Associate Degrees in Information Technology


Updated February 27, 2024

check mark Edited by
check mark Reviewed by

Our Integrity Network is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers.

Drawing on their firsthand industry expertise, our Integrity Network members serve as an additional step in our editing process, helping us confirm our content is accurate and up to date. These contributors:

  • Suggest changes to inaccurate or misleading information.
  • Provide specific, corrective feedback.
  • Identify critical information that writers may have missed.

Integrity Network members typically work full time in their industry profession and review content for as a side project. All Integrity Network members are paid members of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Explore our full list of Integrity Network members.

An IT associate degree can help you get the knowledge and skills you need to start or advance your career in information technology. Keep reading to learn more about a typical program. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Two people looking at a computer in an office Credit: Hinterhaus Productions / Digital Vision / Getty Images

An information technology (IT) associate degree can prepare you for various entry-level tech jobs. It can also serve as a good starting point for earning an IT bachelor's degree.

This two-year program explores the fundamental theories and practices of information technology. Topics include computer systems design, databases, hardware and software networks, and information security.

The computer and information technology field is growing fast, with high demand for employees with tech skills. Potential roles for graduates with an associate degree in IT include web developer, computer support specialist, programmer, and tech-related customer service representative.

Below, explore reasons for earning an IT associate degree, learn what to expect from these programs, and read about potential job opportunities after graduation.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Get an IT Associate Degree?

The information technology field encompasses careers that deal with the use of computer systems and other technologies to store, access, analyze, and retrieve data and information.

People, businesses, and other organizations increasingly use information technology for daily tasks both large and small. Societal dependence on technology will likely continue to grow, making an IT degree a smart choice.

Demand for jobs in this field is projected to grow much faster than average between 2022 and 2032, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The agency anticipates about 377,500 IT and computer job openings each year during this period.

Jobs available in information technology include database administrators and architects, computer systems analysts, computer network architects, and software developers. Other IT roles include computer support specialists, web developers, information security analysts, and computer programmers.

Popular employers of IT workers include computer systems design businesses, government agencies, the information sector, and the finance and insurance industries. However, you can find IT jobs in nearly every industry. IT professionals work using computers primarily in office environments; some work from home.

The IT field draws people who enjoy working with computers and technology. Problem-solving, analytical, communication, and interpersonal skills can help you thrive in information technology.

Earning an IT associate degree can help you progress toward your career and education goals. Below, we describe some benefits of earning an associate degree in information technology.

  • In-Demand Skills: You can develop career-relevant technical and soft skills in areas like communication, problem-solving, and creativity.
  • Job Opportunities: Earning an IT associate degree can help you qualify for entry-level jobs like computer support specialist, web developer, or customer service representative.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Unlike a traditional four-year bachelor's program, an associate degree takes significantly less time and money to complete.

What To Expect From Two-Year IT Programs

Information technology associate programs focus on providing a foundation in IT skills and knowledge and seek to prepare students for entry-level tech jobs. They explore topics like computing best practices, basic computer programming, business fundamentals, and software development.

The curriculum for an IT associate degree usually requires general education classes, electives, and information technology coursework. An IT associate degree typically takes two full-time years to complete and requires about 60 credits.

Many community colleges partner with nearby four-year schools so community college students can transfer an associate degree to the four-year institution. This enables the students to complete only two more years of coursework to earn a bachelor's degree from the four-year school.

Admissions Process

The process for applying to an IT associate program usually includes filling out an online application and submitting an application fee. Most community colleges that offer information technology associate degrees require that applicants hold a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Typically, you don't need a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, or any information technology experience. Additional prerequisites generally are not a requirement, but completing an introductory computer or IT class might increase your chances of acceptance.

IT Associate Degree Options

Not every IT associate program is the same. When you choose an IT associate degree, you need to decide if you want an online, in-person, or hybrid program. If you go with an online degree, decide if you'd rather take classes synchronously or asynchronously.

You might find that information technology programs offer various types of associate degrees, including an associate of arts (AA), associate of science (AS), or associate of applied science (AAS). Regardless of the type of associate degree offered, you typically take mostly the same types of IT classes.

AS and AA degrees both make sense if you want to transfer to a bachelor's program. An AA usually includes more general education and liberal arts classes, while an AS focuses on major coursework, as well as science and math classes. An AAS, on the other hand, prepares you to take entry-level jobs right after graduation.

Popular Associate Degree Courses

The type and variety of courses available from IT associate degree programs vary by school. We describe three popular courses below.

  • Programming Fundamentals: This class focuses on computer programming basics. Students learn to design computer applications using programming principles and address real-world problems in business. Topics include prototyping, object-oriented design, and testing.
  • Information Security: Learners explore information security fundamentals like confidentiality, vulnerabilities, and countermeasures. They get experience planning and identifying potential security risks.
  • Information Technology Concepts: This introduction to the field covers common terminology, principles, best practices, and skills. Students also learn about potential IT jobs.

How Much Do Associate Degrees in IT Cost?

The price for an IT associate degree varies by program. Factors that may impact price include school prestige, program format (online or in person), school type (public or private), and whether or not you can pay in-state or out-of-state tuition.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that the average tuition and required fees for one year of school at a two-year public institution was $3,564 for the 2021-2022 school year.

This means that the typical two-year degree would cost $7,128. Don't forget about other costs that you may incur while in school, including textbooks, housing, and transportation.

