There are numerous online associate's degree programs in telecommunications technology or similar fields, like applied information technology, that cover the design, installation and maintenance of telecommunications systems. Most of the courses are offered completely online, but some programs do require periodic visits to campus to take exams or meet with faculty. Online students may need Microsoft Office and access to a fax machine or printer. Many employers require a period of on-the-job training after hiring.
Associate's Degree in Telecommunications
Online programs are available for earning an associate's degree in telecommunications technology. Some schools may offer telecommunications tracks within other programs, such as an online associate's degree in applied information technology. Students in these programs learn how to design, install, evaluate and maintain network and telecommunication systems. They take courses in electrical wiring, communications regulations and computer networking.
Programs can be completed in two years. Online tutoring may be available, and schools usually offer online technical help for students who need it. Students and professors communicate with each other through e-mail and online discussion boards. Microsoft Office may be required to complete assignments. Access to a fax machine and printer is helpful.
Required general education courses for the associate's degree may include music, literature, writing, science, math and history. Students also take classes to enhance relevant telecommunications skills in keyboarding, fiber installation and electronics.
This course discusses methods to analyze and troubleshoot issues in telecommunication networks. Upon completion, students should have an understanding of software debugging, server traffic management, router configuration and the physical construction of networks. Special attention is paid to network security with topics such as viruses, e-mail, file transfer, remote access and the Web. Students learn basic cryptography as a means of improving network safety.
Students learn how to construct telecommunications systems both with fiber and copper cabling. Topics include types of cable, transmission, noise, guidelines and standards, installation and testing.
Signal and Data Transmissions
This class explores the basic types of wired and wireless transmission in telecommunications, including telephony, computer networking and satellite transmission. Students familiarize themselves with broadband technologies, video and broadcasting and TCP/IP (transmission control protocol and Internet protocol).
Graduates of an online associate's degree program in telecommunications may qualify for entry-level positions as network system technicians, equipment installers, network administrators, maintenance technicians and electronic engineering technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), telecommunications equipment installers and repairers earned an average of $57,080 in May 2018.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates wishing to continue their study may progress to a Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications program. Many schools will allow students to transfer credits from their associate's degree. These programs are offered online and on campus.
Certain jobs require that telecommunications installers be certified. Requirements vary, depending on the location, employer or specialization. Professional groups offer certifications to telecommunications workers that, while optional, may be helpful in career advancement. Many equipment manufacturers offer certification in their products as well.
Online associate's degree programs are available in telecommunications to train interested students in cabling, network management and data transmissions. Graduates may pursue further education or obtain certification to work various kinds of jobs, such as network administrators or telecommunications equipment installers and repairers.