Are you thinking about getting a degree in Information Technology? It can be hard to determine whether you want a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, or something else entirely.
Out of all your options, an associate’s degree is the quickest and most cost-effective way to secure a foundation in your chosen field. It’s also easy to build on should you decide to advance your education down the line.
If you’re wondering whether or not an associate’s degree in Information Technology is worth it, read on below. We’ll discuss different degree options available and the careers they can lead to.[toc]
Is an Associate’s Degree in IT Actually Worth It?
Information technology first entered the classroom back in the 1980s. Today, it remains one of the most popular program options across institutions. Many options exist at the associate degree level but you can also advance your education with a bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree.
That said, there are many positions available to individuals with an associate’s only. This path allows you to enter the workforce quickly and dodge the higher costs associated with four-year universities.
Thanks to that jump, there are more computer support specialist positions that are in the information technology field than ever before. This includes entry-level opportunities and beyond.
Types of Associate’s Degree in Information Technology
Different associate degrees in IT may concentrate on different areas. Of course, options will vary depending on the institution you choose to attend. Some of the most popular opportunities include:
- Health IT Associate’s Degree
- Computer Science
- Computer Engineering
- Information Science
- Systems and Network Administration
- Data Analytics
- Software Development
To reiterate, these are just some examples of the specialty areas you can choose to focus on. There are also general information technology degrees out there that do not require a specific structure.
Information Technology Vs. Computer Science
It’s easy to confuse with the different types of degrees out there. Some people assume that if a degree centers on computer systems or computer-related, it automatically falls into the IT category. However, this is not always the case.
Information Technology Job Outlook
If you’re not yet convinced, take a look at the statistics associated with the discipline. Today, there are more than 3 million IT jobs out there. Below, you’ll find some of the most popular jobs available to graduates of an associate’s degree in information technology:
- Computer systems analysis
- Computer and IT research
- Network systems
- Web developers
- Computer support specialist
- Network security administrators
- Computer programming
- Database administrator
- IT Department staff
- Computer network architect
- Systems administrator
- Information security specialists
- Systems analyst
- Web design
- Computer technician
- Computer systems design
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry is expected to grow by an impressive 13% over the next decade. By 2030, we can anticipate about 667,000 new jobs to hit the field.
Benefits of an Associate’s Degree in IT
There are lots of benefits to earning an associate’s degree in IT, from low tuition costs to versatile opportunities after graduation. Read on below to learn more.
You Can Join the Workforce in Just Two Years
An associate’s degree will take just two years to complete. You can enroll in these programs at a community college or technical school.
Even if your desired career path requires additional education, an associate’s degree is a great way to secure a position in the field, gain work experience, and start earning money. This can make expenses associated with additional schooling easier to handle down the line.
You Can Complete Your Education Online
These days, you can earn an associate degree online quite easily. It’s convenient and cost-effective, especially for individuals who need to tend to personal or professional responsibilities while pursuing their education.
Below are a few more advantages to earning an associate’s degree in IT online:
- Eliminate commuting costs
- No on-campus residence costs
- Adaptable class schedules
- Ability to work while in school
- Availability to parent while in school
- Access to quality resources from all locations
Another benefit of earning an associate degree in IT is that you will have lots of different career choices ahead of you. Consider the number of jobs an IT degree can put you in line for, from computer systems analysis to computer software programming and many things in between.
Associate’s Vs. Bachelor’s Degree Vs. Master’s
An associate degree can be completed in about two years. These programs are offered across technical or trade schools. Meanwhile, bachelor’s degrees are offered at more traditional colleges or universities and typically take four years to complete. If you decide to pursue a master’s degree, you’ll spend another two years in school after completing your bachelor’s program.
Bachelor’s degree programs also tend to dive more deeply into the area of study than associate degrees, which are more focused on instilling specific skills and preparing students for the workforce.
A master’s degree builds on the knowledge and skills obtained at the bachelor’s level. The academic credential communicates a more advanced understanding of the subject. It also helps graduates land more advanced roles and higher salaries.
What Jobs Can I Get with an Associate Degree in Information Technology?
The job market is wide open for individuals with an associate degree in information tech. The top-earning fields include:
- Database administrator: $98,860
- Computer programmer: $89,190
- Network administrator: $84,810
- Technical writer: $74,650
- Computer Support Specialist: $55,510
We will note that some companies may expect applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree for certain positions. Others remain open to interviewing individuals with an associate’s degree only.
*All salary information has been sourced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Benefits of a Career in IT
Careers in IT are constantly evolving. They allow individuals to work across a variety of environments and are known to pay well. We’ve listed the additional benefits of a career in information technology below.
You’ll Enjoy High Levels of Job Security
IT employees are not going anywhere. If anything, the industry will only continue to grow. While job responsibilities may change according to evolutions in the field, the need for IT employers will always be there. The healthcare, automotive, military, and education industries are among the highest for IT professional recruitment.
There are Tons of Opportunities for Growth
IT workers do a lot more than install hardware. They are constantly learning new things and adjusting to changes. That provides ample opportunity to lead the charge on new processes and procedures. As technology continues to advance, so will opportunities for growth. Someone starting out as a computer support specialist can easily grow into a network administrator, and beyond.
IT Salaries Are Pretty Generous
Even at an entry-level position, IT personnel make pretty good money. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250, though most mid-level graduates of associate degree programs earn around $74,500.
IT Certifications that Can Help Your Job Search
The following IT certifications can help boost your skills:
- CompTIA A+
- Apple Certified Associate
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
- Linux Essentials Professional Development Certification
What kind of salary can you earn with an associate’s in information technology?
According to the BLS, the median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250, though most mid-level graduates of associate degree programs earn around $74,500.
What kind of jobs can you get with an associate in information technology?
Some of the most common jobs for graduates of an associate’s degree in information technology include IT support specialists, computer technicians, system administrators, technical writers, and web developers.
What jobs can I get with an associate’s degree in health information technology?
Individuals with an associate’s degree in health information technology can pursue the following positions:
Clinical systems manager
Medical research analyst
Health information manager
Outpatient coding compliance auditor
An associate degree in IT can lead to an incredibly versatile career. ICOHS College can help you access the training you need to break into the field. Our associate degree in information technology can be completed online and in as little as 18 months.
Scholarships and title IV funding are also available to help students cover the cost of tuition. Call us to speak to one of our representatives (858) 581-9460 or contact us via email for more information on financial assistance. Financial aid is available to those who qualify.