Types of financial aid available to help you earn your IT associate degree may include scholarships, grants, and student loans. Organizations offer aid for specific groups, including scholarships for women in computer science.

Information Technology Jobs

Graduates with information technology associate degrees can apply for. various jobs in the IT field. If you want to further your career opportunities and qualify for higher-paying jobs like computer and information systems manager, computer systems analyst, or information security analyst, consider pursuing additional education or professional certifications.

Below, we highlight some popular jobs you can get with an associate degree in IT.

Web Developers

Web developers build the technical part of websites and sometimes maintain them. Typical tasks include writing code, meeting with clients, and creating prototypes. Earning a bachelor's can lead to project management opportunities. Industries that frequently hire web developers include computer systems and design, educational services, and software publishers.

  • Required Education: Associate degree
  • Job Outlook (2022-2032): +17%
  • Median Annual Salary: $80,730

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists help computer users with technical issues and maintain computer networks. Frequent tasks include testing network systems, performing network maintenance, and training computer users on new hardware. Computer support specialists often advance to higher IT roles like information security analyst, software developer, or network and computer systems administrator.

  • Required Education: Associate degree
  • Job Outlook (2022-2032): +5%
  • Median Annual Salary: $59,660

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives help customers by answering questions and resolving problems. Duties include reviewing customer accounts, listening to customer complaints, and giving information as requested. Top employers include retail, insurance, business support services, and professional services.

  • Preferred Education: Associate degree
  • Job Outlook (2022-2032): -5%
  • MedianAnnual Salary: $37,780

Choosing the Right IT Associate Degree

You need to do some research to make sure you choose the right program. We discuss several factors to consider below.

  • Accreditation: Make sure that you choose a school with institutional accreditation. This is important if you want to qualify for federal financial aid, transfer credit to another accredited college, or eventually apply for a bachelor's program. You can look up accreditation information using the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's databases.
  • Cost/Financial Aid: Consider the required tuition and fees for any potential program and whether it fits into your budget. Don't forget to look up financial aid information to see if you can get scholarships, grants, or student loans to help pay for your degree.
  • Location: Location is important even if you choose an online program. If you're looking at public colleges, it can determine whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. You also might want to choose a nearby school to take advantage of in-person student support and resources.

Should You Get Your Associate Degree in IT Online?

Earning your associate degree in IT online offers potential benefits like flexibility, convenience, and affordability. This type of program may be particularly suited to the online experience since learning online can allow you to familiarize yourself with IT tools you need to know for your first job.

Before you decide to choose an online IT degree, think about your learning style and whether an online environment will work. To succeed in online IT classes, manage your time wisely and focus on hands-on skill development.

Are Associate, Certificate, or Bootcamp Programs Better?

An IT associate degree isn't the only option if you want to break into this field. You can also consider an IT certificate or bootcamp programs. Each of these options offers potential pros and cons. We compare IT associate degrees, certificates, and bootcamp programs below.

Associate vs. Certificate vs. Bootcamp Programs
Comparison Point IT Associate Degrees IT Certificates Bootcamp Programs
Program Length Two years Six months to two years 12-24 weeks
Types of Classes Software development concepts, information technology concepts, Microsoft applications on demand Introduction to operating systems, networking, computer technician Coding/programming, software development
Program Focus Prepares for entry-level jobs or transfers to a bachelor's program Prepares for entry-level jobs or can help you advance in an existing career Career-focused. Prepares for entry-level jobs or can help you advance in an existing career
Admission requirements High school diploma or GED certificate High school diploma or GED certificate High school diploma or GED certificate

Other Educational Paths

Information technology associate degrees aren't the only option if you're interested in this field. Other educational paths include IT programs at the bachelor's or master's level.

Many computer and IT jobs require a bachelor's degree in IT or a related field, so earning one can help expand your career opportunities significantly. A master's in IT can help you qualify for even more advanced roles, including at the management level.

These other educational choices make a lot of sense if you want to increase your salary. Payscale reports that IT bachelor's degree-holders earned an average annual salary of $81,000 as of January 2024.

A master's in IT yields an average annual salary of $96,000 as of January 2024. Payscale has data on only 15 people with an associate degree in IT, but they reported earning $68,000 a year as of January 2023, in comparison.

Bachelor's Degrees in Information Technology

Bachelor's Degrees in Information Technology

Master's Degrees in Information Technology

Master's Degrees in Information Technology

Overview of Computer Programming Degrees

Overview of Computer Programming Degrees

Overview of Computer Science Degrees

Overview of Computer Science Degrees

Questions About Information Technology Associate Degrees

What is an associate degree in IT?

An IT associate degree provides a foundation in information technology skills, best practices, and principles. It's usually a two-year program that can prepare you for entry-level tech jobs or help you get into a bachelor's program.

What can you do with an associate degree in information technology?

An information technology associate degree can prepare you for various entry-level roles in tech. This includes jobs in programming, tech and computer support, web development, and tech-related customer service. You can also use an associate degree as a launching pad to an IT bachelor's program.

Is getting an information technology associate degree hard?

This is a subjective question that varies by person. Some people find information technology challenging, but if you're willing to put in the work you can likely master the skills it takes to earn an IT degree.

Is an associate degree in IT worth it?

An IT associate degree can pay off by preparing you for jobs in an in-demand and high-paying field. However, whether or not it's worth it depends on your budget, career and education goals, and your salary after graduation.

Page last reviewed February 13, 2024.

Recommended Reading

Take the next step toward your future.

Discover programs you’re interested in and take charge of your education.