Offered at technical or community colleges, these programs typically take two years of study to complete. Graduates can find employment in the field or transfer to 4-year degree programs at colleges or universities. A high school diploma or the equivalent is usually required for admission. In addition to classes and hands-on work in computer labs, students often learn through internships and work/study programs.
Associate of Science (AS) PC and Networking Technology Overview
Participants develop networking skills and gain knowledge of PC troubleshooting and repair. Students in a PC and networking technology program may study course topics such as:
- Operating systems
- CISCO network
- Microcomputer applications
- PC maintenance and management
- Network security
- UNIX, Linux servers
With PC and networking technology offering so many fields of study, graduates have several career options:
- Computer support specialists
- Technical support specialists
- Network engineers
- Database administrators
Employment Outlook and Careers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer support specialists was projected to increase by 12% between 2014 and 2024. During the same decade, network and computer systems administrators could expect an employment increase of 8%. Network and computer systems administrators earned a mean annual wage of $82,200 and computer user support specialists $52,430 according to the BLS as of May 2015. The bureau stated that the increasing use of the internet, and the need for internet security, would keep a demand for network and computer systems administrators.
Continuing Education Information
In addition to formal training, graduates typically receive on-the-job training after being hired. Keeping up with technology, training and certifications enhance an individual's chances for promotion or advancement. Some of the certifications exams graduates may take include Comptia Network+ and Security+, Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Certified Wireless Network Administrator (CWNA).
Many software and computer product vendors offer certification programs when you use their products. They usually require their computer support specialists to obtain certification in their products.
Associate of Science degree programs in PC and networking technology prepare students to work in entry-level positions in careers such as support specialists, engineers, or administrators. Many certification and continuing education programs are also available for these graduates.