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Cyber Security


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Top 10 Online Cyber Security Degree Options for 2022

Posted in Cyber Security
Cyber Security Degree

Cyber crimes are one of the greatest threats to modern individuals and organizations. As cyber security technology advances, malicious actors only sophisticate their attacks with new data. Therefore, every industry needs cyber security experts to stop hackers in their tracks and protect sensitive company data. 

Thanks to this high demand, cyber security professionals can find lucrative jobs in private business, government, and even national security agencies and intelligence services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts receive an average annual salary of $102,600. Even better, jobs are expected to grow by 33% from 2020 to 2030, a much higher rate than the national average.

Interested in upping your programming career to the sky-high height of cyber security? 

Let’s explore your options for the best online cyber security degree.

University/School

Program

Credits

Purdue University Global

Online Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

180

Wilmington University

BS in Cyber Security

120

Bellevue University

Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

127

Penn State World Campus

Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis - Information and Cyber Security Option

120

Regent University

BS in Cyber Security

120+

The 10 Best Online Cyber Security Degree Options

Purdue University Global

1. Online Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

Purdue University Global is an online university designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) at the national level for BS in cyber security by the NSA (National Security Agency). This program is one of the best online cyber security degrees around and has six different concentrations spread over specializations including data management, cloud computing, analytics, supply chain, programming, and game development. The ExcelTrack option helps you complete the degree quicker and at a reduced cost.

  • Courses: Ethical hacking, Python programming, and intrusion detection & response.
  • Credits: 180
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Cost per credit: $371
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Enroll Here

Wilmington University, College of Technology

2. BS in Cyber Security

Wilmington University is one of Delaware’s most affordable private universities. It offers six start times every year and has a streamlined admission process so you can start your program at your earliest convenience. This program was named the best in the nation in 2017 and remained one of the best cyber security online degrees.

It has a Dual-Credit Advantage option where certain electives help you earn a Dual-Credit certificate or accelerate to your next degree by including master’s level courses. As well as an online mode, this program is also available on-campus at four campuses.

  • Courses: Database foundations, web & data security, and cryptography.
  • Credits: 120
  • Tuition: $1,197 per 3-credit course
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study.
  • Acceptance rate: 99%
  • Location: New Castle, Delaware

Enroll Here

Bellevue University

3. Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

At Bellevue University, you get the opportunity to study under renowned faculty who have worked (or continue to work) with acclaimed security and intelligence agencies around the world, including the Department of Defense, NASA, and USAF. This online cyber security program allows you to study with the help of the same cybertechnology tools used in the industry. You can complete the program faster with its accelerated cohort option or by transferring credits from your associate degree. 

  • Courses: Securing access control, structured system analysis & design, and cybercrime & business.
  • Credits: 127
  • Cost per credit: $440
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, loans, veteran benefits, and employer tuition assistance.
  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Location: Bellevue, Nebraska

Enroll Here

Penn State World Campus

4. Bachelor of Science in Security and Risk Analysis - Information and Cyber Security Option

Penn State University has been offering distance education programs for more than a century and online ones for the past two decades. This online cyber security program gives you the same certificate as its on-campus counterpart. It follows an interdisciplinary approach and includes disciplines such as intelligence analysis, information assurance, and cyber forensics.

  • Courses: Introduction to security & risk analysis, computer & cyber forensics, and network security.
  • Credits: 120
  • Tuition per credit: $664
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, military benefits, loans
  • Acceptance rate: 54%
  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania

Enroll Here

Regent University

5. BS in Cyber Security

Regent University is one of the nation’s best online Christian Universities and one of the most affordable private Christian institutions. This BS program is one of the best cyber security online degrees. Fun fact: Regent University was ranked as one of the best online bachelor’s degrees for ten years in a row. In this program, you can cover up to nine credits if you have an industry certification from CompTIA or EC Council. The program also has an on-campus version.

  • Courses: Information systems security, contingency planning & disaster recovery, and digital forensics.
  • Credits: 120+
  • Tuition per credit hour: $395
  • Financial aid: Scholarships and loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 50%
  • Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Enroll Here

Champlain College Online

6. Online Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security

Champlain College offers over 60 fully online programs to help working adults continue their education in various fields. The cyber security curriculum is designed with a job-oriented focus so you can apply the knowledge you develop directly to your new job after graduation. This degree allows you to transfer some credits if you have a CISSP certification: you may transfer up to 90 out of 120 credits. You can also earn separate certificates in certain concentrations alongside the program. 

  • Courses: Operating system security, cloud computing security, and emerging threats & defenses.
  • Credits: 120
  • Cost per credit: $328
  • Financial aid: Grants, loans, and scholarships.
  • Acceptance rate: 85%
  • Location: Burlington, Vermont

Enroll Here

City University of Seattle

7. Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

The City University of Seattle is yet another institution dedicated to offering valuable educational programs to working adults. It has been named one of the top 10 adult educators in the country. The curriculum of this online bachelor’s degree in cyber security was designed in consultation with cyber security experts in the industry, and so has a focus on the skills around Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC), which are in high demand by employers and recruiters. You can complete the program in as little as two years through its credit transfer option.

