Cyber Security Associate Degrees 2020

WHAT IS A CYBER SECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREE?

A cyber security associate degree is a two year college program. Many students will find that they can complete this degree online. It is a flexible degree program. Most courses provide a basic understanding of cyber security topics. In addition, some degree programs allow students to specialize. It is easy to customize this program to fit your needs and interests. Topics that are covered include cyber crime, data security and computer forensics.

An Associates in this field may be part of a comp sci program. As such, most programs touch on ways to protect digital data. So, the focus may be tech based. At the same time, many programs are basic. They may help you gain vital skills such as learning how to program and code.

You may also learn about the many types of cyber threats. The main focus of a program may be learning how to spot the threats. And, about how they cause damage to networks and systems. Many schools offer a wide range of cyber related programs. Some may deal with a certain area such as digital forensics. While others may focus on pen testing.

Types of Cyber Security Associate Degrees

There are a few types of associate degrees:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • and, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

One way they differ at this level is the kinds of classes that each of them have. An AA deals with more liberal arts types of classes. While an AS, may look at more comp sci and math. Also both an AA and AS are transfer degrees. This means once you graduate, your credits may transfer to a BS program later.

AAS programs are not transfer degrees. These degrees have a practical focus. As such, they may prep you to pursue a certain kind of job when you graduate.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
  • Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
  • Cyber Security Programs Include: BS Cybersecurity – General Track, BS Cybersecurity – Data Analytics, BS Cybersecurity – Project Management, MS Cybersecurity – General Track, and MS Cybersecurity – IT Management

Purdue University Global

  • Experience world-class education online!
  • Purdue Global offers 180 programs at associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels
  • Competency-based ExcelTrack™ Programs may allow you to earn your degree faster and for less money
  • Cyber Security Programs Include: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, Master of Science in Cybersecurity Management, Graduate Certificate in Information Security, Information Security Postbaccalaureate Certificate

Why Earn A Cyber Security Associate Degree?

A Cyber Security Associate Degree may help you become part of a team that protects data. And experts say we make 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day! But the vast amount of data we have is only part of the issue. There is also a shortage of cyber sec experts. This means, not enough people are out there that know how to keep data safe, secure and private.

A cyber security associate degree< is a valuable program. Grads with a cyber security associate degree will be greeted with many job opportunities. As per the  BLS, the median pay for a cyber security analyst is about $99,000 per year. Jobs are expected to grow by 32% in the coming year. It is a worth while degree program to pursue.

In fact, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education says the job gap is huge. Their study shows a work force gap of 1.8 million people by 2022! If you want to get on board, you may need a degree. Earning a degree in the field of cyber security may be a great start.

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CYBER SECURITY?

The cost to earn an associate degree in cyber security varies. One of the things that can impact the cost is the type of school you go to. For the 2018 school year, NCES found the average cost per year for a bachelor degree was $3,243. This is for an in state, 2 year public college. This cost goes up to $7,971 for an out of state college.

CYBER SECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREE CURRICULUM

There are many core concepts that are part of a cyber security associate degree program. These may be:

  1. Networks How systems transfer data to each other
  2. Cyber Security Basics Ways to detect, protect and prevent an attack
  3. Operating Systems Microsoft, Linux, etc
  4. Programming Learn to design and build computer programs

Most study plans aim to teach basic skills. This means, you may learn simple security concepts, theories and practice. In other words, all the elements that effect IT and the use of computer info systems. To do this, many programs aim to teach you how networks communicate. You may also learn about servers, operating systems (OS) as well as how to program.

Core Classes:

  • Computer Basics
    This type of class may teach you to perform basic tasks. Like how to install an OS or set up a PC. You may also learn how to trouble shoot.
  • Certified Ethical Hacking
    The focus of this class is ethical hacking methods. You should learn what these methods are and how to use them. As such, you may learn to carry out a pen test. And, how to take counter actions for breaches.
  • Network Basics
    In this type of class, you may study network methods. You may also cover key terms such as LANs, WANs and IPs. Plus other things that prep you for cert exams. Like the CCNA exam.
  • Administrating Windows Server
    A main focus in this type of class is how to install and configure a Windows server. Since it is an OS, you may also learn about a lot of basics. Like how to create and manage a user account. And all about permissions and networks.
  • Digital Forensics
    These classes may show you how to look for common security threats. And, to take it a step further, you may also learn how to safe guard against an attack.
  • Cyber Security
    Naturally, a large component of the cyber security associate degree curriculum is cyber security. Students take many courses that cover this topic. Some are broad courses that introduce the concepts of cyber security. Others are in depth explorations into the niche aspects of cyber security.
  • Programming
    Programming also is a major part of the cyber security associate degree core curriculum. Cyber security students must have an expert understanding of programming. Programming skills are required in nearly every cyber security job. Many programming courses allow students to develop a foundation that they can build upon.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EARN AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CYBER SECURITY?

