Computer Security Specialist Degrees and Schools

A computer security specialist analyzes system security and devises ways to prevent breaches. Get information on what to look for in a school, and find out about the variety of degrees that can prepare you for a career in this field. Schools offering Computer Forensics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Computer security is the process of protecting the information on personal and networked computers against hackers and other unauthorized users. A specialist analyzes security, designs protection software, trains users how to protect their computers, detects security breaches and responds to violations. You can learn how to perform these duties by completing a certificate or degree program through on-campus or online learning.

Degrees Associate's Degrees in Computer and IT Security; Networking Security: Cyber Security; Computer and Information Systems, Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Systems Security; Information Systems; Information Technology Security; Computer Information Systems, Master's Degrees in Information Security; Information Security and Assurance; Cybersecurity
Certificates Advanced Computer Security Certificate, Certificate in Cyber Security
Courses Data communication and networking, computer forensics, network security management, scripting and programming, data management, operating systems

Which Degrees Are Available?

Potential 2-year degrees include an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Computer and Information Technology (IT) Security or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Network Security, Network Security Specialist or Information Network Security Specialist. Credits earned in an A.S. program typically transfer to a 4-year program, while some credits earned in an AAS may not. Most 4-year programs award Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in computer systems security, information technology (IT), information systems security or computer information systems (CIS). Programs in IT and CIS are commonly available with concentrations in network security or IT security. Both associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available online.

Can I Enroll in a Graduate Program?

At the graduate level, available programs include Master of Science degrees in cybersecurity, information security or information security and assurance. Some programs give you the option to specialize in computer security after being admitted to the school's graduate computer science program. These programs usually require experience working in the field and prepare you for supervisory positions. Programs are available completely online.

What Will I Study?

In an associate's degree program you learn incidence handling and intrusion detection systems. Internships and a capstone project are common program components. Bachelor's degree programs teach database security and incidence response. You'll also complete a capstone project at this level. These courses may also be covered in an undergraduate program:

  • Network routing
  • Web design
  • Firewalls
  • Operations security
  • Programming
  • Computer forensics
  • Cryptography

What About Graduate Courses?

In a master's degree program, you'll study vulnerability assessment and wireless security. You also either write a thesis or complete a research project. Some of the topics you might be studying in your master's program include:

  • Operating systems
  • Statistics
  • Data mining
  • E-commerce
  • Algorithms

How Should I Select A School?

When choosing a computer security specialist school, look for programs certified by the National Security Agency's Information Assurance Courseware Evaluation, which is based on the Committee on National Security Systems' (CNSS) training standards for information security professionals. Established by the federal government, the CNSS establishes the criteria for security professionals to become certified. Certification indicates that the program's components encompass the most important aspects of computer security, which may better prepare you to work in the field.

You'll also want to consider whether the program prepares you for certification as a security specialist. Some programs include industry certifications in addition to awarding a degree, while others prepare graduates to sit for certification exams to be taken independently from the degree program. Available certifications include Cisco Corporations Network Academy, Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, Certified Information Systems Security Specialist Professional and Certified Security Analyst. You don't need to be certified to work in the field, but certification may make you more attractive to employers and increase your earning potential. Here are some schools to consider if you're looking to enroll in a computer security specialist degree program:

  • University of Maryland University College (Largo)
  • Standford University (CA)
  • McHenry County College (Crystal Lake, IL)
  • Western Governors University (Multiple locations)
  • Florida State University (Tallahassee)
  • Grantham University (Lenexa, KS)
  • Colorado Technical University (Colorado Springs)
  • Mercy College (NY)

Which Careers Can I Pursue?

A degree in computer security prepares you for such positions as Internet security or information assurance analyst, electronic document retention specialist and database security specialist. Potential employers include state or the federal government, government agencies, corporations and banks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that during the 2016 to 2026 decade, employment for information security analysts is expected to grow by 28%, which is much faster than average for all other careers (www.bls.gov).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Independence University

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    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

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  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Maryville University

    Maryville University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Maryville University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
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  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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