Discover the 10 Best “Hidden Gem” Technology Schools in the US

As new discoveries are made and technology continues to evolve, it is necessary to prepare students for the future. Technology schools are a great way to educate future leaders using the latest equipment and industry best practices. Although the majority of degrees at technical schools are in fields such as computer science, business, engineering, and applied sciences, these colleges cover a wide range of academic areas to fit any student’s interests.

The best technical schools focus on high-quality instruction but also research and practical applications for students to utilize their knowledge. The faculty are highly trained in their area of expertise and have first-hand experience in the field. Combining future-oriented programs, experienced faculty, and an exciting environment of innovation results in impressive career placement for students.

Big names like MIT and CalTech might be the first options to come to mind when thinking of technology schools but there are plenty of other colleges that provide exciting opportunities and resources. There are many underrated schools across the United States that might be the perfect fit for future technology graduates. These universities have quality faculty members, academic programs, and often a more affordable price tag than other schools.

As tech jobs continue to grow, with nearly 250,000 new positions projected in 2021, it is an exciting time to get into technological fields. But with so many options, including those you haven’t heard of yet, it can be challenging to choose which school is right for you. Here are our picks for 10 of the best “hidden gem” technology schools in the United States in 2021.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute (Marcy and Albany, NY)

SUNY Poly supports a world-class labor force and a high-tech ecosystem throughout their community and the state of New York. The school organizes innovative programs that benefit over 140,000 individuals and nearly 30,000 students. These events include educational, community-based, cultural, and public outreach programs. 

The ultimate goal of their community programming is to encourage students to go into STEM, a transition that is critical for the 21st century. In addition, SUNY Poly students learn how to use their technical knowledge to uplift their community.

The Albany campus is home to the NanoTech Complex, a 1.65 million square foot facility that houses cleanroom space, labs, offices, and classrooms to develop cutting-edge nanotech research. Along with R&D functions, students and corporate partners alike use the facilities as an educational and prototyping space.

New York Institute of Technology (Old Westbury, NY)

New York Institute of Technology
Muncharelli, DuPont Guest Estate, CC BY-SA 3.0

NYIT encourages hands-on experience through many opportunities such as internships, volunteering, and study abroad programs. As a result of their applied learning, 94% of graduates are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. This is also due to the school’s programs, which are designed to meet market demand, and the core curriculum preparing students for their future jobs.

NYIT is home to many impressive technological facilities, such as the NYIT Computer Graphics Lab. This computer graphics and animation space is revered as the location where the founders of Pixar and Lucasfilm began their research.

In addition, the school is recognized for its robust degree programs in areas such as cybersecurity. In 2016, the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security designated NYIT as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (Okmulgee, OK)

OSUIT is the state’s only university of applied technology and is known for its teaching facilities, industry partnerships, and robust technology education. The Workforce & Economic Development program fosters relationships with industry partners. In addition, they assist in developing customized training, deploying new technology, and planning strategically for the future.

Along with their impact on the greater community, OSUIT shows its dedication to its students through affordable education and world-class faculty. The $5800 tuition is about half of the in-state cost for most state universities. Students still receive quality instruction from industry experts who are more than qualified to teach the current best practices.

Eight faculty members at OSUIT were recently recognized by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development for their work on developing a technical leadership program for students. This organization awards individuals who do extraordinary work and demonstrate commitment to their students.

Arkansas Tech University (Russellville, AR)

Arkansas Tech University
Logna 2014, Baswell hall, CC BY-SA 4.0

Arkansas Tech is on the cutting edge of research, allowing students to experience exciting technological developments. The school recently received nearly $5 million to conduct research in a variety of fields. This includes interdisciplinary topics from hazard vulnerability analysis in hospitals to the effects of forest management activities.

Outside of research, students have their choice of 172 student organizations that align with their educational and personal goals. These clubs help students form campus connections and teach tools such as leadership, cultural appreciation, and responsibility.

In 2017, Arkansas Tech students logged nearly 15,000 hours of community and political engagement through service programs. The school is committed to helping students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to support community well-being. This aligns with the school’s belief that when students succeed, innovation thrives and their communities flourish.

Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus (Mesa, AZ)

ASU Polytechnic was ranked as the #1 Most Innovative School from 2016 – 2021 by US News, recognizing the school’s culture of discovery. The campus supports innovation from students through the Innovation Hub, a space for students to brainstorm ideas. There are also many resources to prototype in the 15,000 square foot warehouse, including wood routers, laser engravers, 3D printers, vinyl cutters, and more.

The US Department of Labor recently awarded ASU Polytechnic an $8 million grant to train workers for high-paying and high-demand jobs in the technology sector. This program addresses a critical skills shortage in fields such as advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, and Information Technology. With the assistance of ASU Polytechnic, Arizona ranks second in the United States for creating jobs in emerging sectors and has filled over 350,000 positions since 2015.

University of Wisconsin-Stout (Menomonie, WI)

University of Wisconsin Stout
Eevensen, Jarvis Hall Science Wing, CC BY-SA 4.0

Despite its relatively small size, UW Stout was recognized as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University by the Board of Regents, a designation only applicable to 3% of universities nationwide including big names like Cal Poly and MIT.

UW Stout is known for its career focus and applied learning that gives students a polytechnic advantage. The school runs large career fairs and hosts 1,500 nationwide employers during its recruiting season. Out of 1600 graduates in 2019, 98.8% are employed or continuing their education. Graduates are hired by Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, Medtronic, 3M, Garmin, the Mayo Clinic, and Raytheon.

The school prepares students to be career-ready through the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. UW Stout’s campus has three times as many labs as classrooms on campus with focuses including art and design, engineering, electronics, and robotics.

Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus (Salina, KS)

K-State Poly prepares students for their futures with many hands-on opportunities for learning. Students in Computer Systems Technology and other related majors demonstrate their education and expertise through studio classes. This also helps to build a professional portfolio before graduating.

Students can also participate in organizations on campus to use their technical knowledge. Make48 is an invent-a-thon where students compete against US colleges to plan, prototype, and pitch a product. 

58% of K-State Poly students come to the school for aviation with others studying business, engineering, computer science, or service. The school hosts a premium fleet of 35 aircraft and flight training devices with more Master Certified Aviation Instructors than any college in the United States. Pilot students can begin flying as early as the second week of school.

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