Is a Cyber Security Associate Degree Worth It? [2021 Guide]
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.
A cyber security associates degree can be a first great step in qualifying for an entry-level position in the field of cyber security.
Once you’ve completed your associate’s degree, you also have the option of working towards your bachelor’s degree in the future.
Is a Cyber Security Associate Degree Worth It?
Yes, a cyber security associate degree is worth it for many students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts alone are projected to grow by 32% in the job market.
After graduation, you could be making an average of $52,830 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Common cyber security careers include cyber security analyst, security analyst, information technology security analyst, and network security analyst. You’ll be trained to be analytical and detail-oriented. Your problem-solving skills and ability to thwart cyber security threats can also give you an edge over other candidates.
Your associate’s degree 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
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 provide you with the analytical and problem-solving skills required to thrive in the ever-competitive IT industry. You will be trained to conduct malware analysis as well as prevent sophisticated Cyber Security threats.
With a cyber security associate degree, you could qualify for entry-level IT positions ranging from database analysts, application analysts, system administrators, network administrators, and programmers.
You could 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.
Cyber security jobs, even at entry-level can bring you 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 Analysts||$99,730|
|Computer Systems Analysts||$90,920|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||$83,510|
|Computer Support Specialists||$54,760|
While education is important, experience, job performance, industry, and location all factor into your salary.
Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs with Associates Degree
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, as an IT security analyst, you would be tasked with analyzing, monitoring, and resolving online security incidents. You’ll be regulating and identifying potential Cyber Security issues.
You will be expected to prevent any security issues from happening by designing and implementing policies and procedures to make software and online systems more secure.
You could also work as a cyber security associate. In this position, you’ll use your knowledge and skills to help your employer or client in protecting their data.
Another in-demand cyber security job would be to work as a cyber threat analyst where you would develop internal procedures for the prevention of cyberattacks.
Associates in Cyber Security vs. Bachelors in Cyber Security
There are several significant differences and similarities between a bachelor’s degree in cyber security and a cyber security associates degree.
An Associates degree 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|
|Time to Complete||2 Years||4 Years|
|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 is ideal for students aspiring to learn cyber security with a strong focus on cyber and network security administration.
It is recommended for individuals who have complete 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 for 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
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 will receive a strong foundation in programming, computer science, and networking.
While earning your degree in cyber security, you will 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 can expect to take courses in programming, networking, cloud solutions, Linux administration, and cybersecurity. You’ll also learn cyber security skills like detecting intruders, collecting evidence, and defending against cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity vs. Computer Science
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 can make you a highly-coveted to prospective to employers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for cyber security professionals is projected to grow by as much as 32%. The demand for computer scientists is seen to increase by 16%.
Both career paths require advanced knowledge in areas such as cloud computing, networking, and mobile applications.
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
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 could make you more desirable to prospective employers.
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.
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.
You have numerous choices for financial assistance 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 get a cyber security job with an Associates degree. You don’t need a Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security to qualify for an entry-level position.
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 only takes two years to complete, it can still open the doors for you to entry-level positions in the IT and Cyber Security fields.
With this level of degree, you should 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 associates 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 can earn an average of $52,830 annually with an associate’s in cyber security. Keep in mind, some employers may prefer a bachelor’s degree for some positions, but not always.
You could 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
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 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.