Cyber Security Associate Degree

By Brandon Mario D`Souza

Updated March 16, 2024

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.

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Experts in cyber security use cutting-edge tools to monitor networks for malicious activity and stop intrusions before they happen. A growing number of businesses rely on technological infrastructure for routine tasks, which means there is a higher demand for trained individuals to ensure the security of computer systems and other networks that store sensitive information. A cyber security associate degree provides individuals with hands-on training and the knowledge and skills required to break into this growing field. This guide breaks down the online cyber security associates degree, covering various aspects such as curriculum, specializations, certifications, accreditation, career options, and more.


Best Cyber Security Associate

Almost all students desire to pursue their higher education in a top college. But unfortunately, finding the best colleges for a cyber security associate degree program can be difficult because several factors for their ranking must be considered. These factors include the school’s reputation and infrastructure, curriculum, accreditation, affordability, etc. FBD teams have used a proprietary formula and methodology to determine some of the best schools offering the online cyber security associates degree and drawn up a list of them: *

Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC), founded in 1926, is a public community college in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The college mainly offers associate transfer, career and technical degrees in various disciplines to more than 2,300 students.
Univ Address
Western Nebraska Community College 1601 East 27th Street, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69361

Universities and programs are ranked by various factors, such as affordability, curriculum and coursework, reputation and availability, program length, statistics, the potential of employment, and return on investment for the students. For a more in-depth analysis, please read about our rankings methodology page

What to Expect from the Cyber Security
Associate Degree Program

The online cyber security associates degree prepares students for entry-level positions in information technology. Many schools have recently added cybersecurity majors as the field grows in popularity. A typical associate program entails 60 credits or two years of full-time study at 15 credits per semester. Technology courses, electives, general academic studies, and field experiences are part of the program. Graduates have the option of pursuing certifications or advanced academic degrees. Schools that offer online associate in cyber security programs typically follow the same rigorous curricula as traditional options, resulting in graduates with comparable advancement opportunities. The online format is also ideal for students with additional responsibilities, such as child or family care, in addition to their work and class schedules.

While every learner has a unique experience with different classes, instructors, and learning environments, associate programs share some characteristics in terms of curriculum. The coursework tends to be standard across schools and programs, with courses such as:

Cybersecurity Foundations

This course investigates the fundamental cybersecurity concepts and terms. Students learn to distinguish between adversarial and environmental threats and how security practitioners respond to each. They determine the legal and human factors that influence the development of organizational security strategies.

Cyber Defense

In this course, students investigate the common strategies and tactics security professionals use to protect networks, systems, applications, and data. They learn the fundamentals of cryptography and its critical role in information security. Students also examine the impact of emerging technologies and changing social trends on cybersecurity.

Computer Networking

In this course, students learn the fundamentals of computer networking, including various network architectures and network design approaches. They learn to perform common network implementation and administration tasks to gain practical experience.

Application Security

This course investigates the basic principles and practices of application security. Students learn to identify common software vulnerabilities and devise strategies to mitigate their impact. They also study how to analyze and evaluate the security of multi-tiered web applications.

Some examples of other courses in the online cyber security associates degree include:

  • Linux Fundamentals
  • Communication & Network Security
  • Introduction to Web Page Construction
  • Cyber Security Fundamentals
  • Principles of Programming
  • Database Management Systems
  • Principles of Computer Networks
  • Cloud Fundamentals
  • Communication and Network Security
  • Problem-Solving With Computing
  • Legal and Human Factors of Cybersecurity
  • Problem-Solving With Computing
  • Database Management Systems
  • Operating System Security

General education courses may include:

  • Mathematics
  • English Composition
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Science
  • Learning Strategies
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Speech Communication

Degree Types for the Cyber
Security Associate

The cyber security associate degree online comes in different versions. The most common among them is the associate of science degree in cyber security; the others are the associates of applied science and associates of arts, which are less common and popular.

Associate of Science in Cyber Security

The Associate of Science in Cyber Security degree program, also known as AS Cyber Security or ASCS, examines the subject through scientific and mathematical perspectives. Most of the teaching in this degree type is theoretical in nature and is based on technological and scientific ideas. AS degrees prepare students to transfer to four-year institutions and pursue bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity.

Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security

The Associate of Applied Science in Cyber Security degree program or AAS Cyber Security prepares students for entry-level roles in information security by introducing them to the fundamentals and practices of the field. Learners will be prepared to take cybersecurity certification exams after graduation.

