self-employed and work as consultants.

Although it is not required, an internship in this field would be beneficial to students. This hands-on experience will expose students to the programs professionals work with daily and give them an advantage when job hunting after graduation.

Prior Education for a Data Processing Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional data processing certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Data Processing Degrees

Data Processing degree levels vary. Data Processing programs offered by schools range from a associate's to a master's, which is the highest data processing degree you can get. Different data processing degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to data processing, with approximately 52.9% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for data processing workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 50.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 14.7%
High School Diploma 13.2%
Some College Courses 8.1%
Master’s Degree 7.2%

Most workers in data processing have at least a bachelor's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in data processing have received.


The education level required is different depending on the data processing career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Data Processing Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$28.9k Average Starting Salary
4% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Data Processing graduates have many career options. Often, graduates choose to go into computer service administration or work for companies creating programs that allow file and data sharing. Since this major equips students with useful computer and office skills, many job options are available. Those with previous experience will have an easier time finding jobs and are more likely to be promoted.

Growth Projected for Data Processing Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your data processing degree? Data Processing careers are expected to grow 4.4% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to data processing.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Computer Workers 313,800 9.3%
Computer Operators 39,700 -22.9%

How Much Money Do People With a Data Processing Degree Make?

Recently graduated data processing students earned an average of $28,900 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $20,600 to as high as $36,800. As you might expect, salaries for data processing graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Data Processing Majors

Salaries for data processing graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers data processing grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Computer Workers $93,350
Computer Operators $46,750

Getting Your Data Processing Degree

With over 261 different data processing degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased data processing school rankings to help you with this.

One of 10 majors within the Computer & Information Sciences area of study, Data Processing has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Computer Information Systems 76,482
Computer Science 47,906
Information Technology 33,399
Information Science 17,779
Computer Systems Networking 14,055

View All Data Processing Related Majors >


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