An associate's 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.
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. Some schools give military personnel admissions preference.
Degree in Communications Applications Technology
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 2 years and includes general education courses in topics such as English composition and social studies.
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
- Foreign language
- Aerial photography
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 29% over the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). This growth is much faster than the average expected for all occupations during the decade. The BLS also reported that interpreters and translators earned a median annual wage of $44,190 in May 2015. PayScale.com reported in October 2016 that linguists earned a median annual wage of $61,989.
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.
Through associate's degree programs in communications applications technology, military personnel and other interested individuals interested in the field can build the analytical skills they need to interpret information presented in a wide range of complex formats.