A networking associates degree program can help you learn how to maintain the functionality and security of computer networks.
Computers and computer networking are used in almost every industry, making this a very versatile degree. An associate’s degree in network systems administration or computer networking can prepare you to obtain an entry-level job in the field or to pursue more advanced education.
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Many colleges offer this type of degree, so there are many program options to explore if you pursue this path.
Online Networking Associates Degrees
A network administrator associate’s degree program can teach you how to support businesses and organizations in maintaining their computer networks.
Careers in the computer and IT field include computer network support specialist, computer network architect, network and computer systems administrator, computer systems analyst, or database administrator.
A number of these roles require bachelors-level training, but an associate degree in networking can help you qualify you for a variety of entry-level careers in the field. Job duties in these roles often include such tasks as setting up networks, troubleshooting, adding new computers to the network, maintaining security, and updating software.
Here are some subjects you might study while earning an associate in computer network degree:
- Computer science
- Computer systems
- Fiber optics
- Network management
- Network security
- PC assembly
Your degree program may be an Associate of Science (AS) or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS). An Associate of Science program will typically emphasize general education and liberal arts, while an Associate of Applied Science will focus more heavily on learning specialized computing skills.
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Once you have completed your networking associate’s degree, you can begin looking for a job, or you can consider pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Many four-year colleges accept coursework from associate degree programs as transfer credit toward your bachelors degree.
A bachelors in networking or a related field can help you qualify for more job opportunities in the computer and IT sector.
Computer Networking Careers & Salaries
The majority of computer network support specialists work in computer systems design and related services. Many also work in telecommunications, finance, and insurance industries.
Common industries in which network and computer systems administrators find employment include computer systems design and related services, educational services, information, and finance and insurance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology occupations are expected to grow 13% over the next ten years.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Computer Network Architects||$116,780|
|Information Security Analysts||$103,590|
|Database Administrators and Architects||$98,860|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$93,730|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Finance and Insurance||$89,910|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Information||$89,660|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators, Computer Systems Design and Related Services||$87,190|
|Computer Network Support Specialists, Telecommunications||$74,220|
|Computer Network Support Specialists, Computer Systems Design and Related Services||$66,000|
|Computer User Support Specialists||$52,690|
There are many job opportunities for those who are skilled in computer networking. Your networking and computer knowledge could also apply to other computer and information technology occupations, such as database administrator, information security analyst, or computer systems analyst.
For many positions in this field, employers tend to prefer candidates who hold a bachelors degree. Some roles, like computer network architect, also require many years of work experience in order to qualify.
Networking Associate’s Curriculum & Courses
Here are some examples of courses you might take while earning an associate’s degree in networking:
- Fundamentals of Networking: This course will serve as your introduction and teach you the basics of how computer networks operate.
- Operating Systems: In this course, you’ll study the types of software that manage all of a computer’s memory and processes, such as Windows and Linux.
- Computer Programming: In this course, you’ll learn the basics of common coding languages.
- Routing and Switching: In this course, you’ll study the basic functions that enable computers within a network to communicate with one another.
- Implementing and Supporting Servers: In this course, you’ll study how to maintain and troubleshoot networks that incorporate servers.
- Enterprise Application Administration: In this course, you’ll study how to install and debug various software applications used by businesses, such as customer service or accounting tools.
- Security Policies and Procedures: In this course, you’ll study common regulations that organizations use to keep their networks safe from threats like hackers or malware.
- Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing: In this course, you’ll study how to test a network’s security by looking for weaknesses as a hacker would.
- Cloud Computing: In this course, you’ll study the storage of data in remote databases.
- Windows Server Identity Services: In this course, you’ll study how to manage different levels of access for users of a network using Windows products.
Exact course requirements can vary at different schools. In addition to computer networking courses, your coursework will typically include general education requirements in subjects like English composition and algebra.
How to Choose an Online Associates in Network Administration Degree Program
Deciding where you want to go to school can be a difficult choice. Here are some characteristics you may want to consider when deciding which school is right for you:
- Availability of internships or other practical experiences. An internship can help you gain work experience and learn about how computer knowledge is applied in a real business.
- Up-to-date technology. Technology changes very rapidly. You may want to ensure that your degree program uses the most modern software and hardware available. This way, your skills will be the most up to date as you enter the workforce.
- Expense. The cost of tuition and other fees can vary widely at different schools. You may want to study all these costs before applying at any given school to ensure that your choice is cost effective.
Many colleges offer associate’s degrees in computer networking and related fields, so you can explore your options to find a program that is a good match for you.
How do you get accepted into an associate’s degree program in computer networking? Here are some common admissions requirements:
- High school diploma or GED
- Minimum high school GPA (2.0 on average)
- Personal essay or statement
- Letters of recommendations from teachers or other mentors
Some schools may also require that you submit SAT or ACT scores, but a growing number of schools no longer require them. Every school’s admissions criteria are a little bit different. You can usually learn about a specific school’s requirements by visiting their website.
Regional accreditation is a designation given to colleges and universities that have been evaluated by accrediting organizations and have met certain standards. Accreditation is a way of ensuring that you receive a quality education.
If you choose to transfer to a new school, your previously earned credits are more likely to be accepted by your new school if your original school was accredited. You may also need to be enrolled in an accredited school to qualify for certain types of financial aid. You can usually find out a school’s accreditation status by visiting their website.
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To learn more about regional accreditation, you can visit the US Department of Education’s website.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many financial aid options that help qualifying students finance their education. You may be able to qualify for grants, scholarships, state aid, or federal aid.
Your employer may even be willing to contribute to the costs of your education, especially if earning your degree will enable you to do your current job better. Some employers have tuition reimbursement programs in place.
