Completing an associate's degree or certificate/diploma program can prepare students for work on both personal computers and system networks. Some employers may require computer support specialists to have a bachelor's degree in the field. However, others may only require that applicants have some postsecondary education, whether through an associate's degree, diploma or certificate program, or just through community college courses.
Certificate and Diploma Programs in Computer Technology
Computer technician training programs at the certificate and diploma levels typically include coursework that almost entirely reflects on topics related to computer technology. Such courses are usually hands-on and reflect potential real-world experiences. Coursework may include studies in:
- Computer programming
- Hardware components
- Networking systems
- Operating systems
Associate Degree in Computer Technology
Associate degree programs in computer technology can go beyond the subject matter of certificate and diploma programs into more complex concepts in the field, like game design, web design and network administration. Graduates of these programs may be qualified to obtain better jobs and to transfer to 4-year universities.
Students in these programs may receive a broad education in computer technology or they may have the opportunity to narrow their studies for a more in-depth look at one particular aspect of the field, like digital design, programming languages or Internet technology. Alongside general education courses, associate degree students may take courses like:
- Java and C++ programming
- Data communications
- Operating systems management
- Multimedia programming
- Computer literacy
- Database management
Popular Career Options
By completing a certificate or diploma program in computer technology, students can prepare for work performing simple repair tasks for companies or organizations that depend on technology. Job titles could include:
- Computer service technician
- Computer repairer
- Data processing equipment repairer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for computer support specialists are expected to increase 12% through the decade of 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that computer user support specialists earned a median annual salary of $48,620, while computer network support specialists earned $62,250.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of associate degree programs may continue on to earn bachelor's degrees in relevant fields, such as computer science or computer information systems. Completion of these 4-year degree programs may help computer technology professionals advanced their careers and gain a greater understanding of particular subject areas in the field.
Students looking for a computer technology degree can do so through a certificate or diploma program or an associate's degree program. Graduates have several career options, including computer service technician, computer support specialist and computer repairer.