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Degree Overview: Associate of Occupational Science (A.O.S.) – Computer Applications Specialist

Majors Overview August 22, 2013

In this article, you will learn about the associate degree program in occupational science with a focus on computer applications specialist, as well as receive information on salary, career prospects, and courses to make an informed decision about your education.

Associate Degree Program in Computer Applications Specialist

Few colleges and universities offer Associate of Occupational Studies (A.O.S.) degree programs with a focus on computer applications, it is also referred to as Associate in Occupational Studies programs. More commonly, colleges and universities offer Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in computer applications degree programs. Completing an A.A.S. in applied computer technology or information technology, computer programming, or computer systems and network security degree program will help candidates seek entry level jobs in positions that involve customer service or installation, configuration, repair, maintenance and upgrading computers.

An associate’s degree may not suffice the requirements for those seeking a career as a computer network architect or information security analyst; such individuals would need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, students who have earned their Associate of Applied Science in Computer Applications degree can transfer credits earned in the associate degree program to a four-year bachelor degree program in computer science or information management systems.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a general educational development (GED) certificate or a high school diploma. Introductory courses in applied computer technology may have to be completed by students seeking admission to certain programs; they would also need to showcase their academic credentials by completing courses in science, English and Math before seeking admission to an associate’s degree program.

Program Coursework

Some computer applications associate degree program courses are associated with everyday operations of computers, while others provide more in-depth technical knowledge. Some associate degree programs required, and elective courses may include the following:

•Network security
•Databases
•Applications design introduction
•Systems analysis and design
•Programming languages
•Computer architecture
•PC hardware

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In May 2011, computer support specialists took home an average annual salary of approximately $48,000, while computer programs earned about $73,000 during the same period. A higher annual salary of $78,000 was earned by computer network architects, web developers and information security analysts, according to the BLS. A job growth projection of twelve percent, on par with other occupations, has been predicted for computer programmers during the period from 2010 to 2020. During the same period, a higher projection of eighteen percent has been predicted for computer support specialists. Computer network architects, web developers and information security analysts are expected to enjoy a projected job growth of twenty-two percent.

Information on Continuing Education

Students who seek continued education should consider enrolling in a four-year bachelor degree program in information management systems, computer science, or other related area. A computer science degree will prepare students for technical careers in areas such as network architecture, information security analysis, and programming, while individuals who are interested in managing information technology (IT) professionals might want to consider enrolling in an information systems management program.

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