Top Cyber Security Associate Degree in 2019

A Cyber Security Associate Degree may help you become part of a team that protects data. And experts say we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day!
 
But the vast amount of data we have is only part of the issue. There’s also a shortage of cyber security experts. This means, not enough people know how to keep data safe, secure and private.
 
In fact, the Center for Cyber Safety and Education says the job gap is huge. Their study shows a work force gap of 1.8 million people by 2022.
If you want to get on board, you need a degree. So earning an associate degree in cyber security may be a perfect start.

 

WHAT IS A CYBER SECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREE?

An Associates in cyber security is often part of a computer science program. As such, most programs touch on ways to protect digital data. So, the focus may be pretty technical.
 
At the same time, many programs are basic. They may, for instance help you gain vital skills. Like programming and coding.
 
You may also learn about the various types of cyber threats. This is so you can spot them. And understand how they cause damage to networks and systems.
 
Since many schools offer them, you may find a wide range of program titles too. Some may highlight a certain area. Like digital forensics.
While others refer to the type of associate degree it is. 

 

Types of Cyber Security Associate Degrees

There are a few types of cyber security associate degree programs.

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)
One way they differ at this level is the kinds of general classes they feature.
An AA often covers more liberal arts. While an AS, more comp sci and math.
Also both an AA and AS are transfer degrees. This means once you graduate, your credits may transfer to a bachelor of science program later.
 
AAS programs are not transfer degrees. So, they have a practical focus. As such, they often prep you to pursue a certain kind of job when you graduate.

 

 

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CYBER SECURITY

The cost of earning an associate degree in cyber security varies. And one of the things that impact cost is the type of school you attend.
 
Per collegeboard.org, the average cost at a two year community college was $3,660 in 201-2018/19.
 
But at a public four year college, the same two year degree cost $10,230 for in-state residents. Of course, out of state students at public four-year colleges pay the most. Or, about $26,290.

 

CYBER SECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREE COURSE CURRICULUM

A cyber security associate degree program often covers these core topics.

  1. Networks – How systems transfer data to each other
  2. Cyber Security Basics – Ways to detect, protect and prevent attacks
  3. Operating systems – Microsoft, Linux, etc
Most study plans aim to help you learn essential things and gain key skills. As such, they often cover the cyber security field in a general way.
 
This means, you may learn basic security concepts, theories and practices. All the elements that effect IT and uses of computer info systems.
 
To do this, many programs help you learn how networks communicate. So, you may learn about servers, operating systems and programming.

 

Core Curriculum:

  • Computer Basics
    This type of class is about computer basics. It may help you perform tasks. For instance, how to install OS or set up a PC. You may also learn how to trouble shoot.
  • Certified Ethical Hacking
    The focus of this class is ethical hacking methods. So, you may learn what they are and how to apply them. As such, you may learn to carry out a penetration test. And, take counter actions for specific breaches.
  • Network Basics
    In this type of class, you may study network protocols. You may also cover key terms such as LANs, WANs and IPs. Plus other things that prep you for industry exams. Like the CCNA exam (Cisco Certified Networking Associate).
  • Administrating Windows Server
    A main focus in this type of class is how to install and configure a Windows server. Since it is an operating system, you may also learn key features. Like how to create and manage a user account. And all about permissions and networks.
  • Digital Forensics
    Digital forensics classes may show you how to identify common security threats. Taking it a step further, students may also learn how to safeguard against the attacks.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EARN AN ASSOCIATE DEGREE IN CYBER SECURITY?

It often takes two years to earn an associate degree in cyber security if you study full time. But some schools may also have fast track programs as well as part time ones.

What Accreditations Should I Look For?

The most important accreditation to look for is regional. There are six regional agencies, and all are U.S. Dept. of Education approved.
 
One reason to do this is the level of quality in such programs. Since they need to pass a review, it is reasonable to expect they are legit. And, have services and study plans that are current and student friendly.
 
Also, only accredited schools pass transfer credits on. So, if you plan to study further, this is crucial.
 
Even if not, to take many industry certifications you need a degree from an accredited school. And, it is something employers often check.

 

20 BEST SCHOOLS WITH CYBER SECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREE PROGRAMS

Does one cyber security degree differ from the next? Since each is unique, we have ranked our top 20 colleges.

