Online Network Engineering Schools: How to Choose

Students can earn both graduate and undergraduate degrees through online programs, and even participate in distance-based internships. To get a grasp of what's in store with a network engineering program and how best to decide, continue to read.

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Those who are passionate about computer and network engineering and searching for an education program can do so with online schools. Along with levels of study, potential students will want to determine whether or not an online program includes certification, which will be a huge boost when entering the job market.

How to Select an Online Network Engineering School

Network engineering schools are differentiated by the degree level they offer, the focus that degree entails and whether their programs are offered via distance learning or traditional classroom attendance. Online network engineering programs are offered at some colleges and universities and at for-profit, online institutions. Students should also consider opportunities for certification prep.

Degree Level and Career Focus

There is an entire spectrum of degree possibilities in the network engineering field, and students need to be aware of the career to which their degree will likely lead before enrolling. Lower-level degree programs, such as associate's and some bachelor's, are designed for students who wish to repair and service computer networks. Graduate degrees often focus on the design of computer networking technology and security.

Program Delivery

Some online degree programs are designed for working professionals who may not be able to attend class sessions at any particular time. In these programs, students can access course material at their convenience within a certain time frame. In other programs, students must be present at a certain time to access video conferences and lectures. Some colleges offering computer networking programs make remote sites available, which may be more convenient that on-campus classroom attendance. Remote-site classrooms allow students to participate in real-time lectures via two-way audio and visual feeds.

Certification Preparation

Some undergraduate and graduate degree programs incorporate certification training into the degree program. Students wishing to become certified in Microsoft operating systems or Cisco network hardware can find online degree programs that prepare them for certification testing. Finding an educational program that integrates a college degree with specialized training may help significantly when looking for a job after graduation.

Online Program Options for Network Engineering

Associate of Science in Network Engineering and Computer Servicing Technology

An associate degree program in network engineering is primarily designed to teach students how to service, maintain and operate computer networks. Remote internship options may be available to teach students the hands-on portion of a program through a local company or organization. Students may be required to have a sound- and microphone-enabled computer for voice conferencing. Students take courses in:

  • XHTML/JavaScript and C++
  • Windows networking essentials
  • Database management
  • Visual communications
  • Desktop OS troubleshooting

Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Network Management

Bachelor's programs in network engineering prepare students for a number of careers, including network administrator, manager and architect. Students take courses like:

  • Hardware and operating system essentials
  • Network and TCI/IP fundamentals
  • Wireless technologies
  • Cisco and Windows server administration

Master of Science in Computer Engineering - Network Engineering

An online Master of Science in Network Engineering program teaches students how to design, set up, administer and manage local and wide area networks. Often, network security plays a major role in the focus of this type of program, which is usually presented online. Students communicate with each other and teachers via forums, instant messenger, email and Internet-based conferencing. Students take required and elective courses in areas such as:

  • Internet and computer security
  • Advanced computer architecture
  • Cloud computing
  • Modeling concurrent systems

Schools with Online Network Engineering Programs

At Virginia College, an Associate of Applied Science in Network Engineering can be earned on campus or online in a period of twenty-four months. Courses focus on the essentials of network security and client/server computer relationships. Online courses can be accessed on a variety of formats, including desktop and mobile.

Western Governors University is home to an online Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology with a focus in Network Administration. The flexibility of the degree allows students to complete their degree in as little as one year, or as many as three. As part of the program, students will also gain certification in eight different areas, including Microsoft Certified Professional and several CompTIA titles.

The University of Southern California at Viberti's School of Engineering offers an online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, emphasizing computer networks. The school emphasizes that the online MS is equivalent to that of an on-campus program and encourages students to take technical courses within engineering but outside their area of specialization.

Several levels of study are available to students who wish to gain an online degree in network engineering. Students should especially consider whether or not they want to gain certification as part of their degree program, as this can create many more job opportunities once school is completed.

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