Best Online Associate in Network Administration Programs

Browse our list of the best associate in network administration programs. Explore admission requirements and common courses for this degree.

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by Doug Wintemute

Published on February 22, 2022 · Updated on April 26, 2022

Reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

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Organizations in every industry rely on computer systems and networks for day-to-day communication and operations. An associate in network administration provides focused training for aspiring network professionals. The degree also prepares graduates for many other computer careers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% growth for all computer occupations between 2020 and 2030, 5% faster than the projected rate for all occupations. The sector also pays very competitive wages. Median annual salaries hit $91,250 in May 2020, more than double the median annual wages for all occupations.

Offered by community colleges and many of the top online schools, an online associate in network administration typically features two years of training. Here, we look at the degree more closely and rank the best associate programs in the discipline. We also examine some possible career pathways and highlight factors that prospective students should consider when choosing a program.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Network Administration Program?

An associate in network administration typically takes two years. Learners usually need 60 credits to graduate. Network administration programs help learners develop widely applicable technical, communication, and problem-solving skills. Students also acquire more specialized abilities in network design and security, IT support, and systems management.

At this level, most of the courses provide introductory lessons to familiarize learners with the different systems and techniques used by networking professionals. The training blends lectures and demonstrations with practical assignments and projects. Online learners may have access to virtual labs and sandbox environments for projects, along with internships near them.

Most network administration programs award one of several degree types, including an associate of science (AS), associate of arts (AA), and associate of applied science (AAS) degree. The primary differences between an AS and AA degree come from the science- and humanities-based electives, respectively. AS and AA degrees are both considered transfer-friendly degrees, whereas the more practical AAS degree better suits learners seeking employment after graduation.

Since network administration is often its own concentration within a computer science or information technology program, students may not have formal specialization options. They can, however, create their own track by choosing electives that focus on fields such as cybersecurity or network design.

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Network Administration Program?

Network Diagnostics and Design

In this course, students learn how to design networks based on client needs and requirements. They learn to make scalable models for various operating system platforms while staying on budget.

Information Systems Security

This course teaches students how to design, implement, and maintain security on different computer systems and networks. They learn how to evaluate security needs and develop a solution that meets the client's demands.

Enterprise Networks

Students in this course learn to design and implement enterprise networks. They learn about the various technologies and applications and how to support and secure multi-location networks.

Microsoft Windows Networks

In this course, students learn how to install, manage, and support networks on Microsoft Windows systems. Students explore Windows server products and security standards and protocols.

Introduction to Linux

This course provides students with a working knowledge of Linux operating systems. They learn about the features and functionalities of Linux, the basics of software installation, and command-line operations.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Network Administration Program?

The admission requirements for an online associate in network administration can vary considerably. Some schools feature open admission policies and accept all applicants who have successfully passed the GED test or hold a high school diploma. Others may require specific GPA scores and college entrance exam results, including the SAT and ACT.

For nearly all applications, prospective students submit transcripts and three letters of recommendation from current or former employers and teachers. Many schools also request candidates to submit college application essays, which highlight the applicant's personal experiences. Resumes and cover letters may also be included, which can lead to life and work experience credits in some cases.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Network Administration Degree?

Career Outlook

As network technology expands, improves, and becomes more complex, the demand for skilled network administrators will increase. As a result, the BLS projects the addition of 18,800 new network and computer systems administrator careers between 2020 and 2030, on top of the nearly 25,000 annual openings in this field. In May 2020, these professionals made median annual wages of $84,810.

In addition to this appealing career path, graduates with an associate in network administration can pursue other administrator and service occupations in the computer industry. To further expand their career options, graduates can continue their training into a bachelor's program in networking, security, or any other computer science field.

Find out what professional opportunities can come from an associate in network administration. Learn more about computer science careers.

Career Paths

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

These professionals manage the network and computer systems for organizations and users. They also provide support, troubleshoot any issues, and upgrade the networks and systems when needed. They may research new technologies and developments and help organizations optimize their operations through network performance upgrades. A bachelor's degree may be required for this career path.

