Cyber Security Certifications

Cyber Security Certifications
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Obtaining certification in computer and network security is a great way for people to get a general or specialised education in information technology. This provides a means to take a few cybersecurity courses for less money than enrolling in a degree at a big university and without committing a significant amount of time to study.

Certification can be obtained to indicate expertise in a certain area of cybersecurity or software provided by Microsoft, Cisco, and other companies. These alternatives are available at a variety of universities, each requiring a different level of education. Some non-university-based credentials, such as the popular Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) designation, provide a broad understanding of a discipline.

Are There Online Programs for Certifications?

In the topic of cybersecurity, there are various online choices for undergraduate, graduate, and vendor-specific certification. Community colleges and other smaller institutions, large universities, massive open online courses (MOOC), and courses provided by the same entity that offers vendor or specialised certification can all provide certification.

Vendor or association certification focuses on the test process rather than schooling requirements, and it can be performed entirely online. Individuals can pay to sit for the exam without understanding the material, but passing these exams requires a certain level of expertise. Prior to taking the exam, many vendor certifications would require numerous years of job experience and knowledge with their products.

Because the number of credit hours required for undergraduate and graduate certifications is lower, many of these programmes are available online. This is especially true of graduate certificates, which take the curriculum of concentrations within an information technology discipline and offer them as independent certifications for students to finish.

Online Experience

When it comes to obtaining graduate certifications or similar degrees through colleges online, prospective students should research any restrictions. Not all programmes are available nationwide; some may only be available to students living in close proximity to the university or in specific states. Vendor certifications are widely available across the United States.

When pursuing the programme online, technical requirements such as possessing a current desktop or laptop computer with high-speed internet access should be considered. To access all course materials within the learning management system, you’ll usually need a Windows or Mac operating system. Also required are Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash Player, as well as web browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

What Are the Steps to Getting A Certification?

  • Consider undergraduate or graduate certification: There are differences between what is accessible from firms that build these hardware and software solutions and what is available from colleges when it comes to obtaining certification. Although some entry requirements may differ from the whole programme, certification from a school requires the candidate to apply and get admission to the college.
  • Is it necessary to obtain a vendor certification? Other certifications, such as those issued by an information technology association or vendors such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Cisco, may not require admission to a programme and are therefore less restrictive. Before obtaining specialised cybersecurity credentials, an association may need membership or particular certifications. Universities may provide educational programmes to help students prepare for these certification tests.
  • College certifications include: Typically, certification through college will necessitate the completion of a small number of courses in a specific area of cybersecurity or information assurance. Undergraduate categories will often focus on basic content in digital criminal activity, digital forensics, and information technology infrastructure. This is especially true when it comes to graduate certification, which usually necessitates the completion of an undergraduate degree first.

Vendor and Association Certifications

CompTIA Certifications

CompTIA Security+ is one of the most popular certifications in this field. This is one of the association’s main products, and while there are no prerequisites, it is recommended that you first complete the Network+ certification. Individuals can take the exam without preparation if they have done their homework, or they can choose from a variety of educational choices provided by CompTIA, such as study guides and video instruction.

Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+), Penetration Testing (PenTest+), and Advanced Security Practitioner (CASP+) are just a few of CompTIA’s cybersecurity credentials. The analyst certification validates your ability to spot vulnerabilities in a system and pairs well with other credentials like Network+ and Cloud+. CASP+ is one of the most prestigious qualifications for government security roles.

Google and Microsoft Certifications

The Google Cloud Professional Cloud Security Engineer certification and the Microsoft Certified Azure Security Engineer Associate certification are two examples of vendor certification. This form of certification demonstrates expertise in certain goods and services, such as Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure, and gives workers a leg up on the competition when looking for work with a company that employs these tools.

Admission Requirements

To seek undergraduate and graduate certifications given by a school, different requirements are required. To earn a certification at the undergraduate level, you usually require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. An undergraduate certification is similar to an associate degree given at some universities, however it does not take two years to complete and can be accomplished on a part-time basis.

