That said, the CCNA by itself is probably not enough to put you into an entry-level job nowadays. But there's a lot more to the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum than the CCNA as you can see for yourself here. You'll find training on HP IT essentials (1 & 2), Java, network security, UNIX, Panduit network infastructure essentials, Web design, wireless LANs, and more - including the CCNP in some programs.
My advice would be to start with the CCNA, go after the HP IT essentials, and to add network security, wireless LAN, and possibly even the CCNP (if available, and you have time to take that many classes) to your program of study. That way, when you get finished you'll be able to claim a much broader body of knowledge. I'd also urge you to get involved with your program by volunteering or part-timing as a network technician or administrator and getting as much hands-on exposure and experience as you can.
With that combination of studies and activities, not only will you be more likely to find work, you'll also no longer be in the "certification but no experience" situation that stymies so many job searches nowadays.
In Corpus, salaries tend to be about 20-25% lower than there are here in Austin where I live. Here an entry level network technician position usually starts at $28-32 K, so you'd have to expect something in the $24-28 K range down there.
This was first published in March 2006