Network administrators are professionals who make sure that organizations’ computer networks are fast, reliable, secure, and modern. Getting an online bachelor’s degree in network administration could help you develop the skills you’ll need for employment in an information or computing company.
This tech-based program could also help you qualify for work in an IT department of a healthcare, education, or finance organization.
Network Administration Degrees Online
Degrees in computer network management can lead to a range of careers in the exciting field of information technology.
If you’re interested in network administration careers helping an organization succeed through effective computer systems and streamlined data processing, then this network administration major might be a good fit for you.
In a computer network administration program, you’ll typically study topics like:
- Cloud computing
- Database structure
- Computer information systems
- Information technology management
- Networking fundamentals
- Network troubleshooting
- Operating systems
- Project management
- Systems analysis
- Web servers
In a computer networking and security program, you’re likely to have both lecture classes and lab courses. The lab components of your studies can provide opportunities to try out the concepts that you’ve been learning.
You may also complete a network administration major capstone project to wrap up your time in the program. For this type of project, you might identify a technology issue and develop a plan for addressing it.
Industry certifications can go hand in hand with a degree in computing. Many bachelor’s degree programs include courses that are designed to prepare you for select certification exams.
Some graduates enter network administration careers such as network support specialists or network administrators. Others become information security analysts or network architects. In addition, the experience could eventually lead to promotions. Computer and information technology managers head up teams of IT professionals.
Common Bachelor’s in Network Administration Concentrations
You can gain specialized knowledge in one particular aspect of the network administration field by pursuing a concentration for your college degree.
- Analytics. If you’re interested in using your networking skills for data collection, organization, and analysis of emerging technologies, this concentration can help you prepare with courses on modeling and quality assurance.
- Business and Entrepreneurship. For those with the goal of working in innovative business settings or even running their own companies, studying entrepreneurship can provide a strong foundation.
- Computer Security. Networks have to be secure, so this concentration can equip you to guard information, prevent attacks on your system, and respond when a threat arises.
- Project Leadership. With classes on risk management and team communication, this concentration can help you develop valuable management skills and teach you how to oversee network projects from conception through implementation and evaluation.
- Software Development and Analysis. You can take classes that teach you how to design software that runs on your network and how to administer tests to ensure that it functions properly.
Concentration options vary from one school to the next, so your college may have other specializations not listed here.
Network and System Administration Careers & Salaries
Professionals who hold degrees in the field often work as network or computer systems administrators. Their responsibilities can include building, maintaining, and troubleshooting organizations’ networking systems.
Many network administrators work for companies in the computer systems design business. Others find work in the education, finance, business, or information sectors.
Working as a computer network support specialist or a computer support specialist is a common entry-level job for recent graduates. These professionals handle simple troubleshooting and maintenance tasks related to helping to optimize network performance. Network support specialists often report to network administrators.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in computers and information technology pay a median annual salary of $91,250.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$151,150|
|Computer Network Architects||$116,780|
|Software Developers, Quality Assurance Analysts, and Testers||$110,140|
|Information Security Analysts||$103,590|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$84,810|
|Web Developers and Digital Designers||$77,200|
|Computer Network Support Specialists||$65,450|
|Computer User Support Specialists||$52,690|
The skills you can learn in a network administration degree program are also applicable to a variety of other technology jobs. Related careers in this field include programmer, software tester, web developer, computer support specialist, and help-desk technician.
Some employers may prefer candidates with industry certifications. Network professionals with experience may eventually become managers. A Computer or information systems manager may oversee just the networking tasks in an organization or all of the technology-related activities.
Because security is a key part of network administration, working as a computer security analyst could be another potential job for a professional with networking expertise. Other graduates find work as network architects, planning and constructing computer networks and helping to optimize network performance.
