Learn about career options in cybersecurity, or peruse the 25 best schools, ranked based on tuition costs and salaries of alumni reported by PayScale. Students interested in pursuing cybersecurity degrees should ensure their degrees are accredited.
2020 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's in Cybersecurity Degrees
With low tuition rates and high average alumni salaries, the following 25 schools offer the best online bachelor's in cybersecurity degrees. Graduates of the #1 school, George Mason University, report earning a median salary of $103,200. Ranked #2, Thomas Edison State University offers distance learners a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity for $9,856 per year. Alumni reported a mid-career salary of $88,000.
Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about OnlineU.
George Mason University (GMU) offers a fully online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity designed for students with an Associate of Applied Science. The 24-credit cybersecurity concentration covers IT in the global economy, computer crime and forensics, and security accreditation. A minimum of 120 credits is required to complete the program, with at least 63 earned at GMU. Some transfer credits may be applied to the core and upper-level courses in the BAS program.
Online coursework is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. Online learning is asynchronous and includes email, discussion boards, audio and video materials, wikis, and blogs. Students can download Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus at no charge. Online students at GMU have access to career counseling, a wide range of library resources, a virtual computer lab with e-books, film and music databases, and writing guides.
Applicants must have an AAS in Cyber Security or an AAS in Information Systems Technology with a Cybersecurity Career Studies Certificate from Lord Fairfax Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, or Tidewater Community College. Transcripts must be submitted. Students must have a competitive GPA and have already completed English Composition and a math equivalent to the core math course at GMU, with a minimum C grade in both courses.
#2 Thomas Edison State University
Annual Tuition: $9,856
Median Salary: $88,000
Locations: Trenton (NJ)
Thomas Edison State University (TESU) offers over 100 programs for adult learners, including a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. The interdisciplinary program blends comprehensive technical instruction with other legal, ethical, and policy elements to give students a well-rounded understanding of working in the cybersecurity field. A total of 120 credits are required, including a capstone course. Most students earn their degrees in 1-3 years, while others may take up to 10 years.
Up to 90 credits can be transferred into the program. Students can earn credits in several ways, including passing a final exam without taking the class or completing a portfolio that demonstrates knowledge equivalent to that taught in college courses.
New terms start every month, so undergraduates can enroll when it is most convenient. Those applying to TESU must have a high school diploma, secondary home school diploma, or GED. Applicants must be at least 20 years old, but waivers are possible for those who have at least 24 credits from previous coursework with a GPA of 2.0, or those who achieve high enough scores on the Accuplacer exam. Applicants who are 18 and active members of the US military may also apply. SAT/ACT scores are not required.
#3 Mercy College
Annual Tuition: $18,934
Median Salary: $90,400
Locations: Dobbs Ferry (NY)
Mercy College offers over 30 undergraduate and graduate programs entirely online, including a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. In this program, students learn how to identify risks, vulnerabilities, and threats to IT systems and how to configure, implement, and monitor security software in various industries. Instruction focuses on how to make security components more intelligent and useful. Legal and managerial aspects of the field are also examined. The cybersecurity core comprises of 39 credits in the 120-credit program. Full-time students with no previous college credits can complete the program in four years.
Up to 75 credits can be transferred into the program from a two-year college; Up to 90 from a four-year institution. Online classes are asynchronous, and coursework is delivered through the Blackboard online learning management system. Students can access course materials, participate in discussion boards, submit assignments, quizzes, tests, and interact with fellow students and instructors.
First-year students must submit their high school transcripts that include grades, class rank, and date of graduation. Applicants must also submit a resume, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Students whose native language isn’t English must demonstrate their English proficiency to be accepted.
#4 Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Annual Tuition: $9,637
Median Salary: $84,000
Locations: Carbondale (IL)
Southern Illinois University (SIU) offers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in cybersecurity. The four-year, 120-credit program combines classroom theory and instruction with hands-on experience in software, networking applications, maintenance, and troubleshooting. The six-course cybersecurity specialization covers network protocols and apps, device programming for IoT, and security in wireless communication.
