How to Become a Database Administrator Online

Essential Information

Students looking for fully online database administrator programs can typically find them at four-year universities and colleges, or through software companies. The programs are available at the bachelor's, master's, and graduate certificate levels. These distance learning programs focus on either building or expanding upon students' knowledge and skills in database design, database technologies, database administration, information technology, programming, security and management. They can also prepare students for professional certification exams.

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Database Management

Students looking for an undergraduate education can pursue a bachelor's degree in Information Technology with a specialization in database management. These programs are available at number of schools and are an excellent first step for students looking to enter a career in database administration.

Information and Requirements

A high school diploma is generally the only prerequisite for admission. Programs typically feature around 120 credit hours and take four years to complete, with curricula for these programs focusing on building and honing essential IT and database administration skills.

Common Courses

Courses typically offered in these programs include the following:

  • Systems sourcing & acquisition
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Operations management
  • Marketing research
  • Business intelligence

Master's Degree in Database Technologies

When it comes to formal postsecondary education, most coursework related to databases is lumped in with other majors, such as information technology or computer science. At the graduate level, however, programs do exist that focus solely on database technologies.

Information and Requirements

Applicants to these programs will need a bachelor's degree, as well as sufficient experience and knowledge in fundamental database concepts. Prospective students will also need several years of work experience, although it does not necessarily need to be computer-related.

Common Courses

Students in this program can expect to take courses in the following subject areas:

  • Enterprise architecture
  • Database concepts
  • SQL programming
  • Business intelligence

Graduate Certificate in Database Administration

For students or professionals who lack the time or resources to enroll in a master's degree program but already possess knowledge and experience in database management, a graduate certificate may be the best option.

Information & Requirements

These programs provide instruction that is similar to a master's degree, but programs are much shorter and more intensive (programs rarely consist of more than 20 credit hours). Graduate certificates are advanced programs, meaning applicants will need at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission.

Common Courses

Course topics in these programs generally include:

  • Computer science
  • Database systems
  • Data warehouse & mining
  • Disaster recovery

Database Certifications

Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert credential, the company's catch-all certification for experienced IT professionals. Within this certification are several specialties, and those interested in working with databases can pursue the Data Platform specialization. To earn this recognition, individuals must pass five exams. Although there are no formal prerequisites for these exams, they deal with advanced topics and students who do not prepare will not likely pass. To help with preparation, Microsoft offers a number of optional training courses that cover the important theories and concepts found on the exams.

Another possible path involves the Oracle company, which offers the Associate, Professional and Master certifications for database professionals. Students must pass exams and be certified at the previous level to move on to the next certification level. In addition, students need to complete specific Oracle coursework for the Professional and Master certifications.

Online Learning & Programs

Many distance learning training programs for prospective or current database administrators can be completed totally online. Colleges use course management systems to present a virtual classroom containing lectures, supplemental materials, assignments and assessments. Communication tools like message boards and chat rooms may be used for class interaction. In some cases -- particularly at the graduate degree level -- a practicum and/or thesis may be required.

Those interested in becoming a database administrator can complete an online degree at the bachelor's, master's, or graduate certificate level. The programs focus on database management, database technology, and database administration.

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