Top IT Trade Schools

Updated May 18, 2023 | Tessa Cooper

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Top IT Trade Schools

Information technology (IT) professionals perform important work. They use their expertise to help businesses and individuals make the most of their computers and network systems. IT trade school trains learners for various careers in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for IT professionals to grow 13% from 2020-2030.

These workers typically only need an associate degree from an IT trade school to practice. Most IT trade school programs take two years to complete.

This guide lists the best trade schools for IT. Read on to learn about costs and common classes in IT programs. The final section highlights potential careers and certifications for graduates.

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Questions About IT Trade Schools

Is coding required for IT?

Many IT positions require minimal coding experience. Knowing advanced coding may give job candidates a competitive edge.

What is the difference between IT and computer science?

Computer scientists focus on designing technology and software. IT professionals help maintain the machines and keep them secure.

Do I need a college degree to work in IT?

Most IT positions require formal education. Attending a two-year IT trade school may qualify graduates for entry-level positions in the field.

Why Get a Degree in Information Technology?

Earning an information technology degree can help graduates perform vital and helpful work. No matter how advanced technology becomes, machines will need maintenance and troubleshooting.

Attending an IT trade school can help learners earn a variety of high-paying IT jobs. Computer and information technology professionals earn a median $91,250 annually, according to the BLS. This figure more than doubles the median annual wage for all occupations.

Students who enroll in online IT programs can often continue working while furthering their education. An online format also lets them attend the top program without relocating.

How Much Does an IT Degree Cost?

Many factors influence the cost of an information technology degree. Public and community colleges usually charge less than private schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students attending a two-year school spent an average of about $11,390 for the 2019-20 semester.

Online learners may save money. These students do not need to commute to campus or pay for meal plans. Some schools charge fewer campus maintenance fees to online enrollees.

When creating a budget, aspiring IT students should factor in supplies, textbooks, and lab fees. They may need to buy more computer software programs than other majors.

How Much Do IT Majors Make?

IT professionals with an associate degree earn an average of $63,000 annually, according to March 2022 Payscale data. Workers with a bachelor's degree in IT earn an average of $76,000. IT majors earn varying amounts depending on position type, years of experience, and geographic location.

For example, computer and information research scientists earn a median $126,830 annually. Database administrators and architects earn a median $98,860. These professionals in California earn a mean wage of $112,870. The same Floridian professionals only earn a mean wage of $96,300. Generally, information technology professionals with decades of experience earn more than entry-level professionals.

Courses in an IT Program

Associate-level IT programs require about 60 credits. Enrollees hone their interpersonal and technical skills. They learn how to communicate advanced technical jargon into easy-to-understand terms. Students pursuing an information technology degree discover best practices for ensuring computer security compliance among employees.

Most trade schools for IT allow learners to select a concentration. Some schools call them minors or specializations. Options may include computer programming or ethical hacking. Many IT programs feature the classes below. However, keep in mind that classes vary by school.

  • Information Technology Foundations

    This class provides an overview of the various facets of information technology. Students learn how information technology plays a role in company communication. Learners examine the components of computer hardware and software. They also explore common IT troubleshooting techniques.
  • Cybersecurity Best Practices

    This class examines protocols for protecting digital information. Learners practice ethical hacking, which teaches how to defend programs against malicious attacks. The class typically involves reading case studies about landmark cybersecurity threats. Students discuss the efficiency of the cybersecurity response in each scenario.
  • Research in the Information Technology Field

    Enrollees learn how to construct an information technology study. While designing their own research project, learners study industry research papers. These studies aim to test theories. Upon course completion, students can submit their research findings to a journal for publication.

Career and Salary Outlook for IT Students

IT programs prepare learners for a variety of positions. Many jobs allow for remote working. IT professionals may provide in-house services for one company. Others provide technical support for a variety of clients at an agency.

IT professionals usually work during traditional business hours. However, they may need to work weekends and nights when unexpected technological issues arise. See below for three potential careers for graduates with an information technology degree. Click the embedded links for more information about each position.

  • Computer Systems Analysts

    These professionals ensure a company's computer systems run efficiently. They research new technology types and analyze the potential value they could add to an organization. Computer systems analysts also install and test new software and hardware. They oversee staff training on new technology.
  • Computer Support Specialists

    These workers provide assistance for local area networks and wide area networks. They also recommend preventative measures for computer safety. Computer support specialists help with tasks like data recovery and routine computer maintenance. They often help remotely, but some make in-person visits.
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators

    These administrators ensure operations among network systems run smoothly. They determine necessary updates and work on repairs. These professionals respond to user inquiries and use automated monitoring system alerts to identify issues. They also teach computer users best practices for hardware and computer use.
Salary Potential and Growth Rate
Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2020-2030)
Computer Systems Analysts $93,730 7%
Computer Support Specialists $55,510 9%
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $84,810 5%

Source: BLS

Certification for IT Professionals

IT professionals can pursue many certification types depending on their desired career. For example, IT professionals who want to enter the information security field may become certified information systems security professionals. This globally recognized certification demonstrates core knowledge on information technology security.

The certification requires a performance-based exam. The test takes up to 90 minutes to complete and costs $380. Candidates must earn at least a 750 on a scale from 100-900.

IT professionals can also earn certifications through computer companies like Microsoft and Apple. Apple provides certification for support professionals. For example, professionals can become Microsoft-certified cybersecurity architect experts or Azure engineer associates.

Many certifications require continuing education (CE). Professionals should budget for extra fees. However, some employers pay for certification and CE fees. Many CE classes run online.

Top IT Trade Schools

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