In today’s interconnected world, robust and adaptable computer networks are essential for success across industries. Our Network Systems Specialist program is designed to equip you with the skills needed to thrive in this critical field.

Through classroom learning and hands-on experience, you will gain expertise in computer network design, maintenance and support, making you job-ready as a network systems specialist.

In this program, you will:

  • get cutting-edge training in cloud and server administration, virtualized infrastructure, and Linux administration
  • join Cisco Networking Academy, a leading program specializing in computer networking, troubleshooting and security, ensuring you’re well-prepared for the industry
  • learn practical problem-solving, allowing you to tackle technical challenges and deliver timely solutions within project scope, preparing you for a successful IT career.

As a graduate, you’ll be equipped to pursue roles such as network systems specialist, network or systems administrator, network support analyst, IT consultant or technician, network or technical support specialist, or related positions in various sectors, including public, private and community-based organizations.

Prior knowledge of computer operating systems, cloud technologies or networking gained through education, industry experience, certifications or online tutorials is highly recommended.

Join us to build the skills and knowledge needed for a thriving career in IT.

Due to the tight integration of the courses in this program, credit for prior learning is unavailable. 

Those working in network systems analysis tend to be objective, methodical and directive. 

You need:

  • logical thinking skills
  • communication skills
  • people skills
  • the ability to study complex problems
  • the ability to be calm and efficient under pressure
  • the ability to ask the right questions to understand problems
  • a keen interest in keeping up to date with technology.
The ideal candidate for the Network Systems Specialist program is a motivated, mature learner interested in specializing in computer networking or upgrading their existing skills.

This intensive program requires a significant commitment of time and energy. Experience with computer hardware or operating and networking systems is an asset but not required.

To do well in this field, you should enjoy studying information and solving problems, taking a precise step-by-step approach to tasks, working with changing technologies and helping others.

You’ll participate in a practicum during your final semester, where you’ll put your skills to work in a real-world environment and connect with a potential future employer.

By the end of the program, you’ll be prepared to challenge the Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA) exams.

With additional work experience and exam preparation, you 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

Each year, SAIT conducts a survey between February and April to determine the employment rate, salary and satisfaction of our newest SAIT alumni. 

people icon82% graduate employment rate

salary icon $46,800 average starting salary

Find out more about our graduate employment statistics >

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.


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.



You must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better each semester and pass the prerequisite courses to progress through the program.

To qualify for graduation, you 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.

Transfer agreements

At SAIT, we evaluate post-secondary credit you have previously earned and apply it to your SAIT credential. Explore our formal transfer agreements available for this program.

We can evaluate your prior education, even if we don't have a formal agreement in place.

Submit a transfer credit application

There are no formal transfer agreements currently in place for this program.

Transfer options for graduates

Build on the knowledge you’ve learned at SAIT. The opportunity to advance your education at an accredited post-secondary institution may be available.

🔗 Visit Transfer Alberta search tool for a full list of transfer opportunities within the province.

Available intakes

Fall 2024

Start dates:

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


2024/25 tuition and fees

The following estimated costs are effective as of July 1, 2024.

Domestic students

The estimated total cost of tuition and fees for domestic students is based on the recommended course load per year.
Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2.5* $14,421 $1,840 $16,261
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.

The estimated total cost of tuition and fees for international students is based on the recommended course load per year.
Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2.5* $22,275 $1,840 $24,115
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.

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. 

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

a view of the moutains and stream in between

Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.