Online Colleges Offering Associate Degrees in Information Systems

In today's technology-oriented world, storing and transmitting information increasingly depends on computer systems and networks -- and how reliable they are. For example, when a computerized inventory system for a large manufacturer crashes or an online medical records retrieval system fails in a hospital, those relying on these systems can't access the information they need. In these scenarios, and many others, an information systems professional can prove invaluable to an organization.

College programs offering online associate degrees in information systems can provide a first step toward a possible career in information systems, systems administration, information technology and related fields.

What Does an Associate Degree in Information Systems from an Online College Entail?

Online colleges for information systems have similar course requirements to on-campus associate degree programs, but they often offer more flexibility, allowing students to study where and when they want. Full-time students generally take approximately two years to complete associate degree programs.

Course requirements for an associate degree in information systems often include a blend of business and computer topics, including accounting, computer programming, computer operating systems, database management, advanced software applications, and network administration. In addition to courses specific to information systems, students can expect to complete general education requirements in subjects like math, English, communications, and foreign language.

Pursuing an associate degree in information systems online may also have additional benefits, such as being able to work with colleagues throughout the U.S., and possibly the world. When studying online, it's possible to participate in a virtual classroom setting, where students can connect with instructors and classmates regardless of their location. This experience translates well into career settings, where graduates are likely to encounter culturally diverse colleagues who have varying educational and work experience.

Related Careers for Graduates of Online Associate Degree Programs in Information Systems

Individuals who hold an associate degree in information systems may be eligible for entry-level computer technology positions, including computer suppor technician, computer systems analyst, and database administrator.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov, 2013) reports computer support technicians may require either an associate degree or bachelor's degree. These jobs are expected to grow by 18 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020. Computer support technicians may help senior-level information technology (IT) professionals repair computer equipment or assist users experiencing software or network problems.

Bls.gov reports that computer systems analyst jobs usually require a bachelor's degree, but combined skills, work experience and education may be acceptable to some employers. Computer systems analysts evaluate the features of a company's computer system, and suggest changes or upgrades based on the organization's computing needs. Computer systems analyst jobs are expected to grow faster than the national average, at 22 percent between 2010 and 2020.

While bls.gov notes that database administration jobs are usually reserved for those with a bachelor's degree or higher, as well as previous work experience, associate degree holders may be able to achieve an assistant-level role in IT data analysis and work their way up. The BLS expects database administrator jobs to grow by 31 percent between 2010 and 2020; this is much faster than average and reflects increasing use of information technology and concerns over data security.

For those looking to take their love of computing technology to the next level, request more information from one of the online colleges below to speak with an admissions counselor.

Computer Support Specialists, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Database Administrators, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Computer Systems Analysts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012
Computer and IT Positions, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012

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