Graduate certifications have the same admission standards as Master’s degree programmes. This indicates that a full undergraduate programme with high academic merit, such as a cumulative 3.0 GPA in the entire programme or the major focus, should have been completed at an approved university. A letter of recommendation, graduate-level test scores, and a resume demonstrating professional experience may be required.

Prerequisites may be required in order to enrol in a graduate certification programme, as this education passes over the fundamentals of the profession. In order to comprehend the process of digital forensic investigations, students seeking graduate certification in digital forensics may need to take some coursework in computer systems, network architecture, programming, and analysis tools.

In contrast to institutional degrees and graduate certificates, vendor and association certifications have no explicit educational criteria that exclude people from taking the exam. They do not need to enrol in a programme or take the exam to acquire their education. All that is required is the registration for a certification exam and payment of the exam price.

Some vendor certifications that focus on specialisations within cybersecurity may require or recommend prior certification in a more fundamental field. Individuals who already hold the Network+ certification and have two years of experience working in information technology administration, for example, are considered to be well prepared for the CompTIA Security+ test.

Enrollment for Certification: Full-Time vs. Part-Time

It is not necessary for an individual to pursue full-time study in order to obtain academic or organization-specific certification. The sole criterion for vendor certification is that you take the exam and use the available self-paced study resources. Both undergraduate and graduate certification in college only require four to six courses to complete, which may be completed in a year if taken one or two at a time.

The amount of coursework required varies based on the level of vendor certification preparation required. For individuals who require it, CompTIA charges a fee in addition to the usual examination fee for study guides and online training. When people sign up for courses offered by the organisation or a college that educates students for vendor certifications, they may be given a voucher to take the exam.

When thinking about enrolling at a university to pursue certification in a specific skill set or technique in cybersecurity, keep in mind that space may be restricted. To organise their timetable, students should look up when speciality courses are offered throughout the year. Even if the relevant full graduate-level degree can only be completed on campus, some certifications, especially at the graduate level, may be available entirely online.

Obtaining certificates in these topics frequently has a time limit. When purchasing a vendor certification, the examination voucher may expire after a year. When studying part-time, universities frequently limit how long students can pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree, and the ability to earn a certification is typically limited to two or three years.

Online Certifications for Cyber Security

Fairleigh Dickinson University

The School of Public and Global Affairs offers a Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Administration that is only available online. This certification incorporates courses from the school’s Master of Science in Cyber and Homeland Security Administration programme. If the student wishes to pursue the full graduate programme, the certification can be transferred to the Master’s degree at a later date.

The certification is completed in an asynchronous mode, allowing students to finish the courses on their own time throughout the summer months. Students must satisfy set deadlines for each course, which will take three weeks to finish. The graduate certification takes two months to accomplish in total during the season.

Introduction to Networking and Internet Traffic Flow, Infrastructure Security and Administration, and Cyber Forensics and Threat Mitigation are the courses students take to earn this certification. Infrastructure Security and Administration focuses on how to establish security measures on a cloud-based solution, while introductory subjects will look at how different hardware and devices communicate to each other through different networks and the internet in general.

Homeland Security Administration, Homeland Security Leadership, and Global Security and Terrorism Studies are some of the other graduate credentials in a related field that are accessible online. All of these credentials are also available at the Metropolitan campus in Teaneck, New Jersey, and graduate computer security certification is only accessible there.

Kennesaw State University

The Coles College of Business provides an online certification in Information Security and Assurance for undergraduates and graduates. The abilities needed to examine and secure information systems in a range of companies are taught in this programme. Students can apply their graduate certification credits to the Master of Science in Information Systems programme.

Information Security Technologies, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning, and Ethical Hacking and Proactive Management of IT Security are among the courses available in the Information Security and Assurance focus. For the certification, this is relatively configurable. A student could, for example, investigate ethical and legal challenges in the field of information security.

For a standard three-credit-hour course, the college advises that students spend between six and nine hours on coursework. A standard course term is shortened from 16 weeks to 8 weeks for the summer semester, and students must study longer hours to keep up with the speed of the course. If a course is labelled as 95 percent online, it means it has an on-campus component, such as a lab session or an exam, that must be performed.

