Best Online Associate in Network Administration Programs

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Today, nearly all businesses and organizations depend on computers and technology for their operations to run smoothly. Professionals who manage and maintain these networks are highly valued personnel. Thus, it’s no surprise that network administration is a rapidly growing field, staffed by well-paid specialists.

Through one of the following accredited online network administration programs, you can begin your journey into a highly rewarding and lucrative career. Network administrator jobs are readily available within organizations large and small, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth of about 12 percent in the computer and information technology field between 2014 and 2024. That’s significantly higher than the average across all occupations.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Dakota State University 74.00 3/5 80% Madison, SD

A public school in Madison, South Dakota, DSU is highly respected for its computer science and information technology programs, winning designations from the National Security Agency for both research and cyber operations. For students who are interested in an online network administration degree but unable to commit to four years of study, DSU’s online associate degree offers an overview of networking fundamentals, preparing graduates for immediate employment with the option of earning an advanced degree in the future. Covering core concepts in information security, networking, computer science, and systems analysis, the program prepares students for positions in both networking administration and digital security, ranging from system administration to information security consultant. Many of the program courses offer hands-on learning experiences, and classes are typically kept small, with 25 students or less. Students with specialized experiences may also be able to enroll in an accelerated “Fast Track” program, with faculty approval.

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2 University of Toledo 64.00 3/5 41% Toledo, OH

One of 14 state universities in Ohio, the University of Toledo was founded in 1872 in the city of Toledo. Today the school enrolls more than 23,000 students, with a campus that houses more than 100 buildings spread across a total of 1,400 acres. Students in UT’s network administrator online degree program gain the skills to implement network systems and manage them effectively, with courses that focus on the fundamental concepts of networking, operating systems management, programming, and computer integration. The degree can typically be completed within two years, and upon graduation, students will be prepared for industry standard certification exams from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA. Students can also complete a subset of courses to earn a certificate in Computer Network Administration, though this path requires additional consultation with a faculty adviser. UT’s online program is available to residents of most U.S. states, though applicants residing in California, Florida, and Massachusetts should confirm with the program director to ensure there are no state restrictions in place.

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3 Mesa Community College 61.00 2/5 41% Mesa, AZ

One of the 10 colleges in Arizona’s Maricopa County Community College District, Mesa Community College (MCC) serves more than 30,000 students annually. Since its founding in 1965, MCC has grown into one of the top community colleges in the country, emphasizing innovative education and technology programs. Fittingly, MCC offers three online network administration programs, all available as associate of applied science degrees. The degree options include networking system administration, Linux networking administration, and information technology: Cisco networking. Regardless of their chosen track, students learn the fundamentals of information security, computer networking, data communications, and operating systems, with professional certification pathways available for CISCO, Linux, or Microsoft Windows. Students in the program also gain an understanding of how these different operating systems and protocols interact with one another in an organization’s network. All three programs can typically be completed within four academic terms, or about two years.

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4 Lake Superior College 57.00 3/5 51% Duluth, MN

A two-year school in Duluth, Minnesota, Lake Superior College (LSC) sits on a 97-acre campus that overlooks both Lake Superior and the St. Louis River bay. In recent years, the college has increased its focus on distance education, and currently more than a quarter of all its courses are offered online. LSC offers a degree in network administration and cybersecurity, giving students the basics of server and network engineering, hardware support, and security practices. Opening the door to a variety of certifications, including Microsoft MCP, CompTIA, Cisco CCENT, and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, the program prepares graduates for potential careers as network engineers, systems administrators, IT managers, LAN administrators, and network managers. LSC is also home to the Center for Cybersecurity, which provides information security and assurance services to local businesses in Duluth. Students in the online network administration degree program can gain real-world skills through the center’s partnerships with businesses and government organizations.

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5 Montgomery County Community College 50.00 2/5 40% Blue Bell, PA

Based in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, MCCC is home to more than 12,000 students, maintaining two main campuses and a comprehensive virtual campus system that ranks as one of the most technologically advanced in the country. The college offers an associate of applied science in computer networking, with concentrations available in both network administration and cybersecurity. Students in the network administration track gain the skills to design and maintain network systems, emphasizing skills in network support and data communications. The cybersecurity track includes courses in network security, data networking, digital forensics, and ethical hacking; students learn to prevent cyberattacks and secure networks for businesses and government organizations. Students in both tracks also take courses in business and technical writing, server administration, database management, and cloud computing. Both online network administration programs can typically be completed within four semesters, or about two years.

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Timeline
2 years
Credit Hours
30-32 credits per year
Program Costs
$13,360 per year
Core Courses
Introduction to Information Systems Security, Fundamentals of Scripting and Databases, Introduction to WAN Technology, and Foundations in Computer System Administration
Concentrations
Networking Fundamentals, Computer System Administration, Cisco CCENT, and Microsoft MCSA
Accreditation
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology

After completing one of the many online network administration programs available across the country, you can choose from a variety of career options. These positions require individuals who are hard working, detail-oriented, and willing to stay up to date on the ever-changing world of technology. Below are some of the most common professional roles for those who complete an online network administration degree:

  • Network Administrator: Computer and network administrators are responsible for overseeing networks across organizations. These networks are critical for the operations of most businesses, organizations, and agencies. Consequently, administrators have an important role to play.
  • Website Developer: These professionals create and design websites, ensuring that they’re completely secure, aesthetically pleasing, and responsive to users’ needs. In many cases, web developers also generate original content.
  • Computer User Support Specialist: These specialized professionals offer technology-related assistance and advice to users throughout an organization. In many cases, they are called upon when a user without information technology (IT) experience experiences a problem with their computer.
Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Network Administrator $79,700 8%
Website Developer $66,130 27%
Computer Support Specialist $52,160 12%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

EDUCATIONAL PATHS

While earning an associate in network administration online degree is a great way to secure an entry-level position in a growing field, many graduates of associate programs go on to seek bachelor’s degrees. A four-year degree opens up even more career opportunities, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the median annual wage for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher at just over $61,000. Professionals with bachelor’s degrees are more likely to receive additional responsibility within an organization, and thus tend to enjoy higher salaries than those with an online associate degree in network administration.

  • IT Network Administration: This program prepares both established professionals and newcomers to the field for higher-level positions in the world of network administration. Common areas of study include web development, spreadsheets, data management, and technical writing.
  • Network Cybersecurity: An increasingly important field in today’s business world, these programs give students the skills they need to help organizations avoid and manage major cyber threats. Graduates of these programs typically work for government agencies, like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
  • Software Development: Increasingly centered around mobile applications and data management, these programs focus on preparing students for dynamic careers as IT professionals. Students study subjects like programming, operating systems management, and the business of IT.

ASSOCIATE IN NETWORK ADMINISTRATION SALARY

The salaries available to you once you’ve earned an online network administration degree may vary depending on the company and your professional experience. The table below includes data from Payscale outlining expected salaries for network systems administrator jobs and related careers.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Associate Network Administrator $48,006 $40,000 $54,000 $62,000
Computer / Network Support Technician $41,000 $37,310 $43,050 $50,430
Help Desk Analyst $41,000 $38,540 $43,870 $51,250
IT Support Specialist $45,691 $42,035 $49,345 $58,940
Computer Technical Support Specialist $47,574 $43,292 $48,525 $63,275

Source: PayScale

If you’re seeking an associate-level online network administration degree, there are a variety of resources available to help you cover tuition, academic fees, and other expenses. First, you should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to find out if you qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and low-interest loans. Most colleges and universities also offer scholarship opportunities, especially if you’re a single parent or a member of the U.S. military.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and provides answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about how things have changed, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.