Earning a network and computer systems administrators degree can help you advance your current job, potentially increase your salary, and set you on a path toward a brand new career. According to PayScale, those with a bachelor's degree in network administration make considerably more than those with an associate degree. This lucrative industry also shows promising growth for the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects careers in network and computer systems administration to grow 6% by 2026. With this steady increase in job opportunities, now is a great time to start your bachelor's degree program in network administration.
Choosing a Program
When it comes to network and computer systems degrees, students can earn many technical certifications before graduating. These programs build certifications into the curriculum, preparing students for the various exams required to earn the certifications. Students can graduate with a network administrator degree and also hold various CompTIA certifications, such as Microsoft Certified Solutions and CIW Site Development Associates. Aside from earning certifications, students in these programs will also take courses that emphasize skills in areas like network design, operating systems, scripting and programming, and challenges in network security.
Different degree programs have the option for students to choose a concentration in areas like web development or data management. These programs may have varying requirements for graduation, such as capstone seminars or projects. Students should consider which type of academic experience they're looking for and select a project that caters to those needs and goals.
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Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Programs
1 Excelsior College
Albany, New York
Excelsior's online bachelor's in information technology with a concentration in network operations is designed for working professionals. Students complete asynchronous coursework at their convenience, without interfering with professional or personal commitments, and online students can earn the degree at an accelerated pace.
The 120 required credits comprise coursework in the arts and sciences, technology, and free electives. Students must declare a concentration, such as cybersecurity technology, general option, or information security and network operations. The network systems administrator degree also requires a capstone project. Graduates secure IT positions addressing users' technological needs and often collaborate with colleagues in the field.
Tuition rates vary by program, course load, and number of transfer credits. Discounts are available for veterans and military members. Excelsior provides an online cost calculator to help prospective students determine program costs. Financial aid options for students pursuing the network administrator degree online include grants, scholarships, and flexible payment plans.
Excelsior College is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
2 Fort Hays State University
FHSU offers a BS and a BA in information networking and telecommunications with a computer networking and telecommunications concentration. Graduates enter technology-driven roles in fields such as education, healthcare, and law enforcement. FHSU offers coursework that leads to Cisco certifications, such as the Cisco Certified Networking Associate credential.
Both the BS and BA require 124 credit hours, including 39 credit hours in the core concentration. However, BA students complete 65 general education credit hours and 20 elective credit hours, whereas BS students complete 55 general education hours and 30 free elective hours. Core classes include foundations of information networking, research methods in informatics, and public policy, and ethics and law in telecommunications. Each student works with an advisor to develop a degree plan that suits their career goals.
Students in the online network administration degree program have access to loans and scholarships, and FHSU offers programs and benefits for military members. Applicants over the age of 21 are not required to submit ACT or SAT scores.
Fort Hays State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
3 Champlain College
Unlike other network administrator degree programs, Champlain's bachelor's in computer information systems emphasizes the social skills required to succeed in the workplace. Graduates possess both the technological knowledge and the practical skills necessary to pursue successful careers.
Located in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain designs its online programs for working professionals. The fully online network administration degree comprises seven-week classes. While earning their network administrator bachelor's degree, students can also earn certification in fields such as computer forensics, Java programming, Linux administration, and security and support.
The curriculum covers topics such as enterprise database systems, information systems development, and cybersecurity. Students also complete general education courses, such as writing in the workplace, intercultural communication, and ethics in the professions. Graduates are able to administer and secure network systems, use scripting languages and web services, and employ project management tools and techniques.
Because Champlain's network and computer systems administrators degree is designed for working professionals, applicants should have both academic qualifications and professional experience.
Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
4 Dakota State University
Madison, South Dakota
Graduates of DSU's bachelor's in network and security administration program secure positions such as systems administrator, network systems engineer, and penetration tester. Located in Madison, South Dakota, DSU emphasizes both technical skills and business management techniques. The program is available entirely online, and students are encouraged to form connections with their professors, many of whom hold valuable partnerships and relationships with industry leaders.
Most students complete the 120 required credits in four years. Coursework covers topics such as hardware, visualization and data communication, web application programming, and computer forensics. Students also complete free electives in areas such as math, social sciences, and the arts.
DSU offers a unique, per-credit tuition system, which only charges students the cost of taking each class; the university does not require students to pay fees for services they may not use, such as a gym or library. Students enrolled in at least six credits are eligible for scholarships and financial aid.
Dakota State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
5 Stevenson University
Stevenson recognizes a growing skills gap within the IT industry; the number of trained professionals do not meet the demand of businesses and organizations. The university offers an online BS in computer information systems program to prepare graduates to fill this gap.
Students choose from three tracks: forensics, network design, and software design. Graduates pursue careers in network systems analysis, information governance, and cyber forensics. Most courses are available online, but students must complete a few courses at Stevenson's campus in Pikesville, Maryland.
The program requires 120 credits. Transfer students may bring up to 70 credits earned through a community college and up to 90 credits from a four-year institution. Stevenson also awards up to 30 credits of for professional training and life experience. Applicants to the network administrator degree program must have a 2.5 GPA, at least two years of professional experience, and at least 15 transferable credits.
