Communication technology is a broad field, and a degree in the subject can prepare graduates for a variety of careers, ranging from telecommunications to web design. Typically, an associate's or bachelor's degree program in communication technology will focus on the more technological aspects of the field and can prepare individuals for hands-on careers as technicians, operators, producers and illustrators. On the other hand, master's degree programs in communication technology should prepare graduates for careers as managers, supervisors and project architects.
Associate Degree in Communication Technology
An associate's degree in communication technology can be completed in various concentrations, including graphic design, broadcast technology and computer technology. Some programs focus more heavily on technological aspects of the field such as installation and maintenance of computers, while others discuss design software used in communication. Hands-on experiences and projects are typically included in these 2-year programs and a high school diploma or equivalent is required for admittance.
Courses vary depending on the area of focus. They range from technology-centered courses to those that discuss the use of communication in society. In addition to mass communication and software applications, courses may include:
- Digital electronics
- Computer illustration
- Audio production
Bachelor's Degree in Communication Technology
Bachelor's degree programs may focus heavily on communication, technology applications or both, and may incorporate other fields of study such as information technology. Projects and internships may be mandatory, and students may have the opportunity to create portfolios of their work to show prospective employers. These programs could be useful continuing education options for individuals who have already earned an associate's degree in this field. Typically, a high school diploma or equivalent, along with college entrance exam test scores, is required for admission to one of these 4-year programs.
Communication technology programs may combine advanced technological training with studies in the tools and strategies of effective communication. Besides graphic design and web design, other courses could include:
- Mass media communication
- Engineering technology
- Business information systems
- Computer-aided design
- Computer technology
Master's Degree in Communication Technology
A master's degree program in communication technology may allow students to engage in research about technology's effect on communication, or it could offer students advanced coursework for specialization in telecommunication, database management or web design. These 2-year programs can lead to advancement in professional positions or can prepare students for study at the doctoral level.
A bachelor's degree is needed for entrance to a graduate program, although some schools may allow this requirement to be met through examination. A specific undergraduate major may not be required. Students must also meet the meet a minimum GPA for acceptance and submit graduate entrance exam scores.
Courses will vary depending on whether students are enrolled in a research program or a technological program, as well as on the track of study and the specialization pursued. Some master's degree courses may include:
- Social networking
- Technology management
- Web design
- Database programming
- Communication in the media
Popular Career Options
There is a range of occupations available for individuals with an associate's degree in communication technology. Depending on the specialization, graduates may work as:
- Broadcast technicians
- Telecommunication analysts
- Desktop publishing operator
Individuals with a master's degree in communication technology may work in a number of settings, including the government, non-profit organizations, journalism and education. Technical job titles might include:
- Systems analyst
- Database engineer
- Systems architect
- Project manager
- Telecommunications manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates of communication technology programs typically focus in one area of this field, which includes computer graphics, information technology or digital video. Education and experience in a specific area of communication could greatly impact a graduate's career opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), graphic design workers earned a median annual salary of $50,370 in 2018. More technologically-focused graduates could find positions as network administrators, who earned a median annual salary of $82,050 in May 2018, or database administrators, who earned a median annual salary of $90,070 during the same period, according to the BLS.
Graduates may go on to complete doctoral programs in a number of related fields. Communication technology Ph.D. programs may not be available, but a doctorate in one of the many specialization areas, including communication media, telecommunications or information management, could lead to careers in research or academia in these fields.
Overall, communication technology is a broad field, so undergraduate and graduate degree programs incorporate courses in multiple disciplines. They also give students the chance to focus their studies on a particular interest area that can help determine their future career options.