For the most part, an associate degree in cyber security will take about two years to complete. This time line assumes you are studying full time. The length of time can be adjusted depending on the student’s availability. Some students can enroll in an accelerated program. Some accelerated programs can be completed in about 12 months. Other students can apply credits previously earned to their associate degree program. Some students also have the opportunity to earn credit based on professional experience. Applying these credits allow them to finish in a shorter amount of time. Some schools may also have fast track programs as well as part time ones.

What Accreditation Should I Look For?

You should choose an accredited cyber security associate degree program. These programs offer a curriculum that meets industry standards. You should look for a program that is accredited by the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD). They also have a two year designation program, which is referred to as the CAE2Y.

There are also six regional agencies, and all of them are U.S. DOE approved. One reason to look for this is the level of quality in such programs. Since they need to pass a review, it is reasonable to expect they are legit. And, that they have services and study plans that are up to date and student friendly.

Also, only accredited schools pass transfer credits on. So, if you plan to study further, this is key. Even if you don’t, to take many certs you need a degree from one of these schools. And, it is something employers may look for.

20 SCHOOLS WITH CYBER SECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAMS

Does one cyber sec degree differ from the next? Since each is unique, we have ranked our top 20 schools. Our process looks at data from the NCES. And, it may help you narrow your search down.

Top 20 Cyber Security Schools with Associates Degrees
1

Peninsula College

1502 E Lauridsen Blvd | Port Angeles, WA 98362

AAS in Cyber Security and Computer Forensics                 

This program aims to ready you to enter the field. It entails 90 credits and covers the basics.

  1. Intro to Cyber Sec & Cyber Crime
  2. Risks Control and Encryption
  3. Securing the Modern Enterprise
  4. Ethical Hacking

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know the core concepts, tools, and methods used to secure computer systems
  • Apply critical thinking skills to assess risk
  • Identify, analyze, and deal with threats to computer systems
  • Plan, put into use, and assess pen testing and ethical hacking
Tuition & Fees: $5,023
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
46%, Avg Amount $6,286
Federal Loans:
12%, Avg Amount $6,161
2

Casper College

125 College Drive Casper | WY 82601

AS in Cyber Security and Computer Forensics                  

This 60 credit AS degree blends theory and practice. As such, it aims to build core skills and a solid base if you also would like to earn a bachelor degree.

  1. Intro to Comp Sci
  2. Network Defense Principles
  3. Computer Forensics
  4. Internet Ethics and Cyber Law

Skills You May Gain:

  • Find and remove data from all types of media
  • Protect digital data from harmful uses, viruses and threats
  • Look into digital crimes
  • Learn to look for, collect and keep digital artifacts in order to make sure they can serve as evidence
Tuition & Fees: $7,584
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
54%, Avg Amount: $4,145
Federal Loans:
16%, Avg Amount: $5,433
3

Ivy Tech Community College

50 W. Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive | Indianapolis, IN 46208

AAS in Cyber Security / Information Assurance – Online

This two year, 60 credit, AAS degree has two parts. One, which takes 30% of your classes is general studies. And the other, which takes 70% is tech based.

  1. Intro to Cyber Sec
  2. Network Protocol Analysis
  3. Digital Forensics
  4. Ethical Hacking

Skills You May Gain:

  • Apply data to make conclusions
  • Identify the bad entities in cyber space and what they do
  • Describe potential system attacks and those that might perform them
  • Choose the proper cyber defense tools
Tuition & Fees: $8,402
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
45%, Avg Amount: $441
Federal Loans:
20%, Avg Amount: $4,087
4

Albany Technical College

1704 South Slappey Boulevard | Albany, GA 31701

Associate in Cyber Security / Information Assurance – Online       

In this 72 credit program, you may learn the basics of cyber sec. As such you may leave with tools, key theories and practices.

