Network Engineering Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a network engineering degree program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Network Engineering Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

Network engineering associate's and bachelor's degree programs prepare you for a career in the computer networking field. The coursework in these programs covers a variety of computer systems and networking subjects and teaches you how to install, diagnose and repair various types of networks.

Though the typical requirement for a network engineering position is a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree combined with work experience may qualify you for a position as a network and computer systems administrator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer occupations as a whole are expected to increase faster than average, at a pace of 22% during 2010-2020.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals wanting to enter the technology field Individuals wanting to become computer network architects
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) Network and computer systems administrator ($71,000)* Network engineer ($78,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 3-4 years full-time
Prerequisites High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED
Online Availability Yes No

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures)

Associate's Degree in Network Engineering

Network engineering associate's degree programs teach you the basic skills to work in the computer networking field. These programs typically take 2 years of full-time study to complete, and may prepare you for various product certification exams. Associate's degree programs typically include a few general education subjects in addition to a wide range of core technical subject classes.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • May enter the technology field in as little as 2 years
  • Much faster than average job growth for network and computer systems administrators (28% growth from 2010-2020)*
  • Credits may transfer to a bachelor's degree program

Cons

  • Can take up to 4 years of part-time study to complete
  • A bachelor's degree is the typical requirement for network engineering positions
  • Some employers require additional certification in specific products

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

Coursework in an associate's degree program typically consists of various computer networking, programming and analysis subjects. You might also be required to complete several general education subjects and participate in an internship. Coursework in an associate's degree program may include:

  • Computer repair
  • Introduction to networking
  • Introduction to programming
  • Systems analysis and design

Online Info

Online network engineering programs are plentiful, and the coursework is similar to on-campus programs. You might also consider taking some courses online and some on-campus in a hybrid program.

Stand Out with this Degree

Some network engineering associate's degree programs are designed to transfer to a bachelor's degree program. Since the most common requirement for network engineering and other IT-related fields is a bachelor's degree, you may benefit from continuing your education.

You can make yourself more valuable to employers by obtaining professional certification from companies such as Microsoft and Cisco. Some degree programs may prepare you to sit for certification exams either during or immediately following your studies. Being certified shows your commitment to and extensive knowledge of networking techniques.

Bachelor's Degree in Network Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs in network engineering are relatively rare, and you may find information technology programs with an emphasis in network engineering. The programs take around 3-4 years of full-time study to complete, and they typically cover advanced networking, programming, systems management and security subjects. Upon graduation, you might qualify for an entry-level position in the networking field.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can enter the computer networking field in a little as 3 years
  • May learn a wide range of IT and networking subjects
  • Faster-than-average job growth for network engineers, including information security analysts and web developers (22% growth from 2010-2020)*

Cons

  • May compete with master's degree holders for jobs
  • Employers may prefer to hire individuals with network certification
  • May need 5-10 years of work experience to qualify for a position as a network engineer*

Source: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Courses and Requirements

The coursework in a network engineering bachelor's degree program covers more advanced and in-depth subjects. Depending on the program, you may also be required to complete an internship or capstone project to graduate. Examples of courses in these programs include:

  • Network management
  • Database administration
  • Network design and implementation
  • Network security

Online Degree Options

Network engineering bachelor's degree programs are rare in general, and most accredited schools do not offer these programs in an online format. You may want to check with your school to see if they offer individual courses online as part of a hybrid program. Attending an in-person program allows you to obtain hands-on experience in networking tasks.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

To stand out with this degree, consider completing courses in network security and cyber law. These courses can prepare you to incorporate methods to secure networks into your engineering practices. Being knowledgeable about network security may make you more attractive to employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Cloud Computing and Solutions
      • BS in IT - IT Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Independence University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Cybersecurity and Networking (BS)
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Computer Information Systems
      • BS: Computer Science
      • BS: Computer Science - Information Assurance
      • BS: Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
      • B.S. in Cybersecurity
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking
      • Information Systems Mgmt., B.S.
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Laurus College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Information Technologies and Network Systems (Bachelor's)
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S.s - Information Technology Management
      • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    9. New England College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Criminal Justice/Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Davenport University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Computer Science, BS
      • Cyber Defense, BS

Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • BSIT: Network Admin
  • BS in Cloud Computing and Solutions
  • BS in IT - IT Management

Which subject are you interested in?

Independence University

  • Cybersecurity and Networking (BS)

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Saint Leo University

  • BS: Computer Information Systems
  • BS: Computer Science
  • BS: Computer Science - Information Assurance

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Grand Canyon University

  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
  • B.S. in Cybersecurity

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Colorado Christian University

  • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking

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Laurus College

  • Information Technologies and Network Systems (Bachelor's)

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
  • B.S. - Information Technology Admin and Management With No Declared Minor or Concentration

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Keiser University

  • B.S.s - Information Technology Management
  • Bachelor of Science - Cyber Forensics/Information Security

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