Best Online Associate in Network Security Programs

Check out our ranking of the best online associate in network security programs. Figure out which program is best for you.

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by Bethanny Parker

Published on March 10, 2022 · Updated on April 26, 2022

Reviewed by Brian Nichols

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An associate in network security is a two-year degree available at some community colleges. Students learn to block hackers and other malicious users while allowing continued access to authorized users.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), tuition and fees for a two-year college averaged $3,621 for the 2019-20 academic year. Tuition at four-year colleges, private schools, and out-of-state institutions is typically higher. Some online colleges may save learners on expenses related to commuting, accommodation, and out-of-state fees.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for information security analysts will increase by 33% from 2020-2030. PayScale reports that the average base salary for individuals with an associate in network security was $60,000 per year as of February 2022.

What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Network Security Program?

Network security students should demonstrate a desire to learn, passion, curiosity, and attention to detail. Another useful trait is the ability to think like a hacker.

An associate in network security requires approximately 60 credits and takes about two years to complete. Some programs prepare students to take certification exams, such as the EC-Council certified ethical hacker exam, the systems security certified practitioner exam, or the CompTIA A+ hardware and software certification exam.

Students may have to complete labs for computer science courses. Check with your prospective school about any other requirements outside of the standard classes. Find out whether there are in-person requirements as well.

Most associate in network security programs are associate in science (AS) or associate in applied science (AAS) degrees. AS degrees typically prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges to pursue bachelor's degrees. AAS degrees usually prepare students to enter directly into the workforce.

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Featured Online 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 Associate in Network Security Program?

Network Fundamentals

In this course, students learn to identify the main components of a network, describe the standard network topologies, and describe the main components of a computer.

Introduction to Linux/Unix Operating System

This course introduces students to the Linux and Unix operating systems and to open-source computing. Students learn to install and set up Linux and Unix on both a desktop computer and a server.

Introduction to Computer and Network Security

In this course, students learn the fundamental elements of network security. This course prepares students for protecting data, services, and devices. Students in this course also start preparing for Security+ certification.

Introduction to Programming in Java

Introduction to programming in Java teaches students to program Java applications using object-oriented programming. Students gain practical experience designing applications from the analysis stage to implementation.

Network Defense and Countermeasures

This course covers the advanced security technologies network security professionals can use to protect network systems. Students learn to use intrusion detection systems and firewalls to protect the system.

What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Network Security Program?

Admission requirements vary among schools, but most colleges require candidates to have a high school diploma or GED certificate before starting an associate degree program. Some schools also require minimum scores on college entrance exams such as the ACT or SAT.

Applicants may also have to write essays. College application essays are usually short, averaging 400-600 words. Also a common requirement, letters of recommendation usually come from applicants' high school teachers or counselors. For those who did not recently graduate, a work supervisor may be a better choice.

If you have been working for a while, you may also be able to get credit for life and work experience. You may have to take a test to prove your knowledge.

What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Network Security Degree?

Career Outlook

According to the BLS, demand for network and computer systems administrators is projected to grow 5% from 2020-30, which is slower than average. The projected growth rate for computer support specialists is 9%, which is about average. Information security analyst jobs should grow by 33%.

The median salary for computer support specialists is $55,510 per year. Network and computer systems administrators earn $84,810 per year. Information security analysts earn a median annual wage of $103,590. Entry-level employees typically make much less than those with many years of experience.

Graduates with an associate in network security often work in computer systems design. They may also work in telecommunications, finance, information, and educational services.

See where an associate in network security can take you. Learn more about network security careers.

Career Paths

Network and Computer Systems Administrators

Network and computer systems administrators keep their companies' computer systems running day in and day out. These professionals decide what equipment is needed. They also install and provide support for equipment. They install local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets to support their companies' communication needs.

Median Annual Salary: $84,810

Network Security Engineers

Network security engineers install and maintain networking hardware and software such as routers, firewalls, switches, virtual private networks (VPNs), and network monitoring tools. They perform risk assessments and help design new network systems when their companies decide to upgrade their networks. Entry-level network security engineers earn around $66,000 per year.

Average Annual Salary (February 2022): $91,560

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts implement security measures to protect their companies' computer systems and networks from cyberattacks. They monitor networks for security breaches and take action to counteract attacks as needed. They also install software such as data encryption programs and firewalls to help protect data. These professionals must stay up to date on the latest computer and network security trends.

Median Annual Salary: $103,590

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists perform routine maintenance to ensure systems keep working properly. These professionals troubleshoot LANs and WANs to understand problems and figure out how to correct them. Computer support specialists provide tech support to customers over the phone and walk them through the process of solving their technical problems. They also help train users on new systems.

Median Annual Salary: $55,510

Data Communications Analyst

Data communications analysts develop and maintain LANs and WANs. They may also monitor VOIP connections. They must have in-depth knowledge of how networks work, plus strong verbal and written communication skills. This job includes a lot of troubleshooting, so these analysts must be able to think quickly and solve problems effectively.

Average Annual Salary (February 2022): $62,980

Network Security Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.