  1. Computer Concepts
  2. OS Security
  3. Network Defense and Counter Measures
  4. Ethical Hacking and Pen Testing

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know the latest concepts, principles, and methods that assess the security needs
  • Suggest ways to safe guard networks and hardware
  • Use math and comp sci in cyber defense
  • Set up secure infrastructures

 

Tuition & Fees: $4,848
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
86%, Avg Amount: $5,649
Federal Loans:
54%, Avg Amount: $3,113
5

East Mississippi Community College

1512 Kemper Street | Scooba, MS 39358

AAS in Cyber Security

This is a certified Cisco Networking Academy program. It also an approved CompTIA Academy. As a new student, you can enter in the Spring or Fall and need 70 credits to finish.

  1. Principles of Info Sec
  2. Advanced Network Admin
  3. Computer Forensics
  4. Network Defense and Counter Measures

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know what methods to use
  • Assess what OS, hardware, networks and software tools you need in order to make a secure infrastructure
  • Learn and put into use a range of info sec concepts

 

Tuition & Fees: $6,440
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
61%, Avg Amount: $5,387
Federal Loans:
28%, Avg Amount: $4,459
6

Minnesota State College Southeast

1250 Homer Rd | Winona, MN 55987

AAS in Cyber and Information Security

You need to earn 60 credits for this AAS program. And many of the classes are basic. So, they cover key areas. Like networking, cyber sec, and criminal justice.

  1. Basics of Cyber Sec
  2. Computer Forensics Investigation
  3. Intro to Criminal Behavior
  4. Server and Desktop Sec

Skills You May Gain:

  • Manage and secure data on private and corporate networks and devices
  • Evaluate, identify and put security standards and policies into use
  • Form and use forensic tools to capture, access, retrieve and store digital data

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,628
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
57%, Avg Amount: $3,394
Federal Loans:
40%, Avg Amount: $7,396
7

Rose State College

6420 S E 15th | Midwest City, OK 73110

Cyber Security / Digital Forensics AAS

This 66 credit AAS degree program helps you to explore key concepts. At the same time it may serve as a study guide for cert exams.

  1. Security Auditing & Pen Testing
  2. Enterprise Threat Assessment
  3. Mobile Device & Wireless Sec
  4. Digital Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about mobile / wireless, and remote access tech
  • Know the ways to conduct an investigation
  • Be able to navigate LANs
  • Grasp of remote access, data recovery and data analysis
Tuition & Fees: $10,696
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
54%, Avg Amount: $3,653
Federal Loans:
21%, Avg Amount: $4,133
8

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

1414 College Way | Fergus Falls, MN 56537

AAS in Cyber Security

This is a 60 credit program. And aims to help you gain the skills to support and maintain IT systems. This means you will learn about computers and networks. While you also learn app software and IT sec.

  1. Enterprise Network Tech
  2. Informatics
  3. Security Breaches and Counter Measures
  4. Network Defense

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about risk, threats, weak areas, attacks and exploits
  • Know the ethics of data privacy
  • Make sure that software is correct and safe

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,335
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
46%, Avg Amount: $3,810
Federal Loans:
36%, Avg Amount: $5,886
9

Hinds Community College

608 Hinds Boulevard | Raymond, MS 39154

AAS in Information Systems Technology – Cyber Security Technology

To pursue this cyber sec tech focus entails 60 to 61 credits. It also aims to train you to keep data private, safe, intact and accessible to designated users.

While you learn these things, there are a few others you learn about too. For instance, how to install, design, manage, operate, plan, and trouble shoot.

  1. Basics of Data 
  2. Principles of Info Sec
  3. Network Components
  4. Basics of Network Sec

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about issues such as risk, threats, weak areas, attacks and exploits
  • Know the ethics of data privacy
  • Make sure software is correct, reliable and safe

 

Tuition & Fees: $6,170
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
55%, Avg Amount: $4,920
Federal Loans:
35%, Avg Amount: $4,691
10

Riverland Community College

1900 8th Ave NW | Austin, MN 55912

AAS in Cyber Security

In the 63 credits you take, the focus is on how to help you gain tech skills. This means that you will learn how to configure and maintain security hardware and software. Both for desktop, server and network layers.

  1. Network Sec Basics
  2. Computer Forensics 
  3. Offensive Sec
  4. Cisco Network Sec

Skills You May Gain:

  • Learn network sec principles and tools
  • Be able to craft sec policies
  • Know how a sec policy impacts a business

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,570
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
52%, Avg Amount: $3,821
Federal Loans:
23%, Avg Amount: $6,303
11

Adirondack Community College

640 Bay Rd | Queensbury, NY 12804

AAS in Information Technology

Built into this 64 credit program are courses from Cisco Networking Academy. As such, it may help prep you to take two of their exams. The CCENT and CCNA Sec.