  • Courses: Ethical hacking, data security, and compliance.
  • Credits: 180
  • Price per credit: $495
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, federal work-study, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 100%
  • Location: Seattle, Washington

Enroll Here

Maryville University

8. Online Bachelor’s in Cyber Security

Maryville University made Forbes’ America’s Top Colleges list in 2019. It’s also known as one of the country’s most innovative and comprehensive education institutions, focusing on students, learning outcomes, and success. The University houses the renowned “Maryville Virtual Lab,” which Apple recognized for its mobile innovation. Its bachelor of cyber security online program offers three tracks: cyber security, Offensive cyber security, and Defensive cyber security.

  • Courses: Digital forensics, ethical hacking, and incident response & malware analysis.
  • Credits: 128
  • Duration: 2.5 years+
  • Tuition: $622 per credit
  • Financial aid: Grants, scholarships, institutional work-study, employer assistance, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri

Enroll Here

Syracuse University, College of Professional Studies

9. Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Cyber Security Administration

The College of Professional Studies at Syracuse University is an online cyber security school offering highly flexible and future-ready programs that students can tailor to their schedules. This BPS (Bachelor of Professional Studies) program is different from the usual BS degree because it has a heavy career focus. Its curriculum focuses on knowledge that you can readily apply to the industry. The program’s flexibility allows you to pursue it however you want – fully online, on-campus, or in a hybrid mode.

  • Courses: Security in the networked environment, enterprise risk management, and digital forensics.
  • Credits: 120
  • Tuition: $695 per credit
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, federal work-study, and loans.
  • Acceptance rate: 68.7%
  • Location: Syracuse, New York

Enroll Here

Norwich University Online

10. Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security

Norwich University is over two centuries old and has been offering online education for 25 years. This cyber security degree online was specifically designed for working adults. It offers two concentrations: Information Warfare & Security Management and Computer Forensics & Vulnerability Management.

  • Courses: Malware forensics, cyber investigation, and defense information warfare.
  • Duration: 18 months average
  • Tuition per credit: $375
  • Financial aid: Scholarships, grants, and military benefits.
  • Acceptance rate: 74%
  • Location: Northfield, Vermont

Enroll Here

How to Pick the Best Online Cyber Security Degree

There’s no one-size-fits-all online cyber security degree. The right choice for you will depend on a variety of factors.

Having said that, here’s a general guide to picking the best online cyber security degree:

1. Check Program Accreditations

Make sure the university offering the program is properly accredited, especially if it’s an online college. The best online schools for cyber security are recognized by security organizations like the NSA (National Security Agency) or DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and designated as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE). Additionally, the institution may have other accreditations from organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission.

2. Research Costs

Consider tuition, accommodation, equipment, other expenses, and available financial assistance before picking a program. 

3. Decide Whether you Want a Program with a Professional Focus

Many universities offer pure cyber security programs with limited elective topics. However, others have professionally oriented curriculums highlighting a practical outlook to equip you for the modern workforce. 

4. Ask if Internships are Possible

Experiential knowledge is always valuable, so be on the lookout for programs with internships.

5. Check Credit Transfer Options

Many cyber security programs allow credit transfers from previous studies, helping you complete your degree faster.

Common Admission Criteria for Online Cyber Security Degrees

Admission requirements vary from school to school. However, you’ll usually need:

  • High School Diploma: You must be a high school graduate, hold a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have an equivalent qualification.
  • School transcripts: Most institutions require transcripts from previous college studies and high school. 
  • Personal Statement: This essay outlines your educational and career goals.
  • Test scores: Many universities ask for SAT or ACT scores.
  • Recommendations: You will need strong recommendation letters from past or current teachers, supervisors, or mentors.
  • English Language Proficiency: Foreign students with a native language other than English may need to prove language proficiency through IELTS and TOEFL.

Career Options with an Online Cyber Security Degree and Average Annual Salaries

An online cyber security bachelor’s degree opens unique career doors to jobs in the defense, security, government, marketing, and tech spaces. 

It can prepare you for a variety of professional positions, such as:

  • Information Security Analysts ($73,887): These professionals monitor organizations’ information networks and build strategies to protect them from breaches.
  • Computer Network Architects ($120,520): This role involves designing secure information and communication networks, including LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network). 
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators ($80,600): These cyber security professionals take responsibility for the day-to-day security of organizations’ IS networks.
  • Computer Network Support Specialists ($57,910): These specialists provide technical support through testing, troubleshooting, analysis, and maintenance.
  • Database Administrators ($98,860): Database Administrators take care of network databases, ensuring important data is stored and organized securely.
  • Penetration Testers ($87,440): Pen testers conduct authorized network breaches to simulate cyberattacks in order to test network security strength.
  • Digital Forensic Examiners ($99,730): These professionals assist cybercrime investigations by recovering data from damaged storage devices.

