Online network administration degree programs offer location-flexible options preparing students for rewarding roles managing computer systems. As businesses and other organizations become increasingly dependent on multiple forms of technology to accomplish their goals, the skills learned in network administrator bachelor degree programs are increasingly relevant to today’s workforce
Attaining a network and computer systems administrators degree is a practical way to gain expertise overseeing the complex server arrays, desktop computers, mobile devices, and peripherals needed to maximize business productivity. Pursuing this degree may also be an efficient way to launch a lucrative career: Payscale reports that network and computer system administrators earn an average salary of $59,499.
What Are The Best Online Bachelor’s in Network Administration Programs?
Champlain CollegeBurlington, Vermont
|Admissions Rate 66%||Graduation Rate 58%||Online Enrollment 44%||Retention Rate 79%||
Champlain offers a bachelor's of science in computer and information systems program that also allows students to earn a system administration certificate. This program prepares students for careers as IT support specialists, programmers, application developers, IT consultants, and more. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as networking fundamentals, information systems design, operating systems, and financial systems for management.
Students can transfer up to 90 credits towards the degree, and can gain credit for professional experience in the field. Champlain offers courses in seven-week terms, allowing students to earn their degree at an accelerated pace. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and show a demonstrated ability to learn online to be considered. Champlain is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Fort Hays State UniversityHays, Kansas
|Admissions Rate 86%||Graduation Rate 43%||Online Enrollment 66%||Retention Rate 70%||
FHSU is a public university that was founded in 1902 in Hays, Kansas. The school offers a bachelor's of science in information networking and telecommunications computer networking degree through its Virtual College. Students must complete 65 credits of general education requirements, 39 credits of core and concentration coursework, and 20 credits of electives. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of topics, such as research methods in informatics, foundations of information networking, and public policy, ethics, and law in telecommunications.
This network systems administrator degree includes coursework that prepares graduates to sit for the Cisco Certified Networking Associate certificate and other advanced Cisco credentials. The school boasts a generous transfer credit policy that allows students to earn credit from courses taken at other accredited institutions and through experience in the military or other relevant professional experiences. FHSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Dakota State UniversityMadison, South Dakota
|Admissions Rate 81%||Graduation Rate 38%||Online Enrollment 39%||Retention Rate 74%||
DSU is a public nonprofit university that was founded in 1881 in Madison, South Dakota. It is among the most technologically advanced schools in the region, and is known for its emphasis on computer science education. DSU also works to accommodate non-traditional students, such as those who are coming from home-school environments or those who do not have a high school degree.
DSU offers a bachelor's of science in network and security administration program that covers networking and computer science fundamentals but stands out for its emphasis on cyber security. This online network and computer systems administrators degree includes courses on a variety of topics, such as defensive network security, routing and switching, database management systems, and computer forensics fundamentals. DSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Western Governors UniversitySalt Lake City, Utah
|Admissions Rate N/A||Graduation Rate 14%||Online Enrollment 100%||Retention Rate 75%||
WGU is a nonprofit online institution that was founded in 1995 by 19 state governors and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Today, the school serves more than 83,000 students each year and offers a variety of distance learning programs, including a bachelor's of science in information technology-network administration. Offered through the College of Information Technology, this degree provides students with a solid foundation in computer information systems and technology.
Students learn skills related to systems, networking and security, programming, and data management. The program prepares graduates to sit for a variety of industry certification exams from organizations like CompTIA, CIW, and Microsoft. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of foundational topics, such as data management, network security challenges, scripting and programming, and IT fundamentals. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Tiffin UniversityTiffin, Ohio
|Admissions Rate 93%||Graduation Rate 38%||Online Enrollment 29%||Retention Rate 62%||
Tiffin offers a bachelor's of science in information technology with a concentration in systems administration that emphasizes hands-on learning in the classroom. This major stands out from other online network administration degree programs because it prepares graduates to sit for up to 13 industry certifications from Microsoft and CompTIA. Graduates are prepared for careers as systems administrators, network administrators, security managers, and more.
