Best Online Network Administration Programs
We've ranked the best online bachelor's in network administration programs. Learn about courses, admission requirements, and career opportunities.
Published on March 4, 2022 · Updated on May 13, 2022
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Computer networks serve as the basis of communication in information technology (IT), connecting computers to share information, resources, and software.
Students pursuing an online bachelor's in network administration at a top online school learn about network protocols, installing and maintaining network hardware and software, and troubleshooting and solving problems.
This degree prepares graduates to enter the burgeoning field of IT. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 13% job growth for computer and IT occupations from 2020-2030, amounting to about 667,600 new jobs. According to Payscale, as of February 2022, graduates with a bachelor's in network administration earn an average annual salary of $73,000.
An online bachelor's in network administration takes about four years to complete. However, some accelerated online tracks can reduce completion times. Average tuition for these programs costs $227-$613 per credit.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Program?
Earning an online bachelor's in network administration requires a persistent nature and critical thinking and analytical skills. Network administrators need a deep understanding of computer operating systems, software, and hardware. They must also stay up to date on the latest IT advancements and emerging technologies.
Many schools offer bachelor's degrees in management information systems, computer science, or IT with specializations in network administration. Others offer a network administration major with concentration offerings in cybersecurity, data management, and leadership. These options allow students to direct their education toward their academic goals.
Most programs require about 120 credits and take four years of full-time study to complete. Some accelerated tracks can lead to degrees in less time. Schools may also offer dual-degree tracks that allow students to earn both their bachelor's and master's in five years total.
Many programs require virtual labs, culminating in a capstone project. These requirements help students gain needed hands-on experience.
Students may also choose between a research project and an internship experience. Additionally, learners may develop a portfolio throughout the program to showcase their talents to prospective employers.
In addition to IT and networking courses, students gain knowledge in business and accounting. These courses help them develop skills required for project management, finances and budgeting, and overseeing IT departments.
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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 Bachelor's in Network Administration Program?
This course covers the fundamentals of a local area network (LAN), including planning and installation. Covered topics include hardware and software options and techniques for troubleshooting.
Routing and Switching
This class explores designing, troubleshooting, and configuring LAN and wide area network (WAN) technologies using switches, routers, and firewalls. Students learn about appropriate routing and network solutions for various types of businesses.
Introduction to Operating Systems
This course introduces students to the three most popular operating systems: Linux, Windows, and macOS. Covered topics include storage, device management, and memory. Students also learn about mobile operating systems.
Windows Server Administration
This course covers the basics of Windows server systems and network administration. Students learn to install the systems, manage users and services, and security objects.
Information Security Management
This course introduces security concepts, such as network security, access control, and methods for ensuring confidentiality. Students also explore business continuity planning and disaster recovery.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Program?
Applicants must hold a high school or GED diploma. In addition, some schools require candidates to show program readiness with a STEM course in high school, such as advanced mathematics or engineering. Applicants may also meet this requirement by gaining IT work experience or earning IT certifications. Some programs also request a current resume.
Applicants may submit their college applications through the school's website or online portal. Many colleges also accept applications through online platforms like the Common App. These platforms let students apply to multiple colleges with one application. Most application forms request information like GPA, awards, and extracurricular activities.
Most schools require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. All programs differ, but some require an ACT composite score of 21 or a combined SAT score of 1080 or higher. These college entrance exams may also be used to award merit-based scholarships. Many colleges also require international students to submit English proficiency test scores like the TOEFL or IELTS.
Letters of Recommendation
Colleges usually require 2-3 letters of recommendation. Applicants should consider references that can speak to their academic qualifications and experience in IT. Recent teachers, school counselors, and supervisors may make good references. Make sure to ask for letters of recommendation about 1-2 months before admission deadlines.
Most colleges request application essays or personal statements. Some consist of 3-5 paragraphs responding to specific questions, such as what a student hopes to gain from a program. Others ask about academic and career goals and experiences that have prepared candidates for an online bachelor's in network administration.
Students must request official transcripts from high school and any postsecondary institutions they previously attended. Many programs require a cumulative GPA of about 2.25-2.75. Most colleges also accept transfer credits from community colleges, which can fulfill lower-division requirements. Generous transfer policies of up to 90 credits can save students time and money.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Degree?
An online bachelor's in network administration prepares students for numerous careers in IT. A few of these roles include network and computer systems administrators, network security analysts, network engineers, and information systems managers.
Many businesses count on network administrators and IT professionals to maintain their computer networks, troubleshoot problems, and secure their information. Graduates find positions in government agencies, schools, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and large corporations. Some pursue roles in healthcare. Others specialize in finance or manufacturing.
The BLS projects a 5% job growth for network and computer systems administrators from 2020-2030. This amounts to an average of 24,900 job openings each year. Demand for these professionals may increase as more companies invest in mobile networks and faster technology.
See where a bachelor's in network administration can take you. Learn more about computer science careers and the most popular college majors.
