There is a wide array of associate's degree programs in telecommunications. The most common program is in telecommunications technology, but general associate's degrees in telecommunications are also available. These degrees are generally take two years to complete and are awarded by community or technical colleges. Because many students earning an associate's are working full time, colleges may offer some courses in the evenings. There are several prerequisites including high school diploma, GED or a pre-defined score on the BOCC Ability to Benefit test. In addition, some schools require submission of SAT and ACT scores, and two years of mathematics.
Associate of Science in Telecommunications
The curricula included in telecommunications associate's programs typically address topics in digital communications, voice communications, local area networks (LAN), circuits and electronics. Programs usually provide a general background in technological communication. Some programs require students to choose one sub-area of telecommunications as a concentration; however, a general telecommunications degree is available. Basic coursework usually consists of introductory courses, in topics such as the following:
- Computer concepts
- Operating systems
- Digital switching systems
- Data transmission
- Electrical circuits
- Information systems security
Associate of Science in Telecommunications Technology
Telecommunications technology students working for an Associate of Science degree participate in a hands-on program that is designed to prepare them for specific job opportunities. By the time they have earned the degree, they will be able to install, run, manage and repair telecommunications and computer systems, including video, telephone and radio communications systems, as well as local networks and communications equipment. Courses required in most programs include:
- Digital logic
- Electrical circuits
- Computer systems
- Broadcast and RF equipment systems
- Local area networks
Popular Career Options
The main career areas for a person with an associate's degree in telecommunications are in installing, maintaining and repairing of equipment. Possible job titles in this field include:
- Installer or repairer of telecommunication equipment
- Installer or repairer of electrical and electronic equipment
- Line installer and repairer
- Specialist in computer support
- Electrical engineering technician
- Electronic engineering technician
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an Associate of Science in Telecommunications program often choose to go on to a bachelor's degree program in engineering, computer science, information science, software engineering or management information systems. The higher degree opens up entry-level job opportunities as electrical or electronic engineers, computer scientists, systems analysts and other professional positions.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that telecommunications equipment installers and repairers, except line repairers, would see the number of jobs decline by 4% from 2014-2024. The best job prospects will be available for those with postsecondary training, according to the BLS. The median wages for telecommunications equipment installers and repairers were $52,920 in May 2014, stated the BLS.
Prospective telecommunications students can earn an associate's degree in two years, but may find it prudent to pursue a bachelor's degree in a field such as engineering or computer science, among others. This course of action may prove best for students' career prospects, as the telecommunications sector is projected to contract by 4% over the next decade.