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MCSA Certificate: Program Overview

A Microsoft-certified systems administrator (MCSA) certificate program can prepare students to manage complex Windows server environments and networks. Programs focus on preparation for the four exams necessary for earning certification.

Essential Information

Microsoft offers MCSA certificate programs for students who want to prepare for the MCSA examination, which tests students' skills in installing, configuring, and maintaining Windows server network infrastructures. Most certificate programs take about one year to complete and require that students already hold A+ or Network + certifications prior to enrollment. In some cases, MCSA certificate programs are designed to update previous MCSA certification standards; applicants to these programs would already need to be certified in MCSA for admission. Schools might also accept applicants who aren't qualified but that meet work experience requirements. A high school diploma or the equivalent is the minimum requirement for admission.


Certificate in MCSA Program

Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator certificate programs can focus on troubleshooting network environments and NET Servers, as well as management skills such as support and administration. While enrolled in a certificate program, a student can learn more about IP addresses and how to set up operating systems for multiple formats. Individuals might also have the opportunity to engineer infrastructures for network applications and security for a variety of networks. Coursework might include:

  • Data communications basics
  • Directory services
  • Server operating systems
  • Network administration
  • User environment
  • Preventative maintenance

Popular Career Options

Individuals who are MCSA-certified may be prepared for a variety of entry-level career opportunities. Career options can include:

  • Computer technician
  • Systems support specialist
  • Network administrator

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment of network and computer systems administrators will grow by 8% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). Computer support specialists should see a 12% increase during the same period of time. As shown in BLS reports from 2015, network and computer systems administrators received a median salary of $77,810 yearly, while computer support specialists earned a median of $51,470 per year.

Continuing Education

According to the BLS, professional certification, such as the MCSA certification, and relevant work experience may be satisfactory to obtain employment as a computer or network administrator. However, professionals in this field may still consider continuing education options, such as associate or bachelor's degree programs in fields like management information systems or computer science. A more advanced position, such as that of a database administrator, could even require a job seeker to hold a master's degree related to information systems.

To summarize, Microsoft offers the MCSA designation for systems administrators. Students who earn this credential can present it to potential employers as proof of their basic technological skills.


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