Stevenson University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
6 Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, Utah
WGU's BS in cloud and systems administration program offers a competency-based education; students progress through courses as they demonstrate mastery of subject material. Unlike other network administrator bachelor's degree programs, WGU's program does not hold students to a specific timeline for course completion.
Coursework covers topics including network security challenges, operating systems, and scripting and programming. Students are required to complete the equivalent of three or four courses during each six-month term. The program culminates in a capstone project, during which students propose a solution to an industry-specific issue.
WGU's tuition rates are based on time, rather than credits. Students reduce the cost of the degree by completing courses faster. WGU also offers scholarships and financial aid for online students. WGU accepts transfer credits on a case-by-case basis, after an individual transcript review. New students can begin courses on the first of any month. Applicants must submit official transcripts and complete an online readiness assessment.
Western Governors University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
7 Bellevue University
Located in Nebraska, Bellevue's online bachelor's in systems and network administration is designed for students with network administration experience who want to advance their career through further education. Students learn to formulate technical solutions, develop strategies for information security, and design database infrastructures.
The program requires 127 credit hours, including 36 general education hours, 55 elective hours, and 36 major hours. Students complete coursework in Linux 1, virtualization of computing resources, and web server administration. Students in the online network administration degree program gain hands-on experience with Microsoft products, Linux operating systems, database management systems, and web servers.
Applicants must have one of the following: two years of professional IT experience, an associate degree, 60 previous credit hours, a grade of B or better on certain IT courses, or CompTIA A+ or CompTIA Network+ certification. Applicants must also demonstrate proof of a high school diploma, its equivalent, or an associate degree.
Bellevue University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
8 Florida State College at Jacksonville
FSCJ offers a BAS in computer systems networking and telecommunications that students can complete in as few as 20 months. The program is ideal for students interested in fields such as information security, network flow optimization, and system design and analysis.
The network administrator degree requires 120 credits, and the curriculum includes coursework in technical support and server configuration, advanced convergent technologies, service support management, and software defined networking. The program requires an eight-hour foreign language component, which students can meet through high school credit or CLEP exams.
FSCJ is among the most affordable four-year institutions in the nation. The university offers financial aid and scholarships, and many graduates find employment opportunities in nearby communities. FSCJ awards credit for industry certifications, completed college-level examinations, and portfolios of learning experiences. Applicants must have at least an associate degree and 60 transferable credits with a GPA of 2.0 or better.
Florida State College at Jacksonville is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
9 Southern Nazarene University
Located in Bethany, Oklahoma, SNU offers a fully online bachelor's in network management program, which prepares students to earn certifications such as Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate and Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician. Students gain strong interpersonal skills, along with the technical knowledge necessary to become effective IT professionals.
SNU offers the BS as a degree completion program; applicants must have some previous college experience. Students complete coursework with small groups of peers. The curriculum covers topics such as Windows networking, routers and switches, network security, and professional ethics. Students can complete prior learning assessments to earn up to 30 credits for knowledge and life experience.
Applicants must pass an entrance test with a score of 80 or higher; only the top 16 scoring applicants are admitted. Students who score below 90 are encouraged to complete a workshop prior to beginning the program. SNU offers financial aid and scholarships for online students.
Southern Nazarene University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
10 Rogers State University
RSU was the first university in Oklahoma to offer a fully online degree. The university's online bachelor's in business information technology with a concentration in computer network administration requires 124 credit hours. Coursework covers topics including data modeling and network operating systems, accounting, and marketing. Students also complete general education courses in areas such as geography, chemistry, and philosophy.
Students pursuing RSU's network administrator online degree choose from two options: computer network administration and software development and multimedia. The computer network administration option includes coursework in network operating systems and emerging technologies and is ideal for students planning to pursue positions such as system specialist or system network administrator. The software development and multimedia option requires coursework in software engineering and web development, and graduates pursue careers in web programming and software engineering.
Applicants must submit ACT scores and official high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Online students are eligible for the same financial aid options as on-campus students, including the GI Bill, scholarships, and grants. Oklahoma residents pay discounted tuition rates.
Rogers State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Careers
The broad range of computer skills covered and emphasized in network administrator bachelor's degree programs prepares students for careers in all IT settings. Some of these careers may be freelance or contract based, allowing for a more diverse work environment, while others may be within a single, specific organization.
Network and Computer Systems Administrators: A network administrator bachelor's degree directly prepares students for roles as network and computer systems administrators. Administrators monitor and manage the day-to-day operations of an organization's computer system, a critical part of how a business functions.
- Median Annual Salary: $79,700
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Computer and Information Systems Managers: Similar to network and computer systems administrators, these system managers are in charge of all computer and tech-based operations within an organization. They're sometimes called IT managers. They help design and implement computer systems that improve business operations.
- Median Annual Salary: $135,800
- Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Computer Network Architects: When you hear the phrase "cloud network," it's often computer network architects responsible for building and maintaining that cloud. These architects design, install, and manage various types of computer networking systems between offices or networks spanning larger areas.
- Median Annual Salary: $101,210
- Projected Growth Rate: 6%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics