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Communications Applications Technology Degree Program Info

Communications applications technology degree programs teach students to obtain and analyze information from various sources, usually for military or intelligence purposes. These programs are available at the associate's degree level. Read on to learn about prerequisites, courses and career options.

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Essential Information

A degree program in communications applications technology is broadly concerned with the process of acquiring and extracting information, whether from broadcast, photographic, linguistic or other sources. These programs are rare, and most are associated with the U.S. military and with intelligence-related military careers. Servicemen and -women with some talent for languages or an interest in intelligence gathering and analysis are good candidates to consider pursuing this degree, most commonly offered at the associate's level.

In these programs, students learn to analyze content and generate comprehensive reports summarizing their findings. Programs also acquaint students with leadership and management concepts. An associate's degree is typically earned in two years and also includes general education courses in topics such as English composition and social studies.

Education Prerequisites

Admission to an associate's degree program requires a high school diploma or GED. While being in the military is not strictly required, a preponderance of applicants to a communications applications technology programs are active-duty U.S. Air Force personnel.

Program Coursework

In addition to a core of communications applications technology coursework, the program curriculum requires students to choose elective courses in the areas of oral and written communication, humanities, math and the social sciences. Topics of instruction include the following:

  • Radar fundamentals
  • Aerial and broadcast communications
  • Cartography fundamentals
  • Cryptanalysis
  • Foreign language
  • Aerial photography
  • Image analysis
  • Intelligence collection and management
  • Interviewing techniques

Popular Career Options

A communications applications technology degree is connected with several occupational specialties within the U.S. Air Force. Associate's degree holders can consider the following positions:

  • Airborne cryptologic linguist
  • Intelligence associate
  • Linguist debriefer
  • Interpreter and translator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment growth for interpreters and translators, which also includes cryptologic linguists, to be 42% over the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). This growth is much faster than the 14% average expected for all occupations during the decade. The BLS also reported that interpreters and translators earned a median annual wage of $45,430 in May 2012. PayScale.com reported in December 2013 that linguists earned a median annual wage of $75,753.

Continuing Education Information

Associate's degree holders who are interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree have multiple transfer options. As of December 2010, schools weren't offering bachelor's programs in communications applications technology, but several accept credits for transfer into their business administration, criminal justice and intelligence studies programs.

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