Systems Administration Degrees: Associate, Bachelors & Online Info

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What will you learn in a systems administration degree program? Read about associate's and bachelor's degree program requirements, the pros and cons of an associate's and bachelor's degree and potential careers.
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Systems Administration Associate's and Bachelor's: Degrees at a Glance

Systems administrators ensure that a company or organization's computer and networking systems are working properly. They may install network hardware and software programs, solve problems that arise in the system and maintain computer and network security. A degree in the field can lead to a career as a systems administrator. Most systems administrators have a bachelor's degree, but some positions in the field are available to associate's degree program graduates.

Associate's Degree Bachelor's Degree
Who Is This Degree For? - Individuals interested in working as systems administrators - Individuals interested in working as systems administrators
Common Career Path (with approximate mean annual salary) - Systems administrator ($74,000)* - Systems administrator ($74,000)*
Time to Completion - About two years, full-time - About four years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Coursework
- Internship
- Final project
- Coursework
Prerequisites - High school diploma or equivalent - High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability - Not available at this time - Not available at this time

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Associate's Degree in Systems Administration

Associate's degree programs in systems administration can be offered as Associate of Applied Science in Computer Networking and Systems Administration or Associate in Applied Science in IT-Computer Systems Administration Specialist programs. These programs require approximately 70 credit hours of study in both general education and systems administration courses. Some programs may prepare students to earn industry certifications, such as the CompTIA A+ and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, after graduation.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted faster-than-average growth in job opportunities for systems administrators (28%) from 2010-2020
  • Require a relatively short time to completion (two years)
  • Some programs prepare you to earn industry certification, which may make you more marketable when searching for a job

Cons

  • The majority of administrators have bachelor's degrees; graduating from this program may not qualify you for all jobs in the field
  • May be competing against bachelor's degree holders for jobs
  • Programs are not available online

Courses and Requirements

Classes in these programs cover topics such as IT service concepts, Windows network infrastructure, emerging trends in technology, technical reporting and writing, network troubleshooting and personal computer hardware. Some programs may offer students the opportunity to complete an internship or require that students complete a final project prior to graduation.

Online Degree Options

As of October 2012, associate's degree programs in systems administration were not available online. Attending an on-campus program allows you interact with students and professors during your studies.

Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with your degree, consider completing an internship. Internships allow students to acquire hands-on experience working in the field of systems administration. This experience may impress potential employers.

Bachelor's Degree in Systems Administration

Bachelor's degrees in systems administration may be offered as Bachelor of Science in Systems and Network Administration or as Bachelor of Business Administration in Information Systems programs. These programs typically require completion of about 120 credit-hours of study.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Degree leads to a career in a growing field (BLS predicted 28% growth in employment opportunities between 2010 and 2020)
  • Most programs include general education requirements, allowing you to obtain a well-rounded education in addition to learning about systems administration
  • Program can prepare you to attend graduate school; some employers may prefer to hire or advance workers with graduate degrees

Cons

  • Not all positions require a bachelor's degree, so you may compete against associate's degree holders for some jobs
  • Online programs in the field are unavailable
  • Require a relatively long period of study (four years)

Courses and Requirements

Classes in these 4-year programs include information security, structured system analysis and design, Cisco networking, business telecommunications and the management and design of database systems. Other courses included in the curriculum may focus on business information systems fluency, the essentials of technology management, application development and project management. Courses may be delivered in both lab and lecture formats.

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree programs in systems administration were unavailable as of October 2012. An on-campus program allows you to complete lab courses during your studies, which gives you hands-on experience performing the tasks an administrator might be called on to complete.

Bachelor's degree programs in engineering or computer engineering technology with a concentration in systems administration are available online. Classes in these programs cover topics such as server and network administration, operating systems technology, computer security and professional administration.

Stand Out with This Degree

To stand out with your degree, consider completing as many lab classes as possible during your studies. Completing projects and gaining hands-on experience in lab classes may impress potential employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS: Computer Information Systems
      • BS: Computer Science
      • BS: Computer Science - Information Assurance
      • BS: Cybersecurity
      • BA: Business Administration - Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in IT - IT Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
      • BSIT: Network Admin
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
      • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Information Systems
      • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity
      • B.S. in Cybersecurity
      • B.S. in Computer Programming
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Information Technology
      • BS - Management Information Systems and Business Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Utica College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Information Systems Mgmt., B.S.
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking
  • Alfred, NY

    SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

  • Houghton, MI

    Michigan Technological University

  • Stanford, CA

    Stanford University

  • Cambridge, MA

    Harvard University

Featured Schools

Saint Leo University

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

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University Global

  • BS in IT - IT Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • BSIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Grand Canyon University

  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Information Systems

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Information Technology
  • BS - Management Information Systems and Business Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Utica College

  • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Christian University

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

What is your highest level of education completed?

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Michigan Technological University