Nowadays, employers respect an online cybersecurity degree just as they would a traditional degree earned in a brick-and-mortar program. Unless a person volunteers information about their degree and the college of their choosing, employers usually won’t know whether a student earned a degree online or in a classroom. The only exception would be if a student attended a school that’s only known for online degrees. Today, students may earn a degree online from highly reputable schools. Some schools that began as strictly on-campus schools now offer online solutions. The online programs often provide the same curriculum only in a digital format.
Despite the increasing popularity of online degrees, some not-so-credible options exist. These programs don’t have cybersecurity accreditation or possibly any accreditation. Students who want to earn a degree in cybersecurity, or any field at that matter, online should evaluate the accreditation of the school and its programs. The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellent (NCCoE) provides cybersecurity solutions for U.S. businesses. The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence also works with academic institutions to determine the schools that provide high-quality cybersecurity programs.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Cyber Security Degree Programs
Working adults looking for an online cybersecurity degree are looking for a program that will pay off in the short term and long term. Bachelor’s Degree Center editors know that, and built their ranking of the best online cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs around reputable, accredited institutions. Online programs were ranked based on data from College Scorecard, IPEDS, and Niche: Cost, Graduation Rate, Job Placement, Salary Potential, and Student Satisfaction. Prospective students can trust these programs to provide a real return on investment.
1. Penn State World Campus
When you’re looking for the best online cyber security degree for your career goals, the BS in Security and Risk Analysis online from Penn State World Campus is a good option for your goals. The degree program focuses on teaching students to use the right tools to address security risks to organizations or individuals. It also strives to ensure students have the skills to develop secure network systems and measure risk to a system.
Penn State World Campus offers online courses for students who want to work in cyber security. The degree program provides a strong foundation in the skills needed for different careers within the cyber security industry. Since it is an online program, it allows students to work at their own pace and accomplish their goals when working on a bachelor’s degree.
What We Like: Penn State World Campus is ranked among the top ten online universities for a bachelor’s degree by U.S. News and World Reports.
Degree: BS in Security and Risk Analysis
2. Syracuse University
The Cybersecurity Administration degree from Syracuse University is an online cyber security bachelor’s degree that allows students to prepare for the rigors of working in a growing industry. The bachelor of professional studies program recognizes the growing threat associated with increased technological advances and it prepares students to address the threats by developing the skills to use appropriate tools for improved security.
A key way Syracuse University differs from other programs is the focus on developing critical thinking skills as they apply to technology and cyber security. The degree program strives to ensure that students are prepared for the challenges they may face when moving forward with their career objectives. It gives students a strong foundation in technical skills as well as different aspects of cyber security.
What We Like: Syracuse University teaches students digital forensics to develop the skills they need to track down threats after a security breach.
Degree: Bachelor of Professional Studies – Cybersecurity Administration
3. Oklahoma State University
When you want to find the best online cyber security degree for your goals, you will want to consider the Bachelor of Technology in Information Technologies with a focus on Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics from Oklahoma State University. The online degree program allows students to work at their own pace and complete their degree when it fits their schedule. It gives students the flexibility to pursue a degree while maintaining personal obligations or keeping up with a current job.
A key way Oklahoma State University stands apart from other programs is the option to apply financial aid to the online program. The school does accept financial aid from state and federal sources for online students. Scholarships from the school may also apply to the degree program in appropriate circumstances. Students may still need to provide a FAFSA to qualify for scholarships or aid.
What We Like: Oklahoma State University offer credit to the online bachelor’s degree program for transfer students or industry experience that may help with accelerated graduation goals.
Degree: Bachelor of Technology in Information Technologies – Cybersecurity & Digital Forensics
4. Drexel University
When you are looking for an online cyber security bachelor’s degree to fit your long-term goals, Drexel University offers a BS in Computing and Security Technology that may fit your goals. The degree program focuses on gaining hands-on experience with the skills used in cyber security to prepare students for the challenges of their careers. The degree program also recommends students gain work experience in their field through internships and related jobs while working on a degree.
A key way Drexel University differs from other online programs in cyber security is the focus on hands-on experience. The degree program is designed around working adults who have experience in a technology career or who want to move into a career in cyber security. It recognizes the value of gaining experience through work and encourages students to seek out opportunities to improve their capabilities.
What We Like: Drexel University is a military-friendly university that offers reduced tuition for military servicemen and their family members.
Degree: BS in Computing and Security Technology
5. Oregon Tech
Oregon Tech offers a BS in IT with a concentration on Information Security online that allows students to focus on a career in cyber security. The degree program prepares students for the challenges that may arise in their careers. It strives to prepare students to handle data breaches, system analysis, and network administration objectives. By providing students with a strong foundation in cyber security, it ensures that they have the skills to handle challenges in their long-term career goals.