All students must complete an internship at a business or industry that coincides with their specialty and career goals. With the assistance of faculty, students must find the location, negotiate hours, duties, and other terms of the internship subject to the university’s approval. A capstone option is available to students who qualify. Online learners have access to tutoring, assistance with writing and research, and career development services to help with resumes and interviews.
Students applying to SIU must have a high school diploma or GED. Students are eligible for automatic admission if they have completed high school (or equivalent), have a minimum GPA of 2.75, are ranked in the top 10 percent of their class, or have a test score equivalent to 23 ACT or 1140 SAT.
#5 Excelsior College
Annual Tuition: $11,400
Median Salary: $84,300
Locations: Albany (NY)
Excelsior offers several, fully online bachelor degree options in the cybersecurity, including a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in cybersecurity technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering Technology with a concentration in nuclear cybersecurity. The BS in cybersecurity is available as a general degree option or with a concentration in cyber operations; this trackfocuses on homeland security, reverse engineering, cyber crime and terrorism, and programming. In the program, students learn theory and skills that may enable them to pursue careers with the FBI, NSA, local law enforcement agencies, or private corporations. Graduates can take several different certification exams, such as SSCP, ESCP, CISP, Network+, and Security+.
Excelsior College's online programs are designed for working adults, as students can study whenever and wherever it is convenient. Online courses are broken down into learning modules, which can take one to several weeks to complete. The curriculum includes discussions, assignments, quizzes, exams, and journals. Online coursework is delivered through the Blackboard online learning management system.
Transfer students must submit official transcripts from previous coursework, and they may also be required to submit course descriptions and syllabi from those courses. Students can transfer up to 117 credits to the 120-credit degree program.
#6 Norwich University
Annual Tuition: $11,250
Median Salary: $80,700
Locations: Northfield (VT)
Norwich University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity for students looking to complete their bachelor’s degree. The 120-credit program has several concentrations, including Computer Forensics and Vulnerability Management, Information Warfare and Security Management, and Cyber Security Management. The curriculum combines core principles of cybersecurity with elective and project-based courses in critical thinking, communication, and research and analysis. Students typically complete the program within 18 months, and there are start dates throughout the year.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously. Students are expected to meet weekly deadlines and participate in class discussions via online forums. Online learners have access to a student services advisor, library resources, and 24/7 technical support.
To apply, students must have an associate’s degree or a minimum of 30 undergraduate credits. Students should provide official college transcripts with a grade C or better.
#7 University of North Dakota
Annual Tuition: $11,970
Median Salary: $77,800
Locations: Grand Forks (ND)
The University of North Dakota offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. The degree program requires 120 credit hours and takes four to five years to complete. The curriculum covers emerging cyber threats and defenses, spread spectrum communications, introduction to smart grid, engineering systems reliability, and cyber-physical energy systems security. Students have the opportunity to participate in cybersecurity research.
Online courses and class materials are accessible through the Blackboard learning management system. Online students have access to online tutoring and learning services, the Writing Center, career services, and academic advising.
Classes begin during fall, spring, and summer semesters, and students can enroll at any time throughout the year. Applicants must submit an online application along with official high school transcripts and official SAT or ACT scores.
#8 Utica College
Annual Tuition: $14,250
Median Salary: $77,800
Locations: Utica (NY)
Utica College offers two options for students looking to complete an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. The 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity provides four concentrations in Cyber Operations, Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation, Information Assurance, and Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation. Core coursework includes an introduction to criminal justice, computer hardware and software, system threats, malware analysis, information security, cryptography, and more. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Cyber Criminology and Policy is also a 120-credit program. The curriculum focuses on the tools and techniques for students to identify and protect financial institutions, retail operations, and everyday people against fraud.
Both bachelor programs take an average of four to six years to complete, and students can choose to enroll either part-time or full-time. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, and students can take advantage of tech support and electronic library resources.
To apply, students must submit an online application and official high school or college transcripts, as well as a personal statement and a letter of recommendation. SAT or ACT scores are accepted but not required.
