The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many employers require administrators to hold a bachelor's degree, but entry-level jobs are also available for individuals who have an associate's degree or undergraduate certificate. Graduate-level education is also available in this field.
10 Schools with Network Technician Programs
The following schools offer various programs for network technicians. The chart also lists tuition for school year 2015-2016.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees*|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$13,790 (in-state), $22,210 out-of-state|
|Houston Community College System||Houston, TX||2-year, Public||Associate||$16,32 in-district, $3,360 in-state, $3,756 out-of-state|
|College of Southern Nevada||Las Vegas, NV||4-year, Public||Associate||$2,805 in-state, $9,405 out-of-state|
|Tarrant County College District||Fort Worth, TX||2-year, Public||Associate||$1,320 in-district, $2,064 in-state, $4,920 out-of-state|
|Austin Community College District||Austin, TX||2-year, Public||Associate||$2,550 in-district, $9,210 in-state, $11,340 out-of-state|
|City College of San Francisco||San Francisco, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate||$1,598 in-state, $7,554 out-of-state|
|American River College||Sacramento, CA||2-year, Public||Associate||$1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state|
|University of Maryland - University College||Adelphi, MD||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$7,056 in-state, $12,336 out-of-state|
|Pima Community College||Tucson, AZ||2-year, Public||Associate||$1,974 in-state, $8,610 out-of-state|
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||Raleigh, NC||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$8,581 in-state, $24,932 out-of-state|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
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College Selection Criteria
Computer network technicians need to know not just the hardware that makes up computer networks, but the software as well. Consider the following when looking for network technician schools:
- Prospective students can choose between career-focused networking programs and broader computer science or information technology programs, depending on their academic interests in the field.
- It is important to make sure that the school has up-to-date computer equipment and provides students with experience using the latest software applications.
- Prospective undergraduates may want to look for schools that facilitate internships with information technology companies, where students might have the chance to work alongside a network technician.
- Working technicians who want to boost their careers through graduate studies may want to look for programs that are offer online coursework or part-time scheduling options.
Associate's Degree Programs
In associate's degree programs, students receive a basic introduction to the fundamentals of information technology. Through a combination of classroom-based coursework and computer lab training, students learn how to install, test, maintain and troubleshoot computer software and hardware. These two-year programs also include general education classes.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
According to the BLS, some network technician jobs require at least a Bachelor of Science (BS) in a relevant topic. Some schools offer BS programs specifically in computer network administration, while others include relevant coursework within broader computer science and information technology programs. For individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree in the field, some schools offer degree-completion programs that allow for a specialization in networking.
Master's Degree Programs
Master of Science (MS) programs are available for experienced IT professionals who want to expand their expertise in networking and systems administration. In order to meet the needs of those who want to pursue education in the field while still working, some programs are available in online or part-time formats. Students may also be able to choose between a thesis track, which culminates in a final project, and a non-thesis track, which includes more extensive course requirements. Graduates are prepared for leadership positions in the IT field.
Relevant certificates for network technicians are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate certificate programs are typically comprised of a short series of introductory courses. They may also include exam preparation for professional certifications from industry organizations. At the graduate level, certificate programs enable experienced network technicians to pursue advanced studies in network design, installation, maintenance and security.
Educational programs for network technicians are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prospective students should consider their career goals and the school's facilities when choosing between programs.