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Computer Networking Certificate: Program Summary

Discover how students can earn a certificate in computer networking. Read about the requirements for admission and review the courses that may be required. Check the employment statistics for computer professionals and examine the continuing education possibilities.

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Essential Information

A computer networking certificate program teaches the basic data communication concepts and skills required to manage networks. Students learn how to design and maintain a local area network (LAN). Programs are generally comprised of 32-40 hours of coursework and include lecture courses and computer lab sessions. Credits earned can often be transferred into an associate's program in computer networking. Applicants should have basic computer skills before entering this program.

Education Prerequisites

A high school diploma or general educational development diploma are required for admission to the program. Schools may require students to complete ten hours of related work experience in the discipline. An official transcript of high school coursework must often be submitted. Incoming students may be required to take an academic placement test.

Course Topics

Topics covered may include:

  • Computer information systems
  • Computer applications
  • Windows server
  • UNIX and Linux
  • Career exploration
  • Business and research on the Internet
  • Network basics
  • Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP)
  • Network hardware and software

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Graduates of a computer networking certificate program are often prepared to work as network technicians and network support personnel. With additional education and training, they might advance to the position of network system administrator. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment for network and computer systems administrators is projected to increase by 12% from 2012-2022, which is roughly average compared to all occupations.

The advent of mobile technologies will help drive this growth. Network administrators earned a median wage of $74,000 in May 2013. Graduates, upon gaining experience and further advanced training, can go on to open their own computer network maintenance and installation business.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of a certificate program can find entry-level employment as a computer network technician. According to the BLS, however, many network systems administrators must have at least an associate's degree, and many have bachelor's degrees. Some degree programs are available in online format. The Cisco Networking Academy offers certificate programs in specialized areas that prepare graduates to sit for globally-recognized certifications.

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