#9 University of Maryland Global Campus
Annual Tuition: $14,970
Median Salary: $77,200
Locations: Adelphi (MD)
The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) offers two options for an online bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity focuses on the operational procedures and technologies to design, implement, administer, secure, and troubleshoot corporate networks. The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity Management and Policy focuses on providing students with the most current knowledge and skill set for protecting critical cyber infrastructure and assets. Both degree programs require 120 credits, and students can transfer as many as 90 credits from a prior institution.
Students have the option to study full-time or part-time and can enroll at many different times throughout the year, in any semester. Online courses are administered through the Learning Experience Online (LEO) platform. Courses are delivered asynchronously, and students can communicate with their peers and instructors via online discussion boards and email. Virtual students also have access to online tutoring, the UMGC Writing Center, and the UMGC library.
Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose along with official high school transcripts. Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities.
Online courses are delivered through the Canvas learning management system. Students are expected to submit assignments according to weekly deadlines and consistently communicate with instructors and classmates. Online students have access to multiple resources, including online advising, to support them throughout the program.
Applicants must submit official transcripts along with their online application.
#11 Northeastern University
Annual Tuition: $16,230
Median Salary: $69,300
Locations: Burlington (MA)
Northeastern University's online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology offers a concentration in systems administration and cybersecurity through the College of Professional Studies. The 120-credit program requires that students earn at least 60 credits at Northeastern University and maintain a 2.00 minimum GPA throughout their study. The concentration explores legal and ethical issues in cybersecurity, database administration, encryption concepts, software vulnerabilities, and network security. Students will be required to complete a capstone course to graduate.
Online students have support from academic and career advisors. There are entry dates in the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and students can enroll either part-time or full-time.
Applicants must submit an online application and official academic transcripts, along with proof of English language proficiency.
#12 The Sage Colleges
Annual Tuition: $17,700
Median Salary: $69,800
Locations: Troy (NY)
The Sage College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in cybersecurity through the School of Professional and Continuing Education. The 120-credit curriculum provides a comprehensive foundation in information technology. The specialization in Cybersecurity explores the skills and knowledge needed to protect network infrastructures, secure electronic assets, prevent attacks, investigate cybercrimes, perform in-depth incident analysis, and build secure infrastructures.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously, and students are expected to regularly log into classes to submit assignments, take exams, and participate in virtual class discussions. Students have access to a variety of resources, including career development support and academic advising.
Students can enroll in the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and admissions occur on a rolling basis. To apply, students must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from all high school and/or post-secondary institutions, and an essay about their career goals.
#13 Saint Leo University Online
Annual Tuition: $11,100
Median Salary: $65,600
Locations: St. Leo (FL)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Saint Leo University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. The online degree requires 120 credits for completion. The curriculum focuses on security tools and technologies used by cybersecurity professionals in their daily work. Students will learn in a virtual lab environment and immerse themselves in a mock IT infrastructure with access to real-world software tools.
Students have the opportunity to participate in internships with top companies and can participate virtually in student organizations like the Computing Club and the Computer Security Club. The university also has a chapter of Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the international honor society for scholars in the computing and information systems discipline.
Courses are offered in three semesters throughout the year: spring, summer, and fall, with two eight-week terms per semester. Students can enroll either full-time or part-time and can enroll during any semester.
#14 National University
Annual Tuition: $17,020
Median Salary: $66,500
Locations: La Jolla (CA)
National University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity with concentrations in computer network defense and digital forensics. The curriculum provides students with a comprehensive understanding of information technology management concepts and fundamental security processes. The degree requires 180 credits for graduation, 45 of which must be completed at National University. Online courses are offered on a four-week schedule that allows students to accelerate their degree. Students take one class at a time and can enroll in the degree program at any time throughout the year.
Online coursework includes a mix of lectures, readings, presentations, evaluations, quizzes, and exams hosted on the Blackboard learning management platform. New students will complete an online course orientation to understand how to access course materials and interact with peers and instructors.
Applicants must submit an online application, high school transcripts, and college transcripts for any previously completed undergraduate coursework.
