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How Much Does System Analyst School Cost?

System Analyst School Prices

Computer systems—the confluence of hardware, software, and networks—form the backbone of many organizations, helping them achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness. Computer systems analysts use their knowledge of business and information technology (IT) to keep computer systems up to date and in line with the needs of an organization. The field, which is poised for significant growth in the years ahead, is well suited to those who enjoy working with technology as well as people.

Computer Systems Analyst Career Considerations

If you're interested in becoming a systems analyst, you've chosen a good field to get into. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that demand for systems analysts will grow by 22% between 2010 and 2020—a rate that's significantly faster than the average for all other occupations. And U.S. News ranks computer systems analyst #1 in its Best Technology Jobs of 2013 and #4 in its 100 Best Jobs of 2013.

Here's what else prospective systems analysts should know about the occupation:

Salary

BLS estimates that the median annual wage for computer systems analysts is $79,680. Top earners in the field make more than $120,000 per year, while the lowest-paid analysts bring home just under $50,000.

Types of Analysts

Computer systems analyst is not only a specific position, according to BLS, it's also an umbrella term that includes several specific types of analysts (source: Occupational Outlook Handbook).

While a systems analyst is responsible for designing the best possible computer system for an organization or fine-tuning an existing system, he or she often decides what's required of a system and leaves the actual development to systems designers, systems architects, and programmer analysts. Working in this capacity, a systems analyst might be called an IT project manager. Once the system is designed, a software quality assurance (QA) analyst tests the system for problems, ensures it's functioning correctly, and suggests improvements.

Having in-depth knowledge of computer systems technology, in fact, isn't necessarily required for a systems analyst. Their job is primarily about knowing how the various system components interact, understanding emerging technology, working with managers to determine system needs, and delivering a plan to programmers and architects for implementation.

Education

BLS notes that the majority of computer systems analysts possess a bachelor's degree in a computer related field. Taking business courses or majoring in management information systems (MIS) can also prove useful to prospective systems analysts. It's not unheard of, moreover, for a liberal arts degree holder to obtain programming or technical expertise and become a computer systems analyst. You could even earn an associate's degree and gain necessary technical experience through a job.

To maximize job prospects, you might consider earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in information systems. If you're more interested in the technical side than the business side of the job, a master's degree in computer science could be the way to go.

Systems Analyst School Costs

The following educational prices are estimates only. Actual costs may vary significantly. Contact individual schools for the most accurate tuition information.

  • The average cost of earning an associate's degree (i.e. a two-year degree program) is $3,000 - $3,500 per year.
  • Four-year schools (i.e. a bachelor's degree program) cost $7,000 - $35,000+ per year.
  • The prices above are for tuition and fees only. Room and board, books and supplies, and other costs are extra.
  • Source: The College Board Trends in College Pricing 2012
  • Master's degree programs cost $5,000 to more than $38,000 per year, according to CBS News.
  • Participating in a graduate certificate program in computer systems analysis might cost $5,000 to $15,000 or more depending on the school and curriculum covered. Some certificate programs focus on a specific type of computer system, such as a financial or engineering system or a system specific to a manufacturer. Others programs have a broader scope.

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