School and Ranking Information
About 11 schools within a 50-mile radius of the downtown Morrisville area offer computer networking programs. Based on location, rankings, graduation rates, tuition costs and degrees awarded in the field, the best three schools are North Carolina State University at Raleigh, Wake Technical Community College and Durham Technical Community College.
- Winner: North Carolina State University is the only school among the three to have national rankings, and it also has ranked undergraduate engineering programs and graduate engineering schools. It offers master's degrees in computer systems networking.
- Runner-Up #1: Wake Technical Community College offers a certificate and an online associate's degree program. Although it's further away from Morrisville than the second runner-up, it has a higher graduation rate and awarded more networking degrees in recent years.
- Runner-Up #2: Durham Technical Community College offers certificates and an associate's degree in the field. Although it didn't award as many networking degrees as the two schools above, it had the lowest tuition of the three in 2012-2013.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||North Carolina State University at Raleigh||Wake Technical Community College||Durham Technical Community College|
|Ranking(s)||106th for national universities in 2013*
30th for undergraduate engineering programs in 2012, nationwide*
29th for graduate engineering programs in 2013, nationwide*
|Location||Raleigh, NC (7 miles from Morrisville)||Raleigh, NC (12 miles from Morrisville)||Durham, NC (10 miles from Morrisville)|
|School Type||4-year, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$7,788 (undergraduate, in-state), $20,953 (undergraduate, out-of-state); $8,934 (graduate, in-state), $20,982 (graduate, out-of-state)**||$2,380 (in-state, undergraduate), $8,524 (out-of-state, undergraduate)**||$1,840 (in-state, undergraduate), $6,388 (out-of-state, undergraduate)**|
|Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications Degree Levels Offered||Master's degrees**||Certificate and associate's (online) degree**||Certificate and associate's degree**|
|Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications Degrees (all levels) Awarded in 2011-2012||30**||46**||18**|
|Most Popular Computer Systems Networking and Telecommunications Program in 2011-2012||Master's degree (30 awarded)**||Associate's degree (28 awarded)**||Associate's degree (11 awarded)**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class||72%**||15% (for 2008 entering class) **||12% (for 2008 entering class) **|
|Noteworthy||University leverages STEM and entrepreneurship strengths to launch 60 new companies||Largest number of technology program graduates in NC||DTCC is charter member of the NC Community College System|
Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator
Winner: North Carolina State University at Raleigh
- Degree has a non-thesis option and does not require on campus attendance
- In 2012, NC State was ranked 16th among up-and-coming schools, according to U.S. News & World Report
- 51st for top public schools in 2013, nationwide*
The MS in computer networking program is a collaborative effort among several NC State departments, including the Departments of Computer Science (CS) and Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). The program's intent is to provide technology support for the state's networking industry. The graduate curriculum allows students to study computer networking's technical and management aspects. 31 credits are required for graduation, with students given the option to earn the degree with or without a thesis. Core networking courses satisfy nine of these credits, with courses covering computer networks, internet protocols, wireless networking, and QoS and processing services. Three more credits are for selections from theory courses, and a required orientation adds one credit. The remaining 18 elective courses are taken from among four tracks covering networking design; network hardware; network software; and networking services. Students selecting to complete a thesis may use up to six credits for their work. The non-thesis option has students prepare a three credit independent study, taken as part of the 18 elective credits. Graduates build on ECE or CS undergraduate degrees and pursue networking opportunities in R&D, operations, IT management, and service science management and engineering.
Runner-Up #1: Wake Technical Community College
- State of North Carolina's largest community college
- 60 degree programs are available in online and hybrid learning format
- WTCC offers more than 180 certificate and degree programs
WTCC's Networking Technology AAS degree program is offered during the day and evening. CISCO Certified Network Associate and CISCO Certified Network Professional certificates are also offered. There are also Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator and Linux/Red Hat Administration certificate offerings, with the Microsoft program including an online option. The AAS degree has 72 credit hours needed for graduation, with required networking courses covering routing and switching, network design, Windows administration, and Linux/UNIX single user. To complete a certificate requires 12 or 15 credits. The curriculum for all programs includes use of network management software and direct experience with bridges and routers to learn design, installation, configuration, and management of LANs and WANs. After graduation, students can seek employment as LAN managers, and network opportunities as analysts or technicians, or take network vendor certification examinations.
Runner-Up #2: Durham Technical Community College
- DTCC has an overall student-faculty ratio of 9:1, according to NCES
- C-STEP partnership offers economically disadvantaged students to graduate from DTCC and transfer to UNC-Chapel Hill
- Over 87% of the companies are satisfied using DTCC for employee training
The Networking Technology and CIT programs offered by DTCC prepare its students through lecture and hands-on experience of hardware network devices, including switches, WAPs, and routers, and the administration of configuring, installing, securing, and managing networking OS systems, such as Windows and Linux. Graduates are prepared through curriculum specifically adapted to completion of a variety of vender certifications, including Microsoft, Cisco, Novell, CompTIA, and CLE. The Networking Technology AAS degree requires students to complete 73 credit hours. Networking technology coursework covers internetwork architecture and design, wireless technology, and routing and switching. Courses in networking OS cover Linux/UNIX and Windows single user, and OS administration. Degree and certificate graduates can pursue positions in system administration, network or system engineering, and desktop support.