This network administration degree online includes courses on a variety of topics, such as project management, open source security, computer law ethics, and information security. The university offers an extensive list of support services to transfer students, as well as transfer scholarship packages for qualifying applicants. Tiffin is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Bellevue UniversityBellevue, Nebraska
|Admissions Rate N/A||Graduation Rate 18%||Online Enrollment 78%||Retention Rate 63%||
Bellevue is a nonprofit university that was founded in 1966 in Nebraska. Today, the school serves more than 50,000 students each year and offers a variety of distance learning degrees, including a bachelor's of science in systems and network administration program.
This program is different from other network administrator bachelor's degree programs because it is designed for students who are already working in the information technology.
The curriculum includes major courses on a variety of topics, such as business telecommunications, Cisco networking, operating systems administration, and information security. Graduates are prepared to pursue careers as computer and information analysts, computer network architects, computer systems administrators, and more. The school boasts a generous transfer credit policy and even allows students to gain credits from military experience. Bellevue is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Southern Nazarene UniversityBethany, Oklahoma
|Admissions Rate N/A||Graduation Rate 46%||Online Enrollment 10%||Retention Rate 62%||
SNU is a private Christian institution that was founded in 1899 in Bethany, Oklahoma. Like the best network administrator bachelor degree programs, SNU’s bachelor's of science in network management allows students to earn their degree while simultaneously preparing for industry certifications. This program is designed for students who have already earned 60 or more college credits.
The curriculum includes courses on a variety of foundational topics, such as windows networking, organizational behavior, network security, and more. Required coursework currently uses the Windows Server 2012 R2 curriculum and Transcender preparation testing. Admission to this program is selective, and applicants must pass a proprietary entrance exam and workshop experience to be considered. SNU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Point UniversityWest Point, Georgia
|Admissions Rate 49%||Graduation Rate 49%||Online Enrollment 3%||Retention Rate 55%||
Point is a Christian liberal arts college that was founded in 1937. Today, the school operates six campuses across Georgia and Alabama and offers a variety of online degrees. The school offers a bachelor's of science in information technology with a concentration in network administration that can be completed in just two years. The university serves traditional students and high school students via a variety of dual credit enrollment programs. Unlike many network and computer systems administrators degree programs, Point emphasizes skills that are relevant to internet-based applications.
Courses are delivered asynchronously online, allowing students to complete coursework at their own pace. Transfer applicants who have earned fewer than 24 credits must provide high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores to be considered. Point is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Rogers State UniversityClaremore, Oklahoma
|Admissions Rate 82%||Graduation Rate 27%||Online Enrollment 17%||Retention Rate 65%||
RSU is a public, regional university that was founded in 1909 in Claremore, Oklahoma. The school offers a variety of distance learning programs, including an online bachelor's of science in business information technology with a concentration in computer network administration. The curriculum includes courses on a variety of fundamental topics, such as operating systems, network configuration, and security. This network administrator bachelor's degree also emphasizes emerging technologies and how they relate to business practices, which ensures that graduates are prepared to enter the rapidly-evolving technological landscape.
RSU maintains close relationships with two-year institutions in the region that make life easy for transfer students. Applicants can check an online database of courses at from other institutions that automatically transfer to RSU. The school does require ACT scores for transfer students who have earned fewer than 24 college credits. RSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Middle Georgia State UniversityMacon, Georgia
|Admissions Rate 63%||Graduation Rate 14%||Online Enrollment 10%||Retention Rate 68%||
Established in 1919, MGA originated as a branch of the University of Georgia system, called Middle Georgia College. The school serves more than 3,000 students at five campus locations across Georgia in more than 40 academic majors.
MGA offers a network administration degree online with a concentration in network technology and administration. Coursework emphasizes math, science, and computer programming and networking abilities, as well as communication, public speaking, and professional skills. The 120-credit IT degree prepares students to use current networking technology to design and develop networks for clients. The program culminates with a capstone experience.
