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Online Colleges for Network Administration

COLLEGE FINDER

Article Sources

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Network administrators serve a vital role in businesses and organizations across the globe, as they are responsible for the day-to-day operations of technology in the workplace. They can be employed in a variety of settings — elementary and secondary schools, investment services, retail management, and even entrepreneurial take-offs — to ensure that technology operations are running smoothly. If you are able to multitask and have strong analytical and problem-solving skills, the addition of completing a degree program in network administration can be a productive way to prepare for a career in this IT field.

Best Online Colleges for Network Administration in 2018-19

When choosing an online degree program, especially in a highly competitive field like network administration, rankings can be helpful for selecting a program that matches your interests and career goals.

Our rankings use a unique methodology that evaluates programs on several factors relevant to online and nontraditional students, including admissions rate, graduation rate and degrees awarded in network administration out of all degrees awarded. Using this methodology (more details on it at the bottom of this page,) we analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to find what we consider the 10 best online colleges for network administration.

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Methodology
1

Champlain College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$39,818
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
54%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
67
School Type
4-year

Founded in 1878, Champlain College began offering online education in 1993. Among the offerings of this private, nonprofit college there is an 18-credit undergraduate certificate program in computer networking. This online certificate program is geared toward former IT professionals seeking reentry in the field, or current IT workers looking to expand their skills. The curriculum includes study in operating systems, TCP/IP, telecommunications, network design and wireless networking. Classes run in seven- and 15-week terms, with multiple start dates throughout the fall, spring and summer terms.

Accreditation:

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
 
2

University of Phoenix-Arizona

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,608
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
99%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
131
School Type
4-year

The University of Phoenix educates students across the country with its online programs, most of which are divided into short, five to six week courses. Its advanced networking certificate program explores various networking topics, such as network protocols, operating systems, architecture and management. This certificate can be pursued as a stand-alone program, requiring 18 credits, or as an add-on to UOPX's online Bachelor of Science in information technology program, a larger and more comprehensive undertaking that requires 120 credits.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

1625 W Fountainhead Pkwy
Tempe, AZ 85282
3

Herzing University-Kenosha

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,850
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
81%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
28
School Type
4-year

Herzing University's Kenosha campus in Wisconsin and its online college both offer an online Bachelor of Science degree program in computer networking that can be completed in as little as 36 months. The 120-credit program focuses on teaching students skills such as performing network installations and upgrades, securing and troubleshooting networks, and using cloud computing principles and servers.

In addition to earning a bachelor's degree, this program can offer further benefits to its students. Up to 12 credits from the program can contribute towards earning an MBA from Herzing through the "Dual-Credit MBA" option. Furthermore, the costs of three certifications -- Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA -- are included in the tuition costs for the program.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
 
4

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,774
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
55%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
33
School Type
2-year

Georgia Northwestern Technical College has almost as many online networking programs as it does campus locations. Distance learners can elect to pursue network administration at GNTC through the following academic paths:

  • Networking specialist diploma program (hybrid program)
  • Associate of Applied Science in networking specialist (hybrid program)
  • Cisco network specialist (100 percent online)
  • Microsoft network administrator (100 percent online)
  • PC repair and network technician (hybrid program)

Hybrid programs are offered at least 50 percent online, with the in-person components for different programs available at specified campus locations. Online learners can contact the GNTC online help desk for assistance with the Blackboard content management system or with technical issues they may encounter during their studies.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
 
5

Southeastern Technical College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,834
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
29
School Type
2-year

Through multiple campuses and the learning management system Blackboard, Southeastern Technical College works to increase adult education enrollment across several Georgia counties and far beyond. The school offers a Microsoft network administrator certificate program both on-campus and online, designed to help students learn how to implement Microsoft operating systems and servers. This program can be completed with a minimum of 16 credit hours, and students can enroll in the program during any semester where its introductory Microsoft Client course is being offered.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

Location:

3001 E. First Street
Vidalia, GA 30474
6

Great Basin College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$3,015
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
82%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48
School Type
4-year

Great Basin College was founded in 1967 to serve students in Elko and other parts of remote northeastern Nevada. Since then, branch locations have been added in Battle Mountain, Pahrump, Ely and Winnemucca. To accommodate an even wider student demographic, GBC offers a selection of online programs, including a network specialist Associate of Applied Science degree program. Students must complete a minimum of 60.5 credits to satisfy degree requirements, including 24.5 credits in general education, nine credits of program core requirements, and 29 credits in the program emphasis. Distance learners can receive online tutoring in math, writing and the sciences through email and via Skype at no additional cost.

