The Employment Outlook for the IT Industry Looks Bright
Nearly all types of organizations — from retail establishments and manufacturing plants to service industries and health care — need information technology (IT) workers. And as IT operations continue to expand, so does the demand for additional IT workers.
The online Associate Degree in Information Sciences and Technology is offered in partnership with Penn State's highly regarded College of Information Sciences and Technology. It is designed for working professionals with little or no formal background in information technology and for people who want to pursue a career in technology management.
Why Information Sciences and Technology Online at Penn State
This online associate degree combines flexibility with a highly relevant course curriculum. Acquiring an associate degree in IST can significantly boost your earning potential and broaden your career opportunities, compared to your having only a high school diploma.
Penn State’s online associate degree can give you:
- a thorough knowledge of information systems, with organizational and global perspectives
- extensive practice using contemporary technologies in the creation, organization, storage, analysis, evaluation, communication, and transmission of information
- technical knowledge about the structure of database systems, web and multimedia systems, and the design of information systems
- hands-on knowledge through team projects, a required internship, and a capstone experience focusing on issues and technologies in the field
If you choose to continue your studies, some of the credits you earn toward your associate degree may be applied toward the requirements for a bachelor’s degree at Penn State. Please consult with an adviser.
The College of IST is a leader among information schools, and its faculty members are a diverse group of thought leaders from numerous fields, including computer science, engineering, psychology, chemistry, and artificial intelligence.
Options to Tailor Your IT Degree
Baccalaureate Option: If you choose to continue on and pursue a bachelor’s degree in IST, most of the courses and credits earned in the associate degree count toward meeting the lower division requirements for the Bachelor of Science in IST, making the transition to a bachelor’s degree program easier. Contact your adviser to discuss the details.
Generalized Business Option: Courses in accounting, marketing, and management can help you build a framework of business concepts and practices that you can incorporate into your IT experience, add to your résumé, and use to improve your marketability across industries.
Individualized Option: This option allows you to work closely with an adviser to develop a flexible academic program that provides a breadth of technical specialization. Consider selecting courses that support your current career path or possibly adding one of our undergraduate certificates to complete this option.
Networking Option: With a focus on network administration and computer networking, this option provides an innovative curriculum that helps identify and explain new and ever-evolving technologies in the IT field. This option balances theoretical knowledge with real-world experiences and is designed to bridge the gap between business and information technology professionals.
The networking option may also prepare students who plan to pursue a number of professional IT certification exams, such as Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+, Network+, and Server+ exams, as well as Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MSCA), and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).
Who Should Apply?
This program is designed for:
- working professionals with little or no formal background in IT
- people who want to pursue a career in technology management
- people interested in changing careers
Career Opportunities for Graduates
The online associate degree in IST can prepare you for the following careers:
- database administrator
- web developer
- computer support consultant
- test engineer
- data center operations support
- information manager or technologist
- local- and wide-area network administrator
- systems administrator
- media technician
- network administrator
- help desk analyst
- network support technician
- technical support specialist