Median Annual Salary: $84,810

Computer Support Specialists

These professionals provide assistance to users of a specific product or software, or they may support tech issues for an organization and its staff. Network support specialists test and troubleshoot network issues and provide regular systems and software maintenance. These specialists may provide support from another location or they may come for in-person visits.

Median Annual Salary: $55,510

Computer Systems Analyst

These professionals work with organizations to get the most out of their computer systems. They conduct performance and operation analysis, offer solutions and improvement suggestions, and help implement changes and upgrades. Some employers may require a bachelor's degree at minimum, while others seek out individuals with business or analytical expertise.

Median Annual Salary: $93,730

Web Developer or Digital Designer

These professionals design, create, and maintain websites for organizations. They determine the needs of the organization and develop a site that can handle the appropriate content and traffic. They may be responsible for the functionality and technical aspects of the site, the site maintenance and upgrades, or both.

Median Annual Salary: $77,200

Computer Programmers

These professionals create the code that enables applications and programs to run effectively. They may test and upgrade existing programs for organizations or create new products that improve processes and operations. Programmers can develop expertises in certain languages and systems, but they may need more specialized training and credentials for some positions.

Median Annual Salary: $89,190

Network Administration Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Database Management Careers Network Security Careers Software Engineering Careers

Continuing Education

After completing an associate in network administration, graduates typically pursue an entry-level career or more advanced training. For those that want to continue their studies, a bachelor's in network administration offers the most direct pathway. Graduates may also apply for a bachelor's in computer science, a bachelor's in cybersecurity, or a bachelor's in computer forensics.

Another continuing education option that graduates have is an industry or vendor certification. They can build on their degree with these accelerated programs, gathering more advanced knowledge in the field or developing a specialization. The combination of an associate degree in network administration and a relevant certification may help secure employment in certain organizations.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Network Administration Program?

Cost

When prospective students evaluate and compare costs, they should look at the true program cost. This considers all of the additional and hidden fees, along with the income lost due to work schedule changes. They should also compare the cost of online and on-campus programs, along with in-state and out-of-state programs and private vs. public school costs.

Program Format

The right program for you is one that offers the appropriate format for your needs. Prospective students may need to choose between full-time vs. part-time study to accommodate their work schedules. Similarly, online learners likely need to compare synchronous vs. asynchronous formats to find the right home, work, and study balance.

Location

Once they decide if they will attend school online or on-campus, prospective students should think about location. For on-campus students, location impacts where they will live and study for the foreseeable future. For online learners, it's important to also think about on-campus requirements and in-state vs. out-of-state tuition rates.

Accreditation

According to our online college accreditation guide, students attending schools without accreditation could miss out on financial aid, transfer credit, and employment opportunities. Though not mandatory for employment, some network administration programs might hold helpful programmatic accreditation from agencies like the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Student Support

Another major consideration for prospective students is the availability and quality of the student services. Programs like internships and practicums and college mentorships lead to success, so students should identify schools that offer these types of programs and services. Online learners, in particular, can look for online student services, such as academic, career, and wellness support programs.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Network Administration Programs

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Best Online Associate in Network Administration Programs

  1. Dakota State University
    Location

    Madison, SD

    Tuition

    $16863

    DSU delivers over 40 remote academic programs. Students can earn an online associate of science in network and security administration. Through a 60-credit degree plan, candidates gain the core skills needed to pursue careers as penetration testers, data communication analysts, and systems administrators.

    Classes include computer science; networking fundamentals; and hardware, virtualization, and data communication. Students also receive an introduction to information security management with an emphasis on contemporary cyberthreats and countermeasures. They also choose electives with the guidance of an academic advisor.

    DSU accepts applications throughout the year. To enroll in this associate in network administration program, each prospective learner must possess a minimum 2.6 GPA, rank in the top 60% of their high school class, or earn an 18 or higher on the ACT (950 or higher on the SAT).

  2. Santa Fe College
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $11244

    Based in Gainesville, Florida, SF enrolls about 14,000 students each year, many of whom obtain their certificates and degrees remotely. The college offers an associate of science in networking systems technology that includes two concentrations: network infrastructure and network server administration.