Accreditation:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
 
7

Lake Superior College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$5,153
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
11
School Type
2-year

A transfer-focused two-year community and technical college located in Duluth, Lake Superior College likes to make puns regarding their "SUPERIOR education," and not without justification. The college offers three different levels of education for network administration -- associate degree, certificate and diploma -- and all three can be pursued 100 percent online. Furthermore, through the LSC Center for Cybersecurity, students have the opportunity for hands-on experiences in network administration and cybersecurity, thanks to LSC's multiple business and governmental partnerships.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Location:

2101 Trinity Road
Duluth, MN 55811-3399
8

Rasmussen College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$10,935
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
92%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
48
School Type
4-year

Established in 1900, on the threshold of a new millennium, Rasmussen College makes it their mission to enrich global education with the help of their multiple campus locations and their expansive online college portal. Through Rasmussen Online, students can pursue degrees in various fields, including network administration via the network systems administration associate degree program.

In addition to a regular online track, this online associate program can be completed via Rasmussen's FlexChoice option, a competency-based education system with flexibility beyond a normal degree program. Regardless of format, graduates of the network administration program have the option to transfer their associate degree credits into Rasmussen's bachelor's degree program for cybersecurity.

9

Lincoln Land Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,072
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
21
School Type
2-year

Located in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln Land Community College has additional learning centers in Jacksonville, Taylorville, Litchfield and Beardstown. However, students looking for network administration education do not need to worry about the locations of these centers, as LLCC has two networking tracks that are available 100 percent online.

LLCC offers an online Associate in Arts in computer information systems, and an online Associate in Applied Science in computer systems. There are multiple specializations for both programs, one of which is networking. The A.A. program is recommended for students who want to work in a business setting or intend to pursue a bachelor's degree in information systems or data processing. In contrast, the A.A.S. program is designed with a more IT-oriented approach, and it has a 2+2 articulation agreement with the University of Illinois Springfield for students interested in transferring.

10

North Carolina A&T State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,526
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
30%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
10
School Type
4-year

North Carolina A&T State University has gone from an 1890 land-grant university to a globally-educating online university, with online degree programs in subjects from business administration to network administration. The university offers an online Bachelor of Science degree program in electronics technology with a specialization for network installation and testing. Students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to satisfy degree requirements.

Distance learners can receive online tutoring and academic support at N.C. A&T through the online tutoring platform Upswing, as well as from the program coordinator, who can help with choosing classes and planning your degree path. Other online N.C. A&T resources include career support services, technical and Blackboard support, and access to the Ferdinand D. Bluford Library.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
 

Degree Overview: Network Administration

Network administration professionals handle technical needs for companies in a wide range of industries, as just about all of our business and personal interactions occur over digital networks. Earning a degree in the subject can help students become skilled professionals who ensure that the world's digital networks and systems continue to flow seamlessly. To help you on your journey there, here are some of the common courses and skills you'll want to focus on during your academic career in an online program for network administration.

Online Network Administration Courses

Bachelor's degree programs in network administration are structured to help students understand both the creation and administration of systems and networks. These systems and networks are often comprised of Microsoft and Cisco products, Linux operating systems, web servers, database management systems, and related hardware and software that is common to the industry. As such, courses found in these programs usually include:

  • Information Technology Fundamentals
  • Operating Systems
  • Scripting and Programming
  • Network Design and Management
  • Server Administration

At the undergraduate level, students should also be prepared to encounter courses in technical writing and advanced mathematics — important general topics that network administration professionals are likely to need in their careers. Students with a particular affinity for a particular computer language or system should also make some inquiries of their school's IT department; some bachelor's degree programs can build selected IT certifications into their degree plan, such as:

  • Microsoft Certified Professional, Specialist
  • CompTIA Linux+
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CIW Site Development Associate

Master's degree programs in network administration typically cover a variety of courses — from security technologies and network design to data management — and a diverse range of operating systems. Courses at this level often cover technical topics such as microprocessing, circuits, inputs and outputs. They may also include management-focused courses in leadership and organizational behavior. As you progress through your advanced degree, you'll likely have the opportunity to develop project management and research skills to assist you in completing your thesis or capstone project.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

Network administration degree programs can help students foster a whole host of practical technical skills, such as designing, installing, managing, and upgrading computer systems and network infrastructures, or how to install and oversee stand-alone, client, and server operating systems, as well as database, messaging, and file servers. As network administration is a rather technical field, it's no surprise that this would be the case, and this breadth of technical knowledge is a valuable commodity that is valued by many different careers in the IT industry, not simply those for network administration.

