Electronic Communication Degrees: Associate, Training & Online Info

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What will you learn in an electronic communication training or associate's degree program? Read about training and associate's degree program requirements, the pros and cons of a training or associate's degree program and potential careers.
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Electronic Communication: Associate Degrees and Training Programs at a Glance

The field of electronic communication focuses on the operation, maintenance and installation of electronic circuits, systems and related components. A few schools offer certificate, diploma or associate degree programs in this field. In addition, some schools have similar programs in engineering technology or electronic engineering technology with concentrations in electronic communication.

Graduates of these programs can work as telecommunication equipment installers or telecommunication line installers and repairers. In addition, associate degree programs may prepare graduates to work as electrical and electronic engineering technicians.

Training Associate Degree
Who Is This Degree For? Individuals interested in entry-level careers in telecommunications equipment or line installation/repair - Aspiring electrical and electronic engineering technicians
- Individuals interested in telecommunications equipment or line installation/repair careers
Common Career Path (with approximate mean annual salary) - Telecommunication equipment installer and repairer ($54,000*)
- Telecommunication line installer and repairer ($52,000*)
Same as those for training program graduates, plus:
- Electrical and electronic engineering technician ($57,000*)
Time to Completion 16-44 credit hours 46-60 credit hours, or four semesters of full-time study
Prerequisites - High school diploma or the equivalent
- Some programs recommend prior electronics education or experience
High school diploma or the equivalent
Online Availability Some courses may be available online Some courses may be available online

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Training Programs in Electronic Communication

Diploma and certificate programs in electronic communication or electronic communications systems are offered by some schools. Electronics technology programs with a specialization in electronic communication may be available as well. These programs teach students how to read telecommunications diagrams and perform mathematical calculations related to electronic circuit analysis.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Average employment growth is expected for telecommunication line installers and repairers (13%) and telecommunication equipment installers (15%) from 2010-2020*
  • Some programs may prepare you to take certification exams, such as the Associate-level Certified Electronics Technician (CET) exam or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) General Radio Operator's License exam
  • Earned credits may be transferred to an associate's degree program

Cons

  • Programs do not prepare you to work in electronic or electrical engineering technology; a career in that field usually requires an associate degree
  • The rate of injury for telecommunication equipment technicians and line installers is higher than average
  • Long or irregular work hours may be required for telecommunication equipment technicians and line installers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

While electronic communication diploma programs often require more coursework than certificate programs, the core topics are similar. Courses in a diploma program may cover fixed networks, digital and data communications, radio frequency communications, digital cellular technology and component identification. Classes in a certificate program include computer applications for electronics technology, communication circuits, telecommunications networks and applied DC calculations. Most programs require hands-on lab work.

Online Degree Options

Because electronic communication is a hands-on field, only a small number of schools offer training programs with online coursework. In most cases, students can take 1-2 classes online, while other required courses must be completed on campus.

How to Stand Out

To stand out with your degree, consider attending a program that prepares you to take certification exams. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians offers the Associate-level CET exam and the FCC's General Radio Operator's license exam. Being certified may make it easier for you to find employment after graduation.

Associate Degree Programs in Electronic Communication

Associate programs in electronic technology or electronic communication focus on the testing, repair and maintenance of equipment used in digital communications. These programs may offer more in-depth instruction than certificate or diploma programs; general education coursework is required as well. In addition to preparing graduates for entry-level positions in the field, they may prepare graduates to take certification exams.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Electrical engineering technicians, telecommunications line installers and telecommunications equipment repairers earned above-average mean salaries compared to other professionals*
  • Some programs may lead to professional certification
  • Associate programs include general education coursework, providing you with a broad education

Cons

  • Jobs in electrical or electronic engineering were expected to see only a two percent increase from 2010-2020*
  • Careers in telecommunication equipment or line installation and repair usually only require a high school diploma or some postsecondary training
  • You may need a bachelor's degree for advancement in the electrical or electronic engineering technology field

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Courses and Requirements

Courses in electronic communication associate programs cover system interfacing, computer design, AC theory and circuit fundamentals, computer-based electronics and physics. Most of these programs include both lectures and lab work. You may participate in an internship as well.

Online Degree Options

Fully online associate degree programs in electronic communications are unavailable. A few schools offer general education courses online, but due to the need for hands-on experience, core classes are primarily offered on campus.

Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with your degree, consider attending a program that prepares you for certification exams. Possessing one or more certifications may lead to additional career opportunities. You can also look for schools that offer internships in order to gain real-world experience.

Degree Alternatives

Degree programs in engineering technology or electrical engineering technology may offer concentrations in electronic communication. These programs require approximately 64 credit hours of study in topics such as robotics fundamentals, communication circuits and Cisco routers. Their curricula can include lab work and may allow you to complete a cooperative education experience. These programs prepare you to work in the same jobs as associate degree programs in electronic communications.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Communications
      • A.S. General Studies - Communications
  • Silver City, NM

    Western New Mexico University

  • Farmington, CT

    Tunxis Community College

  • Tulsa, OK

    Tulsa Community College

  • Chicago, IL

    Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

  • Dryden, NY

    Tompkins Cortland Community College

  • Saint Cloud, MN

    St Cloud Technical and Community College

  • South Portland, ME

    Southern Maine Community College

  • Indianapolis, IN

    Indiana University

  • Dayton, OH

    Sinclair Community College

Featured Schools

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. General Studies - Communications

What is your highest level of education?

Western New Mexico University

Tunxis Community College

Tulsa Community College

Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy

Tompkins Cortland Community College

St Cloud Technical and Community College

Southern Maine Community College