Online certificate programs and individual courses that address PC fundamentals are more prevalent than diploma programs. Hybrid and online-only certificate programs are available. These programs explore topics such as keyboarding, application software, the Internet, database management and computer security. Some programs may require a few hours of supervised computer practice on campus. Graduates are typically prepared for customer support and administrative assistant positions.
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PC Fundamentals Certificate
Online PC certificate programs teach the basics of computing fundamentals, providing students with essential skills for the job market.
Program Information and Requirements
An online PC fundamentals certificate program can typically be completed in six months or less. Students work at their own pace, completing modules or courses in specific computing essentials. They must take exams online upon completion of each course. Usually, instructors and program administrators are available via email or telephone. Some programs include all learning materials, including applications software like Microsoft Office, in the cost of tuition.
Students engaging in an online PC fundamentals program need a computer and a broadband Internet connection in order to communicate with instructors and complete examinations.
List of Common PC Fundamentals Courses
Certificate programs in PC fundamentals do not typically require prerequisite or general education courses, although some prior knowledge of keyboarding and computing may be helpful in completing the program. Typical core courses are listed below.
This fundamentals class teaches students the basics of operating systems. Students study file creation, management and storage as well as desktop navigation. Additionally, students learn how to add or remove computer software. Typically, students utilize and master popular operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows.
Using the Internet
Students learn the types of Internet browsers and the efficient use and management of them. They also practice using email and popular search engines.
In this course, students explore the uses and capabilities of word processing, database and spreadsheet applications. They learn the basics of each application through assigned tasks and projects. Some certificate programs offer applications software training as separate courses for each application, providing students with more training within each application.
Introduction to Programming Languages
This overview course discusses the history and types of programming languages, such as C++, Visual Basic and Ruby. Students typically learn the history of the development of programming languages from the 1940s to the present.
Two options for certificate recipients are administrative assistant or customer service representative, although there are a wide variety of options from which to choose. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported as of May 2015 that the roughly two million secretaries and administrative assistants employed nationally earned a median annual salary of $33,910, whereas the approximately two and a half million customer service representatives employed nationally earned a median annual salary of $31,720.
Recipients of a certificate in PC fundamentals may choose to continue their computer education through the study of computer science at the associate or bachelor's degree level. Graduates can also opt to acquire additional computing certificates in specific applications software, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite. Continued training in computer science or applications software is available fully online.
Online PC fundamental programs prepare students for work in a variety of careers, such as customer service and office administration. Courses typically include programming history, operating system fundamentals and applications software.