Is a Cyber Security Associate Degree Worth It? [2021 Guide]

Home » Is a Cyber Security Associate Degree Worth It? [2021 Guide]

Ready to start your journey?

Is a cyber security associate degree worth it? Explore cyber security career paths, salaries, and job growth rates to see if it’s the right choice for you.

Is a Cyber Security Associate Degree Worth It

A cyber security associates degree can be a first great step in qualifying for an entry-level position in the field of cyber security.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Once you’ve completed your associate’s degree, you may also have the option of working towards your bachelor’s degree in the future.

Is a Cyber Security Associate Degree Worth It?

database administrator working on a tablet in a data center

Yes, a cyber security associate degree is worth it for many professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information technology jobs are set to grow at 11% over the next 10 years, much faster than the average for all occupations. Common cyber security careers in this field include cyber security analyst, information technology security analyst, and network security analyst.

Your studies can help you train to be analytical and detail-oriented. Your problem-solving skills and ability to thwart cyber security threats may also give you an edge over other candidates.

Most associate’s degrees can be completed in 2 year or less with the option of continuing your studies at the bachelor’s level. Is a cyber security degree worth it? Completing a cyber security associate degree from a reputable university can help prepare you for a rewarding career in this cutting-edge industry.

Associates in Cyber Security Careers

Cyber Security Associate Degree Jobs Available

Almost all industries today require cyber security professionals given the critical role that information technology plays in the business sector.

Earning a cyber security associate degree can help you obtain the analytical and problem-solving skills required to thrive in the ever-competitive IT industry. You can become trained to conduct malware analysis as well as prevent sophisticated Cyber Security threats.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

With a cyber security associate degree, you might qualify for entry-level IT positions ranging from database analysts, application analysts, system administrators, network administrators, and programmers.

You might also get other entry-level positions in the cyber security field such as a security specialist, data scientist, or an information security engineer.

Cyber Security Associate Degree Salary

As you can see, a cyber security associate degree can yield a good number of employment opportunities.

Many cyber security jobs, even at entry-level can bring a well-paid income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some companies may prefer you to have a bachelor’s degree in cyber security when applying for these jobs.

Careers Annual Median Salary
Information Security Analyst $103,590
Database Administrator $98,860
Computer Systems Analyst $93,730
Computer Programmer $89,190
Network or Computer Systems Administrator $84,810
Web Developer $77,200
Computer Support Specialist $55,510

While education is important, experience, job performance, industry, and location all factor into your salary.

Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs with Associates Degree

Database administrators checking the data center

Beginning your career with a cyber security associate degree means you start off ahead of the game. Cyber security jobs are readily available and companies are looking for well-educated individuals who have up-to-date knowledge.

For instance, IT security analysts are tasked with analyzing, monitoring, and resolving online security incidents. They regulate and identify potential Cyber Security issues.

They are expected to prevent any security issues from happening by designing and implementing policies and procedures to make software and online systems more secure.

Another job opportunity is to work as a cyber security associate. Cyber security associates use their knowledge and skills to help their employers or clients in protecting their data.

Another in-demand cyber security job would be to work as a cyber threat analyst. Cyber threat analysts develop internal procedures for the prevention of cyberattacks.

Associates in Cyber Security vs. Bachelors in Cyber Security

Associates in Cyber Security vs Bachelors

There are several significant differences and similarities between a bachelor’s degree in cyber security and a cyber security associates degree.

An Associates degree usually runs for two years while a Bachelor’s degree is typically completed in four years.

Associates Degree in Cyber Security Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security
Usual Time to Complete 2 Years 4 Years
Average Required Credits 60 120
Ideal candidates Someone looking to get a job immediately Someone who wants a broader, more well-rounded education

Is an associate degree worth anything? A Cybersecurity Associates degree may be ideal for students aspiring to learn cyber security with a strong focus on cyber and network security administration.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

It is often pursued by individuals who have completed general education requirements or for someone who wants to land an entry-level job after completing the degree program.

On the other hand, a Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security is often pursued by students who desire to gain a broader and more well-rounded education in information technology and specifically, cyber security.

Want to earn your degree online? Check out our guide to Online Cyber Security Degrees.

Associates in Cyber Security Curriculum

computer programmers working together on a project

There are a number of cyber security associates degree specializations available such as data analytics, network security, and project management. Regardless of the specialization you choose, you should receive a strong foundation in programming, computer science, and networking.

