Best Online Cybersecurity Programs

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Cybersecurity, also known as computer security or information technology security, is a field that covers the tools and systems used to monitor, mitigate, and prevent online threats. Cybersecurity professionals use innovative technology to combat hackers, cyberterrorists, network outages, and other technical problems that could compromise network security. Due to our growing reliance on web-based technology at home and in the workplace, this fast-paced profession has grown quickly over the past two decades. Today, the U.S. government maintains a National Cybersecurity Division under the Department of Homeland Security; additionally, the Internet Crime Complaint Center is comprised of personnel from the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Most careers in cybersecurity are attainable with a bachelor’s degree. While some schools offer standalone cybersecurity programs, most students pursue a cybersecurity specialization or concentration as part of a larger major, such as criminal justice, information technology, or network administration. Often, cybersecurity programs facilitate internship opportunities for their students, allowing them to spend time at a practical worksite, where they receive supervised training from experienced professionals.

Today, many students are choosing to earn their bachelor’s in cybersecurity online. The best online cybersecurity degree programs equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to launch a career in this dynamic field. The asynchronous format used by most web-based programs is particularly convenient for students with part-time jobs, childcare responsibilities, or other commitments that make it difficult to attend class on campus.

Read on to learn more about cybersecurity as an academic discipline, and to discover what kind of professional opportunities you can pursue with a degree in the field.

WILL AN ONLINE CYBERSECURITY BACHELOR’S PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

Distance learners who enroll in online cybersecurity programs will be introduced to the fundamentals of cybercrime and digital forensics. They will learn about best-practice methods and strategies for defending networks and information systems, as well as the latest platforms used to track and monitor illicit online activities. Students will also become proficient in subjects like math, computer programming, and information technology.

WILL AN ONLINE CYBERSECURITY BACHELOR’S PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

An online bachelor’s in cybersecurity program offers a flexible alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar education. Students can access course readings and lectures, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with professors on their own schedule. Current technology also enables them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices. For additional convenience, online students can often coordinate internships at sites near their residence.

WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY CYBERSECURITY BACHELOR’S DEGREE?

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity will be qualified for most entry-level positions in the field, along with some managerial roles normally reserved for candidates who have completed a four-year education. Common careers for cybersecurity degree recipients include data analysts, software development, network administration, and digital forensics.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE CYBERSECURITY BACHELOR’S PROGRAMS?

Choosing a program is a very personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online cybersecurity programs in the United States. If you want to pursue a degree in cybersecurity, and you value the opportunity to study online, read on to learn more about the top online cybersecurity programs in the country.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Wilmington University 68.17 3/5 27% New Castle, DE

Wilmington University, located in Delaware, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 18,000 students. The school has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security; its bachelor of science (BS) in computer and network security (CNS) meets both agencies' rigorous standards.

Students in this online cybersecurity degree program specialize in digital information security, information assurance, and computer forensics. The coursework includes study in cyberlaw, networks and communications, and web and data security. Graduates are prepared for positions as security technicians, security analysts, and security auditors. CNS students will be qualified to sit for industry certifications such as CISA and CISSP. The school has a degree completion program in which students who have completed an associate degree at an accredited institution can transfer credits toward the BS.

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2 Lewis University 67.02 3/5 42% Romeoville, IL

An institution with a Catholic and Lasallian heritage, Lewis University has 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 80 undergraduate and 35 graduate programs. Located in Illinois, Lewis has a diverse student body, small interactive classes, accommodates working professionals, and is affordable, with 97% of students receiving some form of financial aid.

The school's accelerated bachelor's in computer science (offered as BA and BS degrees) prepares students with skills in programming, networking, and cybersecurity. The online BS program includes a cybersecurity operations concentration in which students learn how to protect computers, networks, and data stores. This online cybersecurity degree concentration includes study in database systems, cloud computing, computer security and encryption, and digital forensics. Among program requirements is a software systems capstone project or computer infrastructure capstone project. In order to be admitted to this accelerated program, adult students must have a minimum of 30 semester hours of transferable credit with a minimum 2.0 cumulative transfer GPA.