Students should have high-speed internet access and the software necessary by the courses for the online experience. All courses require a suitable web browser, however extra apps such as Windows Media Player, Microsoft Office, and video webconferencing software may be required. For virtual engagement with teachers and other students, some courses may also require a webcam and/or microphone.

Forsyth Technical Community College

This community college offers a Systems Security and Systems Security Cyber Defense certification at the undergraduate level. Security analysts, information security officers, and network professionals can all benefit from this foundation-focused curriculum. Students can also pursue an Associate in Applied Science degree in the same field, with all options available online.

The Information Technology certification in Systems Security requires a total of 16 credit hours. These courses can be completed in one fall and spring semester, for a total of five courses. Technology Crimes and Law, Ethics and High Technology, and Data Recovery Techniques are just a few of the options available to students in this curriculum.

The college has implemented a two-year schedule with the addition of cyber defence courses, in which students can finish two courses in the first two semesters and one course in the last two semesters. Network and Security Foundation, Network Vulnerabilities, and Security Administration are examples of these courses. Each course is worth three credit hours, totaling 18 credit hours for the programme.

University of Denver

Certification is available in the Information Systems Security concentration. Students will learn how to build stronger security solutions for an organisation and will use real-world scenarios to solve difficulties during their study. Students will be able to prepare for the CISSP certification through this curriculum.

Students can select between two types of certifications: the Specialized Graduate Certificate and the standard Graduate Certificate. Principles of Information Security, Identity and Access Management, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning, and Information Systems Security with a laboratory session are required for the specialised version.

In addition to the four concentration courses, the standard curriculum requires two additional electives. These are courses that the student chooses through the Information and Communications Technology programme, or courses from other schools that the programme director approves. Each course is delivered online or in the evenings on campus, and it is broken down into 10-week modules.

This curriculum might take anything from six months to a year to finish. Those who want to get certified in less than a year will take two or three courses per quarter term. This can extend to one or two courses during the length of an academic year’s four quarter terms.

University of Louisville

The JB Speed School of Engineering provides a 12-credit-hour Cybersecurity graduate certificate that can be done entirely online. This can be completed in a year and transferred into the school’s Master of Science in Computer Science programme. This curriculum can include a variety of topics in data science, such as acquiring data and safely storing it.

The certification process will require four courses in total. All students must take an information security overview course, and they can select between computer forensics and cryptography. The final two courses are electives, such as Mobile Computing, Database Security, Data Mining, or a special themes course that varies from semester to semester and requires approval from a staff member.

The curriculum has three alternative start dates for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. Applicants must provide an official transcript demonstrating the completion of a Bachelor’s degree with a 2.75 GPA or above to be considered for admission to the programme. Applicants are not required to submit their Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or comparable scores to the university.

Understanding a programming language such as C++ or Java, computing architectures, and core principles in computer engineering are all required courses. Potential students who do not complete these prerequisites can demonstrate that they are already knowledgeable in these areas or take them early in the programme for no credit toward certification.

University of Texas at San Antonio

The College of Business provides an online Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security that can be completed in under a year. The program’s courses require a total of 12 credit hours to complete, and students will be able to examine cybersecurity concerns and grasp legal and ethical difficulties in the industry.

Because the graduate certification is designed for people with no prior expertise in cybersecurity, the credit hours gained cannot be used to the college’s Master of Science in Information Technology programme. Within the degree, there is a Cyber Security emphasis that covers advanced issues in computer and network security.

All courses are available in an online format, with some in-person options at the main campus. Digital Forensic Analysis, Web Application Security, and Information Assurance and Security are some of the courses available for this certification. Telecommunication Systems is the only subject required of all students obtaining the certification.

Unofficial transcripts demonstrating completion of a Bachelor’s degree, as well as GRE or GMAT scores, are required for admission. To be processed, the application must be submitted together with a fee. Fall, spring, and summer semesters are the three start times for individuals who are accepted into the programme.

