Schools for Aspiring Network Engineers: How to Choose

Prospective network engineers learn how to oversee digital data communications systems to ensure they run smoothly and efficiently. Undergraduate programs in network engineering are widely available depending on career goals.

Network engineers develop and set up wireless and wired communications systems; they control network access by installing routers and security programs. Numerous 2-year and 4-year schools offer certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in network engineering, including computer science, information systems and computer engineering.

Top 10 Network Engineering Schools

Network engineering programs are available at a number of institutions, including the ones listed here.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition
(2015-2016)*
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate $46,704; Graduate $46,400
Stanford University Stanford, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate $46,320; Graduate $45,729
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: In-state $13,431; Out-of-state $38,139; Graduate: In-state $11,220; Out-of state $26,322
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate $50,665; Graduate $40,625
University of Illinois Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: In-state $15,054; Out-of-state $30,214; Graduate: In-state $15,023; Out-of state $28,213
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Graduate Certificate Undergraduate: In-state $13,856; Out-of-state $43,476; Graduate: In-state $20,638; Out-of state $41,688
Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: In-state $12,204; Out-of-state $32,396; Graduate: In-state $13,452; Out-of state $27,872
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate $45,390; Graduate $43,710
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate $43,450; Graduate $43,450
University of Texas Austin, CA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate: In-state $9,806; Out-of-state $34,676; Graduate: In-state $10,934; Out-of state $20,762

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are a number of factors to think about when selecting a network engineering program.

  • Consider whether the school you plan to attend has programs available at all levels of study you plan to pursue.
  • Students should seek schools providing hands-on lab work and offering training in current technology applications.
  • Individuals should see if specialized classes are offered that provide training for product certifications from vendors, such as Cisco or Microsoft.
  • There are a number of program options, such as computer science, computer engineering and information systems; it's important to be aware of the focus of each program so that you select a program that fits your specific career goals.

Certificate in Network Engineering

A certificate program in network engineering is suitable for individuals looking for the fundamental skills and knowledge needed for an entry-level job. A certificate can generally be earned in less than a year.

Associate's Degree in Network Engineering Technology

An associate's degree program in network engineering, network engineering technology or network and wireless technologies can take up to two years to complete. Some programs also prepare students for professional networking and computer certification exams. General education subjects, such as writing, communication, and math are typically required.

Bachelor's Degree in Network Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs offer more advanced networking courses in addition to management topics. Courses can include data structures, signal transmission, network devices and digital technology. Some schools require seniors in bachelor's degree programs to complete an internship, allowing them to apply the skills learned in the classroom to actual situations.

Network engineering is a career field that requires a minimum of a postsecondary certificate in a relevant discipline, although there may be increased opportunities for those with an associate's or bachelor's degree. Master's degrees, doctoral degrees and graduate certificates in relevant subject areas can also be pursued.


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