List of the Best Technical College Programs

Technology is a rapidly developing sector of the economy. As such, colleges are continually updating their technical programs. Ranked lists, such as those produced annually by sites like U.S. News and World Report, help sort through the mass number of universities, lab facilities, student organizations, and faculty to choose from. Here are the best colleges, based on U.S. News and World Report's methodology. The information is current as of October 2019.

MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the best known technical colleges around, and it's been that way for decades. It has its own operating system (a Unix-based desktop interface called Athena). Programs developed within Athena have influenced technology that later became widely used around the world, including early instant messaging systems. 

In addition to computer sciences, MIT also tops lists for the best engineering schools in nearly every discipline—from aerospace to nuclear to mechanical. The cost of tuition is approximately $53,790 per year. However, the university's OpenCourseWare system provides course materials online, free of charge, to any user in the world. Some 300 million people have used the site for self-learning, with the help of material from more than 2,400 courses.

University of Southern California

USC is another school that has remained on the cutting edge of technology decade after decade. The epicenter of technical progress at USC is the Viterbi School of Engineering. Viterbi is humming with a level of research activity that is unmatched in most colleges around the country. Incoming freshmen at Viterbi in 2019 were 50% women—an impressive feat in a field of study where striking gender imbalances persist. The annual tuition for USC is a little more than $57,000.

University of California, Berkeley

UC Berkeley has a longstanding record of academic achievement in a wide range of subjects—and technical programs are no exception. If you know you want to be a part of technological progress, but don't know exactly how you intend on doing that, this could be the school for you.

It lands in the top three for engineering schools overall, and it tops lists specifically for civil engineering, computer engineering, and environmental engineering programs. Beyond that, it ranks in the top 10 for every specific engineering program, from biomedical to mechanical and beyond. Tuition is just over $14,000 per year for in-state students and just under $44,000 for out-of-state students.

Stanford University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, it's no surprise that Stanford has an outstanding computer science program. However, you may be surprised to know that Stanford's technical programs excel in more areas than just software engineering. It comes in among the top three schools on U.S. News and World Report's lists for aerospace, civil, environmental, material, mechanical, and petroleum engineering programs. Undergraduate tuition is more than $17,000 per quarter.

Duke University

If you're most interested in tech developments that advance the world of medicine, you may be heading to Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. It comes in just behind MIT and Johns Hopkins University in the list of best biomedical engineering programs.

Partnerships between computing sciences and medical pursuits allow students to be at the forefront of exciting developments in areas including AI's role in health and medicine. The school also ranked among the best schools for students focused on environmental engineering. Tuition is more than $58,000 per year.

Georgia Institute of Technology

If you can't wait to put your technical skills to use, it's hard to do better than Georgia Tech—one of the top research universities in the country. This school ranks in the top 10 for every field of technical study, and it tops the list for industrial and manufacturing engineering.

Research partnerships with European colleges allow students to spend time furthering their technical skills abroad, while co-op and volunteer partnerships in Atlanta allow students to put their skills to work closer to home. Tuition is just over $10,000 per year for Georgia residents, and out-of-state students pay just over $31,000.

University of Illinois

As Chicago's only public research university, the University of Illinois has plenty of resources at its disposal, along with some notable alumni. The school encourages calculated risk-taking, which helps students prepare for the fast-paced, high-stakes world of tech.

The university is the birthplace of the first web browser and the first parallel supercomputer, and today it offers more than a dozen unique and diverse engineering programs. Tuition is approximately $7,309 per semester for in-state students and $13,737 per semester for out-of-state students.

Northwestern University

Just north of Chicago, in Evanston, you'll find the next college on the list, Northwestern University. There, the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering is another researching powerhouse. The school boasts an annual research budget of $1.5 billion. These funds are put to good use in areas ranging from IT to nanotechnology and biotechnology. Graduates from this engineering school have gone on to hold executive positions in companies like Tesla, IBM, and the NBA. Tuition is a little more than $56,000 per year.

Michigan Tech University

Michigan Technological University is a small school in the town of Houghton, MI. With approximately 7,200 students, the program places a large value on student involvement. There is also a big emphasis on real-world education. The school's Enterprise Program is an example of this. Students partner with real-world companies in order to solve problems and create better products. Current Enterprise Program teams are working in areas like open-source hardware and robotics. Cost per year is approximately $30.542 per year for in-state students and just under $50,000 per year for out-of-state students.

The University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma's College of Engineering had already been among the top engineering programs in the country before it opened Gallogly Hall in the fall of 2019. The new addition to campus is the epicenter of engineering activity in all the forms it takes, including partnerships with chemistry, biology, and medical programs in its Biomedical Engineering program.

The engineering school is small but tight-knit. A few dozen faculty have collectively authored hundreds of scientific journal articles, and more than 60 patents have sprung from classwork on campus. Tuition, fees and other expenses total nearly $30,000 per year for in-state students and a little more than $45,000 per year for out-of-state students.