#15 Wayland Baptist University
Annual Tuition: $12,834
Median Salary: $64,800
Locations: Plainview (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Wayland Baptist University offers an online Bachelor of Business Administration with a specialization in cybersecurity. The degree requires 124 credits, 42 of which are upper-level coursework. Students will complete the core business curriculum and 24 credits of cybersecurity coursework. The degree curriculum covers current security methods recognized by industry experts and prepares students to safeguard computing hardware and software, data, and other assets.
Online courses are asynchronous and delivered through the Blackboard learning platform. Students can join the Enactus International students' organization to connect and work with a global network on projects. The university also offers an online writing center and extensive research resources that can all be accessed virtually.
Applicants must submit an online application along with academic transcripts.
#16 Saint Louis University-Main Campus
Annual Tuition: $19,500
Median Salary: $67,200
Locations: St. Louis (MO)
Saint Louis University-Main Campus offers a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems with a concentration in cybersecurity. The 120-credit program is offered through the School for Professional Studies. The curriculum focuses on developing students' research, communication, decision-making, and teamwork skills while advancing their information systems knowledge. There are six start terms each year, so students can begin their degree when convenient.
Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system in eight-week terms throughout the fall, spring, and summer. Distance learners have access to disability services, technical support, academic resources, career services, and more.
Applicants must be at least 22 years old (though exceptions can be made), have three years of work or equivalent experience, a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.5 (or GED score of at least 2250), and submit their official academic transcripts.
#17 Campbell University
Annual Tuition: $13,950
Median Salary: $63,800
Locations: Buies Creek (NC)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Campbell University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree through its Adult and Online Education program. The online cybersecurity bachelor's degree requires 124 credits, and students must maintain a GPA of 2.0. throughout the program. The curriculum prepares students to fulfill roles in national, state, and local agencies and promote cyber detection and defense research. Full and part-time enrollment is available.
Online courses are offered in an accelerated eight-week format. Classes are hosted on the Blackboard learning management platform. Online students have access to many resources, including counseling services, online tutoring, and support through the Office of Student Success.
Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer terms. Applicants must submit an application along with official high school transcripts. Students who have completed any college-level courses should also submit college or university transcripts. Applicants should have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
#18 Kennesaw State University
Annual Tuition: $6,386
Median Salary: $58,900
Locations: Kennesaw (GA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Kennesaw State University (KSU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity designed for working professionals through the eMajor degree completion program. The curriculum focuses on helping students develop strong technological skills, an awareness of cybercrime issues, and an understanding of cybersecurity's business, managerial, and administrative elements. Courses follow a 16-week schedule in the fall and spring semesters, and an accelerated 8-week schedule during the summer term.
Online courses are delivered through the Desire2Learn Brightspace platform, and classes are typically asynchronous; however, some classes may require synchronous elements to encourage students to interact with their peers. Online students can access several support resources to guide them during their time at KSU, including an online writing center, free tutoring services, and academic advising.
To apply, students must submit an application along with official transcripts from any undergraduate coursework already completed.
#19 Liberty University
Annual Tuition: $12,090
Median Salary: $59,000
Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Liberty University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Cybersecurity. The degree program requires 121 credit hours and takes an average of three and a half years to complete. Students can enroll either part- or full-time and complete courses in eight-week terms with several start dates throughout the year. The curriculum explores topics in database management, information and computer security, and modern cryptography.
Online courses are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system where students can access course materials, interact with professors and classmates, and submit assignments. Students have access to support resources through the library, writing center, tutoring services, study aids, and technical help desk.
The program offers several start dates throughout the year. Admission requirements include an application and official transcripts with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher.
#20 Old Dominion University
Annual Tuition: $12,210
Median Salary: $54,500
Locations: Norfolk (VA)
Accreditation: SACS COC
Old Dominion University (ODU) offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybercrime and a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. The program is designed for students who have completed some college credits. The cybercrime degree provides students with a foundation in criminal justice, computer science, philosophy, and information technology. The BS in cybersecurity focuses on protecting computer systems, networks, and online data. Both degrees require 120 credits, 30 of which must be completed at ODU.
Online coursework is hosted on Blackboard and incorporates lectures, computer lab sessions, and research projects. Classes are delivered both synchronously and asynchronously and follow ODU's regular semester schedule. Distance learners have access to an online writing center and tutoring and mentor tools.