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3 University of Maine at Augusta 66.73 3/5 47% Augusta, ME

The third largest university in the University of Maine System, UMA has 6,200 students offering undergraduate programming on its campuses, at centers across the state, and online. UMA's BS in cybersecurity meets the rigorous academic standards of the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security's Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense program. There are two areas of program focus: information security, in which students study areas such as security risk management, security analytics, and information security management. Network security is the second focus area, in which students study virtual systems, system forensics, and cybersecurity, among other topics.

In addition to courses in computer science and technology, students also study the humanities, social sciences, and ethics. Students can take courses 100% online or via a hybrid format of live, online, and ITV classes.

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4 Dakota State University 65.67 5/5 65% Madison, SD

An academically rigorous four-year institution located in South Dakota, DSU has more than 35 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare students for work in various fields. DSU's virtual classroom is powered by the Desire2Learn course management system. Among the institution's distance learning offerings is the 100% online bachelor of science in network and security administration.

The curriculum focuses on cybersecurity, forensics, virtualization, networking, and business management. This online cybersecurity degree's virtual and physical labs make the program unique. The labs can be used by students to practice network set-ups; use routers, switches, VoIP phones, etc., to practice configurations; and safely practice defensive hacking and network forensics. The school also offers an online BS in cyber operations in which students learn programming and networking, reverse engineering, how to analyze malware and exploit software, and use the unique "hacking lab" to learn how hackers think and how to thwart their missions.

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5 Franklin University 65.29 3/5 40% Columbus, OH

Since 1902, Franklin University has worked to help students pursue their educational objectives while maintaining professional and personal lives. All of Franklin's degree programs are available online, including the bachelor of science in cybersecurity, which prepares students for careers protecting the data of businesses, organizations, and government agencies from security threats and hackers. Core areas of study in this online cybersecurity degree program include security architecture, risk management compliance, disaster recovery, and an information security capstone project. Courses are designed and taught by professionals from the field.

Among the benefits of Franklin are flexible scheduling, a transfer option of up to 94 semester hours to the program, competitive rates and tuition assistance, and services and resources -- including tutoring and workshops -- provided by the Student Learning Center to both on-campus and online students.

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6 Pennsylvania State University 65.10 4/5 46% University Park, PA

One of the world's top universities, Pennsylvania State University has 24 campuses across the state with approximately 95,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Among Penn State's notables are academic rigor, near top ranking nationally in science and engineering research spending, a network of hundreds of thousands of alumni worldwide, and an online campus that offers convenience and flexibility.

Penn State's BS in security and risk analysis -- information and cybersecurity option prepares students with the education and technological mastery to protect organizations' assets, including people and information, from data breaches, malware, phishing, and other cyber attacks. This cybersecurity degree online, taught by faculty experienced in teaching in a distance learning environment, includes core study in network security, computer and cyber forensics, information security management, and threat of terrorism and crime. The institution is recognized by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense.

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7 Western Governors University 64.33 3/5 4% Salt Lake City, UT

WGU was established in 1995 by 19 U.S. governors seeking to redesign traditional higher education. WGU's BS in information technology -- security is an online security program consisting of five areas of study: systems and services, networking and security, data management, scripting and programming, and the IT business. Students pursuing the security emphasis must also demonstrate competencies by passing certification exams, including the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification and the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification. At the end of this cybersecurity online degree, students complete a capstone project and develop a portfolio.

Among the online resources for students at WGU are e-textbooks, web-based tutorials, simulations, and learning communities. The school is also known for its affordability, noting that tuition is about half that of other online institutions.

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8 Kennesaw State University 60.58 4/5 60% Kennesaw, GA

WGU was established in 1995 by 19 U.S. governors seeking to redesign traditional higher education. WGU's BS in information technology -- security is an online security program consisting of five areas of study: systems and services, networking and security, data management, scripting and programming, and the IT business. Students pursuing the security emphasis must also demonstrate competencies by passing certification exams, including the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security certification and the Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification. At the end of this cybersecurity online degree, students complete a capstone project and develop a portfolio.

