Associate's degree programs in computer network administration prepare students for networking careers in the field of information technology (IT). The curriculum covers fundamental networking and computer-related topics, such as network security, system maintenance and computer programming. These programs usually require incoming students to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.
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Associate's Degree in Computer Network Administration
Because of the wide variety of skills that computer network administrators use on a daily basis, course offerings in these programs generally reflect the diversity of knowledge needed to enter the field. Students will learn about various operating systems as well as topics such as network cable setup and configuration. Often, classwork is combined with practical experience in the computer lab. Common courses may include:
- Computer maintenance
- Troubleshooting PCs
- Cisco networking
- Network security
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Computer network administrators and related professionals possess skills that allow them to work in institutions, corporations and businesses that operate local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), Internet or intranet systems. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment opportunities for these professionals will increase by 8% between the years of 2014 and 2024, which is about average when compared to all occupations. In May 2015, the average annual income of network and computer systems administrators was $82,200.
Popular Career Options
Employment options for network administrators include a wide range of business, government, corporate and institutional environments. Insurance companies, universities, telecommunication carriers and computer systems design providers are a few of the industries that regularly employ network administrators. Many administrators find work as IT team members, while others are self-employed and work as independent consultants.
While associate's degree programs may prepare network administrators for some entry-level positions, many employers prefer applicants who possess a bachelor's degree in this field. Depending on the school, some bachelor's degree programs allow students to transfer credits obtained from an associate's program. Graduates of associate's and bachelor's network administration degree programs are often prepared to test for professional certification in various network systems.
After finishing associate's degree programs in computer network administration, graduates should have the basic IT skills required for entry-level jobs in a wide range of industries. They also have the option of improving their career prospects by enrolling in a related bachelor's degree program or taking the test for a professional certification.