Can You Be a Network Administrator Without a Bachelor's Degree?
Network administrators generally need a bachelor's degree, but an associate's degree or certificate may be acceptable for some positions and can help graduates gain entry into the field. Explore educational requirements and salary information for network administrators.
Educational Requirements for Network Administrators
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers prefer or require network administrators to have a bachelor's degree, but some individuals may find jobs with only an associate's degree or certificate, especially when paired with related work experience.
However, those with less than a 4-year degree may have to advance to network administrator positions over time. Certificate-holders qualify for jobs as entry-level technicians, and may choose to accelerate their careers by applying their credits toward an associate's degree program. Most associate's degree programs can be completed in two years; however, with some programs waived due to prior certificate program training, prospective network administrators can complete schooling and aim for higher-level positions in a shorter amount of time.
Typical coursework at all levels of undergraduate schooling covers topics such as local and wide area networks, networking essentials, network administration, servers, operating systems and telecommunications. Degree programs also require the completion of general education credits, electives and potentially some experiential work, while certificate programs are less likely to have requirements outside of the core curriculum.
According to PayScale.com, the median salary for network administrators was $55,504 as of January 2016. Salary can vary, however, depending upon an employee's location. For example, the median salaries for network administrators in New York City were reported as $63,955, while in Dallas it was $59,733. Other salaries by city include:
- Atlanta, GA: $56,500
- Chicago, IL: $59,738
- Houston, TX: $59,158
- San Diego, CA: $60,494
- Miami, FL: $55,837
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment of network administrators was projected to grow 8% between 2014 and 2024. Much of this growth is expected to come from investments in new technologies and the healthcare industry's increasing use of information technology systems.