Most of the schools offering computer networking degrees in the Madison, WI, area are for-profit institutions. The following three are considered the top schools for computer networking programs in Madison based on school type, graduation rates and number of degrees conferred:
- Winner: Madison Area Technical College claims the top spot because it awards the most degrees in computer networking and is the only public institution found in the city offering this type of program. It is also the largest of the three schools. Students can earn an associate's degree or certificates in the field of study.
- Runner Up #1: Though it is located farther from Madison than the third school, Waukesha County Technical College earns the first runner up spot because it awards the second-most associate's degrees in computer networking. Students can also pursue professional certificates.
- Runner Up #2: Placing third is Blackhawk Technical College, since it awards the fewest associate's degrees in computer networking. It does offer the highest graduation rate and the lowest tuition among the schools.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Madison Area Technical College||Waukesha County Technical College||Blackhawk Technical College|
|Location||Madison, WI||Pewaukee, WI (about 57 miles from Madison)||Janesville, WI (about 32 miles from Madison)|
|School Type||4-year, primarily associate's, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)||$3,815 in-state; $5,405 out-of-state*||$3,717 in-state; $5,244 out-of-state*||$3,683 in-state; $5,437 out-of-state*|
|Networking and Telecommunications Degree Levels Offered||Certificates; associate's degrees||Certificates; associate's degrees||Associate's degrees|
|Networking and Telecommunications Degrees Awarded (all levels) in 2011-2012||65*||45*||18*|
|Most Popular Networking and Telecommunications Degree Level in 2011-2012||Associate's degree (52 awarded)*||Associate's degree (45 awarded)*||Associate's degree (18 awarded)*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time)||35% (for students who began in fall 2005)*||32% (for students who began in fall 2008)*||40% (for students who began in fall 2008)*|
|Noteworthy||School offers scholarships to full-time information technology associate's degree students||The school is an approved certification test center and offers students discounts on certification exams||N/A|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.
Winner: Madison Area Technical College
- Three program options available
- Network security program is one of only two in the state to be certified by the National Security Agency's Committee on National Security Systems
- 13:1 student-faculty ratio, according to NCES
This school features a Cisco Certified Networking Associate (CCNA) certificate program, a network specialist associate's degree program, and a network security specialist associate's degree program. The CCNA program is designed to prepare students for the Cisco CCNA certification exam, and it consists of three courses totaling 11 credits. The program covers how to design and maintain local and wide area networks. Students in the network specialist associate's program take the same courses that are found in the certificate program in addition to ones that cover voice over IP, firewalls, information technology (IT) service, and servers. Graduates are prepared to pursue multiple certifications, including Cisco CCNA, CompTIA Network+, and Cisco CCNA-Voice.
The network security program places an emphasis on security awareness. Students learn how to respond and defend against network threats in addition to configuring networks and firewalls. In the firewall and VPN course, students can get the training needed to pursue Cisco Certified Security Professional certifications.
Runner-Up #1: Waukesha County Technical College
- Two program options available
- Credits from associate's program transfer to bachelor's degree programs at more than 15 institutions
- Faculty members involved with the program all have master's degrees and at least two IT certifications
Students at Waukesha County Technical College can choose to enroll in the 15-credit network professional certificate program or the 68-credit network specialist associate's degree program.
The certificate program can be completed in three semesters and covers Cisco routing, cloud services, and network security. Students who finish the program can pursue four different certifications, including the CompTIA Server+ and CompTIA Security+. The associate's program allows students to specialize in CCNA or security in their final semester, and they're also required to complete a co-op experience during this semester. The school also offers a scholarship specifically for female students pursuing IT studies.
Runner-Up #2: Blackhawk Technical College
- Student-faculty ratio of 11:1, according to NCES
- Highest graduation rate among these three schools (40%, according to NCES)
Blackhawk Technical College features an IT-network specialist associate's degree program that can prepare students to take the CCNA certification exam, among others. The program covers IP telephony, network design, and network security. Students are required to complete 67 credits of coursework, which can be done in four semesters. Required courses may include SQL server, .NET programming, and IT project management. The school is also home to the Association of Information Technology Professionals, an organization that gives students a chance to attend professional conferences and get involved with service projects.