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Linux Certificate and Certification Program Overviews

Learn about certificate programs available in Linux systems. Discover education and professional prerequisites, program coursework and certification options.

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Essential Information

Some community colleges offer certificate programs for UNIX operating systems and their open source counterparts, Linux systems. Universities sometimes also offer these programs, typically through continuing education or extension departments. These certificate programs are designed to train information technology (IT) professionals to become proficient administrators of the multitask operating systems. They are designed for those who already have a working knowledge of information technology and systems administration, but who need a more comprehensive tutorial in Linux/UNIX systems. Earning a certificate might provide these professionals with the credentials necessary to move up in their careers or take on new roles in their fields.

Education Prerequisites

There are few prerequisites for enrolling in a Linux certificate program. Individuals should have a basic knowledge of computer systems before applying. Additionally, most applicants have some practical, real world knowledge in the field of systems administration.

Program Coursework

Linux certificate programs vary in length, but typically include between five and seven 1-semester classes. Some programs allow students up to five years to complete these courses, which often are available online or on nights and weekends. Linux certificate programs can be taken independently or in conjunction with a degree program. Courses commonly found in a Linux certificate program include:

  • Linux system fundamentals
  • Linux system administration programming
  • Essentials of administration
  • Linux system administration networking
  • Linux system security
  • Linux database and Web servers
  • C language programming
  • Perl programming

Employment Outlook and Career Info

Individuals who use Linux systems in their day-to-day professions are typically computer systems administrators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer network, systems and database administrators held about 347,200 jobs in the United States in 2010 ( The overall job growth rate for the profession was expected to grow by 28% between 2010 and 2020, which was higher than the average job growth rate of 14%. In 2012, the median salary for a computer systems administrator was about $72,560 per year.

Certification Information

There are a few organizations, including SAIR Linux ( and Linux Professional Industry (, that offer certification for trained Linux system administrators. These certification programs test system administrators on a variety of competencies. Some provide training prior to the exams, although there is typically a fee involved.

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