Online Cyber Security Degree Programs

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What is an Online Cyber Security Degree?

An online cyber security degree studies internet threats and the ways to keep data safe. Also called information security (InfoSec) graduates may leave with key technical skills. These are crucial to detect, deter and deal with a wide range of cyber threats and security issues.

With cyber attacks real and imminent, pursuing a cyber security degree online may be worthwhile. Reports show that by 2021, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs. Why not prepare to meet this alarming trend with a trained eye and a computer-savvy skill set?

TYPES OF ONLINE CYBER SECURITY DEGREE PROGRAMS

Associate of Science in Cybersecurity

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

Master of Science in Cyber Security

Covers basic concepts, products and practices. Students train in computer networks with courses in security defense tactics and strategy.Covers basic concepts, products and practices. Students may learn how to apply current tools and methods as well as design secure systems. An optional internship may arm students with hands-on experience.Exposes students to the latest tools, practices, methods and procedures used to manage and protect critical information infrastructures and other sensitive assets. This program may investigates the current trends and emerging threats in the industry.
Course Examples

  • Dynamic Network Defense
  • Security and Vulnerability Tests
  • Digital Forensics
Course Examples

  • Ethical hacking
  • Network Security
  • Digital Forensics Malware Reverse
Course Examples

  • Cyber Security and Policy
  • Terrorism and Organized Crime
  • Security Risk Management
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Cyber Security Degree Levels

Undergrads who enroll in online cyber security programs learn the basics of cyber crime. At the outset, you’ll often study what it means to be the first line of defense against cyber attacks. Further on, you may fine-tune your interests by focusing on a

Many programs also look at trending issues in network safety. These may cover identity theft, computer viruses and hacking. They may also get into cyber terrorism and homeland security.

Your courses may provide a clear picture of what such intruders look like and how to guard against them. These skills are vital when it comes to protecting an organization’s digital assets.

You may also learn things like which tactics and protocols to use. Like students enrolled in software development programs, many courses may be technical, and computer focused. You may learn how to use software tools to keep information systems safe from intrusion.

Other courses in digital forensics may help you develop your investigative skills. These are crucial when it comes to solving security related problems.

What Cyber Security Degree Classes Will I Take?

You’ll study how someone hacked a system. Then, by going back through their steps, you’ll learn about risks. In so doing, you’ll be studying how to fix vulnerable and weak systems. Thus, many programs spend time on countermeasures and mastering various industry tools.

To round things out, you may need to take some general education courses and a capstone. These may involve topics like math, computing and information technology. Core course examples may include:

Ethical Hacking 

Network Defense 

Cyber Security Policy 

Database Basics 

Digital Forensics 

Security Risk Management 

HOW MANY YEARS DOES IT TAKE TO GET A DEGREE IN CYBER SECURITY?

If you study full time, it may take four years to earn a degree in cybersecurity. Add about two years for a master’s degree.

That said, many schools offer ways to graduate sooner. Accelerated programs are one example. These allow you to transfer credits. Let’s say you have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. You may apply these credits to have a shorter timeline. The same goes for schools that offer credit for military training.

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ONLINE CYBER SECURITY DEGREE PROGRAMS EXAMPLES

SchoolDegree level# of Credits RequiredStart DatesMinimum Months to Complete
Rasmussen CollegeAssociate90 creditsmultiple18 months
Purdue University GlobalBachelor’
s
180 creditsmultipleApply up to 75% of undergraduate credits to graduate faster
Colorado State University Global CampusBachelor’s120Every 4 weeksTransfer up to 90 credits to graduate faster

HOW MUCH DOES AN ONLINE CYBER SECURITY DEGREE COST?

It may cost an average of $35,000 and up to earn an online cybersecurity degree. That said, prices depend on a few things.

One is state residency. Some schools charge more to out-of-state students. Others may have a set tuition for all online students. Current data shows a median in-state tuition of $6,563 (growing 1.12%). Also growing (by 3.58%), the median out-of-state tuition is $28,900. Another is technology fees which may be extra and above tuition.

SchoolDegree Level# of Credits RequiredCost Per CreditTotal Tuition Cost
Purdue University GlobalBachelor’s180$371$66,780
Regent UniversityBachelor’s120$395$47,400
Colorado TechnicalBachelor’s182$325$59,150

TOP CYBER SECURITY DEGREE PROGRAMS


Last check, most schools that offer cybersecurity programs are Public, 2-year institutions. From those schools there were 6,983 degrees awarded to students. The majority (46.1 percent) of these programs were at the bachelor’s degree level.

School2017 Grads total/Degrees awardedTuition (Out of State)
University of Maryland1,226$33,616
Western Governors University652$24,280
University of Phoenix Arizona531$38,432
American Public University310$29,295
ECPI University281$61,325
Capella University211$16,538
Baker College of Flint154$41,511

ACCREDITATION FOR ONLINE CYBER SECURITY DEGREE PROGRAMS

It is to your benefit to look for an accredited online cybersecurity program. For one, regionally accredited schools may have transfer credit policies. Any time you can apply past credits, you’ll have fewer to do and pay for. Also, you’ll be able to apply for federal financial aid.

The next level is professional accreditation. This kind of approval speaks to what a school teaches. It will assess whether the courses meet industry standards.

Because this process is voluntary, a school must submit an application. Once it passes the scrutiny of peers and meets criteria, it earns the status ‘accredited’. Recently ABET began to approve bachelors in cyber security programs.

Not as new is the designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program.

The goal of such programs is to produce persons with cyber defense expertise. You can check whether a two-year, four-year or grad school is a CAE-CD approved school on the NSA website.

Cyber Security Careers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, cyber attacks have increased in frequency in recent years, impacting job growth in this field. Areas that may experience an increased need for cyber security professionals include the federal government and healthcare.

Salary potential when you become an information security analyst varies by position, level of experience, and other factors.

Mean Annual Salary for Information Security Analysts by State

The table below shows states with the highest employment levels. This career path often needs a degree in cyber security or computer science.

INFORMATION SECURITY ANALYSTS

Information security analysts implement and maintain information security throughout a company. That could mean creating and enforcing company policies regarding information use, as well as assigning various levels of permissions to users.

Avg Salary: $95,510 per year
Job growth through 2026: 28% (Much faster than average)
Entry Level Degree: Bachelor’s

ETHICAL HACKER

An Ethical Hacker looks for weakness in a computer system. They do this in order to fix them before they can be exploited by attacks.

Avg Salary: $84,000 per year
Certification to Consider: CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker
Entry Level Degree: Degree in computer science is common

IT AUDITOR

Information Technology Auditors bridge the gap between finance and computer science. They gather systems data and information to analyze tech performance.

Avg Salary: $66,728 per year
Certification to Consider: CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor
Entry Level Degree: Degree in information systems management or finance is common.

© Education Connection 2019. All Rights Reserved.

EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features.

Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum.