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Those interested in maintaining network security or designing computer networks usually need to have a bachelor's degree. Students in Virginia have several choices when it comes to earning associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates in computer network-related disciplines. Programs consist of various tracks and electives. There are opportunities to gain additional networking experience through internships.
Profiled below are ten of Virginia's largest private not-for-profit and public colleges that offer computer networking programs. These 2-year colleges and 4-year universities offer educational options in the areas of computer networking, network security, information systems technology, advanced networking protocols for telecommunications, information security, Cisco networking and computer science and technology.
George Mason University
Graduate students at this university in Fairfax can pursue a graduate certificate in several areas of networking. These include advanced networking protocols, communications and networking, network technologies and applications, and networks, system integration and testing.
James Madison University
At Harrisonburg-based James Madison University, students can earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems. Students take courses like computing and telecommunication networks, computer-based networking and computer security management. At the graduate level, students can pursue a 2-year Master of Business Administration in Information Security program. The program includes courses like managing system networks, information systems management and information security ethics.
John Tyler Community College
Located in Chester, this community college offers an Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology with two concentrations related to networking. Required courses include an internship and networking concepts. Students can choose from among tracks in Cisco network or network support. The Cisco network track includes courses in network fundamentals, introductory routing, basic switching and routing and wide area network (WAN) technologies. The network support track covers topics in Unix, network security basics, network troubleshooting and server administration. Students may also choose to get a career studies certificate in network support or Cisco network.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Students at this Richmond community college can earn a career studies certificate in information systems technology with several options. The network engineering option covers topics in switching, routing and networking fundamentals. The network engineering track has courses in routing and WAN technologies. The cyber security track has coursework in basic network security, network attacks and incident response.
Northern Virginia Community College
Annandale's Northern Virginia Community College offers career studies certificates in network administration and network engineering. These certificates take a year to complete. In the network administration certificate program, students learn about network concepts, network resources and network security basics. In the network engineering program, students learn about Cisco-specific networking issues. Students learn about networking fundamentals, routing and WAN technologies.
Old Dominion University
Norfolk's Old Dominion University offers a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in information systems and technology. The program includes a network engineering track, and students take courses in systems design, business telecommunications and network configuration. Students may also earn a Bachelor of Computer Science. The program includes upper-level electives in networks, and students may take courses like network management, network security and network communications.
This school in Radford offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Technology, and students may choose the network concentration. The program covers topics in databases, network design, computer networking and Web programming. The school also offers an undergraduate certificate in information security with courses in computer security, computer system, database security, applied cryptography and network security. A networking lab is available for student use.
Tidewater Community College
This community college in Norfolk offers associate degree and certificate programs relating to networks. The career studies certificate programs have options in network administration, cyber security, network infrastructure specialist and server infrastructure administrator for Windows 2012. Certificate courses may include network security basics and network fundamentals. The associate degree program in information systems technology requires a course in network concepts. However, students may choose approved electives in networking.
Thomas Nelson Community College
Located in Hampton, this community college has a certificate program in information systems technology, and students can focus on Cisco networking. The program has 16 credit hours of coursework. Students study networking fundamentals, introductory routing, switching and routing and WAN technologies.
Virginia Commonwealth University
Students in Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University can pursue a Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems Security. This program requires completion of 30 credit hours of courses like databases, application security, operating system security and applied cryptography. Students also complete a practical experience component.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Computer Networking Programs Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|George Mason University||4-year, public; large suburb||Graduate Certificate in Communications and Networking, Advanced Networking Protocols for Telecommunications, Network Technologies and Applications and Networks, System Integration and Testing||$13,304 (in-state graduate); $31,424 (out-of-state graduate)*|
|James Madison University||4-year, public; small city|| Bachelor of Business Administration in Computer Information Systems,
Master of Business Administration in Information Security
|$10,018 (in-state undergraduate); $25,152 (out-of-state undergraduate); $10,416 (in-state graduate); $26,736 (out-of-state graduate)*|
|John Tyler Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology (Concentration in Cisco network, computer applications, program development, cyber security or network support),
Career Studies Certificate in Cisco Network or Network Support
|$4,345 (in-state undergraduate); $10,183 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Career Studies Certificates in Cyber Security, Network Administration and Network Engineering||$4,653 (in-state undergraduate); $10,491 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|Northern Virginia Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Career Studies Certificate in Network Engineering and Network Administration||$5,138 (in-state undergraduate); $11,055 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|Old Dominion University||4-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Information Systems and Technology,
Bachelor of Computer Science
|$9,480 (in-state undergraduate); $26,220 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|Radford University||4-year, public; small city|| Bachelor of Science in Information Systems,
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Technology (Concentration in Networks)
Certificate in Information Security
|$9,809 (in-state undergraduate); $22,093 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|Tidewater Community College||2-year public, midsize city|| Career Studies Certificate in Network Administration, Network Infrastructure Specialist, Cyber Security and Server Infrastructure Administrator Windows 2012,
Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
|$5,171 (in-state undergraduate); $11,009 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|Thomas Nelson Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Career Studies Certificate in Cisco Networking||$4,416 (in-state undergraduate); $10,254 (out-of-state undergraduate)*|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||4-year, public; midsize city||Master of Science in Computer and Information Systems Security||$12,779 (in-state graduate); $24,002 (out-of-state graduate)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.