Associate of Arts in Cyber Security

The Associate of Arts in Cyber Security or AA Cyber Security degree program prepares students to transfer to four-year institutions. As a result, students can take more courses in social science, public policy, sociology, the arts, and business to broaden their understanding of security studies. The AA degree leans more on social studies and humanities.

Areas of Specialization in Cyber Security Associate
Degree Programs

The best way to land a job that one enjoys is to specialize in a field of interest. As a bonus, it is the most surefire way to increase one’s financial standing and professional standing. The associate’s degree in cyber security is an introductory program, so students rarely have the opportunity to specialize in their studies. In most cases, graduates of this degree earn additional certification specific to their interests and career objective. However, if one were to progress to a bachelor’s degree at a later stage, one could choose to specialize in a subfield of cyber security, such as:

  • Data Analytics Fundamentals
  • Digital Forensics
  • Project Management Fundamentals
  • Executive Leadership in Information Assurance
  • Cloud Security Architect
  • Incident Management & Business Continuity
  • Security Analyst

Why should I do a Cyber Security
Associate Degree?

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries because of the exciting ways it combines technology, public policy, and investigation to safeguard individuals and businesses. Salary potential is high, and demand for workers in this sector is rising. A cyber security associate degree program is helpful for entry-level workers and those looking to switch careers. In most instances, employment is assured, making it an attractive option for high school grads or those looking to make a career change. Furthermore, the online cyber security associates degree may lead to the next step of a bachelor’s degree. Students can complete the first two years of a four-year degree in cybersecurity at an associate’s level and then transfer to a bachelor’s program. The associate degree is also useful when seeking certification for practice in the field. More information is available in the Guide to Associate Programs.

As for the skills gained from this degree program, graduates would have the ability to:

  • effectively communicate technical information for a variety of purposes and to different audiences;
  • create and implement plans to reduce security risks;
  • apply security principles and practices to all system components;
  • create, implement, and test computer-based solutions;
  • explain the scope of information security and its impact on computer networks and businesses;
  • identify, define, and use the computing requirements for problem-solving; and
  • identify and assess security risks to determine their potential impact on people, processes, and systems;

Free Courses for Cyber Security Associate
Degree Students

Although free courses are available all over the internet, most of them are non-credit and unaccredited. Still, they can be useful to prepare for exams or supply additional input for assignments. Here are a few platforms that offer free courses that cyber security associate degree students can explore:

Course Description Provided by
Topics Related to Cyber SecurityMIT OpenCourseWare has over 350 undergraduate courses that relate to several topics within cyber security, such as Comparative Security and Sustainability, System Safety, Software Studio, etc.MIT OpenCourseWare
Topics Related to Cyber SecurityPopular online learning platform edX offers courses such as Introduction to Cybersecurity Fundamentals, Network Security, Computer Forensics, and more from famous universities worldwide.edX
Topics Related to Cyber SecurityFrom Ethical Hacking and IT Security to Information Security and Penetration Testing, Udemy offers a variety of courses, many paid and some free.Udemy

How to get into the Cyber Security Associate
Degree Program?

Before enrolling in an online cyber security associates degree, it would help if the applicant has a background in IT security or computers. Although not a prerequisite, having such a background would make admission and pursuing the program easier. That apart, before making admissions decisions, most colleges require valid high school, General Education Development (GED), or home school transcripts or certificates. Many colleges may also demand students to submit ACT or SAT scores to be admitted to a program. It will be desirable to demonstrate competency and readiness in English, Math, and Computer Science. The following are some typical cyber security associate degree admissions requirements:

  • Admission or Application Form with its prescribed fee.
  • Official Academic Transcripts.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.5 or more (higher grades in English and Math preferred).
  • SAT or ACT Score (required by some schools)
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (required by some schools)
  • Proof of English Proficiency (if the native tongue is or education was not in English)

Note: Admission requirements change depending on the school and program. Students should always check with the admissions office at their selected school for precise criteria.

How Long does it take to complete the Cyber Security
Associate Degree Program?

Depending on the program, college, and core and elective courses involved, an associate’s degree in cyber security would usually require at least 27 to 32 credits, which could be completed in about 2 years if attended full-time. Some colleges offer part-time programs for working adults; these would require between 2 and 3 years to complete (sometimes even longer). It is noteworthy that the inclusion of general education courses could lengthen the program, as work any project work to be undertaken. To sum up, this is how long it usually takes to get an online cyber security associates degree:

  • Time to complete full-time cyber security associate degree: about 2 Years.
  • Time to complete part-time cyber security associate degree: between 2 and 3 years.