Old Dominion University

A graduate certificate in cybersecurity is available through the College of Sciences and the Department of Computer Science, and it can be completed entirely online. In the autumn and spring semesters, students will take two courses, allowing them to complete the programme in less than a year. These credit hours can be transferred into the Master of Science in Computer Science degree if the student choose to pursue it later.

Cybersecurity Fundamentals, Cryptography for Cybersecurity, Networked Systems Security, and Information Assurance are the four courses that make up the 12 credit hours required for this degree. Detecting vulnerabilities, risks with various forms of network connections, firewall capabilities, and the internet protocol stack are all important subjects.

Students will rarely gather at a set hour, allowing online students to complete schoolwork and watch lectures whenever they like. They must adhere to the same assignment deadlines and tests as on-campus students. Any information technology lab sessions that are required can be conducted in a student’s local community, such as at an affiliated school or at their place of employment.

ODU uses the Blackboard learning management system, as well as Webex and Zoom for web conferencing. All of these tools are compatible with Windows and Mac computers, and there is also compatibility with mobile devices that use an application for these goods. It is advised that students have access to modern computers with high-speed internet access.

University of South Florida

Cyber Intelligence, Digital Forensics, and Information Assurance are three graduate cybersecurity certificates that students can earn through USF. To meet certification criteria, you’ll need anywhere from 12 to 18 credit hours, depending on the programme. All of the courses are easily available online and are broken down into eight-week modules.

Cyber Intelligence is a technique that aims to stay ahead of cyber attacks by ensuring that the platform is secure and that penetration testing has been performed to confirm any potential flaws. Having this intelligence within the organisation will aid professionals in making data-driven decisions that secure information and overall processes to the greatest extent possible.

Information Assurance, on the other hand, focuses on the integrity of information systems and ensures that data travelling over the network is genuine and secure. Basics of Information Security and Risk Management, as well as Decision Processes for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, are needed of all students. The curriculum comes to a close with two elective options that allow you to personalise your certification.

Students must have a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, information technology, or a related field from an authorised college to be admitted to these programmes. Students should be conversant with more core concepts in computer science, such as operating systems, C or C++ programming, and data structures, because the certification offers specific advanced courses in these topics.

Stanford University

The Stanford School of Engineering provides a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate with a flexible curriculum that includes both fundamental and speciality courses in the field, such as national security and blockchain technology. Students could expect to finish this programme in one to two years on average, with a three-year maximum time limit.

Students will learn cryptography abilities and techniques that give organisations an advantage over attackers, as well as policy and legal problems around the security of private information and penetration testing. Introduction to Web Security, the free first course, does not count toward the programme. All courses must be passed with a grade of B or above.

Students must have finished a Bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above in order to be accepted into the programme. Applicants must create a My Stanford Connection profile and upload their official transcripts and proof of identity to the portal. To be processed, an application must be submitted with a fee.

Typical Coursework for a Certification

If a student is studying an overview of cybersecurity or going into a specialism, such as cryptography, the curriculum for a graduate certification can vary dramatically. Vendor courses will be linked to a school or disseminated through a MOOC platform like Coursera or edX. The following are some of the courses available in graduate certification programmes.

Fundamental Topics in Cyber Security

Information Assurance

These courses emphasise the importance of safeguarding and preserving the integrity of an organization’s information systems. This entails staying current on various technical advancements to guarantee that the hardware is not compromised and sensitive data is not leaked to hackers or rogue programmes connected to the network.

Network Security

Students investigate the many security mechanisms required within the network, such as internet protocols, firewalls, and intrusion detection software. This involves going over case studies and remedies created in the aftermath of prior attacks. As more firms migrate to a cloud-based system, the goal is to build a successful network infrastructure from the ground up.

Application Security

It is critical to include robust security solutions in software that interacts with the information system, in addition to the hardware itself. Students can look at examples of applications that have been hacked, resulting in incursion and data leaks. Other subjects could include the various security techniques that are used to create programme protection, cryptography, and the evolution of programme security.