Our methodology uses data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. And, may help you narrow your search down.

 

Top 20 Cyber Security Schools with Associates Degrees
1

Peninsula College

1502 E Lauridsen Blvd | Port Angeles, Washington 98362

AAS in Cyber Security and Computer Forensics                 

The Cyber Security and Computer Forensics program aims to ready you to enter the industry. It entails 90 credits and covers basics.

  1. Intro to Cyber Security & Cyber Crime
  2. Risks Control and Encryption
  3. Securing the Modern Enterprise
  4. Ethical Hacking

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know the core concepts, tools, and methods used to secure computer systems
  • Apply critical thinking skills to assess risk
  • Identify, analyze, and mitigate threats to internal computer systems
  • Plan, put into use, and assess penetration testing and ethical hacking

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,023
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
46%, Average Amount $6,286
Federal Loans:
12%, Average Amount $6,161
2

Casper College

125 College Drive Casper | Wyoming 82601-4699

AS in Cyber Security and Computer Forensics                  

This 60 credit AS degree in cyber security blends theory and practice. As such, it aims to build core skills and a solid base for use as a transfer degree.

  1. Intro to Computer Science
  2. Network Defense Principles
  3. Computer Forensics
  4. Internet Ethics and Cyber Law

Skills You May Gain:

  • Find and remove data from a variety of digital media
  • Protect digital data from malignant uses, computer viruses and emerging threats
  • Look into computer crimes
  • Learn to identify, collect and maintain digital artifacts to ensure they can serve as evidence

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,584
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
54%, Average Amount: $4,145
Federal Loans:
16%, Average Amount: $5,433
3

Ivy Tech Community College

50 W. Fall Creek Parkway N. Drive | Indianapolis, Indiana 46208-5752

AAS in Cyber Security / Information Assurance (Online)                 

This two year, 60 credit, AAS degree in cyber security has two parts. One, which takes 30% of your classes is general studies. And the other, which takes 70% is technical.

  1. Intro to Cyber Security
  2. Network Protocol Analysis
  3. Digital Forensics
  4. Ethical Hacking

Skills You May Gain:

  • Apply statistics to make conclusions
  • Identify the bad actors / entities in cyberspace and what they do
  • Describe potential system attacks and the actors / entities that might perform them
  • Choose the appropriate cyber defense tools

 

Tuition & Fees: $8,402
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
45%, Average Amount: $441
Federal Loans:
20%, Average Amount: $4,087
4

Albany Technical College

1704 South Slappey Boulevard | Albany, Georgia 31701

Associate in Cyber Security / Information Assurance (Online)        

In this 72 credit program, you may study the basics of cyber security. As such you may leave with tools, key theories and practices.

  1. Computer Concepts
  2. Operating Systems Security
  3. Network Defense and Counter Measures
  4. Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

Skills You May Gain:

  • Understand the latest concepts, principles, and methods that assess the security needs
  • Be able to suggest ways to safeguard networks and hardware
  • Use math and comp sci in cyber defense
  • Set up secure infrastructures

 

Tuition & Fees: $4,848
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
86%, Average Amount: $5,649
Federal Loans:
54%, Average Amount: $3,113
5

East Mississippi Community College

1512 Kemper Street | Scooba, Mississippi 39358-0158

AAS in Cyber Security

This is a certified Cisco Networking Academy program. It also an approved CompTIA Academy. As a new student, you can enter in the Spring or Fall and need 70 credit to finish.

  1. Principles of Info Sec
  2. Advanced Network Administration
  3. Computer Forensics
  4. Network Defense and Counter Measures

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know what protocols to use
  • Assess what operating systems, hardware, networks and software tools to make a secure infrastructure
  • Understand and put into use a range of info sec concepts

 

Tuition & Fees: $6,440
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
61%, Average Amount: $5,387
Federal Loans:
28%, Average Amount: $4,459
6

Minnesota State College Southeast

1250 Homer Rd | Winona, Minnesota 55987

AAS in Cyber and Information Security

You need to earn 60 credits for this AAS in Cyber and Info Sec program. And many of the featured classes are basic. So, they cover key areas. Like networking, cyber security, forensics, and criminal justice.