Instruction on all these technical aspects also provides students with ample opportunity to develop the necessary troubleshooting, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills used to resolve common issues experienced in the IT workforce. Strong communication skills should also be honed, especially for those looking to enter into customer service or management roles.

Network Administration Career Outlook

Earning a degree in network administration can open doors to numerous positions in the information technology world. From assisting in a large IT department to creating the systems a new organization needs to grow and thrive, computer experts are always in high demand.

Computer Network Architects
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$107,870
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
11,700
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
6.4
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Bachelor's degree

From building a simple network between two offices to working on state-of-the-art cloud infrastructures to serve an enormous customer base, computer network architects use their skills and training to build data communications networks.

Their work includes creating plans and layouts to serve the needs of the client, presenting detailed plans to the decision-makers, upgrading hardware and software, integrating security measures into the design and ensuring everything runs smoothly. The duties don't stop there; computer network architects are always looking at emerging technology to find the best ways to serve their clients.

Most computer network architect careers require a bachelor's degree for entry-level work; some employers prefer to hire those who hold an MBA in information systems.

Information Security Analysts
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$99,690
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
10,400
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
28.4
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Bachelor's degree

As computer hacking and cyber attacks become more common, information security analysts are busier than ever. These professionals focus on maintaining the security of an organization's computer systems and networks. The work includes installing software that protects sensitive information, monitoring an organization's network to identify security threats, preparing reports on security breaches, researching new threats and much more. They conduct penetration testing — where they hack their own system in order to spot weak areas and fix them — and prepare disaster recovery plans — measures to keep the system running during a crisis, as well as back-up plans in the event the system goes down.

A bachelor's degree is the minimum required for a job in this field, but some employers may require a master's degree. Knowledge of business as well as computers can be a useful advantage in this field, as can previous experience in a network-related career.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$86,340
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
27,000
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
6.1
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Bachelor's degree

The world relies on more and more computers every day. Network and computer systems administrators are the mechanical physicians for all these computers, ensuring they work properly. They are responsible for determining what services a business or organization needs, setting up the networks or computer systems, maintaining the systems on a daily basis, collecting data to help with upgrades and training users to use the necessary hardware and software. When a problem arises, they figure out what's going on and implement solutions to get their network or system back on track.

Although a network and computer systems administrator career can be obtainable with only a postsecondary certificate, a bachelor's degree is generally recommended, and some businesses even require a master's degree. Due to the evolving nature of technology, many network administrators will regularly attend refresher courses or IT conferences to keep their knowledge of the latest technology fresh and relevant.

Computer Support Specialists
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2017 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$67,510
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
16,500
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
8.1
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
Associate's degree

Computer network support specialists serve as support for information technology professionals within an organization. They test and evaluate existing systems, perform regular maintenance and troubleshoot networks and internet systems. Also known as technical support specialists, these experts solve computer problems for those in the organization through email, phone or in-person visits. They often work closely with network and computer systems administrators.

Education requirements for computer network support specialist careers vary. Some employers will hire those with an associate's degree or some post-secondary work. Others require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions. Organizations with a specific technical slant might prefer those with a related minor or specialization.

 
Article Sources
Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following four criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  • Offer a degree or certificate program in that subject, either in an online or hybrid format
  • Have at least 1% of students attending some form of distance education
  • Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2016-17
  • Have reported data for all 11 ranking variables listed below

We ranked 1,813 colleges and universities in the United States on 11 criteria, using 2016-17 data from IPEDS:

  1. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded via distance education in 2016-2017 were in this particular subject
  2. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered via distance education at any level
  3. Ratio of students participating fully or partially in DE to Total Enrollment
  4. Average in-state tuition for undergraduates
  5. Graduation rate
  6. Retention rate
  7. The availability of any tuition plans (Payment, Prepaid, Guaranteed, Other)
  8. Services (Academic/Career, Placement for Completers)
  9. Credit offerings (Dual, Life, AP, Military)
  10. Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid
  11. Average amount of federal, state, local, institutional, or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools' tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
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