Among the online resources for students at WGU are e-textbooks, web-based tutorials, simulations, and learning communities. The school is also known for its affordability, noting that tuition is about half that of other online institutions.

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9 Davenport University 60.29 2/5 40% Grand Rapids, MI

Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, DU serves undergraduate and graduate students with more than 50 programs in fields such as business, healthcare, technology, and arts and sciences.

DU's BS in cyber defense focuses on developing students' knowledge and skills in protecting organizations' data from internal and external threats. There are three areas of specialization in this online degree in cybersecurity: healthcare information and assurance, in which students study health regulations and standards, including data governance compliance; information assurance, in which students are trained in disaster recovery of electronic data, cryptography, and wireless networking and security; and an optional speciality of math modelling, with courses such as Calculus I and II and in which students learn applied modeling applications. DU is a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

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10 Excelsior College 57.31 3/5 42% Albany, NY

Excelsior College, located in Albany, New York, has a student body of approximately 39,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs ranging from healthcare and business administration to criminal justice and cybersecurity. The institution provides educational opportunity to adult learners, especially those underrepresented in higher education.

The school's BS in cybersecurity has three options -- a general cybersecurity track; a cyber operations concentration, in which students acquire the knowledge needed to solve cyber incidents; and a healthcare concentration, in which students acquire specialized cybersecurity skills to address the regulatory needs of the industry. In all three, students receive training in areas such as cyberattacks and defenses, computer forensics, cryptography, and risk management. Students engage in hands-on applications via simulations, exercises, and labs in cybersecurity. Excelsior's cybersecurity degree is rigorous with input from industry leaders, has affordable tuition and low student fees, and is flexible with online classes that accommodate students' schedules.

This cybersecurity degree online meets the academic requirements for cybersecurity set by the National Security Agency.

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11 Drexel University 55.77 3/5 40% Philadelphia, PA

A comprehensive global research university, Drexel serves approximately 25,000 students through its three Philadelphia campuses, regional sites, and Drexel Online. Drexel's bachelor's and master's degree programs are rigorous, technology-infused, and incorporate experiential learning. The school's BS in computing and security technology is designed for professionals already employed in information technology, working adults with an associate degree, or those who have completed approximately two years of college. Emphasizing hands-on education, this cybersecurity degree online offers a concentration in computing security or computing technology.

The computing security concentration includes study in computer forensics, network security, access control and intrusion detection technology, and security defense countermeasures. The program is divided into four 10-week quarters per year, making time for students to take more courses. Among the resources that online students have access to are an enrollment counselor, academic advisor, 24/7 tech support, online access to Drexel University's W.W. Hagerty Library, and the school's Steinbright Career Center.

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12 University of Illinois at Springfield 55.58 3/5 43% Springfield, IL

UIS enrolls about 5,000 students each year at four colleges that offer 31 bachelor's and 20 master's degree programs. The school's top bachelor's programs are computer science, business administration, psychology, accountancy, biology, and criminology and criminal justice. UIS's BS in information systems security prepares students in the design and implementation of secure systems, security assessment, and computer security ethics.

In this online bachelor's degree in cybersecurity, students learn cutting-edge technologies and use labs to hone their skills. Having completed the degree program, students are expected to know the critical aspects of information systems security; demonstrate best practices; and develop secure systems. Among the entry requirements for this program are a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and two semesters of Java programming. UIS notes its affordability, with about 70% of students receiving financial aid and a scholarship program with approximately 100 scholarships.

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13 Champlain College 55.48 3/5 34% Burlington, VT

A small private college overlooking Lake Champlain and Burlington in Vermont, Champlain College offers 30 bachelor's and 24 graduate degrees to students via campuses in Burlington, Montreal, Canada, Dublin, Ireland, and online. The school delivers degree programs in an accelerated seven- and eight-week online course format, facilitating quicker completion of degrees. Transferring into an online bachelor's program at Champlain is easy, with up to 90 credits transferrable.

