Network Management Degree and Certification Program Overviews

Programs in network management are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs train students to design, install and maintain computer network systems.

Essential Information

Programs in network management emphasize network design and technology, as well as security concepts. With the requisite expertise and experience, program graduates could pursue certifications through organizations such as Cisco. Entry into the associate's or bachelor's program requires a high school diploma or equivalent, while entry into the master's program requires an appropriate bachelor's degree.


Associate's Degree in Network Management

An associate's degree program in network management introduces students to computer networking technology, including local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). Students become familiar with wireless networks, industry protocols and standards, networking terminology and network architecture. Network security concepts and procedures are also introduced. Program coursework includes exercises and assignments that reinforce classroom instruction and provide students with hands-on experience in designing, implementing, troubleshooting and maintaining networking systems. Topics usually included in a network management curriculum include:

  • Networking infrastructure
  • Script programming
  • Linux and Microsoft operating systems
  • Network design
  • Active Directories
  • Networking hardware

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Network Management

Bachelor's degree programs in network management provide students with an in-depth understanding of networking hardware, network architecture and industry protocols. Students learn how to install network servers, troubleshoot hardware, administer resources, implement backup procedures and monitor system performance. Emphasis is placed on network security management. Security concepts include data security, computer forensics and asset identification. Preparation for this major should include high school algebra, keyboarding and a familiarity with Windows operating systems. Many of the courses are taught within computer lab classrooms in order to provide hands-on learning opportunities. Network management topics include:

  • Linux operating systems
  • Internet server administration
  • Network security
  • Wireless communications
  • Addressing and routing

Master of Science in Telecommunication and Network Management

A master's program includes advanced study of network security, computer network protocols, communication networks and internet architecture. Instruction usually includes configuration control, encryption, firewall systems, network application development and queuing analysis. Applicants are expected to have proficiencies in data structures, computer architecture and programming. Students develop skills and gain working knowledge of network software and applications through graduate-level laboratory courses that are incorporated throughout the curriculum. Course topics may include:

  • High-Speed networks
  • Data Administration
  • Wireless communications
  • Performance evaluations
  • Internetworking

Popular Career Options

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in network management are prepared for entry-level positions in network installation, security, training and user support. Possible job opportunities include:

  • Network engineer
  • Network administrator
  • Network analyst
  • Database administrator
  • PC support specialist

Graduates with a master's degree are prepared to assume leadership roles within the networking field. Job opportunities include:

  • Senior network specialist
  • Network architect
  • Wireless network consultant
  • Network security specialist
  • Systems administrator

Employment and Salary Information

Individuals with formal training in network management have the knowledge needed to pursue a variety of career opportunities in the field. Possible positions include technical support, network administration and systems analysis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of network and computer systems administrators would increase by 8% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, these workers earned a median annual income of $77,810 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education and Certifications

A graduate degree is one option for college graduates who want to pursue a higher-level degree. Master's degrees are available in networking. Varying levels of certification credentials are also available from a number of organizations. Vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft offer vendor-specific training and credentials. CompTIA is a non-profit association devoted to the information technology field; this organization offers a wide range of vendor-neutral certifications, including A+, Network+ and Security+. Certifications are based on experience and successful completion of exams. Some employers will pay for their network professionals to obtain certification.

Network management programs train students to design, install and maintain computer networks. Training programs are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels.


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