Associate of Computer Information Technology: Degree Overview
Learn about the curriculum and requirements of an associate's degrees in computer information technology. Read about career options, salary and employment trends.
Associate's degree programs in computer information technology are generally offered at community colleges or technical schools. These are typically 2-year programs which result in an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree, and may additionally provide graduates with industry certifications in operating systems or programming languages. Students are taught to install and upgrade software and hardware, develop computer networks, and to assess the information and computer needs of an organization. Some schools require applicants to pass a math competency test.
Associate's degree programs don't usually have prerequisites other than high school diplomas or the equivalent. However, some computer IT programs require applicants to complete college writing or basic learning strategy courses and pass algebra or math competency tests. Students should also be proficient in using computers.
Students complete coursework and gain hands-on experience by spending time in computer labs. Additionally, they may complete externships for real-time experience in the field. Course topics may include:
- Hardware fundamentals
- Desktop application maintenance
- Database management
- Routing for computer networks
Popular Career Choices
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for those with skills in information technology was expected to grow at a faster-than-average pace from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). With experience and on-the-job training, graduates of computer IT associate's degree programs may find employment opportunities in the IT industry; possible job options include:
- Computer support specialist
- LAN administrator
- Computer programmer
- Cisco support technician
To provide some salary perspective, computer support specialists offering network support earn a median annual salary of $59,090, while those assisting users earn a median of $46,420 per year, states the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Management positions in the IT fields usually require the completion of bachelor's or master's degree programs in computer-related fields. Candidates may also choose to pursue MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs.
Employers also usually prefer employees with industry certifications, like the ones that computer and software vendors offer to users. Some computer IT programs also prepare students for industry certifications, such as MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) or CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate).
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