Champlain's BS in cybersecurity prepares graduates highly skilled in protecting organizations' digital assets from security breaches. This online bachelor's degree in cybersecurity incorporates experiential learning as students study areas such as digital forensics investigation techniques, security scripting with python, cloud computing security, and ethical hacking. The program is designed to give students the opportunity to earn certificates in any of five areas of specialization: computer forensics & digital investigations, cybersecurity, computer networking, system administration, or Linux administration. Champlain notes that its online programs are rigorous, interactive, offer 24/7 access, and students have the support of an academic advisor, a career advisor, and guidance or tutoring to help them succeed.

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14 Limestone College 54.81 3/5 59% Gaffney, SC

Established in 1845, Limestone College is a liberal arts institution located in Gaffney, South Carolina. Courses are offered in eight-week terms, six terms per year, during which students can take two courses each term to accelerate completion of a degree.

Limestone's BS in computer science with a concentration in computer and information systems security includes study in network security, security architecture and design, information security and risk management, and a capstone project in which students plan and develop a project in conjunction with the concentration. During this cybersecurity degree online, students are prepared to take industry certification exams such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Check Point Certified Security Administrator. The school offers affordable tuition in addition to flexible transfer of college credit from accredited institutions.

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15 Roger Williams University 53.94 4/5 54% Bristol, RI

Roger Williams University is a Rhode Island-based institution working to develop students who are community- and globally-minded via learning that is project-based and experiential. The School of Continuing Studies offers online degree programs in a wide range of areas, including a BS in cybersecurity and networking. The degree provides students with the education and training businesses needed to combat hacking and internal threats to their data systems. The cybersecurity online degree delves into the study of computing and technology related to TCP/IP networking, telecommunication, and computer security.

At the completion of the program graduates will have the hands-on mastery of computers, switches, routers, and other technologies and be able to recover digital assets from hardware and network sources. Students may transfer up to 90 credits from an accredited two-year or four-year college. The school notes its affordability with 97% of new students receiving financial aid.

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16 Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale 53.46 4/5 54% Fort Lauderdale, FL

Founded by the Keiser family in 1977, Keiser University serves approximately 20,000 students at campuses in 18 Florida metropolitan areas, campuses in China and Nicaragua, and through its e-campus headquartered in Fort Lauderdale. The school offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, and doctoral degrees in more than 100 fields. Keiser's BS in cyber forensics/information security is a completion program for students who have graduated with an associate degree in computer-related fields.

In this online degree in cybersecurity program, students acquire the technical and investigative skills needed to detect cyber crimes and provide solutions to thwart attacks. Students take coursework in areas such as IT planning, disaster preparedness, network forensics, cyber crimes, and defense and countermeasures.

Keiser touts small class sizes, hands-on learning, and students take one class at a time for four weeks, eliminating coursework overload. Through its foundation, Keiser offers scholarships to academic and needs-based students.

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17 Saint Leo University 52.12 5/5 61% Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University is a top-ranked liberal arts school in Florida with education centers in seven states scattered across the U.S. and regionally accredited online programs. The Catholic institution serves about 16,000 students and is a leading provider of higher education to those serving in the U.S. military. Saint Leo has been serving online learners since 1990 and now has a full catalog of undergraduate and graduate degree programs delivered online.

Among them is a BS in cybersecurity program in which students study cybersecurity, computer and network protection controls, and how to implement and maintain security devices, systems. They also learn security tools and technologies used by cybersecurity professionals. In addition, students who enroll in this online degree in cybersecurity have access to two fully equipped computer labs in which they can hone computer programming skills and a computer networks and information assurance lab.