  1. Ethical Hacking and Defense
  2. Intro to Criminal Justice
  3. IT Sec Basics
  4. Networking / Cyber Security Internship

Skills You May Gain:

  • Deal with threats and weak areas in an IT system
  • Be able to craft security plans
  • Use counter defense methods to harden systems
  • Deal with threats against the network, data and services

 

Tuition & Fees: $9,900
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
43%, Avg Amount: $5,096
Federal Loans:
23%, Avg Amount: $5,434
12

Howard Community College

10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy | Columbia, MD 21044

AAS in Cyber Security (Transfer Degree)

HCC is a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Info Assurance. So, in this 2 year program, you complete courses mapped out to the CAE Info Assurance and Cyber Defense training standards. Courses are also approved by two gov’t agencies. NSA and DHS.

  1. Ethical Hacking and Defense
  2. Intro to Criminal Justice
  3. IT Sec Essentials
  4. Networking / Cyber Sec Internship

Skills You May Gain:

  • Identify IT weak areas & threats
  • Develop security plans
  • Apply counter defense methods in order to harden systems
  • Proficient in how to deal with threats against the network, data and services.

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,248
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
47%, Avg Amount: $3,471
Federal Loans:
12%, Avg Amount: $5,815
13

Mt Hood Community College

26000 SE Stark St | Gresham, OR 97030

AAS in Cyber Security and Networking

This 99 credit program aims to prep you to take post degree certs. For instance, CCNA, CompTIA, EC Council and others.

  1. Cyber Operations
  2. Network Sec Fundamentals
  3. Practical Digital Forensics
  4. Cyber Competition

Skills You May Gain:

  • Design possible solutions for a given network
  • Perform basic network and OS methods
  • Be able to configure system security for both wired and wireless networks
  • Analyze Internet sec issues and use them for network design problem
  • Design a disaster recovery plan for the real world

 

Tuition & Fees: $10,346
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
33%, Avg Amount: $3,871
Federal Loans:
17%, Avg Amount: $5,004
14

Eastern Iowa Community College District

101 W Third Street | Davenport, IA 52801

AAS in Security and Forensics

One aim of this 67 credit program is that it serves as a study guide. As such it may prep you to take cert exams. At the same time, you may learn how to detect attacks. And to take counter measures against them.

  1. Network Attacks
  2. Ethical Hacking
  3. Basics of Network Sec
  4. Intro to Computer Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know the basics of cyber sec and forensics
  • Be able to perform pen testing
  • Know basic principles of ethical hacking

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,328
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
53%, Avg Amount: $4,193
Federal Loans:
24%, Avg Amount: $4,910
15

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

51 Main Street | Perkinston, MS 39573

AAS in Cyber Security Technology

This program entails 62 to 64 credits. It also aims to give you key skills.

So, you may learn to deal with threats. And may master some of the methods that defend against them.

  1. Computer Forensics
  2. Pen Testing 
  3. Wireless Sec & Privacy
  4. Network Sec 

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about wireless systems and ways to keep them secure
  • Be able to spot unauthorized access
  • Know what hackers do

 

Tuition & Fees: $6,770
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
76%, Avg Amount: $4,181
Federal Loans:
29%, Avg Amount: $5,451
16

Century College

3300 Century Ave N | White Bear Lake, MN 55110

AAS in Cyber Security, Virtualization, and Forensics – Cyber Security and Network Forensics Track

This 60 credit AAS look at how to fight cyber crime.  Some of the classes teach counter measures against hacking, spam, and viruses. So, you may learn about malware and how to reverse engineer.

  1. System Sec and Network Auditing
  2. Cloud Computing 
  3. Harmful Documents & Memory Forensics
  4. Web App Hacking

Skills You May Gain:

  • Investigate and defend against computer crimes / attacks
  • Know the proper ways to seize and recover evidence for a security audit
  • How to reverse engineer malware

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,435
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
51%, Avg Amount: $3,672
Federal Loans:
31%, Avg Amount: $7,028
17

Washtenaw Community College

4800 E Huron River Dr | Ann Arbor, MI 48105

AAS in Cyber Security

In this 61 credit program, you may gain skills. A main one is how to plan security measures to protect data.

