Associate in Network Security Program Guide

portrait of Meg Whitenton
by Meg Whitenton
Published on August 13, 2021

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Earning an associate degree in network security provides students with experience in the field and prepares them to eventually pursue a higher degree. While most jobs in network or cybersecurity require a bachelor's degree, associate degree-holders can pursue lucrative entry-level positions in fields like computer support and web development.

For associate degree-holders just starting their careers, computer occupations offer high job growth and generous starting salaries. Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for computer and information technology occupations to grow 11%. In 2020, professionals in this field earned a median annual salary of $91,250.

The following guide helps students make an informed decision about pursuing an associate degree in network security.

Should I Get an Associate in Network Security?

Employers increasingly need network security experts as the threat of cyberattacks grows worldwide.

Network security is among the most popular fields in IT. Employers increasingly need network security experts as the threat of cyberattacks grows worldwide. Most employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor's degree for network security jobs. However, earning an associate degree in network security is the first step toward field experience.

Full-time students can usually complete an associate degree in two years. Schools typically offer both on-campus and online associate degrees in network security. While some enrollees prefer learning on campus, others enjoy developing broad technology skills through an online program. Most programs offer an optional internship or practicum.

Graduates with an associate degree in network security often enter the computer support or web development field to gain experience for further education. Many students go on to earn a bachelor's degree in a field like information assurance or cybersecurity.

Learners may also pursue professional certifications like certified information systems security professional to enhance job prospects. Some employers prefer candidates with a master of business administration (MBA) in information systems for senior positions.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Network Security Programs

What Will I Learn in a Network Security Associate Program?

Schools may offer several options leading to an associate of science (AS) or associate of applied science (AAS) in network security. Some schools offer an AS or AAS in cybersecurity, with coursework nearly identical to an associate degree in network security. Others offer network security as a concentration within a cybersecurity program.

Both network security and cybersecurity associate programs include core requirements in computer programming, networking, and cybersecurity principles. Program-specific coursework typically covers subjects like computer configuration, routing and switching, and network protocols and services. Students may opt to complete an internship or externship.

Most associate in network security programs, especially AAS degrees, emphasize technology and career skills for workplace success. Many programs also incorporate a liberal arts or arts and sciences module, requiring courses like college algebra, communication, and culture and diversity.

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What Can I Do With an Associate in Network Security?

Graduates with an associate degree in network security qualify for entry-level employment in fields like computer support, web development, and data science. Employers often prefer network security professionals with experience in a related field and a bachelor's degree or MBA.

Associate degree-holders can build specialized skills in a variety of computer science and IT positions. For example, they may develop a better understanding of how to detect and mitigate security threats while working as computer support specialists or associate web developers.

See below for some of the most popular career and educational pathways for aspiring network security specialists.

Popular Career Paths

Computer Support Specialist

These professionals provide direct computer support to individual users and organizations. They identify and troubleshoot technical issues involving computers, networks, and intranet systems.

Web Developer

These professionals create websites from inception to implementation. They design layouts and consider technical aspects like functionality, navigation, and traffic capability.

Data Scientist - Statistical Assistant

Data scientists may conduct research in the computer support field. While data scientists need a higher degree to operate independently, students may become statistical assistants to gain experience.

Popular Continued Education Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate in Network Security?

Like most IT professionals, network security specialists can earn a high entry-level salary. Most information security analyst jobs require at least a bachelor's degree. However, students who complete an associate degree in network security can become computer support specialists or web developers to gain experience.

According to the BLS, web developers earned a median annual salary of $77,200 in 2020, while computer support specialists earned $55,510.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Network Security Programs

What is an associate in network security?

An associate in network security equips students with the skills they need to pursue entry-level security analyst positions or enroll in a bachelor's program. Associate programs include courses in networking, IT security, and online ethics.

How much does it cost to get an associate in network security?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, two-year institutions typically charge more than $10,000. However, many online associate degrees in network security offer faster paths to graduation and fixed or in-state tuition rates.

Does an associate in network security require math?

Most computer science programs, including network security, require basic math like algebra. More technical concentrations may require more advanced math. Most programs include high school math prerequisites.

How much can you make with an associate in network security?

Graduates with an associate degree in network security often launch their careers in support occupations to gain experience before earning a bachelor's degree. According to the BLS, computer support specialists earned a median annual salary of $55,510 in 2020.

What is the difference between an associate in network security and an associate in cybersecurity?

Network security is a particular specialization of cybersecurity, which is the broad protection of digital data against unauthorized access. Network security focuses on protecting IT systems and infrastructure.

Are you interested in learning more about careers in network security? Click for information about opportunities at all levels of education. Start planning today. We've ranked the top online associate in network security programs. Compare schools by cost and convenience. Earn your associate degree online. Thinking about getting an in-person or online associate degree in network administration? Learn about this degree, the job prospects, and salary potential.

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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