Having an understanding of wireless communications can prepare individuals for several skill sets, including those required in network administration, computer systems administration and electronics engineering. These programs can typically be completed in about a year, and most require students to have a bachelor's degree in a related field for admission. Due to the high-tech nature of the wireless communication certificate program, students may need to have a computer with specialized hardware and software. Programs are available in fully online formats.
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Graduate Certificate in Wireless Communications
An online graduate certificate program in wireless communications teaches students about the standards, control and high-level operation of wireless communication systems. They typically require around 15 credit hours worth of courses, and the classes can be completed 100% online. A bachelor's degree in a related field, such as computer or electrical engineering, is usually required, though some schools will consider students holding other science-related bachelor's degrees.
Information and Requirements
These programs can usually be completed in a semester, assuming the student is engaged in the program on a full-time basis. Because many students are also working while taking their classes, schools will often allow them as many as six years to complete the program.
Most schools will provide a list of technical or minimum system requirements that students must consider when setting up the computer through which they will access their online classroom. Some schools may require the computer to have a particular operating system and nearly all will specify that students use a certain Internet browser when logging in. Students are usually encouraged to utilize a broadband connection to the Internet when working in the virtual classroom.
List of Common Wireless Communications Courses
Graduate certificate courses focus solely on the topic specified by the certificate title; no general education courses are included. Sometimes these classes will count towards a corresponding master's degree, if applied to that program within a certain amount of time after being completed. Below are examples of the types of courses a student may encounter in a wireless communications graduate certificate program.
This type of class may focus on the basics of wireless communications, including technology types, terminology, different systems and their applications. Subject matter such as components, circuits, signal process and wave physics may also be covered.
A personal communications course teaches students about concepts such as picocells and micro cells, co-channel interference, CDMA/TDMA/FDMA and multipath and shadow fading. Topics such as CDMA coding and decoding processes, wireless architecture and the wireless systems that utilize CDMA technology may also be discussed.
Students enrolled in this course may focus on network protocol and the differences in the architecture in broadband, cellular and satellite networks. Discussion may also include the engineering aspects of networks, mobility management and network signaling.
Wireless communications training is applicable to a number of fields. Some of those fields involve more hands-on interaction with the technology that makes wireless systems work. Other fields concentrate more on the systems that utilize wireless technology.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that network and computer systems administration positions would increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024. Positions in the electrical and electronics engineering are expected to see little to no change. Computer hardware engineering fields were predicted to see a 3% growth.
The BLS estimated that in 2015 network and computer systems administrators earned an average of about $82,200. Computer hardware engineers earned $114,970 on average and electrical engineers earned about $97,340.
Continuing Education Information
Students may be able to transfer their credits from the graduate certificate to an electrical engineering master's degree program. Opportunities are available to complete this graduate degree program online. While a certificate may augment a student's skills and abilities in the field, a master's degree may open up additional career opportunities.
Students interested in continuing their education in wireless communication can complete a graduate program online, which is helpful for those who are working and completing coursework. In this program, students are exposed to wireless communications, personal communications, and wireless networks.