Network Admin Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses
An online computer networking degree, whether it’s an online network security degree or an online cloud computing degree, typically consists of about 120 credit hours’ worth of classes. Here are examples of classes you may encounter in your program:
- Analysis of Systems: During this class, you’ll learn to analyze complex computer information systems and produce communication pieces that explain the analyses.
- Communication for Technical Careers: You’ll develop your technical writing skills in this course so that you can learn to deliver information to a variety of audiences.
- Database Concepts: You can learn to design database systems interfaces and to program in structured query language to configure database management systems. This may lead to work as a database administrator.
- Network Hardware Concepts: The focus of this course will be on computer hardware components that are commonly included in business systems.
- Introduction to Networking: Early in your college program, you’ll take a class that covers the basics of the field, such as networking fundamentals and local area networks.
- Linux Administration: This class will prepare you to work with a Linux operating system and use it in professional settings.
- Online Security: Cloud computing requires thorough network security, and this class will teach you about those safety protocols.
- Operating Systems Troubleshooting: You’ll learn things to try when computer operating systems aren’t functioning properly so that your organization won’t suffer from costly downtime.
- Programming Fundamentals: In one or more programming classes, you’ll study concepts that apply to all programming languages. You may also become fluent in Python or another language.
- Wireless Networks: This is a lab course that will introduce you to the design of wireless networks and teach you to troubleshoot issues.
Curricula can vary from one school to the next, and the concentration you choose in your online programs can also influence your course lineup.
How to Choose an Online Network Administration Degree Program
Online network administration studies come in a variety of formats, so it’s strategic to do some digging to find the one that’s best for your learning goals. Here are some factors to consider as you research programs:
- Certifications. Many colleges have classes to prepare you for industry certifications, so you can take a look at what credentials you can earn by the end of a particular program.
- Course schedule. Some schools offer year-round classes, and others stick to two semesters. Also, a college may allow you to log in at set times or only during specific class hours.
- Internship. You may want to consider whether a college can help you secure a relevant internship in your local area and whether you can earn college credit for the experience.
- Lab experiences. Colleges that include lab classes give you opportunities to put your classroom lessons into practice during hands-on exercises, for example, in configuring database management systems or computer operating systems.
Other factors to consider include a school’s accreditation status and the cost of tuition.
Online computer network operations and security programs may accept applications throughout the year. Applying for a school often requires submitting materials like the ones listed below:
- High school transcripts or GED certificate
- Interview with a member of the admissions team
- Resume or details about professional experience or military service
- SAT or ACT scores (not required at all colleges)
There’s typically a form to fill out as well, and there may also be an application fee. Admissions requirements will vary, though, from school to school.
You can start your college studies off on the right foot by choosing a regionally accredited college. The only way for a college to become regionally accredited is for it to demonstrate that it consistently provides students with a great education.
Regional accreditation is a sign that a college meets academic standards. Colleges and employers know the value of accreditation. Studying at an accredited school can also be important for securing financial assistance, transferring credits, enrolling in graduate programs, and finding employment.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Tuition assistance comes in many forms, and this may help you afford the cost of a college education if you qualify.
Government aid is popular with many prospective students. To learn about your qualifications for federal financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your federal financial aid program may include grants and loans, and the state you live in may also offer similar programs.
Scholarships can be helpful for many students, too. The computer network administration program at your school may offer scholarship funds for some students, and private scholarship awards may be an option as well. Some employers pay partial college costs for their employees.
Network Administration Professional Organizations
These professional associations exist to provide support, education, networking opportunities, and industry advocacy for people in the field of computers and information technology.
- Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)
- Network and Systems Professionals Association (NaSPA)
- League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA)
Benefits vary from group to group, but your membership fee may include access to online archives, professional discounts, print or digital magazines, and job boards. Some organizations also have in-person chapter meetings and annual conferences.
What Can You Do with a Network Administrator Degree?
Holding a degree in computer network management or administration could prepare you for a variety of jobs in computing and information technology.
