According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many computer network professionals need a bachelor’s degree to obtain employment in the field. In some cases, an associate’s degree or certification paired with work experiences suffices. Obtaining a master’s degree increases starting salaries and opens the door to higher earnings in a variety of computer networking fields.
Higher wages frequently require higher degrees such as a master’s degree in computer science or a related field such as a master’s in business administration with a concentration in information systems. Trained network administrators with a bachelor's degree receive a starting salary of $45,000 per year, while administrators with an advance degree can receive starting salaries up to $140,000 annually, according to Job Descriptions. Salaries increase with work benefits such as sick leave, vacation pay, medical insurance and retirement benefits.
Master's in Computer Science
Bachelor-trained networkers earn higher salaries with a master's in computer science. According to Masters in Computer Science, networkers with a master’s degree earn $15,000 more a year. Computer specialists with a bachelor’s degree earn close to $45,000 per year. Specialists with a master’s degree in computer science earn around $60,000 annually.
Masters in Information Technology
Computer networkers with a master's of science in information technology earn higher wages based on the field of employment. Computer networkers with a master’s in information technology can obtain administrative positions such as chief information or technology officers. According to the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, chief information officers earned between $130,250 and $210,500 in 2010. The salary range increased to $134,500 and $217,000 in 2011. In 2010, chief technology officers earned between $111,750 and $174,250. Salaries increase 4.3 percent in 2011 to a salary range of $116,500 and $181,750.
Master's in Networking
Computer network professionals with a master's in networking can find positions as information technology and network managers and software engineers. Information technology managers earned an annual salary between $85,750 and $124,250 in 2010. By 2011, the salary range increased 2.5 percent to $88,250 and $127,000. Network managers earned a salary range of $75,750 to $105,250 in 2010. Network manager salaries increased 4.3 percent to a range of $79,250 to $109,500 in 2011. Software engineers earned between $71,250 and $107,000 in 2010, with a 4.1 percent increase to a range between $73,500 and $112,000 in 2011 based on the Robert Half salary guide.
In addition to a master’s degree, networkers with additional skills earn higher annual salaries. Network managers with Cisco network administration skills earn an additional 11 percent, increasing the 2011 Robert Half salary guide range to $87,967.50 and $121,545. Software engineers with Java development skills earn an additional 7 percent, which raises the 2011 salary guide range to $78,645 and $119,840.