Schools with Programming Training: How to Choose

Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer certificates in programming, as well as associate's and bachelor's degrees in programming or software development. The focus of the programs and availability of distance learning differs between schools, so it is important to research which schools have the best type of program for your learning needs.

Programmers need to have a solid understanding of programming languages in order to create and update computer programs, and they also maintain and troubleshoot applications to solve existing problems or improve functionality. Several schools offer certificate programs as well as associate's and bachelor's degrees in computer and application programming, and bachelor's degree majors are often referred to as software development or computer science.

Schools with Programs in Computer Programming

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in programming or software development.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
American River College Sacramento, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,104; Out-of-state $7,440
Idaho State University Pocatello, ID 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's In-state $6,784; Out-of-state $20,182
Youngstown State University Youngstown, OH 4-year, Public Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's In-state $8,317; Out-of-state $8,557
University of Michigan-Dearborn Dearborn, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's In-state $11,304; Out-of-state $23,520
DePaul University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $36,361
Champlain College Burlington, VT 4-year, Private Associate's, Bachelor's $37,536
Miami-Dade College Miami, FL 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $2,834; Out-of-state $9,661
North Lake College Irving, TX 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-district $1,770; In-state $3,330; Out-of-state $5,220
Gavilan College Gilroy, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,246; Out-of-state $6,654

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

There are several things to consider when choosing a programming school.

  • Programs will have differing time requirements and courses depending on whether the program leads to a certificate, associate's, or bachelor's degree.
  • Curriculum focus is an important consideration, as some schools focus on hardware and machinery, whereas others emphasize software creation and management.
  • Hands-on experience may vary from school to school, including internships or research opportunities, project-oriented classes, and chances for independent study courses.
  • Some schools offer graduate degrees, and it may appeal to students to pursue studies at a school with graduate programs if they intend to pursue their master's.

Certificate in Programming

Undergraduate certificate programs can usually be completed in under a year, and some could take only a few months. Some schools allow credit earned to transfer to a degree program. Typically no previous experience or programming knowledge is required to enroll in these certificate programs.

Associate's Degree in Programming

Associate's degree programs provide students with the foundational knowledge to complete entry-level programming tasks. Some associate's programs are designed to transfer into a bachelor's program.

Bachelor's Degree in Software Development

Students will likely benefit from programs that teach multiple languages and provide computer labs for student use. Programming bachelor's degree programs usually take four years, though students with previous credit through a certificate or associate's degree program could shorten the time it takes to earn the degree. Bachelor's degree programs cover the same topics as certificate and associate's degree programs, and provide in-depth studies.

A number of public and private colleges and universities offer certificate or degree programs in computer programming. It is also an option to pursue graduate studies at the master's level, and tuition costs vary widely based on the type of school chose; many public schools offer tuition discounts to local or in-state students.


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