Some graduates get started as network support specialists, taking care of the maintenance and troubleshooting of local area networks and other organizations’ network needs. They may later advance to positions as network administrators or as an information systems manager. Those jobs usually include higher levels of responsibility.
A computer systems analyst is another role that a graduate may pursue. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that analysts often work for organizations involved in computer systems design, finance, or information. Government agencies employ analysts, too.
How Much Does a Network Administrator Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for network support specialists often range from $40,620 to $110,450. The median salary for support specialists in the telecommunications sector is $74,220 per year.
The average network professional earns between $52,830 and $134,970 annually. The highest salaries are in the finance and insurance industry. Those jobs pay a median of $89,910 per year.
A Computer and information systems manager is likely to earn between $90,430 and $208,000 annually. Salaries are often highest in the information sector. Computer managers who work in the information industry earn a median salary of $166,770.
What Qualifications Do Network Administrators Need?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a bachelor’s degree is the most common qualification for getting hired into this profession. Some employers do hire candidates with professional experience or associate degrees instead.
A bachelor’s degree in network administration is a strategic option for students who have this career goal in mind. Others may want to major in information technology, computer science, or computer engineering.
Network administrators may also need to have certifications that relate to their organizations’ systems. Microsoft, CompTIA, and Cisco offer some of the most common certification programs in this field.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Networking Administration Degree?
A bachelor’s degree usually takes 4 years to complete. You might be able to get your degree in less time than that, though. Some online information technology degree programs may rely on year-round, accelerated terms instead of traditional 16-week semesters. That format can help students shave several months or even a year off of their studies.
Some online computer network administration programs are designed for those who already have an associate degree in the field or several years of professional experience. If you meet the qualifications, you may be able to complete one of these programs in 1 to 2 years.
What’s the Difference Between a Network Engineer vs. Network Administrator?
For a career related to computer networks, you can consider becoming a network engineer or a network administrator.
|Network Engineer||Network Administrator|
Some professionals move into network engineering roles after working as network administrators for a while. Others return to school and earn a master’s in computer networking or a master’s in cloud computing in order to move into higher roles in the industry.
What’s the Difference Between a System Administrator vs. Network Administrator?
As far as job titles go, they may seem pretty similar, but there are differences between these two roles.
|Network Administrator||Systems Administrator|
In small companies, the same person may be in charge of both network and computer systems duties.
Is a Network Administration Degree Worth It?
Yes, a network administration degree is worth it for many students. Careers in the field include network support specialists, computer network administrators, and computer systems managers. Such jobs are common in a variety of industries, including computer services, business, education, and finance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for network administrators are expected to grow at a 4% rate over the next decade. Likewise, support specialists should see an 8% increase in their field.
The projected 10% job growth for computer management jobs may mean that network administration graduates will have more opportunities for advancement (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Network Administration Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Bellevue University offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. To graduate, students must complete 60 online credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit official high school transcripts or a GED certificate and have either 2 years of IT experience or a qualifying associate degree.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Capella University offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Students must complete 54 online classes and a final capstone project to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must submit a high school diploma, official transcripts from any schools they’ve attended, and a government-issued photo ID.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Central Washington University offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Administrative Management with a specialization in Network Administration and Management. Students must complete 106 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program may apply online through the school’s website with their official transcripts.
Central Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Colorado Technical University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a specialization in Network Management.
Students may choose the CTU Fast Track, which allows students to complete mini modules and exams to complete the program. Applicants may apply online with their official high school transcripts or the equivalent. Admissions advisors are available to help with the application process.
Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Dakota State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Network and Security Administration. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Some students may be eligible for the fast-track program. Those interested in the program must have a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.6 or higher or the equivalent and ACT test scores.
Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Florida State College at Jacksonville offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Systems Networking. Students must complete 120 credit hours while maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate. Applicants may apply online through the school’s website with official high school transcripts.