Oregon Tech offers an Enterprise Technology and Cybersecurity Lab that gives students hands-on experience in the field. The lab work prepares students to handle the challenges of their careers. It also ensures that students have practical knowledge through simulations that allow students to gain advanced skills. The school focuses on preparing students for the challenges of working in the security industry through proper training and enhanced lab exercises.
What We Like: Oregon Tech is nationally recognized for its technology degrees and online programs.
Degree: BS in IT – Information Security
6. University of Arizona
The University of Arizona offers a BAS in Cyber Operations online that allows students to work at their own pace. The online cybersecurity degree program focuses on providing the practical skills students need to work in the security industry. The program focuses on providing hands-on experience that allows students to prepare for the rigors of working in a fast-paced environment.
A key way the University of Arizona stands out is the Cyber Virtual Learning Environment available to online students. The learning environment gives students a virtual and safe way to explore the practical application of their skills. It gives them hands-on practice using the tools and programs to help with cyber security goals. It also prepares students for the leadership roles that may arise when working in operations.
What We Like: The University of Arizona is an NSA-designated program and is recognized by the government agency for its excellent cyber operations program.
Degree: BAS Cyber Operations
7. Lewis University
Lewis University offers a BS in Information Security and Risk Management program that allows students to work at their own pace. The program is available online or on-campus, so students have the flexibility to work around their own schedule and goals. The online program allows students to work on course material and classes when they have time. They can also take classes at the campus if they prefer the traditional on-campus experience for their education.
A key way Lewis University stands apart from other programs is the focus on the implementation of information security strategies. It recognizes that students need to gain hands-on experience and provides the tools students need to develop their skills. The focus on implementing strategies ensures that students are ready to handle a fast-paced work environment after finishing their degree.
What We Like: Lewis University prepares students for industry certifications to help with long-term goals and specialized skills.
Degree: BS in Information Security and Risk Management
8. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity through its online and on-campus programs. Students are able to focus on accomplishing their goals by working at their own pace. Since students can take classes online or on-campus, it allows a greater level of flexibility to fit into a student’s lifestyle and situation. It gives students the opportunity to work on their classes when they have time.
A key way Bellevue University differs from other programs is the option for accelerated courses. The online degree program allows students to work at an accelerated pace. That means students can complete their degree early and focus on getting into their career objectives. Students can follow the accelerated course material or work at a slower pace based on their situation.
What We Like: Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission for its online cybersecurity degree program.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
9. Maryville University
When looking into programs for a cyber security career, the BS in Cyber Security from Maryville University is a good option. The degree program is available online or through the traditional campus. Students gain the opportunity to work at their own pace or keep up with personal obligations when they work on the online program.
A key way Maryville University differs from other programs is the focus on providing students with specific tracks of study. Students can take the defensive track and focus on learning to defend companies or organizations from outside threats. They can also take the offensive track that looks at methods of security through offensive actions. The final track is the general track. It allows students to gain general knowledge that applies to defense and offense, but may not offer the same level of specialization.
What We Like: Maryville University partners with corporations and organizations to give students hands-on experience through internships and projects.
Degree: BS in Cyber Security
10. University of Illinois at Springfield
The University of Illinois at Springfield offers a BS in Information Systems Security online and on-campus that gives students a strong foundation in computer science and related topics. It also ensures that students are able to handle the risks associated with Internet tools, computers, and networks that may cause concerns to corporations and organizations. The online degree program gives students the opportunity to work in the security industry with a focus on computer systems and network security.
A key way the University of Illinois at Springfield differs from other programs is the focus on providing students with a solid foundation. Students learn about computer science before moving into the specialized skills associated with cyber security. That focus ensures that students are ready for the challenges they may face when working in a fast pace environment and gives them more flexibility to handle a variety of complex tasks for their career goals.
What We Like: The University of Illinois at Springfield is certified by the National Security Agency for its Information Systems Security degree.
Degree: BS Information Systems Security Online or Campus
11. Norwich University
Norwich University offers a BS in Cyber Security online that prepares students for the challenges of a modern technological environment. The online degree program ensures that students are ready to handle the rigors of a fast-paced career. It gives students a strong foundation in computer science skills they need to build on for their work in cyber security.
A key way Norwich University stands apart is the focus on providing an education to working adults. The online degree program gives students a flexible approach to their education and the elective courses allow students to tailor their degree to fit their long-term career objectives. That flexibility ensures that students are able to accomplish their long-term goals.
What We Like: Norwich University allows students to transfer up to 90 credits, or two years of their undergraduate studies, from other universities or community colleges.
Degree: BS in Cyber Security
12. Old Dominion University
The Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity online from Old Dominion University provides students with a strong foundation in mathematics, science, engineering, and computer science before moving into the rigors associated with cybersecurity. It gives students the ability to focus on finding realistic solutions to potential concerns and problems that may arise over time. The focus on ensuring a broad understanding of computers before moving forward into specialized skills gives students the critical thinking skills they need for their careers.
