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.
Accredited Online Associate in Network Administration Programs
|1||Wake Technical Community College Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Wake Tech's AAS in network management prepares emerging professionals for lucrative network systems administrator jobs. Courses are available on campus and online, along with a hybrid format that includes both distance and in-person learning. In all, students complete 65 credits, with classes focused on designing, installing, configuring, and managing network systems.
Students also take part in a networking project where they define, document, test, and install a networking project of their own. This gives students practical experience they can use in their future careers as network managers.
To apply to this network administrator online degree program, prospective students must submit their high school transcripts or GED and take a placement test. For those admitted, tuition payment plans with affordable monthly payments are available.
Wake Tech, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
|2||Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
The FSCJ network systems technology associate degree gives students the training and knowledge they need to become qualified for network administrator jobs. Students may choose from concentrations in computer systems networking, network security, IT management, advanced network support, network virtualization, and voice over IP. They may also take a sampling of classes from all of these areas to build their professional skills.
This online network administration degree consists of 60 credits across five terms, including one term during the summer months. The program requires an internship, giving students the opportunity to learn from established network administration professionals.
To apply to the associate in network administration online program, interested students must provide their high school transcripts or GED scores and fill out a FAFSA application. A college assessment is also required before registering for classes.
FSCJ receives regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|3||Peninsula College Port Angeles, WA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Peninsula College's AS in information technology-systems administration degree offers a great opportunity to prepare students for rewarding network administrator jobs. The program involves a total of 90 credits, which students take in six quarter terms. Most can graduate within two years of starting their coursework.
As one of the top online network administration programs in the state of Washington, this degree gives students practical experience designing, implementing, securing, and supporting industry-standard networks, client systems, and servers. While many move directly into entry-level jobs, others transfer into four-year programs.
Washington residents have access to slightly lower tuition, but even out-of-state students will find the school's tuition rates to be affordable. Peninsula College also provides financial aid counselors to assist those who may need help covering the costs of higher education.
Peninsula College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Its main campus is located in beautiful Port Angeles, Washington -- just north of Olympic National Park.
|4||Lake Superior College Duluth, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
A two-year school in Duluth, Minnesota, Lake Superior College (LSC) sits on a 97-acre campus that overlooks both Lake Superior and the St. Louis River bay. In recent years, the college has increased its focus on distance education, and currently more than a quarter of all its courses are offered online. LSC offers a degree in network administration and cybersecurity, giving students the basics of server and network engineering, hardware support, and security practices. Opening the door to a variety of certifications, including Microsoft MCP, CompTIA, Cisco CCENT, and EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker, the program prepares graduates for potential careers as network engineers, systems administrators, IT managers, LAN administrators, and network managers. LSC is also home to the Center for Cybersecurity, which provides information security and assurance services to local businesses in Duluth. Students in the online network administration degree program can gain real-world skills through the center’s partnerships with businesses and government organizations.
|5||Cabrillo College Aptos, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
At Cabrillo College, located in Aptos, California, students have access to an associate degree in computer networking and system administration to successfully lead them into network systems administrator jobs. The 60-credit program features courses on subjects like advanced server configuration, maintaining and troubleshooting IP networks, and web server security and management. Full-time students usually graduate within two years.
Most digital learning at Cabrillo takes place through Canvas, an online portal used to access course material, interact with instructors and classmates, and complete assignments, quizzes, and exams.
To apply to this completely online associate degree in network administration program, prospective students must fill out an application, apply for financial aid, complete an online orientation, and meet with an academic advisor. An assessment to determine each student's readiness for higher education is also required.
Cabrillo College receives regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Network Administration Program?
|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|
What Can I Do with an Associate in Network Administration Degree?
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|
|Computer Support Specialist||$52,160||12%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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.
Employment Outlook for Associate in Network Administration Graduates
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|
Financing Your Online Associate in Network Administration Program
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- Best Online Associate in Network Administration of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Dakota State University Madison, SD 2 University of Toledo Toledo, OH 3 Mesa Community College Mesa, AZ 4 Lake Superior College Duluth, MN 5 Montgomery County Community College Blue Bell, PA