Network Administrator Education Requirements and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a network administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Network administrators provide support for local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranet, Internet or network segment systems. They are responsible for the network's overall stability and security, and some of their duties may include installing network hardware, training users and evaluating network performance. Many employers look for applicants who have computer-related bachelor's degrees, such as those in computer science, network administration or management information systems. In addition, individuals may seek vendor-specific networking certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in a computer-related field
Certification Vendor-specific networking certification may be preferred
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*12% for all network and computer systems administrators
Median Salary (2013)* $74,000 annually for all network and computer systems administrators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Network Administration

A variety of degree programs are available in the field of network administration, often at the undergraduate level. These programs can be found under a variety of majors, including network administration, computer science, information science and MIS (management information systems).

Degree program coursework often consists of study in computer science, computer programming, network systems, systems security, advanced mathematics and statistics. MIS programs may also include additional courses in finance and database management.

Certification programs are another popular educational option in network administration. Many certification programs are designed for students who have completed a program in computer science, though some certification programs will accept candidates that have professional experience in network systems. Some of these programs offer a general overview of network systems, while most concentrate on vendor-specific applications, such as Microsoft, Cisco or Sun Microsystems.

Because of the rapid technological advancements in network systems, many professional network administrators periodically update their skills through advanced certification courses. Typically, these certification courses feature a small amount of courses focusing on a specialty and often last from only a few weeks to a few months in length.

Employment Outlook

A broad range of industries and organizations hire network administrators, including government agencies, academic institutions, financial firms and telecommunication companies. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of opportunities in this field was projected to increase 12%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This average rate of growth was due to the push for faster and mobile technologies in the marketplace as well as tightened security for corporate data.

In May 2013, the BLS reported that the median annual income for network and computer systems administrators was $74,000. Average earnings fluctuated pretty significantly, based on industry. For example, the highest paid administrators worked for oil and gas extraction companies; petroleum and coal manufacturing companies; and independent artists, writers and performers, while those who worked in academic settings earned below-average wages (www.bls.gov).

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Alabama (3 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1)
    • Arizona (3)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Florida (9)
    • Georgia (4)
    • Iowa (1)
    • Idaho (1)
    • Illinois (4)
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    • Kansas (1)
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    • Louisiana (2)
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    • Minnesota (2)
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    • Mississippi (1)
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    • Washington (3)
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    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor in Information Systems Security
    • Associate
        • Associate in Information Technology - Computer Network Systems

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Minnesota (2 campuses)
    • Texas (1)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Information Technology
        • Bachelor - Information Technology
        • Bachelor - Web Development
    • Associate
        • Associate - Information Technology

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Colorado (1 campus)
    • Minnesota (2 campuses)
    • Missouri (1)
    • New Mexico (2)
    • South Dakota (2)
    Areas of study you may find at National American University include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Computer Sciences
      • Computer and Information Sciences, General
      • Computer Programming
      • Information Technology Management
        • Networking Management
        • Systems Administration
      • Software and Computer Media Applications
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Rochester Institute of Technology include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Computer Sciences
      • Computer and Information Sciences, General
      • Computer Programming
      • Data Entry Processing
      • Information Technology Management
        • Networking Management
      • Networking and Telecommunications
      • Software and Computer Media Applications
  • School locations:
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Collins College include:
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Computer Sciences
      • Information Technology Management
        • Networking Management
        • Systems Administration
      • Software and Computer Media Applications
  • School locations:
    • Minnesota (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown College include:
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Computer Sciences
      • Computer and Information Sciences, General
      • Computer Programming
      • Information Technology Management
        • Networking Management
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Pellissippi State Technical Community College include:
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Computer Sciences
      • Computer and Information Sciences, General
      • Information Technology Management
        • Networking Management
      • Networking and Telecommunications
      • Software and Computer Media Applications

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics