Associate of Computer Network Engineering: Online Degree

Research associate's degrees related to computer network engineering. Get information on courses, career prospects and salary to make an informed decision about your education.

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Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in computer network engineering are rarely offered online, but online programs in related fields often include courses in network technology and administration. Students can generally access archived lessons and course materials online at any time, although there are deadlines for completing the assignments. Many programs can be completed entirely online, while others call for internships. Students should have a current computer with a high-speed Internet connection. This program may call for special equipment and software as well.

Students in network engineering or network administration associate's degree programs learn about how to design, install and maintain a computer network for an organization. They study network security and take courses in routing, IP addresses, protocols and servers.

Graduates of these programs may be eligible to seek professional certifications from companies including CISCO and Microsoft. They could find employment as computer network engineers or network architects, or they may pursue further education.


Overview of Online Associate's Degree Programs That Cover Computer Network Engineering Concepts

Online associate's degree programs in computer network engineering are hard to come by; however, some of the concepts and topics in on-campus computer network engineering programs are also covered in online programs for network administration or technology. Programs that include computer network engineering subject matter are the focus of this article. These programs prepare students for positions as desktop support specialists, junior network engineers, analysts and specialists, IT field technicians and junior network administrators.

Coursework covers subjects such as networking, routing and security. Some classes may cover the information necessary to prepare students to take certain industry certification exams, such as those from Microsoft or CompTIA. Students interested in these programs may also want to consider information technology programs.

Program Information and Requirements

These programs typically require around 67 credits and take two years to complete, though some may be available as accelerated programs that take only a year and a half. The virtual classroom holds much of the course content and is accessed through an online Web application, with textbook assignments also assigned. In-person work is not always required, though some programs may have internship options or requirements.

In order to experience all the virtual classroom has to offer, students should check their school's technology requirements to ensure their system is compatible. Many schools will require that students access their classes from a computer installed with a certain operating system or software and that it be equipped with specific hardware. Dial-up Internet connections are strongly discouraged; students should instead use a broadband connection when accessing their online classes.

List of Common Network Engineering and Network Administration Courses

There are many classes required for network administration programs that cover the same concepts one would encounter in a network engineering program. Associate's degree programs for both majors would also require general education classes. Below are examples of network administration program classes, some of which would expose students to network engineering concepts.

General Network Course

A general network course may look at the hardware and software necessary to build a network, as well as covering concepts like IP addressing, WANs, LANs and network terminologies and protocols. Some schools may focus this class on a particular brand, such as CISCO.

Network Communications and Infrastructure Course

This type of class may look at the planning and designing of a network, as well as an OSI model. Some programs may focus this class on a particular brand, such as CompTIA.

Microsoft Server Course

Students in this class would learn about Microsoft servers and networks. Topics such as configuring and troubleshooting, network infrastructure management and network security may be covered. The class may involve hands-on work and prepare students for certain Microsoft certification exams.

Career Information for Graduates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field for computer network and systems administrators is projected to grow 23% during the 2008-2018 decade (www.bls.gov). Network systems and communications analyst positions were expected to grow by 53% in that same time frame. With slightly less growth, the computer support specialist field was anticipated to increase by about 14% in those years.

The BLS estimated that computer support specialists in the U.S. earned an average of $49,930 in 2010, with network and computer systems administrators earning an average of around $72,200 that same year.

Continuing Education for Graduates

While online bachelor's degree programs in computer network engineering do exist, they're rare and usually offered only by for-profit universities. However, once earned, students can continue on to a master's degree, which is available online at public, non-profit institutions.

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