Network administrators install, upgrade, and troubleshoot network software and hardware. They optimize network performance, resolve connectivity issues, and fix other network and computer issues. These administrators also manage servers and desktop equipment and ensure workstations stay connected to the network and work efficiently.
Median Annual Salary: $84,810
Computer Network Architect
Computer network architects design and build networks, such as LANs, WANs, and virtual private networks. They design these networks based on a company's current and future needs and may assist IT personnel in troubleshooting network issues. These professionals may work for computer systems design, telecommunications, and management of companies and enterprises.
Median Annual Salary: $116,780
Database administrators create systems that store and secure data. They build and design new databases and then maintain them. These professionals back up data to prevent loss and develop data security measures. Some administrators specialize in database management or database for specific applications.
Median Annual Salary: $98,860
Computer Systems Analyst
Computer systems analysts help organizations operate more effectively. They study companies' IT systems and computing infrastructure and determine if an upgrade is warranted. These professionals may implement new systems by configuring software and hardware or overseeing the installation. Most specialize in specific industries like finance, engineering, or healthcare.
Median Annual Salary: $93,730
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts protect an organization's networks and computer systems from cyberattacks and other threats. They may monitor networks for security breaches, install protective software like firewalls, and conduct penetration testing. These professionals also create companies' disaster recovery plans, which outline the steps to restore IT functioning.
Median Annual Salary: $103,590
Network Administration Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
A graduate degree can increase earning potential and advancement opportunities. For some positions in IT, employers prefer or require applicants to hold a master's degree. These include computer and information systems managers, computer and information research scientists, and chief security officers. A few possible graduate degrees include the following:
- MBA in Information Systems Management
- Master's in Management Information Systems
- Master's in Information Systems Security
- Master's in Computer Science
- Master's in Computer Engineering
Graduates may also consider pursuing one of the common vendor and industry certifications. These certifications validate applicants' abilities and improve career prospects. For example, Microsoft and Cisco offer several certifications. A few other examples include certified information systems security professional and CompTIA network+.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Program?
Tuition rates for an online bachelor's in network administration program ranges from $227-$613 per credit. Private schools tend to charge the highest tuition. In-state students attending public colleges find the lowest rates. Some online programs do not charge out-of-state fees.
Online bachelor's in network administration programs offer various learning formats. Synchronous formats usually require weekly scheduled virtual class sessions. Asynchronous learning offers the greatest flexibility, enabling students to listen to lectures at their own pace. Some online programs may provide accelerated tracks. Learners may also attend these programs as full-time or part-time students.
Location can play a significant role in students' success and college costs. For instance, some online bachelor's programs charge significantly more for out-of-state students, sometimes over $650 more per credit. Additionally, some students can take advantage of on-campus networking opportunities, seminars, and other events. Learn more about choosing an on-campus or online education.
Proper accreditation ensures that a school or program meets specific educational standards. Students should consider colleges with regional accreditation, signifying the highest quality standards. This accreditation also affects federal aid eligibility and college credit transferability. Some online bachelor's in network administration programs earn accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
Student support services contribute to students' academic success. Online student services vary among schools and programs. Some provide online mentorship programs, academic advising, library services, career services, and networking programs. Students should also research each program's support for students seeking local internship opportunities.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Network Administration Programs
Yes. A bachelor's in network administration can lead to significant career opportunities in one of the fastest-growing sectors. Almost every industry and business requires IT professionals who can troubleshoot and expand their networks.
For those wondering if an online degree is worth it, these programs offer the same rigorous academic instruction as their on-campus counterparts. Most employers do not differentiate between the two learning formats. Some employers even offer tuition assistance for employees attending online colleges.
A bachelor's in network administration can lead to various career paths. Graduates find roles in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, hospitals, and businesses of all sizes. Almost every organization uses computer networks. These businesses require professionals who can configure servers, install hardware and software, and understand a company's IT needs.
These professionals work as network administrators, network analysts, network engineers, and network security specialists. Others pursue positions as database administrators or computer network architects. From 2020-2030, the BLS projects a 13% employment growth for IT and computer occupations, resulting in above-average demand for computer-savvy individuals.
Yes. For instance, the BLS projects employment for information security analysts to grow 33%, well above the average 8% growth for all occupations. Moreover, due to the growing number of cyberattacks, the BLS expects demand for these professionals to increase.
Annual salaries vary for those with a bachelor's in network administration depending on position, employer, location, and experience level. The BLS reports that as of May 2020, network and computer systems administrators earned a median annual salary of $84,810.
Network administrators who work in finance and insurance earn a median annual salary of $89,910. Those in the education sector make $75,230. Additional roles for graduates with this degree include database administrator and computer systems analyst. As of May 2020, these professionals earned median annual salaries of $98,860 and $93,730, respectively.
Two of the highest-paying positions for those with a bachelor's in network administration include information security analyst and computer network architect. The BLS reports that as of May 2020, information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $103,590.
Computer network architects earn even more, with a median annual salary of $116,780. Network architects working in Massachusetts and California also report some of the top earnings, with average annual wages of $135,230 and $133,970, respectively.
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