The Best Cyber Security Associate Programs of 2021
Cyber security engineers and analysts safeguard valuable information. Cyber security is increasingly in demand as more businesses and government institutions operate online. In a nutshell, cyber security helps companies and businesses protect their information from hackers, malware, and in some cases, malicious individuals.
An associate degree is usually considered a stepping stone between secondary education and a bachelor’s degree. However, it is possible to acquire an Associate Degree in Cyber Security as a stand-alone credential. The best associate degrees in cyber security of 2021 can help you.
Why You Should Study Cyber Security
Cyber security can pave the way to a multitude of careers. Digital security is a growing issue, so more companies and organizations need workers to help secure their data. The government in particular needs strong cyber security.
Other institutions like business, healthcare, and education are increasingly reliant on cyber security protection. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for information security workers will grow by 31 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is a promising statistic if you want to get into cyber security in the next couple of years.
At a Glance: Top 10 Cyber Security Associate Programs of 2021
As you search for the perfect online cyber security degree, we’ve compiled a list of top schools. Rates for tuition have been extracted from official school websites. Make sure you double-check fees when you apply because tuition costs are subject to change.
|School and Program||State||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Online Options|
|Central Texas College
Associate of Science
in Cyber Defense
|TX||$95 per semester hour||$119 per semester hour||Yes|
Associate of Applied Science
in Networking Cyber Security
|TX||$113 per credit hour||$119 per credit hour||Yes|
|Howard Community College
Associate of Applied Science
in Cyber Forensics Technology
|MD||$239 per credit hour||$292 per credit hour||No|
|Idaho State University
Associate of Applied Science
in Industrial Cyber Security
|ID||$15,744 total||$15,744 total||No|
|John A. Logan College
Associate in Applied Science
in Computer Forensics
|IL||$133 per credit hour||$222 per credit hour||Yes|
|Lane Community College
Associate of Applied Science in
Computer Network Operations
|OR||$5,358 per semester||$11,283 per semester||No|
|Lord Fairfax Community College
Associate of Applied Science in
|VA||$4,739 per semester||$10,742 per semester||No|
|Los Medanos College
Associate of Applied Science in
Networking and Security
|CA||$46 per credit||$290 per credit||Yes|
Associate of Science in
|CA||$46 per credit hour||$311 per credit hour||No|
Associate of Science in
|CA||$46 per unit||$46 per unit||No|
What Are the Requirements for a Cyber Security Associate Degree?
There are some requirements to qualify for an Associate Degree in Cyber Security. Firstly, you will need to have completed high school. Cyber security degrees often ask for some knowledge in math and computer science, although this isn’t always a prerequisite. It is also useful to have problem-solving and analytical skills.
Should You Pursue a Cyber Security Associate Degree Online?
Yes, you should pursue an Associate Degree in Cyber Security online. It can open the door to a bachelor’s degree or even an entry-level job. There are plenty of benefits to learning online. Some degrees are asynchronous, which means course content can be accessed anytime. There are still deadlines, but online learning offers a greater deal of flexibility.
There are some inconveniences to learning online, however. Firstly, school labs and study spaces are exclusively available to in-person students. Attending a university in person also allows for greater networking opportunities. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of studying online before making a decision.
Choosing the Right Cyber Security Associate Degree Program
To help you choose from the list of best online cyber security degrees, we’ve listed some key factors to consider below.
Make sure you assess your career ambitions before embarking on any educational journey. For some students, a four-year bachelor’s degree is more suitable for their desired job. In general, bachelor’s degree holders are more likely to land a job than associate degree holders. However, associate degrees are shorter and less expensive.
Before applying to a specific program, check the financial aid. Many schools and universities offer payment plans and scholarship options. It is always useful to check if a university has a scholarship you may be eligible for. Tuition fees fluctuate often, so make sure you are up to date.
An associate cyber security program might seem attractive at first glance. Some programs offer modules and courses that others don’t. Make sure your program includes the specialization and concentration options that interest you the most. Furthermore, it might be worth checking if your associate degree credits can be transferred to the bachelor level.
Top Cyber Security Associate Degrees in 2021
Let’s now go through our listed associate degrees in more detail. This list should give you an in-depth insight into what specific online programs can offer. Make sure to use this information as a starting point. You should do your own research through the school’s official websites.
Central Texas College | Associate of Science in Cyber Defense
Central Texas College is an exciting computer science-focused school. The college offers an Associate of Science in Cyber Defense. The curriculum covers crucial topics like cyber defense information assurance, risk management, and network analysis. This program is geared towards students who wish to pursue their careers upon graduation.
The college has tech labs and study spaces available for all students.
It offers many extra certificates and certifications in cyber security and technology fields.
The cyber defense program has many specialization options and is career-focused to prepare students for the field.
Hill College | Associate of Applied Science in Networking Cyber Security
Hill College has been designated by the US Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in cyber defense. The school is, therefore, a reputable place to study cyber security. The two-year program offers concentration options in computer science and networking cyber security.
Hill College is a member of the North Texas Community College Consortium. This makes it easy to transfer into other regional programs.
Hill College has many industry partners and has received awards for its cyber security programs.
The school offers many continuing education options. Hill College is partnered with the Texas Workforce Skills Development Grant and the Texas Workforce Commission’s Small Business Grant.
