'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
Organizations increasingly rely on efficient communication networks, information systems, and cybersecurity. With an online bachelor's degree in network administration, you'll learn to build and manage networks, along with the foundations of working with various systems and technologies. The training also gives you access to a broad and growing career landscape.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% growth in computer and information technology occupations between 2020 and 2030. Your training could lead to a career as a network architect, administrator, or analyst.
Read on for details on the network administration degree and rank the best programs available to you.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Application fee: $40
Per credit: $1,074
Application fee: Free
Terre Haute, IN
Per semester, 12-18 hours
$20,582, most other states
Application fee: $25
Application fee: $50
Per credit: $464.90
Application fee: $35
ZDNet's ranking methodology follows a careful process. We collect information from publicly available sources, such as national datasets and individual schools and programs. We also gather insight from industry experts and education specialists.
Unless otherwise indicated, data is drawn from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard.
About the program: UAB's online bachelor's in information systems includes core courses in business programming, database management, and systems analysis. The program also features a capstone experience requirement.
About the program: A Christian university, DBU offers a 120-credit online bachelor's in systems technology and information management. The training includes courses in networks and data communications, database design, and IT security.
About the program: ISU's online bachelor's in management information systems includes training in network administration and security, systems analysis and design, and data management.
About the program: ODU's online bachelor's in information systems and technology focuses on building system and business analysis skills. The program features courses in database concepts, systems analysis and design, and strategic IT administration.
About the program: DSU's online bachelor's in network and security administration teaches students about software security, advanced networking, and information security management.
About the program: Keiser's online bachelor's in management information systems features courses in data communication and networking, information systems implementation, and business intelligence.
About the program: CSU Global's online bachelor's in management information systems offers training in data mining, information systems analysis, and web analytics. The program also features 30 specialization options, including virtualization and cloud computing.
About the program: Maryville's 128-credit hour online bachelor's in management information systems features training in information security and application development.
About the program: Champlain's 120-credit online bachelor's in management information systems includes training in networking fundamentals, enterprise database systems, and information systems design.
About the program: BU's 127-credit online bachelor's in management information systems includes courses in information security management, managing innovations, and future trends in management information systems.
A network administration degree prepares you to manage an organization's network operations and security. The programs also provide training in various other information technology fields, including data management, data analytics, and systems and application design. You can often direct the focus of your studies by choosing a concentration or strategically picking electives.
Like many information technology programs, network administration programs emphasize practical learning. You should expect to complete various hands-on assignments, lab experiences, and internships. As an online student, you receive similar training as on-campus learners but with more independent study requirements.
Network administration degree curriculums can include a variety of core courses. Some programs focus primarily on network-related training, whereas others offer broad training touching on many information technology topics.
In this course, students learn how to build, secure, and troubleshoot networks. They learn to evaluate network performance, identify upgrades, and install hardware and software.
Students in this course learn how to design, secure, and manage database systems. They also learn to maintain databases, mine data, and analyze the information for business applications.
Network and information security
This course teaches students how to secure networks and information systems. They look at the leading types of attacks and protection measures. They also learn to identify vulnerabilities and implement solutions.
Management information systems
Students in this course learn to oversee and operate management information systems for organizations. They may also acquire skills in data analytics and business intelligence.
Many schools offer network administration degrees at various levels. Each degree offers you something unique, including entry-level career preparation at the undergraduate level and management preparation at the graduate level. Use the information below to understand what each degree offers, and choose a level based on your personal educational interests and career goals.
In a network administration associate program, students learn the fundamentals of networking and networking technologies. They learn to set up and troubleshoot networks, while also developing a foundation in information technology. This may include understanding the major systems and business information technology applications.
Graduates may qualify for various entry-level positions in the computer and information technology field. They can also build on their training with a bachelor's degree or beyond.
In a network administration degree at the bachelor's level, students develop skills in designing, implementing, and managing networks for organizations. They also learn to secure networks and install the necessary upgrades.
Network administration programs also explore the fundamentals of information technology management, including managing systems and databases. Graduates can pursue many entry-level computer and information technology careers. They can also qualify for a master's degree.
A network administration graduate certificate curriculum can vary considerably depending on the school and program. Some programs offer an introduction to network administration for students with no professional or educational background in the discipline. Others feature more specialized and advanced training for professionals looking to advance their information technology careers.
Depending on their previous training and experience, graduates may be able to access computer management and analyst careers.
A network administration program at the master's level explores more advanced topics in the discipline, including designing, building, securing, and upgrading networks. Students also acquire advanced training in related computer fields, such as data management and systems design and analysis.
Graduates can pursue most computer and information technology careers, including management, analyst, and consultant positions. They can continue their training in a doctoral program as well.
Organizations need their computer networks to be effective and well managed. With a network administration degree, you can acquire the skills to oversee organizational networks and the careers that come with those responsibilities.
For more information on the top-ranked programs above, reach out directly to the schools listed above.