Guide to Database Management Degrees and Certifications

Read about the top database management degrees and choose the best computer training for you.

In today's sophisticated, high-tech business world, databases and database systems play a key role in making complex data sets usable, from personal information to financial transactions. Not surprisingly, the job market for employees with database management skills is growing rapidly. Keep reading to see if this is the right career for you.

Career Options

database management grad student

A career in database management may address administration, security, database design or a number of other areas where effective organization, storage and retrieval of data is of the utmost importance. The key to entering one of these database careers is the right computer degree or certification.

Your database administration education will teach you general database management concepts and skills such as using database software, creating and modifying databases, and working with Structured Query Language (SQL). You'll also learn technical problem-solving strategies, as well as professional and business skills, such as how to work as an effective member of a team. Some degrees and certifications focus on a particular area of expertise—such as database security—or a specific platform, such as Microsoft or Oracle.

Degrees and Certifications

If you're interested in a database administration career, there are many educational options, ranging from undergraduate-level certificates and diplomas requiring a year or less to complete, all the way to doctoral degrees in advanced information systems and database management:

  • Non-Degrees: Generally, a certificate or diploma in database administration favors industry-specific technical skills over general academic education, enabling you to complete the program in about a year. Certificates and diplomas may focus on a specific platform, such as Oracle, or address general database programming and development concepts.
  • Associate's Degrees in Database Management: An associate's degree usually takes about two years to complete, and will prepare you to transfer to a bachelor's degree program or to start an entry-level career in database management. Associate's degrees are granted by vocational and technical schools as well as community colleges. Typical concepts you'll learn include querying SQL databases and basic database security.
  • Bachelor's Degrees in Database Management: Many jobs in database administration require a bachelor's degree as the minimum educational level. This 4-year degree will enable you to take related courses in computer science, engineering and business, as well as explore more in-depth database concepts.
  • Graduate Degrees in Database Management: For those with an interest in management or advanced database design and security, a graduate degree is the way to go. Among the degrees available are Master of Information Systems (MIS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Management (DM) degrees. Check our school fact sheets to learn the differences between these high-level degrees.
  • Database Management Certifications: There is a wide range of specialized certifications in database management, and you can often get these along with your current degree program. A few examples include Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Database Administrator (MCITP-DBA), Oracle Certified Professional Database Administrator (OCP DBA) and Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP).

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Database Management International