Overview of an Associates in Management Information Systems
An associate degree, whether earned online or in person, is the lowest level of degree you can earn. It’ll get you into the workforce as quickly as possible, but you probably won’t be running any company departments with only this degree. Instead, you should be focused on gaining experience in information systems and in whatever industry interests you. You can use this degree to get an entry-level position and start working your way up in a company. This is your foot in the door, getting a focused two years in a management information systems associate degree program. You can gain this degree online and then be more than prepared to begin an online bachelor’s in management information systems once you’ve got some experience under your belt.
Coursework in management information systems degree programs will vary between the general education required and core courses offered by each university, but both on-campus and online associate programs may include some of the following subjects for students of management information systems.
- Computer Systems and Computer Information Systems
- Information Technology
- Systems Analysis
- Operations Management
- Project Management
- Applied Management Information Systems
- And More
Those who gain an education beyond high school are more likely to move beyond entry-level positions and earn higher annual median salaries than those who choose not to enter college of any kind. If prospective students know what future career they want and go out of their way to find traditional or online degrees that support those careers, then they’re even more ready to pursue it.
- Whether they attend on campus or earn a degree online, students will spend between 18 and 24 months in a community college degree program, earning their associate degree. Once students graduate, they’ll be ready to begin their job search.
- In a management information systems associate degree program, students will learn all the basics you need for when you find a job.
- Graduates will be at the forefront of new, developing trends so they can spot how they will affect the world of business and management information systems.
- An associate program exposes students to the ethical and legal issues that are connected to management information systems.
- In their studies, students will also learn how to handle data and private information.
In the management information systems (MIS) field, you won’t be working solely on computer applications. You’ll also be working side-by-side with people; if you have an associate degree in management information systems rather than a bachelor’s degree, you may be limited. Also, online programs will give you less access to learning how to succeed in teamwork.
- The focus of an associate program is limited by necessity. You may not learn everything you need to know if you have higher aspirations, such as operations management or project management.
- Even though you will have earned an associate degree in management information systems, you won’t make as much money as you would have if you advanced to a bachelor’s degree program. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn about $18,000 more than those with an associate degree.
- Your career path will be affected by your degree level. That bachelor’s degree would allow you to be able to choose more career paths.
Certificate vs. Associate's
Now that you have a little more information, it’s time to decide: certificate or degree? Each has its own advantages, so your choice depends on your goals and plans. Why not get both? Combining a degree and certification in the same field can be a boon for your entire career and can be relatively easy with online learning. Roughly half of the job announcements posted for tech jobs say they prefer a degree and certification, though employers don't care whether or not you earn your education online.
If you look at the required credit hours for an online associate degree versus a certificate, you’ll notice that the certificate requires about half as many credits. This means that you can finish a certificate program more quickly than an online associate.
What Management Information Systems Associate Degrees are Available?
You have a choice of two management information systems degrees, depending on where you go to school. The first, Associate of Science in Management Information Systems, is classified as a computer studies program. You’ll take classes that are heavy in technology, such as Introduction to Programming or Relational Database Concepts. You’ll also take programming classes and study the legal and ethical considerations in this field. Many options will require on-campus components rather than being 100% online.
The second degree is the online Associate of Arts in Management Information Systems. You’ll have high math and STEM requirements, allowing you to learn the basics you’ll need to work in your intended field. Along with your general education requirements, you’ll take humanities classes, then just a few credits in computer fundamentals. While you’ll take business-oriented math and science classes, your focus will not be as heavily focused on information systems. Instead, it will be much more heavily weighted toward the business applications of this particular career.
If you are a first-year student entering either a certificate or an online associate degree program, you’ll need to send out your official high school transcripts. If you took a General Equivalency Degree (GED) course, you’ll submit those scores instead. Some schools require a minimum GPA to be accepted while others do not. You’ll also submit your college entrance exam scores from the ACT or SAT. Finally, you’ll submit your application with any required fee. This varies from school to school but online learning programs require exactly the same admissions documents as other programs. Just because you are attending online does not mean that you are safe from meeting all requirements. (If you are applying past the application deadline, you may have to pay a late fee.)
How long does it take to earn a Management Information Systems Associates online?
If you attend school full-time, whether online or on campus, it will take you at least two years to graduate. This is for general education and core courses; this time frame doesn’t include any developmental education courses that are ranked under the 100-level. However, if you attend part-time online, it could take twice as long for you to graduate. Some students choose to take an accelerated course of study, blending online and in-person learning, though these programs are more rare.
You may also have to take courses in a specific sequence, which means that you may take your general education classes in the same semester or semesters as your core classes. Expect to have your general education courses, such as communication courses (math or English) to be required in each semester that you are in school.
Potential Careers in Management Information Systems with an Associates
- Help Desk Services/Technician:
You will help clients to identify, troubleshoot, and resolve their technology issues. You may have to guide clients through to correct the problems they are having with their information systems.
Median annual salary: $41,400
- Corporate Trainer:
Your role means you train and instruct other staff members on the use of information technology (safety, troubleshooting, and efficiency). You’ll be expected to have expert-level knowledge of the information systems your company uses. This means you need to be fully informed on any issues that staffers may possibly encounter.
Median annual salary: $56,600
- Technical Services/Consultant:
You’ll be required to quickly learn how to use new software. A staffing or consulting firm may hire you, rather than the company you’re working for. You’ll provide hands-on training, install, upgrade, maintain, and evaluate new products. You’ll troubleshoot and resolve tech issues on-site and remotely.
