You see the screaming headlines everywhere: America needs high-tech workers! Nationwide, some 400,000 information technology jobs are going begging, according to the Meta Group, a research and advisory firm in Stamford, Conn. That means 10 percent of jobs in the industry are unfilled, says a spokeswoman for the Arlington-based Information Technology Association of America -- and that's "what we call crisis level."

In response, colleges are rushing to educate budding technophiles, many of them adults who want either to switch careers or to update skills they already have. The chart on the following pages shows schools and colleges offering computer technology training -- 43 of them in metropolitan Washington alone.

When scanning the chart, keep these points in mind: It includes only institutions that award academic credit toward degrees or certificates in information technology. (In other words, no degrees in medical technology, no training-school classes in Microsoft Excel.) It emphasizes adult continuing education programs, although many campuses mix traditional and nontraditional students. Several institutions have home bases elsewhere but have opened centers here; the information listed is for the Washington area only.

Finally, remember that choosing the right program is a lot like shopping for software. Not only is the variety daunting, but it's hard to tell what you're getting. That's why this chart is meant as just a first step. You'll find a more detailed version, listing specific programs, online at www.washingtonpost.com/edreview. If you see something you like, seek out more information by phoning the schools or checking out their Web sites. What if you don't see what you want? Call or look on the Web anyway. Like the high-tech industry itself, these programs change by the minute.