To be considered for admissions, students need to submit an online application and official college transcripts.
#21 University of Nebraska at Omaha
Annual Tuition: $15,600
Median Salary: $55,200
Locations: Omaha (NE)
The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers an online Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies in Cybersecurity. The 120-credit degree program focuses on foundational principles and developing the skills necessary to analyze, design, and construct secure information systems. Online coursework includes laboratory exercises for each class, giving students hands-on experience. Students can enroll in the fall, spring, or summer semesters and choose to study part-time or full-time. Full-time students can typically complete the degree in four years.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously and feature interactive tools to connect with professors and classmates. Students will be expected to participate in discussion forums, chat groups, communicate over email, and meet regular deadlines throughout each term. Online learners are assigned to an academic advisor to guide them through their studies; They also have access to the university's library and career services.
Applicants must submit official high school transcripts along with transcripts for any completed undergraduate coursework. They must also submit SAT and/or ACT scores, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a statement of purpose.
#22 Bellevue University
Annual Tuition: $12,750
Median Salary: $54,000
Locations: Bellevue (NE)
Bellevue University's online Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree is offered in a traditional format or an accelerated cohort program. Both options require 127 credits for graduation. The accelerated cohort format allows students to move through the program with the same group of peers on a fixed schedule. The course curriculum covers applying protection, detection, and response technologies and procedures to identify threats, vulnerabilities, exploits, and controls in various cyber environments. Students will learn how to analyze, mitigate, and communicate risks to cyber systems using multiple tools, techniques, and technologies.
Online classes use discussion forums to connect students with their peers. Courses are delivered through the Cyber-Active platform and are asynchronous. Online students have access to career services, academic advising, one-on-one tutoring, and a virtual writing center.
To apply, students must submit an application and official high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Students transferring credits from another institution of higher education should provide transcripts and proof of high school completion.
#23 University of Cincinnati
Annual Tuition: $10,942
Median Salary: $51,900
Locations: Cincinnati (OH)(and 1 other)
The University of Cincinnati offers an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology with a concentration in cybersecurity through the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. The 120-credit program can typically be completed within four years, and students can enroll full-time or part-time. The curriculum provides students with a broad foundation in software application development, networking and systems administration, database management, and digital media. The cybersecurity concentration explores the theories and skills needed for software and hardware security applications. Students are required to complete two capstone courses that include supervised fieldwork to graduate.
Online courses are offered asynchronously. Virtual learners are assigned an academic advisor and student success coordinator to support them throughout the program.
Classes are offered in the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and students can enroll during any term. To be considered for admission, prospective students should submit an application, official high school transcripts, and a written essay.
#24 The University of Texas at San Antonio
Annual Tuition: $13,500
Median Salary: $51,500
Locations: San Antonio (TX)
Accreditation: SACS COC
The University of Texas at San Antonio's online Bachelor of Business Administration in Cyber Security is offered through the College of Business. The program requires 120 credits, 39 of which are upper-division level. Students can choose to enroll full-time and complete the degree in as few as eight terms, or part-time to finish the program in 13 terms. The curriculum explores topics like programming concepts, digital forensic analysis, cyber operations, malware analysis, management strategy, principles of information systems for management, and the cyber law and legal system.
Online courses are delivered asynchronously. Distance learners have access to real-time mentoring from enrollment counselors and career services through the Center for Student Professional Development.
To be considered for admission, students should have graduated in the top quarter of their high school class or have an SAT score of 1100 or an ACT score of 24. Transfer students should have a minimum 2.75 GPA in all undergraduate coursework.
#25 Indiana State University
Annual Tuition: $11,656
Median Salary: $48,800
Locations: Terre Haute (IN)
Indiana State University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Cyber Criminology and Security Studies with a concentration in cybercrime. The 120-credit online cybersecurity degree provides students with a strong foundation in criminology and criminal justice concepts. The cybercrime concentration focuses on developing analytical and investigative skills to respond to digital threats. The online cybersecurity degree is typically completed in four years on a full-time schedule, but students can also study part-time.