  1. Basics of Security
  2. Computer Forensics Investigation
  3. Intro to Criminology / Criminal Behavior
  4. Server and Desktop Security

Skills You May Gain:

  • An ability to manage and secure data on private and corporate networks and devices
  • Evaluate, identify and put security standards and policies into use
  • Form and use a variety of forensic tools to capture, access, retrieve and store digital data

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,628
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
57%, Average Amount: $3,394
Federal Loans:
40%, Average Amount: $7,396
7

Rose State College

6420 S E 15th | Midwest City, Oklahoma 73110-2799

Cyber Security / Digital Forensics AAS – Cyber Security Option

This 66 credit AAS degree program helps you to explore key concepts. At the same time it may serve as a study guide for industry certification exams.

  1. Security Auditing & Penetration Testing
  2. Enterprise Threat Assessment
  3. Mobile Device & Wireless Security
  4. Digital Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Understand mobile / wireless, and remote access technologies
  • Know various ways to conduct a forensic investigation
  • Be able to navigate various local area networks
  • Grasp of remote access, data recovery, data analysis and basic reverse engineering

 

Tuition & Fees: $10,696
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
54%, Average Amount: $3,653
Federal Loans:
21%, Average Amount: $4,133
8

Minnesota State Community and Technical College

1414 College Way | Fergus Falls, Minnesota 56537-1000

AAS in Cyber Security

This is a 60 credit program. And aims to help you gain the skills to support and maintain IT systems. This means learning about computers and networks. While also studying app software and IT security.

  1. Enterprise Network Technologies
  2. Informatics
  3. Security Breaches and Counter Measures
  4. Network Defense

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about risk, threats, weak areas, attack vectors and exploits
  • Understand the ethics of data privacy
  • Ensure software is correct, reliable and safe

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,335
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
46%, Average Amount: $3,810
Federal Loans:
36%, Average Amount: $5,886
9

Hinds Community College

608 Hinds Boulevard | Raymond, Mississippi 39154

AAS in Information Systems Technology – Cyber Security Technology

Pursuing the cyber security tech focus entails 60 to 61 credits. It also aims to train you to keep data private, safe, intact and accessible to designated users.

While studying these things, there are a few others you learn about too. For instance, how to install, design, manage, operate, plan, and trouble shoot.

  1. Basics of Data 
  2. Principles of Info Sec
  3. Network Components
  4. Basics of Network Security

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about security issues such as risk, threats, weak areas, attack vectors and exploits
  • Understand the ethics of data privacy
  • Ensure software is correct, reliable and safe

 

Tuition & Fees: $6,170
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
55%, Average Amount: $4,920
Federal Loans:
35%, Average Amount: $4,691
10

Riverland Community College

1900 8th Ave NW | Austin, Minnesota 55912-1473

AAS in Cyber Security

In the 63 credits you take, the focus is on helping you gain technical skills. This means learning to configure and maintain security hardware and software. Both for i desktop, server and network layers.

  1. Network Security Basics
  2. Computer Forensics 
  3. Offensive Security
  4. Cisco Network Security

Skills You May Gain:

  • Understand network security principles and tools
  • Be able to craft security policies
  • Know how a security policy impacts a business

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,570
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
52%, Average Amount: $3,821
Federal Loans:
23%, Average Amount: $6,303
11

Adirondack Community College

640 Bay Rd | Queensbury, New York 12804

AAS in Information Technology – Cyber Security

Built into this 64 credit program are courses from Cisco Networking Academy. As such, it may help prep you to take two of their exams. Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT). And Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security.

  1. Ethical Hacking and Defense
  2. Introduction to Criminal Justice
  3. IT Security Basics
  4. Networking /Cyber Security Internship

Skills You May Gain:

  • Identify threats and weak areas in an IT system
  • Be able to craft security plans
  • Use counter defense methods to harden systems
  • Mitigate threats against the network, data and services

 

Tuition & Fees: $9,900
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
43%, Average Amount: $5,096
Federal Loans:
23%, Average Amount: $5,434
12

Howard Community College

10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy | Columbia, Maryland 21044-3197

AAS in Cyber Security (Transfer-Degree)

HCC is a National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Information Assurance. So, in this 2 year program, you complete courses mapped out to the CAE Information Assurance and Cyber Defense training standards. Courses are also approved by two gov’t agencies. NSA and DHS.