Median annual salary: $100,000
- Technical Services/Support Engineer:
You’re considered the experts of the products and services your employer provides. Like the Help Desk Technician, you’ll respond to incoming calls or emails and help customers to troubleshoot their software. You’ll be expected to answer questions regarding user inquiries about computer software or hardware and present solutions.
Median annual salary: $64,600
- Office Manager:
Even in a management information systems office, you’ll find an office manager. If this is you, then you’ll coordinate the daily operations of the office and its departments. You’ll assign space and monitor office organization, manage supplies, and equipment
Median annual salary: $48,800
Options to Advance
Your best bet to advance your career is to return to school for an online bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. This online or traditional program will give you everything you need to work at a higher level. You’ll also be able to develop other job skills that apply to your management information systems role.
Your career goals may rise even higher than an online bachelor’s degree. If so, think about a Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS-IS). These programs offer courses that stress leadership roles in management information systems fields. In addition, you’ll learn how to teach concepts that may be new to junior employees in your company. This degree is designed for executives, IT professionals, and graduates of bachelor’s degree programs. Master's degrees nearly always have an online component these days so that professionals can attend online courses when it is convenient for them.
Best Associate of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS) Programs
Kirtland Community College
West Branch, Michigan
Kirtland Community College strives to bring a world of knowledge to its students, whether they want to earn a full online associate degree or a certificate. Kirtland prides itself on its educational achievements, because its students do better in their academic pursuits than students who start their careers at a four-year school.
- Associate of Applied Sciences in Technology Management (AAS)
Community College of Philadelphia
CCP is an open-admission, public college that offers support and academic services to its students so that they can achieve their academic and career goals. CCP is the largest higher education institution in the city; it has served more than 685,000 students ever since it was established in 1965.
- Associate in Applied Science, Network Technology Management and Administration
Community College of Aurora
Aurora, Colorado (Lowry Campus, Denver)
The Community College of Aurora offers a high-quality education to students in Aurora and Denver. Its student body and faculty are diverse, which enriches the experiences of all on campus. CCA learns the goals of its students so it can customize its offerings.
- Associate of Applied Arts, IT Tech and Support
Metropolitan Community College
Kansas City, Missouri (Campuses in Blue River, Longview, Maple Woods and Penn Valley)
Metropolitan Community College is the oldest and largest higher learning public institution in Kansas City. Founded in 1915, the campus was first known as the Kansas City Polytechnic Institute. In 1919, it was renamed the Junior College of Kansas City.
- Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science Information Systems
Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, Illinois
Moraine Valley Community College offers more than 130 educational programs and expert faculty to teach classes offered to students. Its classrooms are state-of-the art. MVCC is considered to be one of the nation’s premier community colleges.
- Associate of Applied Sciences in Management Information Systems
Traditional Schools Offering an AS in Management Information Systems
Arkansas City, Kansas
Cowley College opened in 1922. It was first located in the basement of the Arkansas City High School and, due to phenomenal growth, relocated to its own college campus in 1950. The college’s name was changed to Cowley County Community College and Vocational-Technical School, reflecting its focus and position.
- Associate of Arts, Management Information Systems
Tidewater Community College
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Tidewater Community College is the largest provider of higher education in Hampton Roads; it is also the biggest provider of workforce services, serving almost 33,000 students as of the 2017-2018 academic year. TCC is the second-largest of Virginia’s 23 community colleges.
- Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
Portland Community College
Portland Community College is the largest post-secondary institution in the state. It serves more than 70,000 students, both full-time and part-time. Its biggest goal is to educate a skilled workforce so they can transfer successfully to a four-year school or find a rewarding career.
- Associate of Applied Science, Computer Information Systems
- Associate of Applied Science, Network Administration
Front Range Community College
Front Range Community College, previously named Community College of Denver, opened in the fall of 1968. Until its campus could be built, it held classes in a building on the outskirts of Denver.
- Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems
Sinclair College offers its students more than 250 degrees and certificate programs. These include specialized and technical areas in high demand within Dayton and the immediate region. Online classes match the lifestyles of its students.
- Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems/Secure System Administration (some courses allow students to prepare for Microsoft and CompTIA certification exams)
Frequently Asked Questions
Will an associate degree be enough to get a good job with solid pay in this field?
The truth is that the job you get and the pay you are offered depends heavily on what industry you go into, where the job is located, how large the company is, and many other factors. However, you can increase your odds by making one of those factors the fact that you have a degree. Any employer, when choosing between two seemingly equal prospects, with similar knowledge and experience, will usually come down on the side of the one with more education. Now, if you live in a large city that has a very competitive job market, then an associate degree in this field may not be enough to get you a supervisory position, but it should help you earn an entry-level role. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has said that it expects this field to increase by around 11% by 2030, which means that employers looking to fill roles in this field will have more jobs available than will be open in most fields. That should make it even easier to find a position.
If I earn an associate degree in computer science and an associate degree in management information systems, will that be equal to a bachelor’s degree?
No. Adding two associate degrees together will not equal the full equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. However, if you earn an associate degree from an accredited institution that will allow you to transfer most, or all, of your credit hours to a bachelor’s degree program, then you will already be only two years away from earning a bachelor’s, with much more focus given to your core classes in those next two years than you received from your two-year associate degree. Thus, you’ll get much more good out of a bachelor’s degree with exactly the same amount of time it would take to earn another associate degree.