Online students use the Blackboard learning management system to access their online courses. Many of the program faculty members have experience in the field and hold advanced degrees. Distance learners have full access to the university library, the Math and Writing Center, the Career Center, and distance education newsletters to keep them updated on university events.
To be considered for admission, students should submit an application, official high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and a non-refundable application fee.
Online Cybersecurity Degree Overview & Career Information
Online cybersecurity degrees may open the doors to a plethora of career options for those interested in the field. A two-year associate degree in cybersecurity will prepare graduates for entry-level positions such as security specialist and applications security specialist. Holding an associate degree is also a base for pursuing industry certifications.
Those who wish to continue in their cybersecurity studies have many options above an associate degree, including bachelor’s, master's, and doctoral options. Bachelor's degrees typically require four years and 120-credits to complete. Students will gain skills in computer forensics, vulnerability assessment, software assurance, and security compliance. These skills are necessary to obtain a career working as a security software engineer, computer forensics analyst, information security analyst, or an information systems security administrator.
A master's degree will allow graduates to apply for senior-level positions such as security application programmers, penetration testers, security architects, and vulnerability analysts. Studies take two years on average and include a focus on biometrics, cryptology, and digital forensics. Completing a three-year doctoral program will advance graduates' knowledge in reverse engineering, data collection, malicious code analysis, and wireless security. This type of degree will prepare industry professionals for roles in the military, government agencies, intelligence, and law enforcement.
Lastly, undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are available and take between two and three years to complete. These programs are specifically designed for working industry professionals who would like to further their education on a part-time basis in order to receive promotions or higher pay.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Cybersecurity
Students enrolled in cybersecurity bachelor's degree programs will gain industry relevant knowledge and skills in computer forensics, security compliance, software assurance, and vulnerability assessment. Graduates may go on to jobs as security software engineers, information security analysts, information systems security administrators, and security policy analysts.
Bachelor's programs take four years to complete and are comprised of 120 credit hours. Core courses include Introduction to Computer Security, Computer Forensics I & II, Security Compliance, Security Risk Management, Security Capstone, Software Assurance, and Scripting with Perl. Within the program, students also have the option to learn about specific topics such as ethical hacking, cryptology, and artificial intelligence. Students will also prepare to sit for CompTIA and Network+ certification exams.
The Importance of Accreditation
Accreditation is the process used to evaluate higher education institutions on their quality, standards, and efforts towards continuous improvement. These evaluations are conducted by private, non-profit organizations centered on conducting external quality reviews. There are six different regional accrediting organizations operating in the U.S. where they evaluate two-year and four-year schools within their regions. Accreditation comes into play when students are interested in transferring their credits to another institution or apply for graduate programs later on. It is also important to keep in mind that federal financial aid programs are only available to institutions that have been accredited by federally recognized agencies.
The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CA) program. By promoting higher education in cyber defense and producing professional experts in cyber defense, the program aims to reduce vulnerability in the US national information infrastructure. CA is the major accrediting source for cybersecurity programs and centers on demonstration of outreach and collaboration, student development, cyber defense faculty, and cyber defense multidisciplinary efforts. Accreditation is important within the cybersecurity industry because, for many employers, having a degree from an accredited school can be a hiring criterion.
Careers in Cybersecurity
For aspiring industry professionals, a cybersecurity degree will present opportunities for a variety of careers. Two key job titles include cybersecurity specialist and cybersecurity architect. Cybersecurity specialists work with both public and private organizations to build and maintain a high level of security for their computer information systems. They identify complex issues that may arise with sensitive data and work to keep business running as usual. They will build firewalls, monitor data files, and regulate access to safeguard information to mitigate the risk of cyber crime.
Cybersecurity architects build and oversee the implementation of network security for an organization. Responsibilities include designing and maintaining corporate security procedures, performing vulnerability testing and security assessments, preparing cost estimates, and upgrading system security as needed. Security architects will also be in charge of a programing team and will oversee their work and progression. Employers of cybersecurity architects tend to look for applicants with advanced certifications gained from accredited programs. Some key certifications include CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional, CISM: Certified Information Security Manager, CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker, and CSSA: Certified SCADA Security Architect.
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