While online diploma programs in computer applications are not commonly available, students who enjoy math, analysis, critical thinking and technology may consider enrolling in an online computer applications certificate program. These certificate programs can be completed entirely through distance learning and are designed for entry-level students seeking training in basic computer software programs and applications. The programs often include around six courses and can be completed in less than a year. Depending on the class, students in these programs may need to get access to specific software prior to enrollment.
Some common computer applications courses offered online include:
Introduction to Computers: This course provides an overview of computer systems, including networks, hardware, software, basic applications and the Internet.
Microsoft Office Applications: Students learn the various elements of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. These programs may be combined into one course or covered in individual courses.
Publishing Applications: Basic desktop publishing programs and techniques are covered in this course. Course topics may include graphics, data driven publications, web design, fonts and layout design.
Learning Methods and Requirements
The online format is particularly appropriate for computer courses, since students gain experience in system and Internet operations while using their computers to access and submit course materials. Access to the specific software programs, such as Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop or Windows Media Player, is often required. Additionally, students may need to have remote desktop capabilities.
Graduates of these programs should have the knowledge and skills to use a variety of computer programs in a business setting. Those trained in computer applications may secure entry-level positions in organizations where people rely on computers to complete their work. Some positions may include office clerk, secretary or administrative assistant.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that employment of secretaries and administrative assistants would increase by 3% from 2014-2024. General office clerks may only see an increase of 3% during that same time frame. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for secretaries and administrative assistants was $33,910 as of May 2015, while the median annual salary for office clerks was $29,580 at that same time.
Online undergraduate certificate programs can help students develop basic computer skills and gain familiarity with specific software packages. This training is often applicable to entry-level office jobs.