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Online Computer Diploma and Certificate Program Overviews

Find out about online computer courses and in which training programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Many academic fields fall under the computer category, including computer science, information technology (IT), network administration and more. The focus of this article is on online computer-related programs that award diplomas or certificates, which are available through many technical schools, vocational colleges, community colleges and universities.

Some programs emphasize specific vendor technologies, such as Cisco and Microsoft, while others are vendor neutral and discuss an array of computer-related topics. Online courses are generally taught via video conferencing and email and prepare candidates for industry certification tests.

Online Availability Commonly available
Majors with Computer Courses Computer science, information technology (IT), network administration, information systems, computer applications, database management, security administration
In-Person Requirements None

Diploma Programs

Admission requirements for most online computer diploma programs usually include a high school diploma or its equivalency. Through some online computer diploma programs, students can choose a single specialty area, such as database management, web development or programming. Students can take up to 18 months to complete the required 54 credit-hour minimum for many online computer diploma programs on a full-time basis.

The titles of diploma programs may vary depending on school; some possible program titles include the following:

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Applications
  • Database Management
  • Security Administration

Course Topics

Typically, the curriculum begins with a certain number of core information systems courses, including:

  • Computer Programming Design
  • Networking
  • Systems Modeling Theory
  • Computer Ethics

Certificate Programs

Like diploma programs, online certificate programs often require students to possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. While many online certificate programs are similar to the diploma programs mentioned above, others tend to train students on specific software programs or operating systems, such as Windows, UNIX and LINUX. The individual classes offered will depend on the specific certification program. For example, a Cisco program might contain classes in routing and switching, firewall configuration and networking fundamentals. Upon completion of this type of computer certificate program, students are generally eligible to sit for industry certification exams.

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