The curriculum for an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Science (AS) usually takes two years to complete and often combines didactic courses with hands-on computer training. Some courses may be offered through distance learning. Applicants must typically have high school diplomas or GED credentials for admission.
Associate's Degree in Technical and Network Support
Students in these associate's degree programs receive a comprehensive education in computer science, networking, and tech support. They also develop communication, quick-thinking, and troubleshooting skills to help decipher problems from descriptions provided by users. Course topics may include the following:
- Microcomputer operating systems and network fundamentals
- Systems security
- Web programming and data communications
- Help desk infrastructure and hardware technical support
- Computer repair and maintenance
- Report and technical writing
Upon completion of this program, graduates should be qualified for various computer-related jobs in small and large corporations, government, and professional offices. Popular career titles include:
- Computer support specialist
- Network technician
- Computer desktop/network support
- PC technician
Employment Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 12% increase in the employment of computer support specialists, including help desk technicians, between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to 2015 data from the BLS, computer user support specialists received a median wage of $51,470 annually.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates of the associate's degree program may join the workforce immediately to gain work experience or may choose to advance their education. With a bachelor's degree and relevant certifications, students can go on to gain positions as network and computer systems administrators, database administrators, or network architects.
Certification can be obtained through computer product vendors, as well as independent certifying associations. Some programs offer courses that prepare students to take specific certification exams, such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), and Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST).
Associate's degree programs in technical and network support, such as the AAS in Computer Desktop/Network Support and an AS in Desktop Support programs, prepare students for entry level jobs as computer support specialist. Students wanting to advance their career may transfer credits form these programs into a bachelor's degree program.