Best Online Computer Forensics Degree Programs
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Cybersecurity is a serious international issue, and students pursuing an online bachelor's in computer forensics can anticipate well-paying jobs in a growing field. These undergraduate programs introduce students to a targeted blend of foundational topics in technology, computer science, and criminal justice.
Students pursuing an online bachelor's in computer forensics typically graduate in about four years of full-time attendance. Upon graduation, students have a toolbox of technical and soft skills, which they can apply to various careers in the public and private sectors.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), students pursuing a career as an information security analyst can anticipate a median annual salary of over $102,000 within a field that is projected to grow by as much as 33% from 2020-2030.
Whether a student is interested in a career in law enforcement or tech, a bachelor's in computer forensics can prepare them to enter a growing field. Continue reading as we highlight what to expect in a computer forensics degree program.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics Program?
The timeline and course requirements of an online bachelor's in computer forensics can vary between programs, but students can expect a solid foundation in cybersecurity, criminal procedure, and computer science. Computer forensics students also hone a list of widely applicable technical skills throughout their undergraduate careers.
An online bachelor's in computer forensics typically requires students to complete 120 credits over four years, but transfer students can often graduate more quickly. Some popular computer forensics classes include introduction to cybercrime, cyber criminology, and malware forensics.
In addition to traditional coursework, many tech-based classes include a lab component where students can develop technical proficiencies through hands-on work. Similarly, some programs require that students complete an internship or practicum before they graduate. Internships offer learners real-world experience, networking opportunities, and a chance to practice skills learned in the classroom.
During their 120-credit curriculum, students complete a blend of general education requirements and major coursework. Some bachelor's in computer forensics programs offer academic concentrations in areas like hacking investigation, cybersecurity, mobile forensics, and cyber criminology.
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Popular Online Computer Forensic Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics Program?
This course addresses the global issue of malware and how various businesses and organizations establish ways to combat malware. Students explore various detection techniques, dynamic and static analyses, and how to establish infection timelines.
Some of the best bachelor's in computer forensics programs offer students hands-on experience in addressing cybercrime in a mock-case setting. Students examine digital evidence and conduct a thorough investigation while using professional best practices.
Digital Forensics Analysis
In this course, students explore essential methods for investigating digital evidence. Through hands-on technical work and group projects addressing real-world cases, students cover topics such as mobile devices, file systems, and computer operating system forensics.
Foundations of Cybersecurity
Foundations of cybersecurity covers the theoretical concepts and real-world techniques used to optimize digital security. Students analyze security best practices, explore the different security issues various systems face, and learn how to identify threats and respond to incidents.
Digital FOrensics Investigation Techniques
This course provides computer forensics students with essential hands-on opportunities to explore the tools professionals use when analyzing digital evidence. Throughout this course, students build skills and learn industry best practices when utilizing various software tools.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics Program?
Admission requirements for online bachelor's in computer forensics programs can vary between schools, but prospective students inevitably see some similarities when completing their applications. Admission requirements for online programs typically mirror those for on-campus programs, but some online options may waive certain traditional requirements.
Submitting a fully-completed application is essential to the admission process. Prospective students typically apply online, pay associated fees, and include information like test scores and letters of recommendation. That said, the requirements can vary — especially for some online programs — so applicants should closely review all requirements before submitting their application.
College entrance exams, like the SAT and ACT, historically played a significant role in determining an applicant's college readiness. However, in recent years, thousands of colleges have dropped standardized test requirements for undergraduate students. Many schools continue to shift toward test-optional policies that allow students to submit scores as supplementary admission documentation.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation often play a crucial role in the admission process, and most schools ask for 1-3 recommendation letters. The best letters highlight applicants' attributes and what they can offer prospective schools. When asking for letters of recommendation, applicants should consider teachers, mentors, and guidance counselors as possible letter writers.
Another critical component in the admission process, college application essays give prospective students the chance to showcase themselves, highlight their skills, and set themselves apart from other applicants. Essay prompts are typically broad and can vary between schools but offer applicants the chance to highlight college readiness in a way that metrics cannot capture.
Official transcripts for high school or college coursework offer admission officials a picture of an applicant's academic performance. While transcripts do not completely predict academic performance, they play a significant role in determining if a student is ready for college. Official transcripts are also necessary for students transferring credits from community colleges.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics Degree?
Cybersecurity needs exist in the public and private sectors, so an online bachelor's in computer forensics prepares graduates for ample career opportunities. Computer forensic professionals traditionally work in law enforcement agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. These workers may also secure positions with various businesses, especially those with a strong tech focus.
Computer forensics graduates can anticipate a growing field with generous compensation. According to the BLS, information security analysts earned a median salary of $102,600 per year in May 2021, and the top 10% of earners in this field earned more than $165,920 annually.