While earning your degree in cyber security, you should have the opportunity to:

  • Apply computer science and programming principles with problem-solving
  • Create goals, plans, and deliverables
  • Analyze and manage risks and threats to software and online programs
  • Learn network security principles, cryptography, and ethical practices
  • Study basic network and database configuration

Although the actual courses you take will vary depending on your specialization, you should take courses in programming, networking, cloud solutions, Linux administration, and cybersecurity. You should also learn cyber security skills like detecting intruders, collecting evidence, and defending against cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity vs. Computer Science

IT specialists working together on a computer

You may be asking yourself whether you should get a degree in computer science or if you should specialize in cyber security.

In terms of job prospects, both programs have the potential to make you highly-coveted by prospective employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for cyber security professionals is projected to grow by as much as 31%. The demand for computer scientists is expected to increase by 15%.

Both career paths require advanced knowledge in areas such as cloud computing, networking, and mobile applications.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Cyber Security is no longer seen as a sub-component of the IT sector. In the past few years, it has become an integral part of businesses with jobs becoming available for information security analysts, security architects/engineers, and computer systems analysts.

Companies have put a premium on hiring cyber security specialists given the need to protect their data from external attacks and employee breaches, among other threats. Which field interests you?

Cyber Security Certifications

IT specialist receiving a certificate

Cybersecurity certification is one of the most significant factors that can impact your job search.

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) – this provides information security professionals advanced understanding of the fundamentals of ethical hacking. Certificate holders are trained to find security vulnerabilities that a malicious hacker may exploit.
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – this is a certification issued to professionals in charge of monitoring, managing, and protecting an organization’s IT and business systems.
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) – this certification proves that you have extensive technical knowledge and understanding of achieving business objectives pertaining to data security.

Getting one of these certifications may make you more desirable to prospective employers.

Accreditation

beautiful university campus

In choosing a school for a Cyber Security Associates degree, you’ll want an educational institution with regional accreditation.

Schools offering a 2 year online Cyber Security Associates degree should have accreditation from the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program.

Sponsored by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, this program aims to reduce vulnerability in the national information infrastructure through the promotion of high-quality education and research in Cyber Security.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Schools offering Cyber Security Associates degree should have a 2 year education (CAE2Y) accreditation.

This is issued to educational institutions such as technical schools, community colleges, and government training centers with 2 year Cyber Security programs resulting in either an Associates degree or a certificate in Cyber Security.

Selecting a cyber security associates degree program from a school with this accreditation gives you the assurance that the institution is on par with the rest of the academe in terms of teaching Cyber Security programs.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid for an Associates in Cyber Security Online

You have numerous choices for financial assistance to pursue that could help you in completing an Associates degree in Cyber Security.

One of the financial aids available to candidates for a Cyber Security Associate degree is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), including Pell Grants. These are usually granted to undergraduate students.

You may also apply for state financial aid, which typically has a deadline earlier than that of federal financial assistance. It is also usually on a per need basis.

You may apply for scholarships, which are merit-based. There are plenty of scholarship options to choose from. You may also opt to work on campus to earn some money and shoulder school costs.

Can You Get a Cyber Security Job With an Associates Degree?

Yes, you can pursue a cyber security job with an Associates degree. A Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security isn’t needed for all entry-level positions.

With a Cyber Security Associate degree, you may be able to get an entry-level job as an information security officer, cyber security associate, IT security analyst, and cyber security analyst.

Some of these positions are offered by private firms, while others involve working for the federal government. You may even find yourself working for the military, such as Homeland Security or the Department of Defense.

What Jobs Can I Get With an Associates in Cyber Security?

While an Associates degree in Cyber Security typically only takes two years to complete, it can still help you open doors to entry-level positions in the IT and Cyber Security fields.

With this level of degree, you may be qualified to take on positions such as security analyst or specialist, application analyst, database analyst, and information assurance specialist.

How Much Can You Make With an Associates in Cyber Security?

With an associate’s in cyber security, you may qualify for entry-level IT jobs such as computer programmer, database administrator, or security specialist.

Salaries for these positions vary depending on your work experience, certifications, and other factors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you may earn an average of $56,590 annually with an associate’s degree. Keep in mind, some employers may prefer a bachelor’s degree for some positions, but not always.

You may be able to increase your earning potential further by getting certified in cyber security or by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the field.

Getting Your Cyber Security Associate’s Degree Online

computer programmers working together

Interested in pursuing a career in the cyber security field? A number of accredited universities now offer associate’s degrees in cyber security online.

Online degree programs can provide a high level of flexibility and give you the option to complete your studies at a time and location that is convenient for you.

Ready to start your journey?
Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.