Can You Be a Network Administrator Without a Bachelor's Degree?
Individuals can choose from a number of educational paths in order to become network administrators. They can obtain professional certification along with additional work experience, complete an associate's degree program or earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about these options below.
Educational Requirements for Network Administrators
Network administrators are not required to hold a degree in a computer-related field, although two popular majors are computer and information science or management information systems. General postsecondary education, paired with on-the-job computer training, is all one needs to land a job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many employers prefer or require network administrators to have a bachelor's degree, but many individuals find jobs with only an associate's degree or certification, especially when paired with related work experience.
However, those with less than a 4-year degree may have to advance to network administrator positions over time. Certificate-holders qualify for jobs as entry-level technicians, and may choose to accelerate their careers by applying their credits toward an associate's degree program. Most associate's degree programs can be completed in two years; however, with some programs waived due to prior certificate program training, prospective network administrators can complete schooling and aim for higher-level positions in a shorter amount of time.
Typical coursework at all levels of undergraduate schooling covers topics such as local and wide area networks, networking essentials, network administration, servers, operating systems and telecommunications. Degree programs also require the completion of general education credits, electives and potentially some experiential work, while certificate programs are less likely to have requirements outside of the core curriculum.
According to PayScale.com, the median salary for network administrators was $53,483 as of April 2014. Salary can vary, however, depending upon an employee's location. For example, the median salaries for network administrators in New York City were reported as $61,993, while in Dallas it was $58,445. Other salaries by city include:
- Atlanta, GA: $58,090
- Chicago, IL: $53,738
- Houston, TX: $58,205
- San Diego, CA: $60,366
- St. Louis, MO: $58,088
The BLS reported that employment of network administrators was projected to grow 12% between 2012 and 2022. Much of this growth is expected to come from investments in new technologies and an increase in the use of mobile technology to conduct business online (www.bls.gov).
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