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Computer networking programs in Minnesota come in the form of certificate and associate's programs, with a select few bachelor's-level options. In some cases, certificates may be available for a particular vendor or operating system. These programs may be available partially online, and some courses may be offered in the evenings. Programs may be offered on a full or part-time basis. Students may be prepared to take industry certification exams after program completion. Credits from associate's degree programs may be transferable to a 4-year school.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Anoka-Ramsey Community College serves over 12,000 students through its campuses at Cambridge and Coon Rapids. Located just 20 miles north of downtown Minneapolis, this suburban school on the Mississippi and Rum Rivers offers hundreds of programs, including a few in computer networking. Students at Anoka-Ramsey can earn an A.S. in Computer Networking and Telecommunications. As a member of the Minnesota State Colleges system, credits from this program will fully transfer to Minnesota State University - Moorehead and partially to other baccalaureate programs throughout the state. Anoka-Ramsey also offers two certificate options. The 30-credit network support administration certificate covers general networking, while the 15-credit computer network security certificate focuses on protecting data networks.
Located in the Twin Cities suburb of White Bear Lake, Century College offers two-year programs and certificates of varying lengths. An information and telecommunications technology associate's degree provides primarily network-related courses. The school also provides a number of certificate programs, including those in storage area networking and information security. There's also a program that prepares students to pass the Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MCSA) test. Century College maintains articulation agreements with numerous colleges, allowing credits to transfer throughout the state. Century offers evening, daytime and online courses for both full- and part-time students.
Hennepin Technical College
Hennepin Tech was founded in 1972 and today operates campuses in the Twin Cities suburbs of Eden Prairie and Brooklyn Park. The network administrator associate's degree program covers many vendor environments, including Cisco, Linux and Windows. A shorter, 44-credit diploma program in network support allows students to focus on core network skills without as many general education requirements. Numerous network-related certificate programs are also available, including separate Cisco, Linux and Windows-specific network training.
Inver Hills Community College
Located near St. Paul in the city of Inver Grove Heights, this community college serves students from all over Minnesota from its 90-acre campus. Among the programs available at the school's 50 academic disciplines is technology. Networking programs at Inver Hills include an associate's degree and advanced certificate. By their final year, many Inver Hills students have attained industry certifications such as the Comptia Server+ or the Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA). Students of Inver Hills clinched five of the top 15 places in the 2012 CyberCenters National competition, a competition focused on cyber network security fundamentals.
Lake Superior College
With a campus near the shores of Lake Superior, this Duluth-based community college offers a variety of career-focused programs. Among these stands a 72-credit associate's program in network administration and cybersecurity. The curriculum prepares students to take industry certification exams, including the MCSA, CompTIA A+, and CCNA. Lake Superior College also offers a 29-credit certificate program in network administration and cybersecurity.
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
Located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, the two-year school serves just under 15,000 credit-seeking students annually. The school offers only one networking-focused associate's degree, but a handful of certificates and diplomas. In addition to the 60-credit computer support and network administration diploma, students can earn one of the 27-credit administrator certificates in Linux, wireless, Microsoft or Cisco environments. Though recently renamed to Minneapolis Community and Technical College, this school's roots date back to 1914.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Minnesota State Community and Technical College is centered in the western part of the state, in the town of Fergus Falls. In addition to the Fergus Falls campus, however, MSCTC serves as the parent organization to schools throughout the area. The school offers an associate's degree program in network administration and security, which provides an overview of data networks and is available at the Wadena and Morehead campuses. Network security certificate program can be taken through eCampus online, but select courses must still be completed on-site in Morehead. Additionally, a 12-credit Cisco networking certificate is offered at both the Detroit Lake and Wadena campuses.
St. Paul College
Located in St. Paul, this community college is one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the state. Washington Monthly ranked Saint Paul College best in the nation as part of the magazine's 2010 rankings. This highly-ranked school offers both a certificate and associate's degree in networking. The certificate is non-vendor specific, covering the fundamentals of network infrastructure, servers and operating systems through a 24-credit program. The 60-credit associate's degree adds computer hardware, security and other technical courses, as well as 16 credits of general education requirements.
University of Minnesota - Duluth
This University of Minnesota member has been a part of the northern Minnesota city of Duluth since 1895. Nearly all the buildings on this 244-acre campus are connected by hallways and concourses for year-round indoor traversal. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs, including bachelor's degrees in computer information systems and computer science. As part of the Swenson College of Science and Engineering's Computer Science department, students can take courses in security and different aspects of network technology.
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
With nearly 65,000 students, the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in Minneapolis is one of the largest universities in the nation. In addition to a number of traditional graduate and undergraduate programs, the school also runs a College of Continuing Education. Through this college, student can earn a Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology Infrastructure. The information technology infrastructure program explores various areas of IT, including a required course on computer networking. Technical electives, of which 10 credits are required, include network administration, emerging network technologies, and network programming.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota employed a significant amount of network and computer systems administrators in 2011. Most of this presence was centered in the Twin Cities region, where over 7,200 people were employed in the field at a mean salary of $72,100.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Computer Network Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Anoka-Ramsey Community College||Public two-year; large suburb|| Associate of Science in Computer Networking and Telecommunications,
Network Support Administration Certificate,
Computer Network Security Certificate
|Century College||Public two-year; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Information and Telecommunications Technology,
Information Security/Assurance Certificate,
Storage Area Networking Certificate,
Networking Fundamentals Certificate
|Hennepin Technical College||Public two-year; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Network Administration/Analysis,
Network Support Specialist Diploma,
Linux Networking Certificate,
Windows Networking Certificate,
Cisco Networking Certificate
|Inver Hills Community College||Public two-year; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Network Technology and Security,
Advanced Network Technology Certificate
|Lake Superior College||Public two-year; small city|| Associate of Applied Science in Network Administration & Cybersecurity,
Network Administration & Security Certificate
| $5,126 In-state
|Minneapolis Community and Technical College||Public two-year; large city|| Associate of Applied Science in Computer Support and Network Administration,
Computer Support and Network Administration Diploma,
Macintosh Support and Network Administration Certificate,
Cisco Network Administration Certificate,
Linux Network Administrator Certificate,
Microsoft Network Administrator Certificate,
Wireless Network Administrator Certificate
|Minnesota State Community and Technical College||Public two-year; remote town|| Associate of Applied Science in Network Administration and Security,
Network Security Certificate,
Cisco Networking Certificate
|Saint Paul College||Public two-year; large city|| Associate of Applied Science in Computer Network Engineering,
Network Administrator Certificate
|University of Minnesota - Duluth||Public four-year; small city|| Bachelor of Science in Computer Science,
Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems
| $13,082 In-state
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Public four year; large city||Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Technology Infrastructure|| $13,790 In-state
Source: *College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics.