Best Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Networking

Oct 20, 2021

What is a Computer Networking Bachelor Degree?

Computer networking is the practice of linking multiple technological devices to each other digitally. For example, in a typical office, computers need to be able to communicate with other computers, printers, webcams, and more. Interconnected technology helps people effectively complete their work and share critical information.

Additionally, as technology evolves, more sophisticated networks will be required to connect them in efficient ways. Computers and linkable devices may also be changing at different rates, making a professional who understands how to create a network that will support technology at all levels necessary to the smooth running of a workplace.

Students with a computer networking bachelor's degree may be the architect of these networks, maintain their day-to-day operations, or work to transfer technology over to new networks. As computers become more heavily used in fields around the world, computer networking will remain important as a way to facilitate their operations.

Best Computer Networking Bachelor's Degrees

1. Weber State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,986 No Available Data (2019-2020) 34% 91% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

2. Utah Valley University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$5,820 No Available Data (2019-2020) 32% 74% Yes Yes AP Credits

3. University of Wisconsin-Stout

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9,463 91% 60% 83% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

4. University of Central Missouri

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8,043 65% 51% 94% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

5. University of Akron

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11,636 73% 46% 96% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

6. Lake Superior State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,255 57% 51% 96% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

7. Ferris State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,376 87% 47% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

8. Ohio University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12,612 82% 65% 94% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

9. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15,027 57% 83% 81% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

10. Stevens-Henager College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$14,585 No Available Data (2019-2020) 25% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

11. Pennsylvania College of Technology

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$17,160 No Available Data (2019-2020) 45% 89% Yes Yes AP Credits

12. Lindenwood University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18,100 88% 50% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

13. Davenport University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$19,338 82% 49% 98% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

14. Tiffin University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$26,110 69% 39% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

15. Indiana Institute of Technology

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$27,440 60% 37% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Networking Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

Typically, networking is a concentration within a larger degree. As such, students might want to instead look at the fields within which they can study networking. Some options include:

  • Cybersecurity, which focuses on how to keep computer networks safe from malicious attacks.
  • Telecommunications, which is similar to computer networking but focuses more on distance communications.
  • Computer science, which gives students the opportunity to learn about software and its various applications.

For example, there are differences between cloud engineers and network engineers. Students interested in becoming a cloud engineer instead of a network engineer may not want to major in computer science as software is less important in that field.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Networking

The networking curriculum will vary from program to program. However, there are a few courses that students can reasonably expect to take:

  • Network security, which gives students the opportunity to learn procedures that fortify networks against attacks and information leaks.
  • Statistics, which helps students understand how to analyze large amounts of data so they can apply that to their networking studies.
  • Programming, which focuses on the basics of creating executable computer programs.

Students should also expect there to be non-networking related general education courses in their bachelor's degrees, such as foreign languages or fine arts.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Networking?

A bachelor's degree in networking is typically comprised of around 120 credits. These can usually be completed in four years if done full-time; more years will be required if done part-time. A little over half of these credits will be focused on areas directly relevant to networking and computers. These may include practical courses or professional internships. The rest of the credits will be a mix of electives and general education requirements in order to create students with a well-rounded academic background.

How to Choose a Computer Networking School & Bachelor's Program

Like with any program, there are a many factors to consider when choosing a computer networking school. First, students might want to consider the strength of the network courses. If they want more practical experience, they might also want to look at internship opportunities available to them. The program focus should also match the student's career aspirations.

Additionally, it's also important to assess the strength of programs outside the computer networking department. While it may not directly serve the student's career aspirations, having skills such as written communication and critical analysis may serve them in future jobs as well. It will also be a valuable resource for students interested in pursuing an unrelated minor.

Finally, students should also consider their finances when applying. Taking on student loan debt is a serious decision which students should devote some consideration. Additionally, accredited institutions will make students eligible for governmental aid, which can be a valuable source of financial support.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Networking Degrees

Accreditation is a process that vets institutions for quality education. If a school has been accredited, that means that it has been officially approved by a private regional organization that has itself been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the Department of Education, or both. This assessment is conducted in order to verify that their educational offerings are of acceptable quality. Students who chose an accredited institution are thus taking a step to demonstrate to future employers that their degree has a certain value. Additionally, governmental aid is only available to students who are attending accredited schools, so this may be an economic consideration as well.

Accreditation specifically for networking programs is not common. Students who want to demonstrate their abilities in this area can do so in part by attending an institution that is regionally accredited. They could also consider obtaining certification in networking.

Networking Licensure and Certification

Certification for computer networking professionals is optional. However, it can be an effective way to demonstrate capabilities to employers. These certifications are privately given, and qualifications vary. One option is becoming a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA). This certification is given by Cisco, a company that works in computer networking. Applicants take an exam at a cost, either online or in person, and students who pass are certified for a period of three years.

They also offer a preparation course to help students get ready to take the exam. Additionally, this certification has no official prerequisites. While students might find that having a bachelor's degree better prepares them for the test, no formal education is required. As such, it can be a useful avenue towards employment for those who are not ready to pursue a degree.

Apart from this test, there are multiple other Cisco certifications available for interested students. These skill levels range from 'Entry' to 'Expert' and might serve students who are looking to expand their career opportunities or prepare for advancement.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Networking?

Computer networking is a profession that can be found in dozens of fields. As such, individuals who earn a bachelor's degree in networking have a lot of options in what they can do with it.