    Students who complete this 60-credit program can sit for CompTIA, Microsoft certified solutions associate, Cisco-certified network associate, and Cisco-certified entry networking technician exams. Required coursework examines topics like web authoring, database management systems, and IT project management. Each enrollee gains hands-on experience by completing a required internship in their community.

    SF requires first-year applicants to submit standardized test results. The college offers many online classes through Canvas, allowing candidates to earn their associate in network systems technology through a flexible hybrid learning format.

  3. Seminole State College of Florida
    Location

    Sanford, FL

    Tuition

    $8392

    Seminole State offers affordable and career-focused academic programs. The undergraduate catalog contains an online associate of science in network systems technology that totals 60 credits. Distance learners can complete a fully remote curriculum or create a blended format by taking some classes at the school's Sanford campus.

    Core classes include network concepts and operating systems, introduction to UNIX, and computer maintenance and repair. This associate program enables students to focus their training on one of three specializations: Cisco network infrastructure, network operating systems, or security and virtualization.

    Seminole State boasts a high success rate, with over 90% of students obtaining employment or pursuing advanced academics shortly after graduation.

  4. St. Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $3477

    SPC maintains a flagship campus in Clearwater, Florida, and serves more than 29,000 students annually. The school oversees an online associate of science in networking technologies program that teaches students the skills needed to work as systems administrators, IT support specialists, and computer network architects. Remote learners access asynchronous coursework through the Desire2Learn platform.

    The 60-credit curriculum covers topics like implementing Cisco network security; switching, routing, and wireless essentials; and enterprise networking and automation. Associate candidates must also complete an internship with a company in their area. Graduates are eligible to obtain industry certifications from CompTIA, Cisco, and Microsoft.

    Applicants who submit ACT or SAT scores do not need to take the college placement test. SPC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Oconee Fall Line Technical College
    Location

    Sandersville, GA

    Tuition

    $410

    OFTC delivers over 100 academic and career-training programs. Degree options include an online associate of applied science for networking specialists. Full-time students can earn their degree in five semesters. The broad-based curriculum helps candidates develop the skills needed to occupy entry-level positions in information security, hardware and software sales, and IT technical support.

    The 66-credit program explores computer networking fundamentals and hardware installation/maintenance. Students use four elective classes to pursue their academic interests and professional goals. They can use these credits to complete a Microsoft specialization, which covers server infrastructures and directory services.

    Applicants must take an entrance placement exam or submit COMPASS, ASSET, SAT, ACT, or PSAT standardized test scores.

  6. University of Toledo
    Location

    Toledo, OH

    Tuition

    $16588

    UT provides comprehensive academic programs across its 13 colleges. Distance learners can pursue a fully online associate of applied business in computer networking administration. This 60-credit program prepares students to pursue a bachelor's-level education or find employment within computer consulting companies and corporate information systems departments.

    Coursework covers mathematical modeling and problem-solving, PC operating systems, and network services and infrastructures. Unlike many conventional associate in network administration programs, this track emphasizes business competencies. Students examine financial accounting principles and learn to manage diversity in the workplace.

    Each applicant needs a minimum 2.8 GPA or at least 25 on the ACT or 1200 on the SAT. UT offers ample financial aid opportunities, including tuition discounts for out-of-state residents, military benefits, and scholarships for first-time students.

  7. Lake Superior College
    Location

    Duluth, MN

    Tuition

    $12339

    LSC offers more than 90 technical and liberal arts programs, many of which students can access remotely. Options include an online associate of applied science in network administration and cybersecurity. After completing the 72-credit curriculum, students can pursue certification with Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA, and EC-Council.

    Required courses include network client administration, computer user support, and ethical hacking and systems response. Each enrollee personalizes their degree with seven elective credits and gains hands-on experience by completing an internship. This associate in network administration program culminates with an integrative capstone experience.

    LSC requires each applicant to submit school transcripts and sit for an assessment test. Distance learners can choose a fully remote degree plan or opt for a hybrid format by taking some on-campus classes in Duluth, Minnesota.

  8. Southeastern Technical College
    Location

    Vidalia, GA

    Tuition

    $4229

    Located in Vidalia, Georgia, STC enrolls about 1,800 students every year. The school offers online degrees through Blackboard Learn, including an associate of applied science in information technology. Full-time learners can complete this 68-69-credit program in five semesters.

