Associate of Computer Information Technology: Degree Overview

Associate's degree programs in computer information technology are generally offered at community colleges or technical schools. Students are taught to install and upgrade software and hardware, develop computer networks, and to assess the information and computer needs of an organization.

Essential Information

Associate's degrees are typically 2-year programs that result in an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree. They prepare graduates to test for industry certifications in operating systems or programming languages.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma; basic computer literacy
  • Program Length: 2 years
  • Other Requirements: Externships

Associate's Degree in Computer Information Technology

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
  • Programming
  • Database management
  • Routing for computer networks

Popular Careers

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

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for computer programmers was expected to grow at an average pace of 8% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). To provide some salary perspective, the BLS reported in 2014 that computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $61,830, while computer user support specialists earned a median of $47,610 per year.

Continuing Education Information

Management positions in the IT fields usually require the completion of bachelor's or master's degree programs in computer-related areas. Candidates may also choose to pursue MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs. Employers usually prefer applicants with industry certifications. Some computer IT programs prepare students for such industry certifications as MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) or CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate).

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