Database Management Careers Information Systems Careers Software Engineering Careers

Continuing Education

Jobs in this field commonly require a bachelor's degree, so many graduates with an associate in network security go on to earn a bachelor's. These individuals may pursue bachelor's degrees in network security, cybersecurity, computer science, or information technology.

Many certifications can help graduates with associate degrees in network security advance their credentials. These certifications CompTIA security+, CompTIA A+ hardware and software, and internet webmaster web security associate. Other relevant certifications include the certified ethical hacker designation, certified incident handler, and Google IT support professional certification.

How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Network Security Program?

Cost

NCES reports that the total cost of an education at a two-year school was $11,391 for the 2019-20 school year. This includes tuition, fees, and room and board. However, learners may also lose wages from not being able to work. Lost wages are part of the true program cost, which students must consider when deciding whether to pursue an associate degree. Prospective learners should also consider whether an online college would be cheaper than attending school on campus close to home.

Program Format

An online associate in network security could be synchronous or asynchronous, full or part time, or even accelerated. If you want to be able to log on whenever you want to do your schoolwork, you should choose an asynchronous program. If you want to keep working full time and take classes in the evenings or on weekends, you should choose a part-time program.

Location

If you're only interested in taking an online associate in network security, location probably doesn't matter. However, some online programs do have in-person requirements, so make sure to check before applying. Whether you attend college online or on campus, in-state public schools tend to have the most affordable tuition rates.

Accreditation

There are two types of accreditation: national and regional. For an associate in network security, regional accreditation is the most relevant. It is much easier to transfer credits from regionally accredited colleges.

Student Support

Student services provide many types of support, from tutoring to career services. Most schools have online student support services for their distance learners. Services include mentorships, academic advising, and internship support. Some schools have large alumni networks and offer networking events for their students and alumni.

Best Accredited Online Associate in Network Security Programs

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Best Online Associate in Network Security Programs

  1. Davenport University
    Location

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Tuition

    $17169

    Davenport's associate in network security includes required coursework in database design, the principles of project management, and server side scripting. Students can customize the degree by selecting one network security elective. Additionally, the university offers a recommended program sequence to keep students on track for graduation.

    Davenport's career advisors offer undergraduates and alumni internship opportunities, online events, and alumni mentors. The university provides most services through Handshake, an online platform through which users can make an appointment for a virtual counseling session.

    First-year applicants must submit standardized test scores in addition to high school transcripts or GED scores. Full-time students pay a per-semester tuition rate. All incoming students can apply for institutional scholarships. Davenport is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. Dakota State University
    Location

    Madison, SD

    Tuition

    $16863

    DSU's online associate degree in network security awards an AS and emphasizes collaboration and networking among students. Required courses include operating environments, networking, and information security management. Students also complete 24 credits of general education courses.

    Graduates can pursue careers as systems administrators and penetration testers. Through DSU's website, learners can research careers and hone interviewing skills. These resources help 99% of DSU alumni begin a job or a bachelor's program.

    DSU accepts applications throughout the year. Prospective learners with GED scores can apply. Residents of several different states pay DSU's in-state tuition rate. DSU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. College of Southern Maryland
    Location

    La Plata, MD

    Tuition

    $7376

    CSM's associate in network security includes a 60-credit curriculum with coursework in computer security, Microsoft Windows server administration, and business and technical writing. The degree offers some flexibility, as students select two electives. Full-time learners can earn the degree in four semesters.

    CSM's career services office provides a virtual career library, career coaching, and interviewing. Additional services include a LinkedIn profile guide.

    First-year applicants must submit standardized test scores and complete an orientation. Applicants without ACT or SAT scores can take a placement test. Students who live in adjoining counties pay the in-district tuition rate. CSM's Scholarship Finder website lists financial aid opportunities.

    CSM is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  4. St. Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $3477

    Prospective students preparing for careers at a federal agency often apply to SPC's online associate degree in network security. Students develop skills related to computer repair essentials, computer and information technology concepts, and network defense and countermeasures. Additional requirements include an internship.

    SPC's career services office helps students explore career paths, polish their resumes, and apply to internships. The college's blogs highlight career trends and advice for new and experienced professionals. Learners can also review new job openings on Handshake.

    The SPC application process takes only 10 minutes to complete. All applicants must submit transcripts and test scores. Incoming students may qualify for one of seven institutional scholarships.

    St. Petersburg College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Harford Community College
    Location

    Bel Air, MD

    Tuition

    $7243

    HCC's associate in network security includes required courses like introduction to cybersecurity, Cisco, and computer operating systems. Degree-seekers have tremendous flexibility in choosing general education courses. Additionally, full-time students can complete the program in four semesters.

    HCC's career services website offers access to interest inventories and a course in career planning that awards college credit. Students can also apply to HCC's Cooperative Education program, which allows them to gain practical experience in a professional setting.

    Applicants can take a virtual tour before applying. Admission requirements include high school transcripts. Prospective students without standardized test scores take the ACCUPLACER exam. Applicants must submit FAFSA results to apply for institutional scholarships and grants.