    The curriculum covers topics like hardware installation and maintenance, program design and development, and information security fundamentals. Students cultivate practical skills with Microsoft servers and Cisco routing/switching architecture. This program prepares candidates for jobs as network administrators, help desk support specialists, and PC repair technicians.

    An applicant who does not submit standardized test results will need to take an institutional ACCUPLACER entrance exam. All learners can access financial aid, including state grants and foundational scholarships.

  9. Central Texas College
    Location

    Killeen, TX

    Tuition

    $5258

    CTC powers distance education with Blackboard to provide over 50 remote certificates and degrees, including an online associate of applied science in computer science for network systems administrators. By completing this 60-credit program, students learn to plan, install, and maintain multi-user networks, as well as protect system security and troubleshoot problems.

    Courses include introduction to scripting languages, Linux installation and configuration, and computer virtualizations. Candidates also examine Cisco networks and routers/switches, preparing them to earn Cisco-certified network associate certifications. The degree culminates with a senior seminar or an internship.

    To enroll in this associate in network administration program, each applicant needs to take the TSI assessment exam; however, candidates with stellar ACT or SAT scores may receive an exemption. The college funds 170 scholarships each year.

  10. Polk State College
    Location

    Winter Haven, FL

    Tuition

    $7265

    Polk State — headquartered in Winter Haven, Florida — serves about 10,500 students annually. The school offers 11 remote degrees, including an online associate of science in network systems engineering technology. Candidates may couple their degree with one of three industry-level certificates to gain specialized skills in the LAN environment.

    The 60-credit curriculum contains required classes like A+ practical applications, information storage management, and routing and switching essentials. Students take advanced coursework based on their specialization, choosing from network infrastructure administration or network server administration.

    Polk State does not charge an application fee. First-year candidates must take the PERT placement test. The college uses Canvas to deliver distance education.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Network Administration Programs

Is an associate degree in network administration worth it? true

Yes. An associate in network administration prepares students for many promising computer careers making an in-person or online degree worth it for some. Equipped with network administration training, graduates can pursue roles as network and computer systems administrators and computer support specialists.

The associate degree also provides a foundation for more advanced training in computer-related fields. For instance, graduates can pursue a bachelor's degree in network administration or computer science. They can also complement their degree with an industry certification, which can be beneficial when looking for employment.

How fast can I get an associate in network administration degree online? true

Most associate degrees take students two years to complete, but an online associate in network administration may be completed in a shorter period of time. While students in any type of program may have the opportunity to accelerate their training with heavier course loads, some online degrees make it easier to do.

Asynchronous delivery, for example, allows online learners to study during the hours that work for them. Degree-seekers with flexible schedules may fit more courses in without relying on set class times. Transfer credits and work experience credits can also considerably reduce the time it takes to complete a program.

Is an online associate degree in network administration credible? true

Yes. An associate in network administration is a credible degree. Many computer-related disciplines are in demand and provide appealing career opportunities after graduation. Graduates can also transfer their credits into a bachelor's degree to save time and money if they want to advance their education.

First and foremost, students should ensure that the school they attend possesses accreditation. They can also look into their prospective school's graduation rates and career placement numbers to better understand how well graduates have done.

How much money can I make with an associate in network administration?

The salary potential of an associate in network administration varies by location and employer. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for network and computer systems administrators was $84,810 in May 2020. The top 10% of these administrators made more than $134,970.

The industry you work in can have an impact on wages as well. In May 2020, network and computer systems administrators made a median salary of $89,910 in the finance and insurance industry, $89,660 in the information sector, and $75,230 in educational services.

Is an associate degree in network administration in demand?

Yes. Many employers want graduates with an associate in network administration. The demand results from organizations continuing to expand their network capabilities and technologies. The growth in mobile networks and the healthcare industry has also contributed to the demand for network administrators.

The BLS projects the addition of nearly 19,000 network and computer systems administrator positions between 2020 and 2030. The field also creates nearly 25,000 openings each year to replenish annual turnover. Network administration graduates should be well-positioned for their careers if they can access even a small portion of the over 650,000 new computer-related jobs the BLS projects between 2020 and 2030.

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