Online students must maintain a grade of C or higher in all IT courses to graduate. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts or a GED, college transcripts, and SAT or ACT scores. MGA charges a flat fee for tuition for all online programs.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Network Administration Program
Network administration degree online programs typically cover computer science fundamentals and networking practices. However, prospective students should consider that programs vary in content, duration, and support available to distance learners. Different programs allow learners to gain experience administrating different operating systems, and using various computer languages for specialized purposes, such as web development.
What Will I Learn in This Program?
Students enrolled in undergraduate network administrator degree programs learn the fundamental skills required to manage large-scale computer systems. Programs typically include core courses in computer hardware maintenance, data communication, documentation practices, and network security. However, it is important for students to understand the elective options available within each program, as these specialized courses determine the specific career paths available to graduates. Each prospective student should carefully consider which program offers courses best matching his or her knowledge goals.
Most network administrator bachelor degree programs include administrator training in one or more operating systems, particularly Windows and Linux/Unix. Network systems administrator degree students are also expected to learn the basic elements of one or more programming language, typically including C++, Java, and PHP. Some programs offer courses that emphasize the skills needed to work in networking in a web-based environment. Others offer more thorough training in cybersecurity.
How Long Will it Take to Complete This Program?
Online degrees give students increased control over when, where, and for how long they study in their selected network administration programs. It is important for each prospective student to consider the timeframe that best fits his or her needs. Some candidates may seek a fast way to gain basic knowledge of the field, while others might prefer options that allow for more specialized professional preparation.
Online bachelor’s in network administration degree programs typically consist of eight semesters and usually take four years of full-time study to complete. However, some network and computer systems administrators degree programs allow students to complete their studies in three or fewer years if they can demonstrate previous networking or programming experience. Some students may choose to remain in programs for additional semesters if they seek advanced training for professional certifications.
How Does this Program Support Online Students?
Other online majors often require candidates to attend in-person sessions for practicums. In contrast, information pertinent to network administration inherently involves a computer interface. This fact makes network administration degrees ideal for distance learning. However, students should understand how different program course options, and the support given to online candidates, will fit their educational needs.
Students should consider whether programs offer synchronous or asynchronous lectures. Asynchronous formats could allow students to cover technically complex material at their own pace, potentially maximizing the power of previous knowledge. Prospects should note specific lecturer backgrounds and match their own interests to professor expertise. It is also important to consider forms of peer interaction available, such as online forums, chat options, or video conferencing.
Careers for Network Administration Graduates
Graduates of network administration programs enjoy a myriad of rewarding career options. The skills gained from this degree can be used in corporate, nonprofit, and government settings. Since computer technology is increasingly important to the workforce, the range of roles available to network administration experts is likely to broaden over the coming decades. All work with computers and networking in some sense, but different jobs notably vary in terms of the routine activities they involve.
Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Median Salary: $59,499
Information Security Analyst
Median Salary: $70,262
Computer Support Specialist
Median Salary: $42,735
Median Salary: $115,257
Computer Systems Analyst
Median Salary: $63,924
Job Outlook and Salary
According to BLS projections, employment options available to candidates with undergraduate degrees in network administration will grow at least as fast as the national average. This degree enables graduates to pursue a wide range of professional roles, and some will grow much faster than average. To some extent, job availability varies by location (with employment opportunities concentrated in urban areas), but this is becoming less true as computer networks become centrally important to more industries.
All related careers considered together, the BLS projects that hundreds of thousands of new jobs requiring network administration skills will become available in the United States over the next decade. Pay for these jobs will surpass the national median, with some being significantly higher than average.
|Employment, 2014||Projected Employment, 2024|
Salary Growth by Experience for Graduates of Network Administration Programs
Salaries in the broadly defined network administration field typically increase with experience. Pay scales also vary by organization type. Corporate roles often (but not always) pay more than nonprofit or government positions. Overall, this is a field with strong salary growth potential. Years of experience in network administration usually translate into expertise in more specific technology areas, and mid-career professionals with a good understanding of widely used computer network technologies can earn generous pay.
To determine the best online network administration programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 10 best online network administration degree programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.