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What Training Is Needed for a Computer Network Technician Career?

In order to become employed as a computer network technician, one must generally earn a degree, although sometimes a certificate alone will do. To learn more about training requirements in this field, keep reading.

Required Training

Junior, community, and technical colleges and universities around the country offer some type of certificate or degree program in computer networking. Certificates serve to demonstrate competency in specific areas. An associate's degree program might be a basic foundation for the computer networking profession, though some employers may prefer technicians with bachelor's degrees. The following sections briefly discuss each credential.

Important Facts About Computer Network Technician Training and Careers

Online AvailabilityFull coursework online
SpecializationsNetwork security, digital forensics, data management, software engineering
Continuing EducationRequired every three years to maintain certification
On-the-Job TrainingNone; prior knowledge and training is typically required
Median Salary (2018) $82,050 (for all network and computer systems administrators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for all network and computer systems administrators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certificates

Certificate programs in computer network technology are often offered on a full- or part-time basis. Typically, they focus on the fundamentals of computer networking configuration, design, and installation. They are designed to prepare students for entry-level careers. Such programs might include the following courses:

  • Programming Logic & Design
  • Networking Infrastructure
  • Firewalls
  • Applications
  • Computer Forensics
  • Windows Configuration

Associate's Degrees

The 2-year associate's degree program takes longer to complete than a certificate program, but it's typically more thorough in nature and scope. In addition, some programs are designed to transfer to a 4-year college or university. The following is a list of typical courses:

  • Wireless Networks
  • Database Development
  • Fundamentals of Networking
  • Basics of Network Security
  • Operating Systems
  • Business Communications
  • Network Design
  • Routing

Bachelor's Degrees

Some employers may require a bachelor's degree in computer systems networking or a related field. Such programs may also prepare graduates who have prior IT experience for management positions in the computer networking and telecommunications fields. Coursework might include the following:

  • IT Support Systems
  • Technical Operations Management
  • Systems Administration
  • Management of Human Resources
  • Project Management
  • Infrastructure and Facilities Planning
  • Network Essentials
  • New Technologies

Certification

Employers may require certifications in a specific system or several types of systems prior to employment. Certification classes are offered at community and technical colleges and through software and equipment manufacturers. Typical certifications in this industry include:

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Network+
  • Linux+
  • Microsoft Certified Profession (MCP)
  • Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT)
  • Security+