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AA in Computer Information Systems: Degree Overview

An Associate of Arts in Computer Information Systems (CIS) program provides the networking, programming and troubleshooting training needed for entry-level employment in the IT field.

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Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in CIS typically include lecture-based coursework, lab studies and practical experience working with computers. These two-year programs often include coursework in systems design and development, Cisco networking and A+ hardware support, among others.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Also, due to the technical nature of the curriculum, they may need to complete sufficient math and science courses prior to enrollment.


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Associate of Arts in Computer Information Systems

CIS associate's programs allow individuals to develop the analytical skills required to install, maintain and upgrade computer hardware and software. Though specific course names may vary, required classes may include:

  • Programming and logic
  • Network design and implementation
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Web design
  • Client and server administration

Popular Career Options

Skills acquired in a CIS associate's degree program can lead to positions where installation, maintenance, repair, analysis, networking, programming and configuration skills are necessary. Possible career titles include:

  • Computer support specialist
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Computer programmer

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer support specialists are expected to see a 12% increase in employment from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the BLS reported that computer user support specialists earned a median annual salary of $48,620, while computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,250 during the same time period.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of associate's degree programs may find work as CIS managers if they possess experience and on-the-job training. However, most positions require at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field.

Voluntary certification can be used as a method of demonstrating knowledge and skill while enhancing job opportunities and advancements. Certification can be obtained from computer software vendors and independent certifying organizations. Many programs offer courses that prepare students to take these certification exams.

By earning an associate's degree in CIS, students develop the essential computer skills needed for entry-level work as IT help-desk specialists, among other roles. They can also use this training as an educational foundation for bachelor's-level studies or to qualify for professional certifications.

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