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.

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by Marisa Upson

Published on March 4, 2022 · Updated on May 13, 2022

Reviewed by Brian Nichols

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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?

Networking I

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.

Application

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.

Test Scores

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.

Essays

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.

Official Transcripts

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?

Career Outlook

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.

Career Paths

Network Administrator

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 Administrator

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

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Continuing Education

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:

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?

Cost

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.

The true cost of an online program also includes fees, books and supplies, transportation, and lost income. Learn more about online versus on-campus program costs.

Program Format

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

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.

Accreditation

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

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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Best Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Programs

  1. Bellevue University
    Location

    Bellevue, NE

    Tuition

    $9635

    BU is an open-access university that serves about 50,000 students annually. The school offers over 80 academic programs, including an online bachelor of science in management information systems. Students may complete this program fully online or through a hybrid format.

    This program covers topics like business communication and research, managing innovations in information systems, and strategic management. Students learn how to make financial and budget decisions with regards to net present value and return on investment. Learners may use the curriculum's 51 elective credits to personalize their experience.

    This degree completion program requires applicants to hold a relevant associate degree or at least 60 transferable credits. Prospective students also need three years of IT work experience.

  2. Western Governors University
    Location

    Salt Lake City, UT

    Tuition

    $6670

    Western Governors University provides a comprehensive array of online certificates and degrees. WGU's distance learning programs include a bachelor of science in business administration in information technology management.

    This program includes classes like accounting principles, data management, and quantitative analysis for business. Students also delve into IT management tools and issue tracking systems that support business continuity. Learners round out the program by completing a capstone project and creating a professional portfolio.

    WGU does not require a minimum GPA or ACT/SAT scores. The university uses a competency-based learning model that enables students to demonstrate content mastery through course completion and/or relevant work experience. WGU's business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  3. Dakota State University
    Location

    Madison, SD

    Tuition

    $16863

    Dakota State University powers distance education with the Desire2Learn platform, and students at DSU can pursue an online bachelor of science in network and security administration. By completing this 120-credit program, graduates are prepared to work as cybersecurity analysts, IT project managers, and vulnerability assessors.

    Coursework includes web application programming and operating environments. Students also take advanced classes in database management systems, offensive/defensive network security, and Linux/Unix administration. Participants gain hands-on experience by completing an internship with a local company.

    DSU accepts applications year round. The university offers financial aid opportunities, including scholarships for first-year and transfer students. DSU also offers a dual-degree track that allows students to earn their online bachelor's degree in network administration and a master of cyberdefense in five years.

  4. California Baptist University
    Location

    Riverside, CA

    Tuition

    $24170

    Based in Riverside, California Baptist University enrolls about 11,000 students in more than 160 academic programs. Degree options include a fully online bachelor of science in network administration and management that prepares graduates for careers as solutions architects, web developers, and network engineers.

    The curriculum of this bachelor's in network administration includes 48 major-related credits and covers topics like database design and processing, computer and operating systems architecture, and Voice over Internet Protocol. Students also develop advanced business networking skills, learning to evaluate the IT needs of diverse organizations and implement appropriate solutions. The program culminates in an integrative capstone course.

    Applicants need a minimum 2.0 GPA. CBU prefers candidates with 24 or more transferable credits. The university delivers online coursework asynchronously through Blackboard Learn.

  5. Champlain College
    Location

    Burlington, VT

    Tuition

    $38577

    Champlain College focuses on providing accessible education to working professionals and other adult learners. Champlain's academic catalog includes an online bachelor of science in management information systems that offers accelerated, seven-week classes. Throughout a flexible curriculum, students learn seven key technical competencies and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills that can be used in cross-sector business environments.

    Course topics include enterprise database systems, information systems analysis and design, and introduction to Python. Students also learn about usability in website and software design. They can pursue one of two concentrations, earning a specialized certificate in computer networking or software development.

