Both Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs are available from community colleges. Such programs can help students develop skills specific to solving computer-related problems in an office environment. The curriculum for this 2-year program includes coursework and extensive hands-on training. Depending on the program, applicants may take day or evening courses. Students get actual training taking apart and rebuilding computers, installing software, building websites and designing networks. Additionally, they may obtain hands-on training through co-op education and internship opportunities. Applicants must have high school diplomas or the equivalent for admission to this program.
Associate's Degree in Networking Technology
Students of this program should learn about Internet application and security, including database management, computer and network maintenance and computer programming in various languages. Professional certifications are available through certifying organizations or product vendors. Graduates may qualify for entry level positions in a wide range of industries and organizations that utilize computers and computer networks.
Course topics may include:
- Networking technology
- A+ software and hardware
- Website design
- Server installation and configuration, systems analysis and design
- Internet working applications, LAN/WAN design and maintenance
- Database applications
Popular Career Options
Graduates are qualified for entry-level positions in the many industries utilizing computers and network technology. Possible career titles include:
- Computer repair technician
- Computer support specialist
- Networking specialist
- PC software specialist
- Web designer
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for computer, automated teller and office machine repairers will decrease by 1% from 2018-2028, and jobs for computer user support specialists - including PC software specialists - will increase 11% (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that web developers, whose job duties may include web design, can expect job growth of 13% from 2018-2028. Furthermore, the BLS reports that computer network support specialists can expect job growth of 6% from 2018-2028.
The BLS reports that the mean salary for computer, automated teller and office machine repairers was $40,880 in May 2018. The mean annual salary for computer user support specialists - including PC software specialists - was $55,050 in May 2018. Web developers earned a mean annual salary of $75,580 that same year, and computer network support specialists earned a mean annual salary of $68,050.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Individuals who complete an associate degree in PC and network technology can either work immediately after graduation or choose to further their education. Although bachelor's degrees are usually preferred, graduates of associate degree programs may find positions as network and computer systems administrators, particularly if they have experience. Advancement may come with additional work experience, training and certifications.
Professional certification can be obtained through certifying organizations or from computer product vendors. Some training programs also offer courses that prepare students for specific certifications.
Associate's degree programs in networking technology prepare students for entry-level careers as web designers, computer repair technicians and networking specialists. Graduates can also pursue a bachelor's degree, which is generally preferred in the industry and may help increase employment opportunities.