Database Security

Some courses may focus on security measures for the database management system alone, in addition to securing the network. Students can investigate the structural security approaches employed in businesses, as well as the technologies used to alter databases, such as MySQL and Oracle products. This course typically requires a solid understanding of database architecture and programming.

Cyber Law

Understanding law and policy produced by the federal government and the company itself is one of the legal and ethical types of courses found in many cybersecurity-focused certifications. These courses discuss how to safeguard sensitive data held by an organisation from being leaked to the dark web, as well as what to do if sensitive data is leaked to the dark web.

Digital Forensics

Investigations involving computer systems and storage devices are a typical expertise that may be achieved through an undergraduate or graduate certification. This is known as digital forensics, and it aims to recover data that has been destroyed or erased and can be restored and utilised in a court of law. Prior examples, tools, and procedures for successfully recovering information may be the focus of courses.


Encryption is a popular technology for protecting data while it travels from one location to another. Cryptography is the study of the encryption and decryption processes that are utilised in a variety of scenarios, including as accessing a website, sending an email to a friend, and making purchases with a debit or credit card. Students can get an overview of the concept and learn about its history and implementation.

Testing for Penetration

This cybersecurity specialisation is a popular course or certification that can lead to a full-time professional position. Penetration testing is the process of deliberately exposing a network to a range of assaults in order to uncover its security weaknesses. Students may learn how to assess circumstances and write reports, as well as how to design and maintain the activity’s setting.

Incident Response

When an unwanted intrusion happens, it’s critical to act quickly and prevent any further damage from occurring. The focus of incident response is on disaster mitigation and the recovery strategies used to restore valuable information and get systems back up and running. Courses may focus on a specific component of this reaction or provide a broad overview of the activity and recent advancements.

Tuition Costs for Certifications in Cyber Security

When it comes to graduate certification or distinction within a skillset, the costs for cybersecurity and information assurance certification vary greatly. Exams for the CompTIA Security+ or Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certifications are normally priced between $200 and $1,000 per try. This means that if the student does not pass the exam, they will have to pay the money again to retake it.

If the vendor or association in question offers online courses or self-training modules, they can be incorporated for an additional price. They might collaborate with companies like Coursera or edX, which provide enormous open online courses. The cost of training will vary depending on the amount of instruction desired, which can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Some providers, such as Google Cloud Platform, may give free study guides and hands-on training laboratories so that you may get some experience with the hardware and software. Individuals should check the vendor’s recommendations to see if they have the necessary education and professional experience to pass the certification exam.

Graduate Certification Costs

Students will need to finish four to six courses on average to acquire graduate certification in the field of cybersecurity. For example, Old Dominion University costs $551 per credit hour for students who live in Virginia, and $595 for students who live outside of the state. Students will need to pay a total of $7,140 on the programme, which includes four courses totaling 12 credit hours.

Graduate certification tuition can range from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the length of the programme and the location of the institution. Students who keep their education local or opt for an online format that does not charge out-of-state tuition can save a lot of money. Students can usually spread out their graduate certification curriculum and take classes one at a time, but they must finish the programme within a certain time frame.

Scholarship Options for Certifications

There are few scholarship alternatives for students interested in vendor and graduate cybersecurity certifications. Because of the length of these programmes and the restricted number of credit hours available, graduate certificates are often ineligible for many of the college’s scholarships. Some organisations may offer grants or support to students interested in pursuing certification.

If scholarships are not available for the graduate programme, students must decide if the college to which they are applying permits for student aid. Federal student funding may be accepted if the student can show that the certification will lead to better job opportunities. If the student does not require the certification, they will not be considered for financial help.

Some vendor and partner certifications may provide a discount if you look at virtual training sessions before taking the exam. When purchasing a package of courses to aid in preparation, the individual may receive a voucher for the exam and/or further exam tries if they do not pass the first time.

Individuals can apply for the Cisco Global Cybersecurity Scholarship to receive free training and preparation for the Cisco Certified CyberOps Associate certification. Individuals must be at least 18 years old, have a basic understanding of information technology, and finish the programme within three months. To be considered, the applicant must be planning to work in the field of information technology.