    To enroll in this bachelor's program, applicants need a minimum 2.5 GPA. They must also submit a professional resume and write 3-4 essays.

  6. Fort Hays State University
    Location

    Hays, KS

    Tuition

    $12420

    Fort Hays State University offers over 200 online degrees and certificates. For example, distance learners can earn a bachelor of business administration in management information systems. This program boasts small class sizes and one-on-one faculty engagement. Students access asynchronous classes through Blackboard, with 16-week fall and spring terms and accelerated, eight-week offerings over the summer.

    This program includes coursework in business law, marketing principles, and production and operations management. Students also examine business intelligence strategies and technological innovations in entrepreneurial leadership.

    Incoming first-year students need a minimum 2.0 GPA if they reside in Kansas and a minimum 2.5 GPA if they live out of state. Applicants must also score at least 21 on the ACT or 980 on the SAT.

  7. Southern New Hampshire University
    Location

    Manchester, NH

    Tuition

    $39071

    Southern New Hampshire University serves more than 100,000 students through on-campus and online programs. SNHU's comprehensive catalog includes a fully online bachelor of science in management information systems. With access to accelerated, eight-week classes and the ability to apply up to 90 transfer credits toward the degree, students can complete this program largely at their own pace.

    This degree track requires coursework in computer platform technologies, IT service management, and Structured Query Language. Students learn to mine, compile, and analyze data with respect to the flow and structure of data within different client systems. They round out the program with a capstone seminar.

    SNHU uses a holistic evaluation process that does not require minimum GPA or ACT/SAT scores. The university accepts applications on a rolling basis.

  8. Southern Nazarene University
    Location

    Bethany, OK

    Tuition

    $18170

    Southern Nazarene University delivers 11 fully online undergraduate and graduate programs, including a bachelor's in network management program that serves as a degree completion pathway. Designed as a hybrid program, distance learners need to take some evening classes at SNU's campus in Bethany, Oklahoma.

    Students in the program complete classes like Windows networking, routers and switches, and personal and professional ethics. They learn to assess formal and informal IT challenges to implement effective organizational change strategies. Learners also delve into network security, studying topics like intrusion detection and next-generation firewalls.

    Applicants need at least 48 transferable credits. They must also pass a university entrance exam. SNU offers scholarships, loans, grants, and assistantships to its students.

  9. Florida State College at Jacksonville
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $3498

    Florida State College at Jacksonville serves over 24,000 students annually, many of whom enroll in online courses through Canvas. FSCJ's online programs include a bachelor of applied science in information technology management that emphasizes practical skill development. Students take accelerated, asynchronous classes.

    Required courses include computer networks and telecommunications, object-oriented programming with Java, and hardware and software configuration. As part of their upper-division requirements, students investigate systems analysis and design, as well as electronic commerce systems and strategies. They complete the program with a capstone seminar that covers the entire IT project cycle.

    FSCJ requires applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores. The college provides financial aid opportunities and career development services.

  10. Excelsior College
    Location

    Albany, NY

    Based in Albany, New York, Excelsior College powers distance education with Canvas. Excelsior's distance learners can enroll in a fully online bachelor of professional studies in technology management program. Since Excelsior accepts up to 113 transfer credits, experienced students can complete the program in one semester.

    Foundational coursework includes business leadership, project management, and financial accounting. Excelsior requires students to take major classes like integrated technology assessment and economic analysis for technologists. Students personalize their curriculum by choosing one of four concentrations, including options in information technology and renewable energy technology.

    Excelsior does not require test scores or a minimum GPA for admission. Distance learners can apply for institutional scholarships based on their academic merit, major, and military affiliation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Network Administration Programs

Is a bachelor's in network administration worth it? true

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.

What can I do with a bachelor's in network administration? true

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.

Are network administration majors in demand? true

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.

How much money can I make with a bachelor's in network administration

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.

What are the highest paying jobs with a bachelor's in network administration?

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.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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