Howard Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Forensics Technology
The Howard Community College cyber forensics curriculum has been crafted with the help of the US Department of Defense. This makes it a great college if you want to get into the military or government agencies. The associate program is designed for students who wish to jump onto a four-year bachelor’s degree upon completion.
The school has received the National Center of Digital Forensics Academic Excellence Award.
The program puts a strong emphasis on cyber forensics and documentation methods.
The school offers extensive career help and has many industry partners.
Idaho State University | Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Cyber Security Engineering Technology
Idaho State University offers an exciting two-year curriculum in cyber security. The program focuses on understanding security systems such as those used in power plants, pipelines, and manufacturing facilities. Students with no prior qualifications can complete the degree in two years. If you already have an associate degree, you can finish in a year.
Idaho State University has many related programs, making it a great place to study and meet peers.
The program is laser-focused on firmware and industrial engineering technologies.
The teaching schedule is consistent. You will attend classes from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, Monday to Friday.
John A. Logan College | Associate in Applied Science in Computer Forensics
The Associate in Applied Science in Computer Forensics offered by John A. Logan College is academic-focused. The two-year curriculum will prepare you for further education at the bachelor’s level. The program is well-rounded and focuses heavily on computational and digital forensics.
This program will gear you up to pursue higher education.
The degree targets students who wish to pursue careers in the fields of criminology, law, and computational sciences.
John A. Logan College has many industry partners in the field of federal law enforcement agencies.
Lane Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Computer Network Operations
This associate program is aimed at students who wish to work as computer technicians or computer scientists. The education core of this program revolves around computer science and programming. However, there are some electives in cyber security you can choose from. These include cyber security operations, firewalls, VPNs, and ethical hacking.
The school offers many networking opportunities with industry partners and professionals.
The curriculum is anchored in computer science, which can give you greater versatility and employability later on.
The curriculum covers elements of human relations and business communications.
Lord Fairfax Community College | Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security
The Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security offered by Lord Fairfax Community College is geared towards students who wish to enter information security. The curriculum includes modules like software design, math, network communication security, and ethical hacking.
The program will help you develop competencies in problem-solving and communication.
The school has state-of-the-art lab facilities and collaboration options.
It is a designated National Center of Excellence in Cyber Defense.
Los Medanos College | Associate of Applied Science in Networking and Security
The associate degree offered by Los Medanos College is geared towards students who wish to jump straight into entry-level jobs. The college has a strong record of sending its graduates into private, public, and governmental agencies. The curriculum includes modules like advanced computer forensics, network security, and operating systems.
The program is career-focused, and the school has many high-ranked industry partners.
The curriculum lays a solid emphasis on computer ethics and problem-solving.
The school offers many certificates of achievement for students who wish to take their credentials to the next level.
MiraCosta College | Associate of Science in Cyber Security
The program in cyber security offered by MiraCosta College is career-oriented. The curriculum covers topics like information security, business communications, ethical hacking, and more. This is a great program if you wish to pursue higher education at the bachelor’s level. The college has interesting scholarship and funding options too.
MiraCosta College offers many extracurricular certifications and career assistance.
The program curriculum puts a strong emphasis on human behavioral sciences.
MiraCosta College has many ties with the tech industry. Its location in central San Diego will help you immerse yourself in a national tech hub.
Palomar College | Associate of Science in Cyber Security
Palomar College’s cyber security program is computer science focused. The two-year curriculum is broad-ranging and academic-heavy. Courses include hardware fundamentals, networking fundamentals, computer information systems, cyber defense and analysis, and Python programming.
The curriculum includes interesting electives like history, multiculturalism, and American ideals.
After completing the degree, you will have acquired competencies in investigating networks and analyzing risk.
The program is project-based and includes many real-world case studies.
Career Options With a Cyber Security Associate Degree
An Associate Degree in Cyber Security can be the gateway to an array of jobs and careers. Typically, companies and businesses ask for a bachelor’s degree. However, there are some entry-level positions and jobs available to associate degree holders.
To give you an idea, we’ve listed the top careers below. Note that the salaries indicate average earnings. In most cases, entry-level positions pay less, and higher positions pay more.
Top Cyber Security Associate Degree Careers
|Information Security Engineer||$95,160|
|Network Security Engineer||$87,416|
|Forensic Computer Analyst||$74,367|
|Information Security Analyst||$73,037|
How Much Can I Expect to Earn With a Cyber Security Associate Degree?
With an Associate Degree in Cyber Security, you can expect to earn a decent salary. Cyber security analysts and experts are in demand in almost every field. As stated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for information security analysts reached $103,590 in 2020.
Jobs and career prospects remain varied, as noted in the career chart above. The number of qualifications, certifications, and skills you bring into a job will help determine your salary.
Should You Get an Associate Degree in Cyber Security?
Yes, you should get an Associate Degree in Cyber Security. Hackers are constantly evolving and adapting to new technologies. It’s important to catch up with new trends and make sure health agencies, businesses, and governmental agencies remain safe. An associate degree is a good first step to getting into a cyber security career.
You might find that a two-year degree is enough. If not, an associate degree can act as a stepping stone to get into a bachelor’s program. You can also further your cyber security skills quickly by attending a cyber security bootcamp. Attaining proficiency in cyber security technologies is the best way to guarantee a job and a career in the future.