Accelerated Cyber Security Associate
Degree Programs

Part-time students can earn an online associate’s degree in cyber security from a variety of accredited institutions. However, only a select handful will be able to finish the course in under two years. Depending on their concentration, course load, and educational institution, students may be able to finish their degrees two to three months earlier than expected. However, some schools offer accelerated degrees with a twist – after completing an associate’s program, students can transfer most or all of their credits into a bachelor’s program, shortening the time it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree from the typical 4 years to 2 years.

Accreditations for Cyber Security Associate
Degree Programs

Cyber security is a booming global industry. Hiring managers want to invest in reliable, skilled talent. No company wants to hire a cyber security professional with a fake or worthless degree; most will hire a candidate with an accredited degree. Therefore, choosing an accredited college that offers an online cyber security associates degree program is essential. Accreditation can be granted by six independent regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and/or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which are:

In addition to the college’s accreditation, some cyber security programs could also be programmatically accredited. Accredited cyber security associate degree programs can have the seal of accrediting bodies such as the National Security Agency (NSA), which maintains a list of Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). Read the Guide to College Accreditation for more information on accreditation.

  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

How to Pay for a Cyber Security Associate
Degree Program?

Finding affordable education in the United States has become a challenge. Even though a cyber security associate degree from a community college typically costs less than a four-year bachelor’s degree from a university, the costs for many will still prove to be very high. Therefore, it is prudent for students to look for ways to fund their degrees. Listed below are a few funding mechanisms to consider:


Scholarships are popular because the awarded money does not need to be paid back. They are usually given out to deserving and meritorious students with outstanding academic achievements or for demonstrating skill and talent in art, sport, or music.


Financial need is a significant factor in determining who receives a grant, though the applicant’s academic record and potential are also considered. Grants are similar to scholarships in that they do not require repayment.

Student Loans

Students who require additional funds can apply for a student loan. Student loans can be obtained from a variety of sources, including banks, credit unions, and the federal government. It is worth noting that the rising cost of higher education is primarily due to the rising cost of financing it, as reflected in the high-interest rates on loans. Read about Donors for Student Loans and Grants for Student Loans to learn how to apply for loan forgiveness and avoid having to repay student loans.


The Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA is an application for federal financial aid that all prospective and current college students must complete to check their eligibility for federal aid and receive the best financial aid package possible. The FAFSA Student Aid guide explains more.

Read about financial aid and find out everything there is to know about college funding in the How to Pay for College guide.

FAQs Related to the Cyber Security Associate
Degree Program

What is an associates in cyber security degree?

An associate’s degree is a 2-year program that prepares students for entry-level work in the field of cyber security. Cybersecurity fundamentals will be taught from the ground up in the program’s foundational classes. An associate degree in cyber security covers the same ground as the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, making it easy to transfer to the latter.

How much is an associates in cyber security?

What can I do with an associates in cyber security?

Where can you get an associates degree in cyber security?

Can you get a job with a cyber security associates?

How hard is it to get a job with an associates in cyber security?

How hard is an associates in cyber security to study?

Career Opportunities and Salaries after a
Cyber Security Associate Degree

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cybersecurity jobs will be in high demand in the coming years. For example, prospects for information security analysts are expected to rise 33% by 2030, outpacing the national average for all occupations. While many cyber security jobs require a bachelor’s degree at the entry-level, those with an associate degree may be able to qualify for a variety of roles, including cybersecurity specialist, cybersecurity technician, cybersecurity analyst, cyber threat analyst, etc.

Of course, higher degree attainment may lead to new opportunities and even higher earnings potential. According to the BLS, those with a bachelor’s degree earned $1,334 per week in 2021, about 38.5% more than those with an associate degree.

Listed below are examples of cybersecurity-related jobs, median annual salaries, and job growth, as reported by the BLS. Do note that these jobs would almost certainly require additional educational qualifications and certifications. Still, they are a good indicator of what one can expect in the cybersecurity field.