What Can You Do With a Certification in Cyber Security?

What an individual can perform is influenced by the type of certification they obtain. Many areas of cybersecurity, or a specific subject, such as digital forensics, information assurance, or cryptography, are generally showcased through certifications. Certification is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to break into the industry, although it usually necessitates a basic understanding of computer science, operating systems, and programming.

Through the vendor, certifications can also focus on specific security technologies for software and hardware systems. An individual can, for example, take a certification exam offered by Microsoft, Cisco, or Google and be certified as an expert in the use of these products. This does not necessarily mean that people are limited to jobs that exclusively use these items; nevertheless, they may be required to undergo further training or obtain another certification from the business.

Associations give genuine certification that certifies a person’s knowledge at a specific level. The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification, for example, is a well-known credential offered by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, which is sometimes abbreviated as (ISC)2.

Pursuing a certification can be the simplest approach for someone with a different academic background to change their job path. They can apply for a graduate certification if they already have general education requirements from an undergraduate programme and a Bachelor’s degree, as long as they complete the program’s prerequisites.

Further Education Opportunities

Having association certification frequently necessitates more study in the future to keep their credentials current. For example, in order to stay informed on new advancements in the cybersecurity industry, the CISSP needs an annual fee and continuing education credits. Typically, this education can be obtained online through particular programmes offered by colleges or MOOCs that have been verified by the association.

Obtaining graduate certification rather to earning a complete Master’s degree can be a faster approach for individuals to gain specialised cybersecurity skills. To be familiar with the courses offered by the certification, you must have an undergraduate degree with a discipline in cybersecurity or a similar sector. In many situations, students can apply their graduate certification credits toward a full Master’s degree in cybersecurity later on.

Career Opportunities

Certification can lead to a variety of job opportunities at various levels. Obtaining these certifications as an undergraduate opens the door to entry-level roles such as cybersecurity assistants or analysts, who analyse information systems and ensure that procedures function smoothly and data is secured. Graduate certificates can lead to more specialised and advanced jobs in a variety of fields.

Some jobs may have certification in order to be considered for the position. This is particularly typical in larger organisations or businesses that deal with highly sensitive data, such as medical records or banking information. It’s crucial to look over the job description to see what skills are required for the position and if any certificates or equivalent achievements are required to get the job.

Many positions in the federal government, such as those in the Department of Defense or the National Security Agency, require specialised certification before being hired. Due to the rigorous nature of these positions and the extensive information systems that will be maintained, this is a prerequisite. Other credentials that match these standards include CompTIA Security+ and the Federal IT Security Professional package, in addition to the CISSP.

Salary Estimates for Cyber Security Certifications

Obtaining an undergraduate or graduate certification in information technology might be advantageous for entry-level and mid-level security roles. If the student is already familiar with specific parts of cybersecurity or has a background in computer science or computer engineering, this may be sufficient. Executive and management positions are not likely for anyone with these credentials, as they require additional higher education and work experience.

Information security analysts in the United States earn an average yearly pay of $104,210, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This cost varies greatly depending on a professional’s level of qualification. In terms of the total spectrum, the lowest ten percent earn $57,810 each year, while the highest ten percent earn $158,860.

New York and New Jersey are the top two states in the country for cybersecurity jobs, with both states paying over $121,570 per year. When both of these states are combined, about 11,240 workers are anticipated to be employed in various industries adopting security. The state of California has an annual mean wage of $114,620 on the West Coast.

In addition to having the highest work opportunities of any state, with over 15,000 people employed, Virginia’s annual estimated wage is $114,760. There are 2,000 jobs in the District of Columbia alone, earning an estimated $119,160 a year. When the cities of Arlington and Alexandria are added to Washington DC, it creates the country’s largest metropolitan region in terms of employment.

Texas, Colorado, and Illinois are the states with the most jobs between the coasts. With around 10,430 security workers, Texas is the second-highest state in terms of security employment. The state’s average yearly salary is $108,810, with the highest-paying positions concentrated in the Dallas, Austin, Houston, and Beaumont metropolitan areas.