Florida State College at Jacksonville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Fort Hays State University offers both a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Information Networking and Telecommunication with a concentration in Information Systems. Both programs require students to complete 120 credit hours. Applicants must apply online with official test scores to be eligible for the programs.
FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Herzing University offers an online Bachelors in Computer Networking program. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate and may transfer in up to 90 qualifying credits.
All courses are offered through online programs, and the program includes an optional internship or capstone project. Applicants must submit official transcripts and placement exam results when applying.
Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Indiana State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems. The program gives students the opportunity to pursue a minor while earning their degree. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts, ACT or SAT test scores, and an application fee when applying.
Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
King University offers a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. The program has a variety of concentrations for prospective students to choose from.
Options are Cloud Computing and Systems Administration, Cybersecurity Management, Digital Business and Game Development, General Business, or Project Management. Applicants must have a minimum high school GPA of 2.2 and submit official transcripts when applying.
King University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Liberty University offers a Bachelor’s in Information Technology with a concentration in Data Networking and Security.
Courses include Information Security Planning, Network Security, Cybersecurity, and Networking and Communications Systems. Learning takes place via 100% online programs and is just 8 weeks long. On average, students can complete the degree in 3.5 years.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Lindenwood University’s online Bachelor’s in Information Technology program is designed to provide a broad-based curriculum in IT fundamentals. It can usually be completed in 2 to 4 years.
All online courses are asynchronous, so students can study at the times that best fit their schedules. Online students have access to library services, the career center, and other resources.
Lindenwood is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northeastern University offers a Bachelor’s in Information Technology. Students in the program may choose one of two concentrations: Applications Development or Cybersecurity.
The program is designed to help students learn core business skills, like project management, business communication, group dynamics, and organizational skills. Students may also earn course credits for qualifying certifications.
Northeastern University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Oklahoma State University offers an online Bachelor of Technology in Information Technologies with a concentration in Network Infrastructure.
This program covers how to design and develop network architecture, install and troubleshoot network hardware and operating systems, and configure network-specific services. The online courses are formatted to provide students with the flexibility to learn at their own pace.
Oklahoma State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Point University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in Network Administration.
The program is 100% online and aims to teach students how to configure complex systems, manage web servers, and troubleshoot problems. The courses are designed to prepare students for a number of professional certifications from the Computing Technology Industry Association and Microsoft.
Point University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Purdue University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. The program offers six different concentrations.
Three options are Game Development, Information Security and Assurance, and IT Management. The others are Network Administration, Programming and Software Development, and Supply Chain Management and Logistics. Courses are just ten weeks long, and students may earn credit for qualifying IT certifications.
Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Rogers State University offers a B.S. in Business Information Technology. Online students can choose a concentration in Computer Network Administration or Software Development and Multimedia. Class sizes are small, and students have opportunities to interact with each other through RSU’s online learning platform.
Rogers State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Bachelor’s in Information Technology program.
It offers concentrations in Business Management for IT, Cyber Security, Data Analytics, Project Management for IT, and Software Development. Students may also earn credit for qualifying IT certifications they already hold and may transfer in up to 90 qualifying credits.
Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Western Governors University offers a Bachelor of Science in Network Operations and Security.
Students in the program have opportunities to earn a variety of CompTIA professional certifications. Most students are able to finish their degrees within 35 months. The curriculum covers IT fundamentals, information technology management, scripting and programming, operating systems, and data management.
Western Governors University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree in Network Administration Online
Organizations need trained computing professionals to oversee their network needs. With a degree in network administration, you can present yourself as a qualified candidate to handle those responsibilities. Tech is an in-demand field, especially considering the emerging technologies that need professionals, and this degree program can provide the background that you’ll need.
You don’t have to go to campus to earn an accredited degree in network administration. Online study is a flexible and efficient approach to education, and online bachelor’s degree programs may be a convenient option for your college experience.
When you study network administration online through an accredited college, you can learn cutting-edge information about today’s networking needs.
I hope you find this article helpful.