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Telecommunications-Management Degree Plus Heavy Demand Equals High Salary.

The high salaries, $90,000 to $110,00 per year, being paid these days go to the telecommunications manager who not only has the experience, but has a degree as well. And the degree that most organizations are looking for on the resume is in the field of telecommunications.

"Learn and earn," says James "Jim" Koerlin, assistant professor and director of the Telecommunications Department at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. "In fact, even though there is still a shortage of qualified telecommunications managers to fill the needs of a continually expanding industry and profession, the degree in telecommunications management is what the future employer is looking for and is commanding the higher salaries."

It's back-to-the-books time for those telecommunicators who want these higher salaries. Experience is, of course, still as essential, but the degree is making the difference and is almost becoming a basic requisite.

Former Telecommunications Manager

Jim Koerlin can speak from experience, having been a telecommunications manager himself for several years with Lucky Stores. He was active in both the International Communications Association and the Tele-Communications Association, emphasizing the educational role in both.

Of the universities in the United States offering a master's degree in telecommunications, Golden Gate focuses its curriculum specifically on the management of telecommunications services. Jim and Golden Gate were pioneers in establishing such a program, not only for the master's degree but for a BS degree, MBA, and a certificate program. The university has a combined day and evening enrollment of more than 11,000 students, more than 700 of them enrolled in the telecommunications program alone.

With new telecommunications technologies evolving at an astonishing pace, keeping the curriculum attuned to the latest developments in the field is a top priority for Koerlin and his faculty. "You can't just set up a program like this and let it run, even for a year at a time, without making some adjustments," Koerlin says, "or you'll find yourself lecturing about a technology that no longer exists. That's why we're continually developing new courses and updating existing ones, based on the feedback we're getting all the time from both our faculty and our advisory committee."

That doesn't mean, though, that a degree in telecommunications management has a limited useful life. "We're teaching people how to manage the telecommunications function," Koerlin emphasizes. "While you're in the program, you are, in fact, learning about the state of the art in the field at that time. But just like any manager, once you've acquired the basic body of knowledge in your field, you have to keep current with how it's growing or changing. What we're doing is equipping students with the knowledge base and management skills they need to perform effectively as telecommunications managers, and that includes helping them develop the kind of thorough understanding of the field that's needed to keep themselves current in the environment of rapid change."

The task of keeping the curriculum in step with emerging trends in telecommunications receives expert support from the program's advisory committee of senior-level industry executives who meet periodically to share ideas, compare notes and make recommendations on new courses or ares of emphasis. Koerlin himself was a member of the initial program advisory committee assembled by Golden Gate President Otto Butz when the idea for a telecommunications management program was first proposed over a decade ago.

Imdustry Professionals Queried

"Butz explained to us that before any proposal for a new field of study receives serious consideration, he first solicits the reactions of people professionally involved in that field," Koerlin recalls. "At that time there were very few educational programs anywhere geared to the needs of telecommunications professionals or people interested in entering the field, and none focusing specifically on management of telecommunications."

With the green light from his advisory group and further encouraged by recent successes in introducing industry-specific programs in other fields. Butz began meeting with his academic colleagues to hammer out a curriculum. Within a year, the first courses in telecommunications management appeared in the university's academic catalog, with a full degree program in operation by the fall of 1978.

In that same spirit of entrepreneurship, the university today is moving forward on plans to establish the telecommunications-management certificate program in the Washington, DC, area, with the possibility that a full-fledged degree program will follow if there is sufficient interest among the local telecommunications community.

"We've already been working very successfully on some training programs with the Internal Revenue Service, and my sense is that there's tremendous need for the kind of program we offer in nearly every major government agency," Koerlin observes. "There's no reason why, if we do it right, we can't have as big a program in the Washington area in a few years as we do in California."
COPYRIGHT 1985 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Underwood, Roger
Publication:Communications News
Date:Dec 1, 1985
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