Experienced computer forensics professionals often take on roles as security consultants. Other popular positions include computer forensics technician, digital forensic investigator, and malware analyst.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts maintain the security of their organization's various networks and computer systems. These workers keep up with best practices in their field while continuously assessing vulnerabilities. Information security analysts also develop security standards and communicate regularly with management.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $102,600
These professionals work with various organizations to ensure the security integrity of computer networks and other tech-based assets. Security consultants tackle regular audits, locate vulnerabilities, and work with management to create security programs. These workers traditionally have at least a bachelor's degree in a related field with relevant professional experience.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $83,470
Malware analysts utilize specialized knowledge to investigate and address malware issues. These professionals have a deep understanding of coding languages, programming methods, and computer systems. As malware continuously evolves, malware analysts must keep up with industry best practices and tech advancements.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $92,880
Forensic Computer Analyst
Forensic computer analysts handle the analysis of computer-related forensic information. Whether working for law enforcement or a tech company, these professionals typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer forensics or cybersecurity. Standard job responsibilities include analyzing sizable amounts of data, utilizing software to recover lost information, and evaluating computer system vulnerabilities.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $74,780
Information Technology Auditor
Information technology auditors analyze the performance of various computer-based functions to ensure effective security measures are in place along with general efficiency. These professionals utilize various software to gather essential metrics, and eventually present a report. In addition to a tech background, IT auditors typically have strong analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills.
Average Annual Salary (May 2022): $74,980
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After earning a bachelor's degree in computer forensics, many professionals choose to continue their education to hone new skills, enhance their resumes, and increase their earning potential.
A bachelor's in computer forensics can prepare graduates for master's programs in areas such as cybersecurity and criminal justice. Prospective graduate students can also pursue a master's in computer forensics. In addition to traditional on-campus options, these degrees are increasingly available as 100% online programs.
Alongside additional academic coursework, those working in computer forensics can pursue professional and technical certificates through various professional organizations like the Digital Forensics Certification Board and the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics Program?
The cost of a bachelor's in computer forensics can vary significantly between schools. Students can generally expect to pay more at a private school. Similarly, those enrolling as out-of-state students often pay more than residents. When evaluating potential programs, prospective students should consider the true cost of college and whether online options can help cut costs.
For online students, program format can play a significant role in determining if a school is the best choice. While some students can benefit from scheduled synchronous online classes, others may require the flexibility of asynchronous coursework.
Additionally, students should consider if part-time or full-time enrollment fits their short-term and long-term needs. Those interested in graduating as quickly as possible may want to consider accelerated degree programs.
When choosing between online or on-campus programs, a school's location can play a significant role in decision making. Some online programs have in-person requirements such as lab components, hybrid courses, and practicums. Location can also impact program costs, as some public institutions offer reduced tuition rates for in-state students.
Institutional and programmatic accreditation ensures that colleges, universities, and their various programs offer academic quality and administrative resources. While programmatic accreditation does not apply to all disciplines, students should verify that any prospective school holds institutional accreditation.
Learners should seek out colleges and universities that provide student support resources. Academic resources include advising, tutoring, mentoring, and access to internship opportunities. Additionally, many schools have entire departments dedicated to diversity and inclusion, mental health services, and career support. The best online programs maintain extensive student support services for distance learners.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Computer Forensics Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Computer Forensics Programs
Is a bachelor's in computer forensics worth it?
A computer forensics career is a good fit for tech-minded students interested in a growing field. A bachelor's program in computer forensics can introduce students to essential technical skills in computer science while focusing on topics like cybersecurity and criminology.
Additionally, an online bachelor's in computer forensics offers distance learners a flexible program format that is compatible with personal and professional obligations. Online programs also allow students to save money on campus-based fees, parking, and travel costs.
What can I do with a bachelor's in computer forensics?
Computer forensics graduates can pursue various positions in both the public and private sectors. Some popular job options include information security analysts, malware analysts, and forensic computer analysts. Graduates can secure positions in local law enforcement, federal agencies, and technology-based companies.
Throughout their undergraduate coursework, students gain proficiencies in networking, hacking, and other computer science areas. Computer forensics professionals can enhance their career options through graduate-level degrees, certificate programs, and professional certifications.
Are computer forensics majors in demand?
Computer forensics graduates enter the workforce with a set of desirable and marketable skills that translate to many tech-based career options. As businesses and governments become increasingly reliant on digital tools, the threat of hacking and other cybercrimes has become a constant concern. As a result, computer forensics and cybersecurity professionals are in high demand.
The BLS projects that information security analyst jobs will grow by 33% from 2020-2030. The organization projects computer and information systems managers will grow by 11% during the same period. Banks, governments, and private companies all face frequent cyber threats, and computer forensics professionals help manage and mitigate these risks.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in computer forensics?
In addition to entering a rapidly growing career field, computer forensics graduates can anticipate a relatively lucrative career. While pay can vary significantly between jobs, these tech professionals possess broadly applicable skills desirable to a long list of businesses and organizations.
Information security analysts earned a median income of over $102,000 per year in 2021, according to the BLS, with the top 10% of earners making more than $165,000 annually. Computer systems analysts also earned high salaries, with a median annual salary of $99,270 in 2021.
Computer forensics professionals can enhance their career options and earning potential by pursuing a graduate degree in a related field. In addition to a master's in computer forensics, other common master's degree choices include law, criminology, criminal justice, and business.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in computer forensics?
Pay for computer forensics graduates varies based on location, experience, and employer, but the highest-paid professionals typically work in the private sector. Additionally, experienced professionals in management and other leadership roles tend to make the most.
Computer and information systems managers earned a median income of nearly $160,000 per year in May 2021, according to the BLS, with the top 10% of earners making more than $208,000 annually.
Other lucrative tech-based careers include computer and information research scientists, computer network architects, and software developers.
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