The IT-Network Specialist program prepares students to maintain and support local and wide area networks, computer communications systems including router and switch configurations, hardware & software infrastructure management/design, voice and video over IP, private telephone systems (PBX), voicemail systems, and video production. Network Specialists are needed in almost any business using local and/or wide area networks, the Internet or Intranets, and telephony systems.

  • Overview
  • Is This Program for You?

    Do you have strong analytical and technical skills? If the challenge of creating a computer network strategy, troubleshooting problems, and installing hardware and software appeals to you, this program may help make your career dreams a reality.

    Students entering the Network Specialist program should:

    • Possess an analytical and creative ability.
    • Like to solve problems and be persistent.
    • Be able to think logically.
    • Have good basic reading and math skills.
    • Have good oral and written communication skills.

    Program Basics

    • Associate degree, requiring a minimum of two years to complete.
    • High school articulation courses accepted.
    • Financial aid available.
    • Classes start in August and January.
    • Modified plan available.
  • Curriculum & Costs
  • Requirements
  • Admission and Program Requirements

    • Submit Application and $30 Application Fee
    • To make sure your classes are the right fit, we consider any previous college credit you've earned, Accuplacer or ACT scores, high school GPA, or an assessment at your registration session. Submit High School Transcripts, College Transcripts, and Test Scores to: Southwest Tech, Attn: Admissions, 1800 Bronson Blvd, Fennimore, WI 53809

    Helpful Academic Background

    • Math skills (math proficiency through algebra required prior to enrollment in 605-150 Basic Electronics for Communication Networks, Semester 2)
    • Oral and written communication skills
    • Keyboarding
    • Computer applications and concepts

    Program Fees

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Estimated cost for each semester can be found under the Curriculum tab. Please note that costs are approximate and are based on the current academic year.
    • Please discuss additional fee questions with the program advisor or instructor.
  • Outcomes
  • Program Outcomes

    At the completion of the program, students are expected to be able to:

    • Develop effective interpersonal skills.
    • Use effective electronic, oral, and written communication skills.
    • Demonstrate and adhere to ethical policies and procedures within the regulatory environment.
    • Implement computer networks.
    • Select appropriate devices for each network based on design criteria.
    • Implement client systems on a network.
    • Troubleshoot the communications network when problems arise and develop a plan for a solution.
    • Install and upgrade hardware and software.
    • Maintain the organization's communication network.
    • Assist with network design, testing, and documentation for implementing a communication network.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of basic communications network electronics.
    • Install, support, and maintain a Local Area Network (LAN) and/or Wide Area Network (WAN).
    • Implement and maintain a voice communications network.
  • Career Opportunities
  • Graduates are prepared for positions in a wide variety of organizations and businesses. Opportunities for employment exist in accounting firms, banks, schools, hospitals, insurance companies, manufacturing firms, and government agencies as:

    • Network Administrator: Designs, implements, and maintains local area and wide-area computer networks needed for the efficient functioning of the firm
    • Network Assistant: Assists the network administrator with all aspects of the firm's information network(s)
    • Information Technology Support: Works directly with end users to maintain and troubleshoot information systems

    Southwest Tech's Career Connections Center offers Services to assist students looking for job placement.

  • Transfers
  • Prior Learning
  • Credit for Prior Learning

    Experience Pays! You've Been There... You've Done That... Let's See If You Can Get Credit For It!

    Credit for prior learning gives you opportunities to earn credit for college-level knowledge that you have already acquired. This may be the result of work or volunteer experiences, certifications, apprenticeships, military training, extensive self-instruction, or professional development. Credit for Prior Learning affords you the opportunity to accelerate the completion of your educational goals.

    For more information or to request Credit for Prior Learning see our Credit for Prior Learning page.

    IT-Network Specialist Courses that may have Credit for Prior Learning options:

    Course # Course Title Challenge Exam
    (Demonstration)
    Challenge Exam
    (Standard)
    CLEP Credential Portfolio
    10-103-106Beginning Microsoft ExcelYes
    Any Microsoft MOUS certification (even an old certification) will also be considered for CPL
    10-103-111Beginning Microsoft AccessYes
    Any Microsoft MOUS certification (even an old certification) will also be considered for CPL
    10-103-118Intermediate Microsoft ExcelYes
    Any Microsoft MOUS certification (even an old certification) will also be considered for CPL
    10-150-102Cisco NetworkingYes
    Cisco CCNET Certification
    10-150-103Firewall/VPNYes
    Cisco CCNA Security (210-260 IINS)
    10-150-115Principles of Information SecurityYes
    CompTIA Security+
    10-150-121VMWare VCP EssentialsYes
    VMWare VCA (VCA6-DCV)
    10-150-128Windows Server AdministrationYes
    Any Microsoft Exam 70-74x Any Microsoft Exam 70-41x Any Microsoft Exam 70-64x
    10-150-130Linux EssentialsYes
    LPI Linux Essentials
    10-154-101Comp TIA A+ EssentialsYes
    CompTIA A+ Certified
    10-154-106Comp TIA A+ Practical ApplicationsYes
    CompTIA A+ Certified
    10-196-156Project Management 1Yes
    10-801-136English Composition 1Yes
    CLEP Test - College Composition
    10-801-196Oral/Interpersonal CommunicationYes
    10-801-197Technical ReportingYes
    10-809-195EconomicsYes
    CLEP Test - Principles of Macroeconomics