Is an Associates Degree in Information Technology Worth It? [2021 Guide]
Is an associates degree in information technology worth it? Compare career paths, salaries, and job growth to see if an IT degree is worth it.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the information technology industry has an expected growth of 12% over the next ten years. That’s huge! Earning an associate’s in information technology online can help prepare you for in-demand careers in the IT sector.
Jobs relating to computer programming, web design, information security, and other technology-based trades are in high demand for most companies, and the need for this will continue to rise.
Is an Associates Degree in Information Technology Worth It?
Yes, an associates degree in information technology is worth it for many students. With an average salary of $52,830, an associate’s degree in IT can help prepare you for jobs such as information technology specialist, systems administrator, computer network support technician, or IT technical specialist.
An associate’s degree in IT can typically be completed in 2 years or less. Plus, you can continue your education and use your associate’s degree as a stepping stone to your bachelor’s degree if you want to further your education.
Getting an associate’s degree online in information technology can help you build a stable career in this lucrative field.
Information Technology Associate Degree Salary
Information technology (IT) can cover many areas. A degree in technology can open doors in many technology-based fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for various IT careers can range from $42,630 to $93,750.
Some companies may want you to further your education by earning your bachelor’s degree.
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$83,510|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$62,340|
|Computer Support Specialists||$54,760|
|Medical Records and Health Information Technicians||$42,630|
As you can see from the job opportunities listed, there is a variety of skills taught in an associate’s degree in information technology curriculum.
What Can You Do with an Associates Degree in Information Technology?
A two year degree in information technology can assist in obtaining a job in the technology field. You may get an entry-level position with your degree, but with experience, education, or certifications, many places may allow you to advance.
Some of these career options include junior data analyst, computer network support specialists, and web developer.
Junior Data Manager
Junior data managers usually work under someone to assist in the daily workings of database systems. They also take part in creating policies and procedures for the betterment of the company, when needed.
Junior data managers may be charged with managing and checking data entry, troubleshooting for data errors, and completing data reports.
Computer Network Support Specialists
Computer network support specialists make sure the existing network is running properly. If problems arise, they should have the know-how to evaluate the issue, find the problem, and repair the systems.
They should also be able to perform everyday network maintenance.
Web developers design websites. They use a programming language to write code that tells the website what to look like and how to work. Some developers design all aspects of the site while others develop or design certain parts based on a specialty.
They must be knowledgeable about the latest software, web applications, and programming languages.
There are many other career options available for you to consider when you receive this degree. It is essential to know what type of work you will enjoy doing so that you can search for the right career in your field.
Should I Get A Bachelor’s Degree or An Associate’s Degree?
Many people who are interested in a degree in information technology want to know how far in their education they need to go to get the career they desire.
There are some advantages of both an associate’s degree in information technology and a bachelor’s degree in the same area. Take time to compare what the two degrees offer and choose the one that best fits your career plans.
An associate’s degree generally takes about 2 years to obtain. This timeframe can vary from person to person, depending on prerequisites and specialty classes you may need.
The courses offered by the school during the time you need them can also affect the timeframe of your degree progression. Overall, if you can complete the program as a full-time student, you should be looking at two years.
A bachelor’s degree is very similar in prerequisites and courses offered, but it’s typically a 4 year degree program for a full-time student.
More often than not, a degree offered at a community college or vocational school is going to cost less per credit hour than a degree at a university.
There are many grants, loans, scholarships, and other means to help with getting both degrees, but the overall bottom line is most likely going to be less with an associate degree.
Another difference between earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in information technology is the type of career and salary you are looking for.
Although an associate degree can help you qualify for an entry-level position with room to grow, a bachelor’s degree can help you prepare for a higher-level position in the industry.
The higher your education level, the higher your potential earnings will often be. Experience and knowledge are important, but many companies in the IT industry like to see certifications that prove you have the skills you claim.
