In our interconnected world, strong, resilient and scalable computer networks are critical to industry success. Through classroom training and practical application, this program will help you develop skills and competencies in computer network design, maintenance and support to get you career-ready as a network systems specialist.

You will learn from leading-edge cloud and server administration courses, virtualized infrastructure, and Linux administration. You’ll also become a member of the Cisco Networking Academy to specialize in computer networking, troubleshooting, and security.

As a result of the practical focus of this program, you will gain valuable experience solving technical problems and providing on-time solutions within scope, preparing you for a successful career in the information technology (IT) field.

Previous computer operating systems, cloud technologies and/or networking experience gained through education, industry experience, industry certifications, or completion of online tutorials related to computer operating systems or networking is strongly recommended.

This is an intensive program requiring a significant commitment of time and energy. Students who are successful in this program typically:

  • have higher secondary and/or post-secondary grades
  • make their education a priority (including engaging in consistent self-study throughout the program)
  • have experience with computer hardware and/or operating and networking systems (an asset, but not required.)

The ideal candidate for the Network Systems Specialist (NSS) program is a motivated, mature learner interested in computer networking who wants to specialize or upgrade their existing skills.

You are technically proficient and detail-oriented. Your problem-solving approach is creative and logical, depending on the circumstances. You work well as part of a team and enjoy interacting with others. You possess a good working knowledge of operating systems and computer hardware. You are probably the person your friends and family go to when they have computer problems. 

Due to the tight integration of the courses in the Network Technician (NT) program, prior learning credit is unavailable.

There may be opportunities to further your education by transferring to another institution once you graduate.

Learn more about program and institution transfer options

You'll participate in a practicum placement at a participating business or organization during your final semester.

By the end of the program, graduates will be prepared to challenge the Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA) exams.

With additional work experience and exam preparation, graduates may also be prepared to challenge other relevant industry exams, including the CompTIA A+ and VMWare certifications.

After successfully completing this program, graduates will be awarded a SAIT Network Systems Specialist certificate.

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Associated National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes: 20012, 21211, 21220, 21221, 21222, 21233, 22220, 22222.


Career counselling and support

Unsure which career path is for you? SAIT offers career planning services to help you decide your future.

You can also get started by taking our online career finder quiz, which can help you narrow down your search based on your current skills and interests.

Finally, you can also head to Alberta alis for various tools and resources, including additional quizzes and labour market information to help you narrow down a career path.

Services and workshops


The Network Systems Specialist certificate requires 33 credits (12 courses) to complete.

The program spans 32 weeks, over three semesters (fall intake) or two semesters (spring intake.)

View classes by semester  

Course Credits

In this course learners examine the various components that make up a computer system. Students will be able to explain the different technologies in the IT industry: laptops, portable devices, scanners, security, and networking.


In this course learners examine the various components that make up a computer system. Students will be able to explain the different technologies in the IT industry: laptops, portable devices, scanners, security, and networking.


This course describes the architecture, components, and operation of routers, and explains the principles of routing and routing protocols. Students analyze, configure, verify, and troubleshoot the primary routing protocols RIPv1, RIPv2, EIGRP, and OSPF. By the end of this course, students will be able to recognize and correct common routing issues and problems. Students complete a basic procedural lab, followed by basic configuration, implementation, and troubleshooting labs in each chapter. Packet Tracer activities reinforce new concepts, and allow students to model and analyze routing processes that may be difficult to visualize or understand.

  • CMPN 276

This course provides a comprehensive theoretical and practical approach to learning the technologies and protocols needed to design and implement a converged switched network. Students learn about the hierarchical network design model and appropriate network design approaches. The course explains how to configure, optimize, monitor, and troubleshoot switches and routers in a converged network. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to implement a WLAN in a small-to-medium network, and emerging technologies are also explored.

  • CMPN 277

This course will include the skills required for career management including resume and cover letter writing, job search strategies and interviewing skills.


Networks continue to evolve to support the ever changing needs of the modern business. As businesses rely increasingly on cloud and hybrid environments to provide services to customers, a robust network is critical to business success. This course focuses on advanced layer 2 and layer 3 network technologies to improve network resilience, and explores effective network design approaches to support network growth both on premise and into the cloud. As appropriate, this course will also explore relevant emerging technologies.


Virtualization and Storage technologies are fundamental IT Infrastructure components, with key concepts applying to both on premise and cloud based IT solutions. Learners will develop the skills required to install, configure and manage a virtualized environment, and will be introduced to current and emerging storage and virtualization technologies.


This course teaches students the skills needed to obtain entry-level positions as security specialists. It provides a hands-on introduction to network security.


In this course learners develop and enhance problem-solving skills, gain experience in creating a plan for network troubleshooting, and are introduced to management tools for troubleshooting.


This course familiarizes learners with the basics of Linux installation and configuration. Learners are given a rudimentary introduction to the Unix command line and GUI environments.


In this course, learners study Microsoft networking, architecture and the installation and administration of Windows Server. Learners will gain experience planning, implementing, configuring and troubleshooting Microsoft network services, including Active Directory, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, Domain Name Service, Certificate Services, Virtual Private Network, Network Address Translation, Windows Firewall, IP Security and Remote Services.


This is a practicum conducted off campus at a participating corporation or business. It provides learners with a realistic taste of what it is like to work in the technology industry. Learners are involved in all steps of the practicum process.



Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure >

Admission requirements

Applicants educated in Canada

Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents:

  • at least 60% in English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2 or equivalent,
  • a minimum of two years of post-secondary education from a recognized university, institute, or college.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English Language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find out what educational documents are accepted and assessment options.

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.


Academic Upgrading

Missing an admission requirement for this program? Upgrade your prior education to help you receive admission into one of SAIT's career programs.


English language proficiency

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

Learn more

Available intakes

Spring 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: Feb. 23, 2024
International students: Closed
  • Application deadline: Jan. 22, 2024

Fall 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: June 28, 2024
International students: Closed
  • Application deadline: May 29, 2024


2023/24 tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.

Domestic students

Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2.5* $14,157 $1,873 $16,030
Total cost:

*.5 indicates a combination of full-time semester(s) and part-time semester(s) in the same academic year. In many cases, students are completing a practicum during their part-time semester. Part-time students are those taking less than nine (9) course credits in a semester.

Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2.5** $22,284.90 $1,873 $24,157.90
Total cost:

**.5 indicates a combination of full-time semester(s) and part-time semester(s) in the same academic year. In many cases, students are completing a practicum during their part-time semester. Part-time students are those taking less than nine (9) course credits in a semester.

Books and supplies are approximately $1,000 - $1,500 per full-time year.

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a power-user computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

Students may also be required to purchase hosted virtual lab tools.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date. Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck; no textbook purchase is required this term.


Financial aid

Paying for your education may feel overwhelming, but we have resources and programs that can help, including information about payment options, student loans, grants and scholarships.

Learn more
Canada Alberta Job Grant icon

This program is eligible for Canada Alberta Job Grant funding.

Application process

Ready to apply?

Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.

Learn how to apply

Communication during admission

Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the sadt.advising@sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.


Begin your application

Apply now using the online application portal. 

Ensure you have a valid Visa or Mastercard to pay the non-refundable application fee of $120 for domestic applicants or $150 for international applicants. 

Apply now

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact us

School for Advanced Digital Technology Advising


International Student Advising