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18 Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology 50.58 3/5 34% Okmulgee, OK

OSUIT is a leader in applied technology education with state-of-the-art teaching facilities, partnerships with businesses, and a career placement rate for students of almost 100%. Students in the bachelor of technology in information technologies -- cybersecurity and digital forensicsoption, learn how to maintain a secure network through technical controls and policies, assess computer and network security weaknesses, implement appropriate measures for those vulnerabilities, and investigate cyber activities. This workforce-oriented, industry-driven cybersecurity degree is available both face-to- face and online. Students engage in hands-on learning in this technology-intensive and application-focused program. Admittance requires students to have completed an AAS degree or higher at OSUIT or any accredited institution.

In order to earn this degree, students need to have a minimum cumulative graduation/retention GPA of 2.5 and a earn a grade of "C" or higher in each technical course.

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19 Robert Morris University 45.67 4/5 42% Moon Township, PA

Located near Pittsburgh, RMU offers a number of degree programs online, including a BS in cyber forensics and information security that is taught by faculty with real-world experience and combines business, technology, organizational behavior, and law. The cybersecurity degree online is at the forefront of educational programs teaching students the techniques used in the field to detect, provide solutions for, and prevent network intrusions. The program provides students with study in concentration areas such as cyberlaw, digital evidence analysis, IT security, and network forensics.

Students in RMU's online programs have access to a financial aid counselor, student counselor, career advisor, wellness counselor, and 24-hour technology support. RMU offers low tuition rates, flexible payment plans, and comprehensive financial aid. Military veterans are eligible for generous college benefits.

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20 Mercy College 42.50 4/5 13% Dobbs Ferry, NY

A dynamic New York City area college with a diverse student population, Mercy College offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs within its five schools. The BS in cybersecurity at Mercy prepares cybersecurity professionals to implement security software and technologies to fortify organizations' information systems from cyber attacks, recover data after disasters, and conduct regular compliance audits. They will also be prepared to take the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification exam.

This degree program is one of the online cybersecurity degree programs in which students can earn a dual degree. Students may apply for the BS and master of science dual degree during their junior or senior year, culminating in the earning of both credentials in five years.

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21 Baker College 41.63 3/5 13% Flint, MI

Michigan-based Baker College prepares its students with the education and training coveted by today's employers in fields as diverse as auto diesel and agricultural technologies to business management and computer technologies. The institution also offers degree programs that are 100% online and accessible 24/7. The school's BS in cyber defense develops students' education and training in information technology and security, with a concentration in cyber defense. In this online degree in cybersecurity, students learn how to protect hardware, software, networking, and operating systems. Study areas include security design, security policies and auditing, legal and ethical issues, and an internship in a business or technical environment.

All online students are required to become oriented to the Baker classroom via a three-week online class that outlines expectations and requirements. One of Baker's notables is that graduates are eligible for Lifetime Employment Services, in which they are assisted with finding job postings, honing job searching techniques, and writing cover letter and resumes.

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22 Utica College 41.06 4/5 47% Utica, NY

Utica College is a private institution located in New York with a comprehensive catalog of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas such as business administration, education, healthcare, and financial crime and compliance. Utica offers four online degree programs, including a BS in cybersecurity that was developed in collaboration with Utica's Center for Identity Management and Information Protection, a research collaborative that works to advance data security, information sharing, and identity management.

This cybersecurity degree online is a completer program requiring prospective enrollees to hold an associate degree, or have earned a minimum of 57 credits from a regionally accredited institution. Once enrolled, students receive extensive training in areas such as digital forensics and intrusion investigations, fraud investigations, cyber operations, and information assurance. There are four cybersecurity specializations on offer: network forensics and intrusion investigation, information assurance, cybercrime and fraud investigation, and cyber operations.This program is one of the online cybersecurity programs whose curriculum is recognized by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

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23 Liberty University 40.29 4/5 47% Lynchburg, VA

A world-class education with a solid Christian foundation awaits students attending LU. The school's catalog of degree programs is extensive and includes 120 bachelor's and 97 master's degrees, many of which are delivered 100% online. LU's BS in information technology -- data networking and security online program prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the field of data security.