For example, a bachelor's degree in addition to certain certifications might give them the opportunity to work in the medical field as a cyber security engineer. There, they'll protect sensitive medical information with their knowledge of computer communications and networks.

Another option is becoming a network strategy solutions analyst for a transportation company. This job requires professionals to operate computer networking in a way that serves supply-chain fulfilments and enables important communication across state lines.

Careers that involve networking will usually rely on technical knowledge and critical analysis of computer problems, regardless of the industry in which they exist. Two possible job titles for networking professionals are network technician and network engineer.

How to Become a Network Technician

A network technician is a professional who supports the smooth operation of computer networks for a variety of industries. Some responsibilities may include troubleshooting and network set-up. This is commonly a full-time job; however, as computers are vital to many organizations, it may not fit a traditional 9-to-5 schedule.

Requirements for this job may include a bachelor's degree. However, they may only require an associate degree, or some experience supported by certain certifications. As it is a wide field, it's difficult to generalize the educational requirements. Regardless of educational requirements, relevant technical knowledge and an ability to critically investigate the functioning of a network are typically skills necessary in this profession. To become a network technician, students should try to develop these skills.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the annual salary for computer support specialists, of which network technicians are a part, is around $54,760. Growth between 2019-2029 is estimated to be 8% as a result of projected technology upgrades. The highest paying states are New Jersey, Washington, and Massachusetts.

How to Become a Network Engineer

A network engineer is a computer professional who designs and builds computer networks of many sizes. These professionals may be responsible for taking a specific organization's needs into account during the conceptual phase and working with other technical professionals to make sure it operates smoothly. This is typically a full-time job.

Most network engineering positions require a bachelor's degree in computer networking or a related field. Some jobs might also require a certain amount of previous experience or certification depending on the employer. These professionals need to have strong technical skills, supported by a degree of creativity and logical thinking. Those interested in becoming a network engineer should cultivate these abilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the annual salary for computer network architects, of which network engineers are a part, is around $112,690. Growth between 2019-2029 is estimated to be 5% as a result of a projected increase in IT needs. The highest paying states are Virginia, Rhode Island, and California.

Professional Organizations in Computer Networking

Professional organizations can serve individuals in a variety of ways. This may include professional networking, access to resources, or opportunities for further education.

In the computer networking industry, one example of a professional organization is the Network Professional Association (NPA). This organization aims to foster continual professional growth, with an especially clear focus on adherence to top ethical standards. It is a virtual, world-wide community that allows professionals in a variety of locations to connect and discuss these matters. Professionals might choose to join for the benefit of displaying their commitment to ethics.

Another example is the Association for Women in Computing (AWC). This is an organization whose membership is broadly available to women in a computing profession, either in a chapter or individual format. Women who work in computer networking may choose to join this organization for a sense of community, or the opportunity to mentor younger professionals and give back to the networking community.

What Other Kinds of Networking Degrees Are There?

A bachelor's degree in computer networking isn't the only option for interested students. There are opportunities on multiple degree levels. This can be an important consideration for many students. Different career opportunities in this industry require different levels of education, with some only requiring an associate and others a Ph.D. Others focus more on experience and certifications than formal education. As different degrees have different time and monetary investments attached, students might want to familiarize themselves with their options before they commit.

Associate Degrees in Networking

An associate degree in computer networking typically requires students to complete around 65 credits, about half of the required credits for a bachelor's degree. Accordingly, it typically takes around half the time - 2 years if done full-time or more if done part-time. This degree does not typically require general education as a part of these credits and is instead more focused on imparting specifically networking skills. Additionally, some degrees may allow their credits to be transferred to a four-year institution for the completion of a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degrees in Networking

While master's degrees in networking specifically tend to be rare, there are options for master's degrees in computer-related fields that might have concentrations in networking. These programs typically include 30-40 graduate credits, which can take between a year and a year and a half to complete if undertaken full-time. This offers students the opportunity to delve deeply into their field. There may also be opportunities for independent research. These programs typically end in a capstone project to demonstrate their ability, which might be helpful to obtaining future employment.

Doctoral Degrees in Networking

Similar to master's degrees, networking is typically a concentration or area of interest within a broader field of computer science or engineering. These degrees can have a variable amount of credits depending on the programs, but there are typically at least 72 required. These degrees give students the opportunity to gain a sophisticated understanding of the field of computer studies. Additionally, an important part of a doctoral degree is independent research and the completion of a dissertation or thesis. These can demonstrate a candidate's capability in both understanding and synthesizing complex material.

Certificates in Networking

Certificates in computer networking are education opportunities to learn more about specific areas of the field in a certain amount of time. As such, credits included and time commitment can also vary depending on the depth of the focus. These may be available at the undergraduate or graduate level. Certificates can be an effective way for students who are interested in specific job opportunities to gain a level of expertise in their field. It can also be more convenient than a full degree program in terms of time and cost.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Networking Degrees

For students who have chosen an accredited school, they have the option to apply for governmental aid for their education through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA can help students learn how eligible they are for support in the form of loans, work-study opportunities, and federal scholarships. Aid is given based on financial need and comes with a complex application process. As such, students should consider completing it at their earliest convenience.

There are also options for support in the form of non-governmental scholarships. One example is The Center for Women In Technology (CWIT) scholarship offered at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). This scholarship is available to women attending UMBC and majoring in a technological-based field. It offers $5,000-$22,000 per student per year and is awarded on a merit basis.

Next: View Schools
Created with Sketch. Link to this page

Additional Bachelor's Degrees Programs

View More

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?