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If you are passionate about computers and technology, a bachelor’s in network administration can prepare you for a computer systems administrator or information security analyst career. This degree involves learning about network protocols that connect computers to share resources and information. It also entails learning how to install and maintain network software and hardware, troubleshoot problems, and protect a network from cyberattacks.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job growth of 3% for network and computer systems administrators from 2021 to 2031, with a median annual salary of about $81,000. Information security analysts, who design ways to protect computer systems and networks, have projected job growth of 35% and earn a median annual salary of about $103,000.

Most online bachelor’s in network administration degrees take 120 to 138 credits over four years. The cost varies by program and school, with some schools charging a cost per credit of about $220 to $520, depending on whether you’re an in-state or out-of-state student. Other schools charge a fee per course — Strayer University, for example, requires 40 classes for about $1,480 each. Others charge by semester or term, such as Western Governors University, which costs about $3,700 for six months.

How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Network Administration Degree Program

Choose your area of study

A degree in network administration often combines computer science or information technology with information systems management. Students may also have accounting or business-related coursework if they’re interested in overseeing an IT department, handling finances, and budgeting.

Some schools offer concentrations such as data management, cybersecurity, and leadership. In addition, students may have to complete a research project, an internship, or a virtual lab for hands-on experience. If you’re currently employed, it’s wise to check how the school helps facilitate these in-person options.

Research schools and programs

As you research each school and what it offers, find out whether the school or the program is accredited through the U.S. Department of Education, the Accreditation Board for Engineering or Technology, or another reputable entity. Accreditation affects whether federal financial aid is available and ensures that the program meets specific quality educational standards.

Furthermore, as you research, look into the school’s support services for online students, such as career counseling, mentorship programs, and library services. Are there any networking opportunities available, such as through an alumni association? Students can find answers to such questions on the school’s website, social media profiles, and marketing materials. You can also call and ask an admissions counselor if you have other, more detailed questions.

Prepare for tests and applications

Each program varies in its application requirements and process. However, most bachelor’s degree programs in network administration require:

  • A high school transcript or GED test scores
  • Standardized test scores, such as from the ACT or SAT
  • A personal essay or letter of intent outlining your achievements and goals
  • Letter(s) of recommendation from former teachers or employers

Depending on the program you’re applying to, there might be other prerequisites, such as a minimum GPA or particular math, engineering, or computer science classes.

Select your program

Not every program is suitable for every student. Find the ones that make the most sense for you to apply to by considering the different aspects of each program and how well they align with your priorities. Some students target a single program tailored to their needs and interests, while others submit multiple applications to increase their chances of acceptance. Whatever you decide, most schools charge an application fee. These fees can add up if you apply to several schools. If you need financial assistance, contact the school to ask about a fee waiver.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Every school with an online bachelor’s in network administration program specifies the financial support students can receive, including scholarships, work-study, fellowships, grants, and assistantships. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines eligibility for federal student loans and need-based institutional aid.

If you’re already working, your employer may cover some costs through employer tuition assistance benefits, especially if your degree relates to your current job. For more detailed information about how to pay for your degree, consult with your school’s financial aid office.

The Top 50 Online Bachelor’s in Network Administration Programs

Best Online Bachelor's in Network Administration Programs Badge

Western Governors University

Bellevue University

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Middle Georgia State University

Excelsior College

Dakota State University

Fort Hays State University

Southern New Hampshire University

Regis University

Champlain College

University of Cincinnati

Kent State University

North Carolina A&T State University

Utica University

Arizona State University

Upper Iowa University

Murray State University

Austin Peay State University

Rogers State University

Liberty University

Point University

Roger Williams University

Herzing University

Colorado Christian University

Park University

Old Dominion University

Keiser University

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How We Rank Schools

This list features some of the best online bachelor’s in network administration programs at top colleges nationwide. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. Many schools on our list have been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, reputation, and the student resources provided for online students. Then, we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online bachelor’s in network administration to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report, among others, to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

What Can You Expect from an Online Bachelor’s in Network Administration Degree Program?

Online bachelor’s in network administration degree programs vary based on the school, but you can expect a core curriculum to focus on managing servers, applications, and storage.

Students receive training in handling local area networks (LAN), virtual private networks, wide area networks, cloud systems, mobile systems, and their applications. Other aspects include installing software and hardware, managing databases, troubleshooting common problems, and maintaining infrastructure. These technical skills don’t exist in a vacuum, though. Students also sharpen their communication skills, attention to detail, and ability to work as part of a team.

In addition, some schools require an in-person practical experience, such as an internship, a capstone project, or fieldwork, perhaps at the school’s network administration lab. If you’re concerned about balancing these requirements with other responsibilities, such as a full-time job or a family, speak to an admissions counselor about your options.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online bachelor’s in network administration degree program

  • Introduction to Computers and Information Systems: Learn more about various information systems and computers, from software and networks to individual components. A course like this also might cover the most popular operating systems (Windows, macOS, and Linux), along with mobile operating systems, device management, memory, and storage.
  • Database Operations: Here, students learn skills in designing tables and databases, creating rules for inputting data, and data entry. They’ll also explore how databases help improve decision-making and other processes in an organization.
  • Information Security Management: A course like this covers security concepts, such as access control and how to ensure confidentiality. Students also learn how to backup and recover data, as well as how to develop contingency plans.
  • Network Architecture: This course explores how to plan, build, and set up different computer networks. Students also learn maintenance and security processes. Some schools may include working with mobile and wireless networks in such a course or offer a separate class on that type of technology.
  • Switching and Routing: Here, students learn about creating, troubleshooting, and configuring LAN and wide-area networks using routers, switches, and firewalls. They’ll also discuss the appropriate networks and routing for different businesses and organizations.

Online Bachelor’s in Network Administration Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online bachelor’s in network administration degree program?

Check the application process of your school of choice by visiting its website or speaking with an admission counselor. Some schools have online portals to accept applications. Others might use a streamlined admissions application system, such as The Common Application or Common App, which helps students apply to multiple schools from one hub. Be sure to have electronic versions (such as PDFs or images) of all the required information, such as test scores, relevant transcripts, a personal essay, and a letter of recommendation if you want to apply online. Also, verify that you have the correct submission deadlines, especially if you mail in hard copies.

How much does an online bachelor’s in network administration degree cost?

As noted earlier, schools charge per credit, per course, or by term. Many schools have a by-credit cost ranging from $220 to $520, with higher prices for out-of-state students. A charge per cost might be about $1,500, while the cost per term might be $3,700 for six months.

In general, an undergraduate degree costs an average of nearly $26,000 a year for the 2020 to 2021 school year (the most recent statistics available), according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This cost includes tuition and fees for both two-year and four-year programs.

These records show that the average private institution’s undergraduate tuition costs close to $46,000 a year compared to roughly $19,000 a year for a public institution.

Remember that all school costs include fees, the number of credits per course, and other expenses, such as books and course-specific software. Some network administration degree programs require an internship, a capstone project, or in-person experience under professional supervision. Plus, if you’re already employed, studying could take time away from your regular work schedule, impacting your finances.

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s in network administration degree?

While this depends on the curriculum and the school, most schools say their online bachelor’s programs in network administration take about four years. However, some students can complete an accelerated track in less time. Some schools also allow for asynchronous learning, where students follow a syllabus of lessons and assignments to complete at their own pace, going faster or slower as they need. The total number of credits impacts that timetable, as does attending your degree program part-time versus full-time.

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