  1. Ethical Hacking and Defense
  2. Introduction to Criminal Justice
  3. IT Security Essentials
  4. Networking / Cyber Security Internship

Skills You May Gain:

  • Identify IT weak areas & threats
  • Develop security plans
  • Apply appropriate counter defense methods to harden systems
  • Proficiency in mitigating threats against the network, data and services.

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,248
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
47%, Average Amount: $3,471
Federal Loans:
12%, Average Amount: $5,815
13

Mt Hood Community College

26000 SE Stark St | Gresham, Oregon 97030

AAS in Cyber Security and Networking

This 99 credit program aims to prep you to take post degree certifications. For instance, CCNA, CompTIA, EC-Council and others.

  1. Cyber Operations
  2. Network Security Fundamentals
  3. Practical Digital Forensics
  4. Cyber Competition

Skills You May Gain:

  • Design and diagram possible solutions for a given network
  • Perform basic network and operating system protocols
  • Be able to configure system security for both wired and wireless networks
  • Analyze Internet security issues and apply them to network design problem
  • Design a disaster recovery plan for a real-world scenario

 

Tuition & Fees: $10,346
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
33%, Average Amount: $3,871
Federal Loans:
17%, Average Amount: $5,004
14

Eastern Iowa Community College District

101 W Third Street | Davenport, Iowa 52801-1221

AAS in Security and Forensics

One aim of this 67 credit program is that it serves as a study guide. As such it may prep you to take industry certifications. At the same time, you may learn how to detect attacks. And to take counter measures against them.

  1. Network Attacks
  2. Ethical Hacking
  3. Basics of Network Security
  4. Intro to Computer Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know the basics of cyber security and forensics
  • Be able to perform penetration testing
  • Understand basic principles of ethical hacking

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,328
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
53%, Average Amount: $4,193
Federal Loans:
24%, Average Amount: $4,910
15

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College

51 Main Street | Perkinston, Mississippi 39573

AAS in Cybersecurity Technology

The Cyber Security Technology program entails 62 to 64 credits. It also aims to provide you with key skills.

So, you may learn to identify threats. And may master some of the methods that defend against them.

  1. Computer Forensics
  2. Penetration Testing 
  3. Wireless Security & Privacy
  4. Network Security 

Skills You May Gain:

  • Know about wireless systems and ways to keep them secure
  • Be able to spot unauthorized access
  • Understand what hackers do

 

Tuition & Fees: $6,770
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
76%, Average Amount: $4,181
Federal Loans:
29%, Average Amount: $5,451
16

Century College

3300 Century Ave N | White Bear Lake, Minnesota 55110

AAS in Cyber Security, Virtualization, and Forensics – Cyber Security and Network Forensics Track

This 60 credit AAS focuses on how to combat cyber crime.  Some of the classes study counter measures against hacking, spam, and viruses. So, you may learn about malware and  reverse engineering.

  1. System Security and Network Auditing
  2. Cloud Computing 
  3. Malicious Documents & Memory Forensics
  4. Web Application Hacking

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to investigate and defend against computer crimes / attacks
  • Know the proper ways to seize and recover evidence for a security audit
  • Ability to reverse engineer malware

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,435
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
51%, Average Amount: $3,672
Federal Loans:
31%, Average Amount: $7,028
17

Washtenaw Community College

4800 E Huron River Dr | Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105-4800

AAS in Cyber Security

In this 61 credit program, you may gain skills. A main one is how to plan security measures to protect company data.

  1. Introd to Cryptography
  2. Network Security
  3. Network Penetration Testing
  4.  CCNA Security

Skills You May Gain;

  • Network security skills using server, infrastructure and perimeter tools
  • Know about security measures
  • Basic grasp of legal issues
  • Know how to detect intruders and recover data
Tuition & Fees: $5,520
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
36%, Average Amount: $4,358
Federal Loans:
22%, Average Amount: $5,518
18

Saint Paul College

235 Marshall Ave | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102-9808

AAS in Cyber Security

In this basic program, you may learn to assess the security needs. Both of hardware and networks.