Mandatory Courses for Online Cyber Security Degrees

Cyber security involves a range of specialized sub-disciplines. However, online cyber security degrees have core courses that commonly include:

  • Network Security: Network cyberattacks and how to safeguard against them.
  • Cryptography: How to store and transfer data so that cyber attackers cannot use the information even if they manage to access it.
  • Incident Response and Investigation: Strategies for responding to a real-life cyberattack scenario.
  • Security & Risk Analysis: How to analyze a network’s security strength and manage risk.
  • Application Security: App and software vulnerabilities.
  • Digital Forensics: Investigating cyber crimes using digital evidence.
  • Compliance: Study of the laws that safeguard organizations’ security, privacy, and stakeholder data.

How Much Does an Online Cyber Security Degree Cost?

An online cyber security degree at a public university costs around $17,000. Most public institutions set tuition between $300 and $550 per credit. For private cyber security online schools, costs for tuition and study materials are significantly higher.

On the other hand, you’ll save on living expenses with online programs. However, online programs generally charge a “technology fee” for the digital technology and media to deliver the classes.

Are There Licensing Requirements for Online Cyber Security Degrees?

Generally, a cyber security degree is all you need to work as a field professional. However, additional certifications make you stand out.

Some notable cyber security certifications include:

  • Certified Forensic Computer Examiner: The International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists offers this digital forensic certification.
  • Licensed Penetration Tester: This master-level credential from the EC Council certifies you as an expert penetration tester to test the security strength of an information network with breach attempts. 
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional: The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, or (ISC)2 issues this impressive certification.

How Long Does an Online Cyber Security Degree Take to Complete?

Typically, an online undergraduate cyber security program takes four years to complete. However, some programs allow you to transfer credits from your previous studies, which speeds up your studies. Some universities allow you to transfer up to 90 credits out of 120. 

Some online cyber security schools also offer accelerated programs, where you could finish the program between 18-24 months. 

Why Get an Education in Cyber Security?

A cyber security qualification has many advantages, including:

  • Strong job market: Whether it’s healthcare, commercial establishments, manufacturing, or education, every sector faces cyber threats. Therefore, there’s been a consistent demand for cyber security professionals. 
  • High income potential: Cyber security graduates earn excellent salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an information security analyst has an average salary of $102,600. You can even land higher-paid roles such as Information Systems Manager, with an average annual salary of$159k
  • A worthwhile career: Cyber security professionals enjoy challenging and exciting work, where no two days are the same. Moreover, stopping cyber crimes feels rewarding. 

Alternatives to a Cyber Security Degree

A cyber security career does not demand a cyber security degree, per se. You can follow a range of paths to carve out a career in the field with a little dedication and hard work.

For example, you can build a career in cyber security with a combination of experience from these disciplines:

  • Information Security and Assurance
  • Computer Forensics
  • Network Administration
  • Information Technology Management
  • Database Management
  • Cloud Computing

Final Thoughts

If you’re interested in analytics and problem-solving, a cyber security degree opens doors to excellent career options. Not to mention impressive salaries — this is surely one of the highest-paid degrees. 

Maybe you’re already working and can’t afford to study full-time — luckily, an online cyber security degree offers some flexibility. With one of the best online cyber security degrees, work experience, and some analytical thinking, you’ll build a rewarding and lucrative career.

While college is a fantastic place to gain cyber security know-how, you have even cheaper options at your disposal. Try out a flexible course, tutorial, or certification instead. 

Explore Cyber Security Certifications

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Degree is the Best for Cyber Security?

A bachelor’s degree in cyber security will qualify you for a range of roles in the cyber security field. However, it may be a good idea to go on to secure a master’s degree or PhD if you have your eye on high-level roles in cyber security management.

2. Is an Online Degree in Cyber Security Worth It?

Cyber security professionals are in high demand by all kinds of organizations, and jobs in the field are predicted to grow further in the coming years. This qualification can help you build a fulfilling and well-paid career.

3. Is a Two-Year Degree in Cyber Security Worth It?

With such high demand in the field, even with a two-year or associate degree in the discipline, you’ll find it relatively easy to find a job. A two-year degree is often sufficient for entry-level jobs in the field. You can work as a security analyst, cyber security associate, information assurance specialist, or database analyst for a decent salary. You may also upgrade your qualification by doing a bachelor’s degree online while you work, which will open more opportunities.

4. Is Cyber Security an Easy Degree?

Any good degree is challenging to an extent and a cyber security degree is no different. You will need to study subjects across disciplines such as security, computer science, and programming to complete your bachelor's degree in cyber security, so it helps to have aptitude in these areas. However, with the right attitude and dedication, anyone can complete this degree.

5. Can You Work and Earn an Online Cyber Security Degree?

Yes. Many universities understand the need for working professionals to continue their education and so offer flexible online programs in cyber security. You can enroll in one of the many cyber security schools online while continuing in your current job and complete it at your own pace.

Many programs allow you to follow a fully online, hybrid, or in-person mode of study at your convenience. There are also accelerated program options that you can complete faster if you can afford the time.

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye

Jenna Inouye has been a full stack developer for two decades, specializing in web application design and development. For the last eight years, she has worked as a news and feature writer focusing on technology and finance, with bylines in Udemy, SVG, and The Gamer. View all posts by the Author

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