How do I Choose the Right Online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Program?

Looking for a career hack to break into cybersecurity? Here are some tips to help you choose the cybersecurity programs that are perfect for you.
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  • Employers prefer degree-holding cybersecurity professionals for mid-level roles.
  • Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand.
  • Beyond a cybersecurity bachelor's program, certifications can help you stand apart in the job market.

There are hundreds of cybersecurity programs out there. More than 400 of them receive recognition from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

You have some time to decide — the need for cybersecurity professionals is exceptionally high, and is projected to stay that way. CompTIA predicts that approximately 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will remain vacant until the end of 2025.

So the next step is discovering how to choose a cybersecurity program. Some important factors to weigh are your budget and availability, but we'll also break down why you should care about accreditation and other factors.

The Benefits of an Online Bachelor's Degree Program

Through labs and internships, an online bachelor's program in cybersecurity offers practical experience and a baseline of understanding for computer systems, networks, and cyberattacks.

You'll earn the same degree online as you would on campus, only without the commute time. Synchronous and asynchronous coursework allow you to attend class and do homework remotely and sometimes on your own time.

The program includes the general education credits required of any undergraduate degree. You study subjects such as sciences, math, English, and humanities. The average bachelor's in cybersecurity degree requires 120 credits and takes about four years to complete.

Popular Online Cybersecurity Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What to Look for in an Online Cybersecurity Program

Accreditation

How do you know if your online bachelor's in cybersecurity program meets industry standards? Accreditation serves as a good marker of quality. The Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET grants accreditation to computer science programs, including cybersecurity degrees.

ABET's team of academics and industry professionals conduct comprehensive evaluations over 18 months, including reviews of curriculum and onsite visits to schools where they interview students and faculty.

Completion Success Rate

Colleges publish completion rates, which can offer insight into how well you may do in a program. This metric also demonstrates the availability of student support services.

Want to know how a program measures up? Compare the school's completion rate to the national and/or state rates reported by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Success Rate of Placement After Completion

Student outcomes often tell you how many students land jobs after graduation, and sometimes even what their salaries are. Student outcomes are often within a set time period after graduation. This can tell you about your chances for getting a well-paying job after college.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous

Online cybersecurity degrees let you study remotely, but you may need to go online at specific times. Two common learning formats are synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous refers to live coursework, such as streaming lectures. Asynchronous materials let you watch pre-recorded videos or submit homework on deadlines.

Cost

Online degrees often cost less than traditional in-person programs. Colleges may provide reduced tuition for online learners or flat rates that let out-of-state learners pay in-state tuition.

As an online student, you also do not pay for transportation, parking, and other campus-related fees. That said, sometimes the technology fees associated with online learning can result in expenses beyond the sticker price. And if you lack reliable home internet, you may need to factor in the cost of commuting to a place you can log on for class.

Things You Should Know About an Online Cybersecurity Program

Cybersecurity programs teach you computer science and information technology fundamentals with courses in database systems security, system programming, and computer programming. After the introductory courses, you'll dive into specialized coursework that could include ethical hacking, malware analysis, and recovery and forensics.

Getting industry certified after college can help you stand out to employers and sharpen specialized skills. Popular certifications in cybersecurity include CompTIA Security+, ISACA’s Certified Information Security Manager, and Certified Information Systems Auditor.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cybersecurity

Is an online cybersecurity degree better than in-person?

It comes down to what works best for you. Colleges generally use the same curriculum and faculty for online and on-campus cybersecurity degrees. If you need a flexible learning style to accommodate your busy life, an online program allows you the flexibility to study from anywhere. In-person learning provides one-on-one interaction not always available online.

No. Education requirements for employment vary by position and company. Employers may hire self-taught cybersecurity professionals or someone straight out of bootcamp, especially for entry-level positions. A bachelor's degree can open the doors to mid-level cybersecurity positions.

The right degree in cybersecurity offers everything you need to succeed in your chosen career. Bachelor's degree holders can land mid-level careers, but senior positions may require a master's degree. Research and academic positions often require a doctoral degree.

After earning a bachelor's in cybersecurity, you can qualify for positions in cybersecurity consultancy, forensics computer analysis, penetration testing, and information security.

College does not come with a job guarantee. That said, degree-holders earn more throughout their lifetime than those without a degree. According to the Social Security Administration, men with a bachelor's degree make about $900,000 more than high school-only graduates throughout their lifetime, Women with a college degree earn $630,000 more than those with a high school diploma only.

Page last reviewed January 5, 2024

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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