Taught from a biblical worldview, this online cybersecurity degree covers topics such as cybersecurity, network security, and Web architecture and security. Industry leaders teach courses that provide students with hands-on experience via projects with real-world applications. Online academic support is available for distance learners, including an online library, interlibrary loan, access to databases, study aids, and writing resources. LU notes that it offers low tuition rates in addition to flexible payment plans, scholarships, and other forms of financial aid.

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24 University of Maryland-University College 39.52 3/5 30% Adelphi, MD

UMUC provides students with a career-relevant and affordable education whether they take classes at any one of the sites across the Maryland region, online or via a combination thereof. Most of the institution's students are working professionals, and thus flexible scheduling is a hallmark of the institution's programming. Among the school's offerings are three online cybersecurity programs.

The BS in computer networks and cybersecurity program teaches students the procedures and technologies "to design, implement, administer, secure, and troubleshoot corporate networks." The BS in cybersecurity management and policy program prepares professionals with the skills necessary to protect organizations' cyber infrastructure and assets. Students in the BS in software development and security acquire the technical and leadership skills to be well-versed in programming languages and successful in software development and security settings.

Students have access to flexible transfer credit policies and fast track earning credentials at the University of Maryland University College.

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25 Charter Oak State College 35.96 3/5 10% New Britain, CT

Located in New Britain, Connecticut, Charter Oak State College is Connecticut's public online college offering "degrees with no boundaries." Through the institution, adults can complete their bachelor's, master's, and associate degrees in fields such as business, public safety, healthcare, and information systems. Students can do so exclusively by taking affordable and accelerated online courses at Charter Oak, or by combining courses and credits from Charter Oak with those earned at other institutions.

The school's BS in cybersecurity is designed for those with a background in computer technology and have an aptitude for information technology. This online cybersecurity degree program prepares students with the skills and training in IT security, information assurance, cybersecurity, and information security systems. A three-credit Cornerstone Seminar is required and is usually taken during students' first term. A cybersecurity capstone project is also required of students preparing to graduate from this program, and they must earn a grade of "C" or higher; both the seminar and capstone require an academic residency.

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Timeline
2 to 4 years
Program Costs
$8,000 to $25,000 in annual tuition
Popular Minors and Dual Areas of Study
Information Technology, Network Administration, Digital Forensics, Homeland Security, Computer Science, Software/Hardware Engineering, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement
Accreditation
There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional or national accreditation of their four-year college or university.
Additional Considerations
Most colleges and universities offer ‘cybersecurity’ as a specialization or concentration for bachelor’s degree programs in broader fields, such as information technology, computer science, or law enforcement.

Job Placement

Cybersecurity is projected to grow significantly over the next decade. Consequently, the employment outlook for professionals in the field is relatively strong. Keep in mind though, growth projections vary markedly between positions, as demonstrated by the latest projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Using BLS data, the following table lists industry growth expectations from 2014 through 2024.

Occupation Projected Industry Growth (2014-24) Projected Change in Number of Jobs (2014-24)
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 8% +30,200
Computer Systems Analysts 21% +118,600
Operations Research Analysts 30% +27,600
Information Security Analysts 18% +14,800
Software Developers 17% +186,600

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

As the table indicates, all five cybersecurity-related occupations listed above are expected to grow substantially between 2014 and 2024. By comparison, the BLS notes that the projected growth rate across all industries is 7%.

Earning a Living

According to a 2014 survey by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in any computer-related field (including cybersecurity) and no work experience earns approximately $36,000 annually. By comparison, experienced employees with the same educational background earn an average salary of $66,000 per year. Like with unemployment rates, salaries for specific cybersecurity positions will vary depending on a number of factors, including location.

