Associate's degree programs in network administration provide students with an introduction to computer technology and programming logic. These two-year programs can award students with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or an Associate of Science (AS) degree upon completion. Schools offer specializations in different types of network systems, such as Microsoft, UNIX, Cisco and Novell. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is generally required for entry.
Associate's Degree in Network Systems Administration
Students study networking technologies and design, technical support concepts and personal computer hardware. These programs may also focus on operating systems, network cabling systems, multi-vendor systems and Cisco equipment. In total, students must complete 63-72 credit hours of coursework prior to graduation. Topics may include:
- Ethical and copyright issues in computer networking
- Linux installation and configuration
- Cisco network fundamentals
- Electronic messaging
- LAN network server technologies
- Cisco router configuration
Popular Career Options
Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports that many positions in networking administration require a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree and related work experience may be helpful in acquiring certain positions. Many jobs are driven by the latest advances in technology. Some job titles may include:
- Network systems administrator
- Computer support specialist
- Network operations analyst
- IT help desk support
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The BLS predicted that the employment of network and computer systems administrators will increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024. Computer user support specialists should see a 13% growth rate. In May of 2015, network and computer systems administrators earned a median annual salary of $77,810, and user support specialists received $48,620 in median wages, as estimated by the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates with an associate's degree in network administration who want to advance in their careers and gain new responsibilities may choose to enroll in a bachelor's or master's degree program.
Networking professionals can enroll in certificate programs that teach advanced skills, such as enterprise-class network administration and programming languages. Software vendors often provide training for their network applications. For instance, graduates may be prepared to sit for the Cisco Certified Network Associate certification exam. Some of these programs may be offered in online format.
Through AS and AAS programs in network systems administration, students gain the technical skills and computer know-how for entry-level IT jobs or more advanced training in similar subjects.