To see a summary of the differences between the two degree programs, please see the table below.
|Associate’s Degree||Bachelor’s Degree|
|About 60 credit hours||About 120 credit hours|
|Cost per credit hour tends to be lower||Universities usually cost more overall|
|Prepare you for entry-level positions||Allows for higher-level or supervisory positions|
|Pay could be at the lower end compared to someone with more education||Earning prospects are higher|
Which degree fits your career goals better? Remember, if you earn an associate degree, you can always finish a bachelor degree later.
IT Associates Degree Curriculum
Whether you earn your information technology degree online or on campus, the core curriculum can help to educate you on the different components of computer systems. You could also learn how to develop websites, create and manage databases, and work with computer networks.
Several code languages are often taught in IT programs. Some of these languages include:
- Visual Basic
These coding languages allow you to tell the computer or program what you want it to do. Another essential piece to an associate’s degree in IT is the general education courses. These include your required English, math, science, and history credits.
You often can use these classes on your transcript if you decide to transfer to a university and to take your education to the next level.
Many schools include business courses, e-commerce courses, and communications. Having the skills taught in these courses can help you to be more marketable, informing you about the experiences you may face in the workforce.
Many schools would like you to understand the difference between several operating systems and the best way to use the functions of each.
All of these classes combined could help you to become a better problem solver and a critical thinker. As you complete more course work, you may find yourself become more creative and confident in how you handle problems that arise in information technology.
Can I Get an IT Job with an Associate’s Degree?
There are a variety of jobs available for those who have an associate degree in IT. Some of these jobs include junior data analyst, computer network support specialists, and web developer.
These are often entry-level positions that allow room from growth as you become more experienced and educated. Information technology is a competitive field, so getting your associate’s degree can help get your resume to the top of the pile.
Many associate’s programs allow you to choose elective courses that can help to achieve a specialty area. If you are looking to enter the field in a particular area, you may want to look at elective courses that can better show your skills and commitment.
For example, if you would like to work in web development, you might want to consider electives that deal with website design or extra programming classes.
There are ways to advance your career status besides increasing your degree level. Here some certifications to explore:
- Cisco Certified Network Associate certifies you in installing, configuring, and operating enterprise-level routers and switches.
- Network+ validates your capacity to use, design, and fix any problem that may arise on numerous wireless and wired networks.
- Apple Certified Associate is a certification for those who work with Macs when using Windows.
- CompTIA A+ Technician is an excellent place for you if you are new to the field and need to show your skills. It lets others know you understand the skills required to care for the maintenance of hardware, software, and digital technology.
- Certified Information System Security Professional proves you can protect the company from cyber-attacks and other security risks. You will also show your leadership and technical skills to manage and engineer information security programs.
- Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer is great for those looking at careers in system engineers, system administrators, or field systems technicians. It can open many other doors as well by letting companies see you can develop exceptional results across various technologies.
- Linux Essentials Professional Development Certification shows you how the Linux operating system functions. Linux is a widely used, free operating system designed for both server-computing and desktop.
There are some certifications you can obtain to prove to a potential employer that you have the knowledge to do the job they need.
Accreditation is a process that colleges and universities must submit their course through for them to prove they meet the high standards needed to help students prepare for real-world applications in their field.
Accreditation is a continuous process in which schools should keep up to date on the latest in the information technology field. You should verify that your school is accredited correctly so your degree can have more power in the career world.
Financial Aid for an Associates in IT Online
Financial aid packages are available to students based on financial need, household size, and other factors that can result in assistance paying for college. You can see what federal aid you qualify for by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
There are a variety of grants, scholarships, and loans that you can look into before deciding what degree path you want to take. You should talk to your school’s financial advisors to see what options are best for you.
Getting Your Associate’s Degree in IT Online
An associate’s degree in information technology can lead to a well-paying job in a wide-range of industries. You have the option to complete your studies at a university campus near you or to select an accredited online program.
A number of accredited universities now offer associates degrees in information technology online. These programs offer the ultimate in convenience with accelerated course options, flexible scheduling, and the freedom to complete your studies at a time that is convenient for you.