You may learn how to problem solve. And, in doing so, to prevent breaches.

  1. Information Systems
  2. Ethical Hacking & Counter Measures
  3. How to Handle Incidents
  4. Networks

Skills You May Gain:

  • Basics of system design, analysis as well as how to maintain them
  • Be able to gather, check, and analyze data to watch for changes
  • Know if a system complies with security standards

 

Tuition & Fees: $5,561
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
61%, Average Amount: $3,955
Federal Loans:
27%, Average Amount: $6,145
19

Anne Arundel Community College

101 College Pky | Arnold, Maryland 21012-1895

AAS in Information Assurance, and Cyber Security

This 61 credit program covers three main areas. Security, digital forensics and networking.

  1. Advanced Network Defense
  2. Virtualization & Cloud
  3. Network Forensics
  4. Digital Forensics

Skills You May Gain:

  • Be able to spot security threats
  • Design, configure and test networks
  • Identify risk
  • Ability to communicate technical info

 

Tuition & Fees: $12,740
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
31%, Average Amount: $3,113
Federal Loans:
10%, Average Amount: $4,840
20

San Diego City College

1313 Park Boulevard | San Diego, California 92101-4787

AS Information Technology and Cyber Security

This 60 credit program covers many basic topics.It may help you become more computer literate. And, understand how to program apps, web and data bases.

  1. Basics of Cyber Security
  2. Intro to IT 
  3. Cloud Computing Architecture
  4.  Ethical Hacking

Skill You May Gain:

  • Assess the features of current Desktop and Network Operating Systems
  • Compare, contrast, and design simple networks
  • Spot threats and know how to deal with them

 

Tuition & Fees: $7,024
Financial Aid:
Grants & Scholarships:
71%, Average Amount: $2,706
Federal Loans:
0%, Average Amount: $3,484

WHAT JOBS CAN YOU GET WITH AN ASSOCIATE’S IN CYBER SECURITY?

You need at least a bachelors degree for most jobs. But an associate degree may prep you for some entry roles. In fact, 13% of information security analysts have one.

Let’s take a look at a few other options and career paths.

Top Salaries by State for Information Security Analysts

State Employment Lowest 10% Annual Mean Wage Highest 10%  
New York 6,930 $64,430 $122,000 $191,550 
New jersey 3,480 $66,040 $121,600 $173,130 
District of Columbia 1,660 

 

$63,340 

 

$118,080 $178,510 

 

Connecticut 980 $67,280 $112,900 $177,540 
Virginia 14,180 $68,250 $111,780 $162,830 

 

CYBER SECURITY CERTIFICATIONS

People with a certificate may earn 10.6% more than those who do not have one. So it may be wise to know what they are.

A certificate at college is usually a short term program. It focuses on a few courses that build specific skills. And, may help you focus your degree.

Certifications are distinct. These are industry credentials.

So, the industry that offers them tells you what you need to know for them. Once you have that know how, you may sign up to take their exam.

Cyber security certifications to think about:

Security+

Security + is available through CompTIA. And focuses on baseline skills. Though the aim is to help you climb the ladder.

Some of the things you study are current trends and ways to manage risk.

Like many other certifications, you must renew every 3 years. To do so, you need to take an extra 50 credits.

CISM: Certified Information Security Manager

CISM is available through ISACA®. And since 2002, boasts a membership of more than 40,000.

Here, you focus on being able to explain complex security issues. You also need to master four content areas.

  • Info Sec Governance
  • Manage Risk
  • Develop and Manage an Info Sec Program
  • Incident Management

To remain current, cert holders must re certify every three years. Beyond this, CISMs  have to pay an annual fee. This is either $45 for ISACA® members or $85 for non members. You must also submit at least 20 credits per year.

GCIH: GIAC Certified Incident Handler

The GCIH certification focuses incidents. How to detect them, respond to them and resolve them. To prep for the exam, you need to know core areas.

  • The incident handling process
  • Detect malicious apps and network activity
  • Common attacks that compromise hosts
  • Spot and analyze system and network weak areas
  • Improve processes by looking for the root causes of incidents

Every four years, you need to re certify. This involves paying a fee of $429. And, submitting 36 CPE credits.