A key way Old Dominion University stands apart is the designation by the National Security Agency. The school is recognized by the agency as a National Center of Academic Excellence. It is specifically recognized for the Cyber Operations Fundamentals category and gives students confidence that they are getting the right degree to fit their long-term goals.
What We Like: Old Dominion University is ranked as number six school for online cyber security bachelor’s degrees.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
13. Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University offers a BS in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics online or on the school’s campus to help students focus on their goals for a career in the security industry. The degree program combines technical skills and knowledge with the legal skills students need to work in a forensics position. The degree program recognizes that students need to develop the ability to handle potential security breaches or to prevent complications, but also need to trace a breach when working with law enforcement.
A key way Robert Morris University stands apart is the focus on a broad understanding that narrows into more complex ideas in the cyber security industry. The degree program gives students a broad focus that helps them understand the methods used to reach their goals. It allows students to think critically about a situation and apply the right skills to address the underlying problems.
What We Like: Robert Morris University is ABET-accredited for its Cyber Security and Digital Forensics degree.
Degree: BS in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics
14. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global offers a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity online that allows students to focus on accomplishing their goals for a career in the security industry. The school recognizes the growing need for professionals to handle security risks as technology improves. It offers a solution by providing students with a strong foundation for their careers.
Purdue University Global differs from other programs by offering an accelerated program for the online cyber security degree. The ExcelTrack for the accelerated program allows students to work at a faster pace and complete a degree program when it fits their schedule. The ten-week-long courses allow students to work through their classes without wasting time.
What We Like: Purdue University Global offers multiple start dates for students taking online courses in cyber security.
Degree: BS in Cybersecurity
15. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Southern Illinois University in Carbondale offers a BS in Information Systems Technology online and on-campus. The degree program focuses on computer application skills before moving into more specialized skills and abilities. That ensures that students are well-versed in the use of computers and the risks associated with the use of the Internet or network systems.
The way Southern Illinois University in Carbondale stands out from other programs is the focus on giving students hands-on experience through computer activities. Students explore troubleshooting, maintenance, and network communications throughout the program to gain valuable skills that work with their long-term career goals.
What We Like: Southern Illinois University in Carbondale offers scholarships to students in the Information Systems Technology degree program.
Degree: BS in Information Systems Technology Online and Campus
Is a Cybersecurity Degree Worth It?
For individuals who have an interest in computers and possibly problem solving, earning a degree in cybersecurity could be worth it, Those who are questioning is a cyber security degree worth it may be surprised to know just how much earning potential and job opportunities are available. For instance, the need for individuals in cybersecurity will grow by 32 percent from 2018 until 2028, as noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is much quicker than average when compared to other professions. Plus, the earning potential of this particular degree path is high. The BLS’ statistics note the average information security analyst earns a median annual salary of $98,350, which is equivalent to $47.28 per hour. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed that typical IT-related jobs tend to earn a person a minimum of 50 percent more than a job in a private sector.
Individuals who earn a degree in cybersecurity may find employment in a variety of fields, including with a business or the government. Some people find jobs in retail, insurance, or healthcare. Basically, anywhere that has private information being stored or shared may require the skill of an individual trained in cybersecurity.
While it’s clear that the answer to “is a cyber security degree worth it” is yes, it’s vital for a student to choose the correct degree path. Individuals have more opportunities with a bachelor’s or master’s degree as opposed to a certificate program. Completing a bachelor’s degree program with cybersecurity accreditation better prepares a student. A pupil who completes an undergraduate program with cybersecurity accreditation learns a variety of information that helps the individual gain opportunities in more areas.
Is Cybersecurity the Same as Network Security?
When comparing network security vs cybersecurity, it’s important to understand that these two areas of interest are similar. However, the main difference between cyber security and network security is that cyber security focuses on storage and transit while network security revolves around the IT infrastructure. In terms of network security vs cybersecurity, network security is a subset of cyber security. On the other hand, cyber security is a subset of information security.
As a major difference between cyber security and network security, cyber security focuses on protecting systems connected to the internet, such as software and hardware. It revolves around protecting data against cyberattackers. However, network security focuses on a network’s data.
Generally, a person can work in either network or cybersecurity with a cybersecurity degree. They both make around the same amount as well.
Why is Network Security Important?
For those wondering why is network security important, many homes have a router with one or more devices connected to it. In businesses, a network exists so individuals within the business may share information and communicate. It’s possible for cyber criminals to interfere with the network and gain access to valuable information that they can tamper with.
To answer why is network security important, a person must understand that hackers are becoming more and more savvy and are able to obtain all types of information. The importance of network security also takes into consideration about sabotage and data loss. A hacker could disclose information to the public that could harm a business. Although individuals may take steps to protect data, such as with encryption, more is often necessary. This requires the skill of someone who attended school for cybersecurity. The importance of network security professionals doesn’t just deal with knowing how to protect sensitive data either. Someone in this area of interest is also knowledgeable about correcting issues once they occur.