System administrators are responsible for maintaining and troubleshooting computer systems, networks and servers. Students in 2-year associate's degree programs in the field gain both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience with maintaining systems. Classroom instruction is complemented by extensive computer lab instruction. Graduates are prepared for immediate employment in an information technology area or may continue their education, allowing them to pursue more varied and specialized positions.
Applicants must provide high school transcripts or equivalent test scores. They may also need to complete math and English placement tests. Standardized test scores or letters of recommendation might be required as well, but this is rare.
Associate Degree in Systems Administration
While these programs generally feature a topical curriculum, there are often general education and elective course requirements such as public speaking, social science and English. Courses may include:
- Router and switches/configurations
- Firewall security
- Operating system design
- Database applications
- Advanced programming
- Network maintenance and security
Popular Career Options
Employers seeking to fill systems administrator positions often require candidates to have a bachelor's degree or an equivalent level of work experience. Below are a few career options for those with an associate's degree:
- Computer support technician
- Networking assistant
- Computer technology salesperson
Employment Prospects and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 863,100 employed computer support specialists in 2018. Employment is projected to increase 10% between 2018-2028. These professionals earned a median salary of $50,980 as of May 2018.
Continuing Education Information
For those who want to continue their education beyond the associate's degree level, there are bachelor's degree programs in a variety of information technology fields. Programs are also available at the graduate level. Trade organizations such as the League of Professional Systems Administrators have more information on educational and employment opportunities for those with varying educational backgrounds in this field.
Associate's degree programs in systems administration provide students with direct experience troubleshooting network, operating and database systems in labs. Graduates may work as computer support specialists or salespersons.