To apply for federal financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Through the FAFSA, you can see if you qualify for federal loans, grants, or work-study positions.
Is an Associates Degree Enough for Computer Networking?
Whether you should get an associate’s degree or pursue a bachelor’s degree can depend on what your career goals are.
Associate’s degree programs are shorter than bachelor’s degree programs, so earning an associate can enable you to enter the workforce sooner. While a bachelor’s degree takes longer, you have the opportunity to acquire more specialized knowledge about computer networking before graduation. This could lead to more career opportunities.
Most employers prefer to hire those with a bachelors, but an associate degree can still qualify you for a number of computer networking roles. Of course, if you pursue an associate’s degree now, you can always use it to enter the workforce as well as transfer into a bachelor’s degree program to continue your education.
What Can I Do with an Associates in Networking?
With an associates degree in computer networking, you may qualify for a number of roles in the computer and IT field.
Networking graduates who hold associates degrees tend to pursue positions as computer network support specialists and network systems administrators. These roles work directly with computer networks. Businesses and companies in almost every industry need employees who are able to solve problems with technology.
An associate degree can also act as a stepping stone toward a higher degree. A bachelors degree is typically required to qualify for more opportunities in the computer and information technology field.
Is Computer Networking a Good Career?
Yes, computer networking is a good career for many professionals. The median annual salary for network and computer systems administrators is $84,810, and the median for computer network support specialists is $65,450 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
With continued education and years of work experience, networking professionals may be able to work as computer network architects. This lucrative position earns a median of $116,780 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects 13% job growth for computer and IT occupations over the next ten years.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate Degree in Computer Networking Online?
If your degree program uses a traditional 16 week semester, it will generally take 2 years to complete an associates degree with full-time study.
Many associate degree online programs offer accelerated classes that last only 8 weeks. Following this course schedule might enable you to finish your degree faster. Taking classes during the summer can also help speed up your time to graduation. Alternatively, if you only take classes part-time, it may take you longer to finish your degree.
Is an Associates in Computer Networking Degree Worth It?
Yes, an associates in computer networking degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 13% job growth for computer and information technology occupations over the next decade.
Earning an associates degree in computer networking could teach you valuable and versatile skills for this growing field. Network and computer systems administrators are expected to experience 5% job growth over the next ten years, and computer network support specialists are expected to grow 7%.
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An associate degree can enable you to enter the workforce sooner, and you can even go on to earn a bachelors degree if you want to qualify for more opportunities in the field.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Network Administration Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
The Associate in Networking Technology degree from Bryant and Stratton College can be earned either on campus or online.
The program can help students prepare for work as IT coordinators, network administrators, and network technicians. Courses include Cloud Computing, Routing and Switching in Networked Environments, and Network Security and Forensic Fundamentals.
Bryant & Stratton College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Central Texas College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Network Cloud Support and Cybersecurity. It can usually be completed in 2 years and includes courses on cloud computing, network administration, scripting languages, and project management. This is an on-campus program that provides hands-on training.
Central Texas College is accredited by the: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Dakota State University offers an AS in Network and Security Administration. The program has virtual and physical labs to replicate real-life problems and situations that might be encountered in the workplace.
Students have opportunities to practice defensive hacking and network forensics. Dakota State also has extracurricular clubs and activities for networking students.
Dakota State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
DeVry University offers an Associate in Network Systems Administration. It is available online or in a hybrid format.
Students in the program receive a complimentary laptop and are given opportunities to gain hands-on experience with the Internet of Things. The program emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving. Elements of the curriculum align with the Cisco CCNA certification.
DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Florida National University offers an Associate of Science in Networking System Administrator degree program. The program is 60 credit hours long and can help students prepare for entry-level roles in the IT industry. It covers topics such as LAN switching, computer maintenance and repair, and server installation and configuration.
Florida National University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Lake Superior College offers an AAS in Network Administration and Cybersecurity both on campus and online. It can usually be earned in 2 years. The program is designed to help students gain the necessary skills to earn professional certifications from Microsoft, CompTIA, and EC-Council. LSC has a training lab to simulate work environments.
Lake Superior College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities.
Northcentral Technical College offers an IT – Network Specialist Associate degree. It requires the completion of 60 credits.
It is designed to help students gain the skills needed to earn numerous professional certifications. Courses are available on multiple campuses and online. The program covers how to troubleshoot network systems, develop technical documentation, and implement network security components.
NTC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Oconee Fall Line Technical College offers an Associate in Networking Specialist. Students must complete 66 credit hours to graduate. The program can potentially be completed in 5 semesters of full-time study. Applicants must be 16 years old or older, have official high school transcripts or the equivalent, and offer official placement test scores.
Oconee Fall Line Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
St. Petersburg College offers an AS in Networking Technologies. The degree includes an internship but can otherwise be completed online.
Students in the program are given opportunities to earn numerous industry certifications. The program covers hardware and software installation, Linux and Windows server administration, and network security and troubleshooting.
SPC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Toledo offers an Associate of Applied Business in Computer Network Administration. The program is 100% online.
It is designed to provide hands-on experience with current technology and help students develop the necessary skills to earn Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA professional certifications. The curriculum is frequently updated to keep up with advances in technology.
The University of Toledo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Associates in Computer Networking Degree Online
An associate’s degree in computer networking can open the door to a variety of positions in the computer and information technology sector. An associates can often be earned in just 2 years or less, and it can enable you to enter the workforce with a versatile skill set.
There are many program options for obtaining an associate’s degree in computer networking. For instance, an online program could allow you to earn your degree without commuting to campus. It might also provide more scheduling flexibility than a traditional degree program.
A growing number of accredited universities offer credible, online network administration degrees. If you’re interested in developing networking skills, you can start your educational journey by exploring networking associates programs today.