  1. Intro to Cryptography
  2. Network Sec
  3. Network Pen Testing
  4.  CCNA Sec

Skills You May Gain;

  • Network sec skills using server, infrastructure and perimeter tools
  • Know about security measures
  • Basic grasp of legal issues
  • Know how to detect intruders and recover data
Tuition & Fees: $5,520
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
36%, Avg Amount: $4,358
Federal Loans:
22%, Avg Amount: $5,518
18

Saint Paul College

235 Marshall Ave | Saint Paul, MN 55102

AAS in Cyber Security

In this program, you may learn to assess the security needs. Both of hardware and networks.

You may learn how to problem solve. And, in doing so, to prevent breaches.

  1. Info Systems
  2. Ethical Hacking & Counter Measures
  3. How to Handle Issues
  4. Networks

Skills You May Gain:

  • Basics of system design, analysis as well as how to maintain them
  • Be able to gather, check, and analyze data to watch for changes
  • Know if a system complies with security standards

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,561
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
61%, Avg Amount: $3,955
Federal Loans:
27%, Avg Amount: $6,145
19

Anne Arundel Community College

101 College Pky | Arnold, MD 21012

AAS in Information Assurance, and Cyber Security

This 61 credit program covers three main areas. Security, digital forensics and networking.

  1. Advanced Network Defense
  2. Virtualization & Cloud
  3. Network Forensics
  4. Digital Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Spot security threats
  • Design, configure and test networks
  • Identify risk
  • Communicate technical info

 

Tuition & Fees: $12,740
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
31%, Avg Amount: $3,113
Federal Loans:
10%, Avg Amount: $4,840
20

San Diego City College

1313 Park Boulevard | San Diego, CA 92101

AS Information Technology and Cyber Security

This 60 credit program covers many topics.It may help you become more computer literate. And, learn how to program apps, web and data bases.

  1. Basics of Cyber Sec
  2. Intro to IT 
  3. Cloud Computing Architecture
  4. Ethical Hacking

Skill You May Gain:

  • Assess the features of current Desktop and Network OS
  • Compare, contrast, and design simple networks
  • Spot threats and know how to deal with them

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,024
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
71%, Avg Amount: $2,706
Federal Loans:
0%, Avg Amount: $3,484

WHAT JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH AN ASSOCIATE’S IN CYBER SECURITY?

You need at least a bachelors degree for most jobs. But an associate degree may prep you for some entry roles. In fact, 13% of info sec analysts have one.

Let’s take a look at a few other career paths.

Top Salaries by State for Info Sec Analysts

State Employment Lowest 10% Annual Mean Wage Highest 10%  
NY 6,930 $64,430 $122,000 $191,550 
NJ3,480 $66,040 $121,600 $173,130 
D.C. 1,660 

 

$63,340 

 

$118,080 $178,510 

 

CT 980 $67,280 $112,900 $177,540 
VA 14,180 $68,250 $111,780 $162,830 

CYBER SECURITY CERTIFICATIONS

People with a cert may earn 10.6% more than those who do not have one. So it may be wise to know what they are.

A certificate at school is often a short term program. It looks at a few courses that build certain skills. And, may help you focus your degree.

Certifications are different from a certificate program. These are industry credentials.  In order to earn one, you must know certain industry information. Then, you must take an exam from the certifying body.

Cyber security certifications to think about:

Security+

Security + is available through CompTIA. And looks at base line skills. Though the aim is to help you climb the ladder. Some of the things you study are new trends and ways to manage risk.

Like many other certs, you must renew every 3 years. To do so, you need to take an extra 50 credits.

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

CISM is available through ISACA®. And since 2002, boasts a membership of more than 40,000.

Here, you focus on being able to explain complex security issues. You also need to master four areas.

  • Info Sec Governance
  • Manage Risk
  • Develop and Manage an Info Sec Program
  • Incident Management

To remain current, cert holders must renew every three years. Beyond this, CISMs have to pay a yearly fee. This is either $45 for ISACA® members or $85 for non members. You must also submit at least 20 credits per year.

GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler

The GCIH cert deals with problems. How to detect them, respond to them and resolve them. To prep for the exam, you need to know  core areas.

  • The process for how to handle issues
  • Detect harmful apps and network activity
  • Look for attacks that can compromise hosts
  • Spot and analyze system and network weak areas
  • Improve processes by looking for their root causes

Every four years, you need to renew. This means you have to pay a fee of $429. And, you need to submit 36 CPE credits.