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Online IT Support Degrees

IT support or “information technology” support careers are on the rise. For the 2008-2018 decade, the work force is expected to grow by 17%. This means the current work force will grow from 293,000 professionals to 342,500. In addition to job growth, the IT industry offers higher than average entry-level, median, and top salaries. Entry-level IT support professionals earn around $60,800 per while the average annual salary of $108,700. The highest paid IT support professionals earn $145,600+ per year.   

IT support professionals perform a number of duties ranging from installing, maintaining, and monitoring computer systems to diagnosing and solving applications problems. Average wage earners in this field typically hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a business degree with concentration in database management, information systems, or other related field. Top earner’s typically hold a master’s degree or MBA with a technology concentration from an accredited program.

If you are interested in working in the IT industry, you may choose to complete your degree through a traditional (on campus) program or an online IT support program. Most IT professionals obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science or a business degree with a technology focus or computer science. Earners on the high end of the pay scale usually hold an MBA with a technology concentration from an accredited program.

Fortunately, just about every accredited traditional college or university offers a bachelor’s degree in business with a technology focus or a computer science. Most offer a master’s degree in these areas, as well as information systems degrees. These degree programs may be available in the traditional, blended (online and on campus) or online.

While there are literally hundreds of online business and computer science degree programs available, much like traditional programs, not all online programs are created equal. So, when searching for an online IT support program, you should consider the accreditation, curriculum, and admission requirements. The following accrediting agencies are just a few agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Schools to consider:

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
The Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)

The following U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agencies offer regional accreditation:

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Traditional and Online IT Support Curriculum

Online technology program curriculums are almost always similar to traditional curriculums. General education courses will include written composition, humanities, behavioral and social sciences, science, mathematics, and information technology.

Major courses will include:

Business Process Modeling
Computer Networks
Data Structures
Database Theory
Developing User Interfaces
Foundations for Computer Science
Foundations of Computer Hardware
Fundamentals of Computer Networks
Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
Network Security
Operating Systems
Programming Tools
Software Design
Theory of Computation

MBA programs with a technology focus may include some or all of the following courses:

Advanced Application Development
Advanced Database Design
Advanced systems analysis & modeling
Advanced Systems Design
Business Process Modeling
IS Project Management
IS Security
IT Architecture and Networks
IT Auditing
Project Management
Web-Based Application Development

Finding Online IT Support Degree Programs

To locate top accredited online IT support degree programs, check with traditional universities to see what they have to offer. The online division for each accredited school will list offerings. You may also search through comprehensive online directories such as Top Online Colleges, or use reliable search engines such as Ask, Bing or Google. Each online degree program will offer information on accreditation status. The list of accrediting agencies mentioned in this article are just a few. For a complete list of recognized accrediting agencies, please visit the U.S. Department of Education website for details.

Tip: If you want to increase your chances of getting your foot in the door at a leading company, you should consider obtaining certification. Voluntary certification programs are offered by product vendors and training institutions across the U.S.