Network administrators are technology experts that manage computer networks such as local area networks, wireless area networks and intranets. They usually have bachelor’s degrees, although some positions might be open to candidates with associate’s or equivalent work experience. Salaries vary by industry and location.
Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the average annual income of network and computer systems administrators was $74,270 as of May 2011. The top 10 percent of network admins earned $112,210 a year or more, while the bottom 10 percent earned $43,400 or less. Half of all workers in the occupation earned between $55,150 and $90,160 a year.
The BLS reports that network administrators in Virginia led the nation in terms of annual income in May 2011, at an average of $85,370 a year. Workers in the District of Columbia ranked second with $84,720 in average earnings, followed by Maryland at $83,470 and California at $82,750. California employed the greatest number of network administrators of any state. It was followed by Texas, where workers earned $71,450 a year on average.
Network administrators work for many different types of organizations, and pay can fluctuate widely between employers. The BLS reports that the top employers as of May 2011 were companies that provided computer systems design and related services. Nearly 52,000 network administrators worked in this sector -- more than the next two industries combined -- and earned an average of $79,890 a year. The highest average wages were paid by computer and peripheral equipment firms. The mean salary here was $94,630 a year. The lowest pay among the biggest employers came from elementary and secondary schools, which paid network administrators an average of $62,630 a year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment of network administrators to grow 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is twice as fast as the expected national average for all jobs. Demand should be driven by the emergence of newer and faster technology as well as an increase in IT security concerns.