Cisco Networking Academy, a global education initiative from Cisco Systems, offers networking programs, like the (Cisco Certified Network Associate) CCNA and (Cisco Certified Network Professional) CCNP courses, which prepare students for the certification exams of the same name, and other computer-related courses. Also see History of virtual learning environments for how Cisco Networking Academy has developed since 1997 relative to others within the VLE community.
Courses are available in approximately 9,000 local academies, in over 165 different countries.
As of 2010, there were over 900,000 active students (defined as students currently enrolled, students enrolled in a future course, and students who were enrolled in a course during the last five months).
In 1993, Cisco embarked on an initiative to design practical, cost-effective networks. It quickly became apparent that designing and installing the networks was not enough, schools also needed some way to maintain the networks after they were up and running. Cisco Senior Consulting Engineer George Ward, based in Cisco's Phoenix, Arizona, office, developed training for teachers and staff for maintenance of school networks. The first pilot of the program started with computer science instructors and students at Greenway High School in northwest Phoenix, Arizona. The students in particular were eager to learn and the demand was such that it led to the creation of the Cisco Networking Academy.
Cisco Networking Academy, established in 1997, teaches students networking and other information technology-related skills, preparing them for jobs as well as for higher education in engineering, computer science and related fields. Since its launch, the program has grown to more than 9,000 Academies in 50 U.S. states and more than 165 countries with a curriculum taught in 16 different languages. More than 900,000 students participate in Academies operating in colleges and universities, technical schools, community-based organizations, and other educational programs around the world. Networking Academy blends face-to-face teaching with web-based curriculum, hands-on lab exercises, and Internet-based assessment.
Networking Academy offers a variety of courses in networking, such as CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), CCNP (Cisco Certified Network Professional), Wireless Networking and Network Security, among others. The CCNA is offered in two models, Discovery provides general networking theory and offers a hands-on career-oriented approach. Exploration is for more advanced learners and covers protocols and theory in depth, each is divided into four courses. Both the Exploration and Discovery tracks lead to industry-recognized CCNA certifications. CCNP courses follow from the CCNA and are offered as three separate certificated courses.
The latest revision of the Networking courses, entitled "Routing and Switching", released in 2013, re-combines the Discovery and Exploration tracks. The first two courses, Network Basics and Routing and Switching Essentials, are designed to map to the CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry-level Network Technician) competencies. There are additional courses in development to map fully to the new CCNA competencies.
The Networking Academy also offers curriculum mapped to the CompTIA A+ competencies. The IT Essentials curriculum was also updated in 2013 and again in 2016 to reflect the updated A+ competencies.
With Cisco Networking Academy expanding into many different nations, some without the infrastructure present in western nations, Cisco has worked with a business partner to create a remote access router system (Netlab+) as well as collaborating with over 200 academies worldwide to test and aid the development of the Packet Tracer application, which offers students and education centers a free networking education tool.
These are available in addition to the in-class practical labs for the Cisco courses.