Occupation Median Annual Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 Years) Median Annual Salary for Mid-Career Employees (10+ Years) Median Annual Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 Years) Median Annual Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ Years)
Computer Security Specialist $59,040 $80,139 $76,355 $92,500
Information Security Analyst $63,911 $79,558 $90,578 $89,631
Computer Programmer $51,422 $39,926 $45,742 $58,590
Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary $43,000 $65,169 $72,883 $76,986
Operations Analyst $50,609 $56,777 $61,308 $63,288

Source: PayScale

In all five of the occupations listed above, employees can expect their salaries to grow by more than 25% over the course of their career. Computer security specialists saw the highest growth rate, at 56.7% between the entry-level and late-career marks. These professionals also enjoy the highest late-career salaries. Computer programmers ranked second, with nearly 50% salary growth after two decades in the workforce.

Career and Further Education Opportunities

Students who successfully complete an online bachelor’s degree program in cybersecurity will be qualified for dozens of entry-level and mid-level jobs. Below, we’ve covered four of the most common professional pathways for graduates with a cybersecurity degree in detail.

Network and Computer Systems Administrators: These professionals oversee network activities, operations, and traffic. They are often responsible for installing different types of networks, including local area networks and wide area networks. They also install upgrades and conduct required maintenance tasks on existing systems.

Computer Systems Analysts: Computer systems analysts create computing systems on behalf of their client or organization. They must research the organization’s day-to-day operations in order to create efficient and sustainable systems. They also design systems using different techniques, including data modeling.

Operations Research Analysts: These professionals employ various mathematical and analytical methods in order to determine the most efficient and cost-effective operations for a company or organization. Many of these analysts specialize in a specific area of operations, such as finance, marketing, recruitment, or logistics.

Information Security Analysts: Information security analysts create the software programs and tools used to safeguard organizational networks and computer systems from ongoing outside threats. They also investigate security breaches and perform system upgrades to deter future attacks. Information security can be a demanding profession; according to the BLS, roughly 25% of current information security analysts work more than 40 hours per week.

Occupation Median Annual Salary
Network and Computer Systems Administrators $77,810 ($37.41 per hour)
Computer Systems Analysts $78,630 ($37.80 per hour)
Operations Research Analysts $78,630 ($37.80 per hour)
Information Security Analysts $90,120 ($43.33 per hour)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity often go on to pursue a master’s degree. For more information about opportunities for grad students, please visit our Guide to Online Emergency Management Master’s Programs.

Professional Organizations

Making connections and learning as much as you can about cybersecurity is crucial to your professional success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for cybersecurity professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.

  • Information Systems Security Association: Currently representing more than 10,000 members across the globe, ISSA is a non-profit organization created to provide professional development and advocacy for information systems security personnel. The organization maintains local chapters around the world, including 99 chapters headquartered in the United States. Other perks for members include an invitation to ISSA’s yearly international conference and full access to the organization’s online, peer-reviewed journal.
  • International Association for Counterterrorism and Security Professionals: The IACSP’s mission serves two overarching goals: developing and disseminating tools and resources used to minimize the threat of terrorism, and promoting legal and ethical behavior within counterterrorism. Member benefits include online journal and newsletter subscriptions, discounts on entrance fees to IACSP events, and access to additional resources on the organization’s website.
  • SEARCH: SEARCH is a national nonprofit organization that connects and improves communication between various state, local, and tribal law enforcement and public safety agencies. SEARCH’s website features a variety of resources; visitors will find information about cyber-crime, data analysis, public safety, and other subfields in law enforcement and homeland security, along with podcasts, blog posts, and other multimedia resources.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family’s financial future. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.

Best Online Cybersecurity Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
2 University of Maryland - University College Adelphi, MD
3 Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA
4 Robert Morris University Moon Township, PA
5 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
6 Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI
7 Wilmington University New Castle, DE
8 Pennsylvania State University - Berks Reading, PA
9 Limestone College Gaffney, SC
10 Dakota State University Madison, SD
11 Mercy College Dobbs Ferry, NY
12 Champlain College Burlington, VT
13 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
14 Baker College of Port Huron Port Huron, MI
15 Utica College Utica, NY