In a certificate program in computer applications, students get a foundational knowledge of software applications, including word processing software, PowerPoint and Office. Students explore topics such as website design and desktop publishing. Since these are not degree programs, the only courses required are in computer software applications. Program lengths vary, but some certificate programs call for only two courses. Similarly, students in an associate's degree program in computer applications also gain fundamental knowledge of common business software.
Certificate Program in Computer Applications
A certificate program can be a good start for individuals who want to eventually earn a degree in computer applications from a college/university. A computer applications certificate program helps students develop their knowledge of computer software applications and its use in the business world. Students can expect courses that include:
- PowerPoint office applications, Word processing software
- Office software survey, desktop publishing
- Website design
- Windows Vista, Open Office
- Fundamentals of information technology
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Associate's Degree in Computer Applications
These two-year programs may include instruction in topics such as accounting, office administration and business communication. Students often can gain hands-on experience in simulated offices at the school. An associate's degree in computer applications provides students with the ability to properly use computer software programs as well as to analyze and prepare business communications. Specific courses may include:
- Procedures for administrative personnel
- Accounting principles
- Business communication
- Desktop publishing, keyboarding and word processing
- Windows applications
With a certificate in computer applications, an individual may take a position in an office environment. Specific careers include:
- Database administrator assistant
- Office receptionist
- Document specialist
- Word processing specialist
Employment Prospects and Salary Info
With an associate's degree in computer applications, individuals may be able to find positions with the government or in business or educational offices. Graduates may start in an entry-level position and advance. Possible jobs include:
- Helpdesk assistant
- Administrative assistant
- Data entry processor
- Computer clerk
- Specialist in computer support
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer user support specialists earned a median salary of $48,620 per year as of May 2015. The BLS also notes that the number of jobs for all computer support specialists is predicted to increase by 12% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average.
A certificate program is best suited for individuals seeking to enhance their employability and knowledge of various popular computer programs used in a business setting. This certificate may be complementary to other majors as well. This is especially useful to individuals looking to earn a degree in this field. Students may go on to earn an associate's degree in computer applications.
Students may also choose to earn certification as a Microsoft Office specialist in Microsoft Office Suite software. Students learn the fundamentals of Excel, Word, Access and PowerPoint. Microsoft certification may be integrated into a degree program. This certification is globally recognized.
Individuals wanting to improve their skills in using common computer applications at work, or in preparation for a degree program may pursue a certificate program in computer applications. In addition to some administrative courses, similar computer lessons are also covered in associate's degree programs in computer applications.