    HCC is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  6. Northern Wyoming Community College District
    Location

    Sheridan, WY

    Tuition

    $8498

    NWCCD's online associate degree in network security requires 61 credits in topics such as network defense and countermeasures, cloud computing, and hardening network infrastructure. During the program's capstone, students use new skills and knowledge to tackle a real-world problem. Most learners can graduate in two years.

    NWCCD's career advisors play a vital role in alumni's professional success, as they offer interest inventories, counseling sessions, and career development workshops that cover career exploration and resume tips. Degree-seekers can consult the college's Career Planning Workbook at any time.

    Prospective students must have a high school diploma. The college recommends that all applicants also submit FAFSA results to apply for nearly 20 scholarship opportunities.

    NWCCD is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Palo Alto College
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $3897

    Multiple courses in PAC's associate in network security curriculum are approved by the National Security Agency, meaning that graduates attain knowledge and skills the federal government desires in applicants. The five-semester, 60-credit program emphasizes information technology security, Linux installation, and digital forensics.

    In addition to self-assessment tools, PAC's career services office provides degree-seekers with multiple job boards that highlight careers in Texas and beyond. The college also offers Palomino Grow, a unique mentorship program that allows students to gain practical experience and build their professional network.

    Prospective students must submit transcripts or test scores, complete the FAFSA, and take a placement test. Out-of-district and out-of-state students pay a higher tuition rate. Alamo District residents can apply for PAC's Foundation Scholarship.

    Palo Alto College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. Minnesota West Community and Technical College
    Location

    Granite Falls, MN

    Tuition

    $10068

    MWCTC's online associate degree in network security features a 60-credit curriculum with courses in command line, information security management, and ethical hacking. Learners select three technical education electives to create a custom specialization. All students also learn to perform a security audit.

    On MWCTC's career services website, degree-seekers and alumni can review job postings, create a life plan, and research professional development resources. CareerScope software helps users explore career paths that align with the network security degree.

    Admission requirements include high school transcripts or GED scores. Online learners pay a higher tuition rate than their on-campus counterparts. MWCTC accepts scholarship applications for both the fall and spring semesters.

    MWCTC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. University of Maine at Fort Kent
    Location

    Fort Kent, ME

    Tuition

    $10731

    UMFK's associate in network security includes coursework in network security, cyber defense, and computer forensics and investigations. Students who follow the suggested course sequence take 14-16 credits each semester. In their final semester, degree-seekers develop a professional portfolio.

    Students who need resume assistance or want to improve interviewing skills turn to UMFK's career advisors. These advisors provide learners with resources like resume and cover letter templates.

    UMFK accepts both the Common Application and the ApplyMaine application. Canadian students pay the same tuition rate as Maine residents. UMFK uses incoming learners' transcripts and test scores to award automatic merit-based scholarships.

    UMFK is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  10. MidAmerica Nazarene University
    Location

    Olathe, KS

    Tuition

    $19905

    MNU's online associate degree in network security allows degree-seekers to start at any time. Required courses include information systems analysis and design, systems security and information assurance, and management information systems.

    Nearly two-thirds of MNU's alumni find a job that relates to their degree. MNU's career services office helps network security students research the best careers and develop interviewing and networking skills.

    Prospective students must have a high school diploma and must submit ACT or SAT scores. The university offers the Pioneer Pledge, a unique financial aid program in which alumni struggling to repay student loans receive financial assistance.

    MNU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Network Security Programs

Is an associate degree in network security worth it? true

For many, it is. To determine whether an associate in network security is worth it, add up the total cost of the degree, including any wages lost from not working while attending school. Then estimate how much more you will make with the degree than you are currently making.

Now divide the total cost of the degree by the amount per year. This will give you an idea of how many years it will take for the degree to pay for itself. Only you can decide if the online degree is worth it.

How fast can I get an associate in network security degree online? true

An associate in network security normally takes two years to complete. You may also take an accelerated program, such as the one offered by Cambridge College of Healthcare and Technology. This online, hybrid program takes less than 1.5 years to complete.

You may also take extra classes each term and take classes year-round. Instead of taking the minimum number of credits each term, take the maximum. You may be able to take as many as 18 credits per term. This will allow you to finish the program more quickly.

Is an online associate degree in network security credible? true

Yes, as long as you attend a regionally accredited school. Accreditation verifies that a school meets minimum educational standards. An accredited school should have a strong curriculum and skilled professors.

In addition to accreditation, check out the school's online reputation. Look at reviews from alumni to see if they have complaints. Look for mentions of the school in the media as well.

How much money can I make with an associate in network security?

Associate in network security graduates earned an average annual salary of $60,000 as of February 2022. As you gain experience, you should earn more as well. Your income may vary depending on where you live, too. Wages tend to be higher in cities than in rural areas.

Is an associate degree in network security in demand?

Yes, for most positions. Some network security jobs are projected to grow by 33% from 2020-30. As cyberattacks increase in frequency, the demand for network security professionals will grow as well.

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