As associate's degree in computer network engineering can lead to a lucrative career as a computer network administrator. However, many network administrators have a bachelor's or master's degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those with an associate's degree typically start as computer support specialists and work their way up to be network administrators.
Computer Support Specialists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of computer support specialists was $49,930 per year as of May 2010. Their median salary was $46,260. However, this is not typically the starting salary for those in this field. The bureau indicates that the lowest paid computer support specialists made $28,300 per year. The lowest 25 percent made $35,860 or less. It is likely that the typical starting salary for someone with an associate's degree falls somewhere in this range.
Not all network administrators begin as computer support specialists. Those holding an associate's degree can work as network systems administrators in some cases. The bureau indicates that the average salary of a network administrator was $72,200 as of May 2010. The median salary of network administrators was $69,160 per year. At the lower end of the pay scale were those who made $42,400 or less. The lowest 25 percent of those working in this field made $53,850 or less per year.
The earning potential for those in computer network engineering is much higher, according to the BLS. According to the bureau, the highest paid computer support specialists made $76,970 or more per year in 2010. Computer network and systems administrators, on the other hand, made even higher salaries. According to the bureau, the upper 25 percent of those working in this field made $87,680 or more per year. The top 10 percent made $108,090 or higher.
According to the BLS, the job outlook for those holding an associate's degree in computer network engineering is expected to be good from 2008 to 2018. The bureau indicates that the number of jobs for computer support specialists should grow by 14 percent while the number of jobs for computer networking and systems administration should grow by about 23 percent.