Occupation Job DescriptionSkills RequiredMedian Annual SalaryJob Growth (up to 2030)
Computer Systems AnalystsComputer systems analysts, also referred to as systems architects, examine and create enhancements to an organization’s existing computer systems and procedures. As a result, these analysts add to the organization’s overall efficiency.Communication skills, analytical skills, organizational skills, business skills, creativity, detail-oriented$99,2707% (as fast as average)
Computer Support SpecialistsComputer support specialists assist both individuals and organizations, either managing computer networks or giving direct technical support to computer users.Customer-service skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills, listening skills$57,9109% (as fast as average)
Computer Network ArchitectsComputer network architects design and build data communication networks such as local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets. They improve the hardware and software required to run computer networks.Leadership skills, organizational skills, analytical skills, interpersonal skills, detail-oriented$120,5205% (slower than average)

Certifications and Licensing for Cyber Security
Associate Degree Students

A cyber security certification validates and extends the skills and information gained in an academic setting. Although most certifications in cyber security may need a degree from a 4-year university, exceptions are made for those with a minimum of at least five years of direct full-time security work experience. Tens of professional certifications are available in the U.S. and abroad, which are generic, vendor-specific, or vendor-neutral (third-party). Here are some to explore:

GIAC Certifications

GIAC Certifications creates and manages world-class professional cybersecurity certifications. Numerous certifications are available in intrusion, defense, cloud security, etc. Examples include:

GIAC Certifications provide the most rigorous assurance of cyber security knowledge and skill to industry, government, and military clients worldwide.

Certified in Cyber Security

Administered by (ISC)², the Certified in Cyber Security entry-level credential shows employers the knowledge of fundamental cybersecurity principles held by students, young professionals, and career changers as determined by cybersecurity professionals and practitioners already working in the sector.

In almost all instances, licensing is not required to work as a cybersecurity specialist, except in defense, in which case the concerned department’s training and credentialing lead to automatic licensure.

Additional Resources for Cyber Security Associate
Degree Students

Connecting with other professionals in IT and cybersecurity is essential for advancement. Membership in a professional organization enables graduates and professionals to use journals and publications, learn new discoveries, inventions, and cyber threats, and connect with peers to find ways to mitigate potential threats. Here are a few resources for graduates of the cyber security associate degree to consider:

Information Systems Security Association (ISSA)

The Information Systems Security Association, Inc. (ISSA), is a non-profit international organization of information security practitioners and professionals. It offers publications, educational forums, and peer interaction opportunities to its members to improve their knowledge, skills, and professional growth.

International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)

The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is a resource for professionals who want to advance their careers by assisting their organizations in successfully managing risks and safeguarding their data. It is the most comprehensive and biggest global information privacy community.

International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT)

The International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology (IACSIT) influences and promotes developments in computer science and information technology in various ways. It is a registered international scientific association of computer science and information technology scholars, intending to encourage and conduct collaborative interdisciplinary research in cutting-edge methodologies and technologies within its areas of expertise.

National Cybersecurity Society (NCSS)

The National Cybersecurity Society (NCSS) is a non-profit organization that provides small businesses with cybersecurity education, awareness, and advocacy. The NCSS assists small businesses in assessing their cybersecurity risk, disseminates threat information to business owners, and advises on the types of services required to stay safe online.

Center for Cyber Safety and Education

The Center for Cyber Safety and Education, formerly known as the (ISC)² Foundation, is a non-profit charitable trust dedicated to making the internet safer for all. Through its educational programs, scholarships, and research, the organization works to ensure that people all over the world have a positive and safe online experience.

Author Bio:

Brandon Mario D’Souza

Brandon is a registered social worker with Social Work England. He obtained his master’s in social work (personnel management & industrial relations) and used it in fields such as water treatment, construction, software, and education. Then he transitioned to the health and social care sector with an M.Sc. in health psychology. Brandon loves to write, cook, and play musical instruments (piano, guitar, melodica, ukulele, and kazoo) and enjoys the calmness and serenity of nature.


Master of Social Work, Master of Health Psychology

Areas of Expertise & Credentials

None to disclose in particular; the basics are covered in the short bio.


The average tuition (based on degree type for in-state students), average graduation rates, and rankings are based on data from various sources, including the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), and are variable over time. All rankings and statistics are subject to change. The rankings are solely the opinion of Find Best Degrees (FBD) and are based on our proprietary methodology. They do not represent the views of the institutions or organizations mentioned, nor do they represent any official government census or survey. Furthermore, any views or opinions expressed on this page are of FBD’s researchers and teams. Unless otherwise specified, they do not represent the thoughts and opinions of the individuals, institutions, or organizations mentioned. This page’s content is provided solely for informational purposes, with data drawn from various sources, including IPEDS. FBD and its employees make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information found on this page or by following any link. FBD will not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this material nor any losses, injuries, or damages resulting from the exposure or use of this information. Although the information on this page is/was correct at the time of publication, readers should exercise caution because some or all of the provided information may have changed over time, potentially resulting in inaccuracies. For more information, please read our Terms of Service. Trademarks and logos are the property of their registered owners.