Information Systems Security Degree and Certificate Programs

Undergraduate programs in information systems security teach how to protect computer systems and data from security threats. Graduate-certificate programs focus more on managerial practices, forensics and security administration.

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Essential Information

Some hands-on training may be available in certificate and degree programs in information systems security; some programs may offer online coursework. A graduate certificate is usually earned after completing 15-24 credits, with many programs consisting of 16-18 credits.

An associate degree program provides computer support specialists with expertise in computer security and defense. Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security programs often emphasize network security. Graduate-level certificate programs address security issues for computer generated data, applications and information systems.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent for undergraduate programs, while a bachelor's degree is necessary for a graduate certificate program.


Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Security

Students in these programs learn how to select and maintain network security hardware and firewalls based on existing threats and vulnerabilities. Associate degree students also become familiar with legal and ethical issues concerning information security. This associate degree program includes both general education and information security-specific classes. Course topics related to information security include:

  • Router technology
  • Operating systems
  • Secure infrastructure
  • Computer security
  • Server administration
  • Network defense

Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Security

Students in these programs learn to design and administrate networks according to policies, standards and laws. This undergraduate program also teaches students to detect and correct security vulnerabilities and evaluate the performance of security systems. Information systems security majors take general education classes as well as multiple computer classes, such as computer programming and operating systems. Common course topics specific to information systems security include:

  • Firewall testing
  • Computer networking
  • OSI layers security
  • Cryptography
  • Security continuity for businesses

Graduate Certificate in Information Systems Security

Students in these programs gain skills in technology and management that prepare them to design security procedures for business and government agencies. Certificate courses may cover:

  • Physical and operations security administration
  • Systems architecture and applications security
  • Recovery and forensics
  • IT management
  • Web information systems

Popular Career Options

Graduates of the associate's degree programs may be qualified for entry-level positions such as:

  • Computer help-desk technician
  • Systems administrators
  • Technical support specialists
  • Computer security specialist

Graduates of the bachelor's program may pursue careers in information systems planning, Web security and data privacy. Potential job titles include:

  • Information systems security officer
  • Disaster recovery analyst
  • Information systems auditor
  • Information technology systems planner

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted that employment in computer and information systems management, which includes IT security managers, will grow much faster than average from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, computer and information systems managers earned a mean annual wage of $141,000, as of May 2015.

Graduates of an associate's program in information systems security will be prepared for job areas like system administration, while bachelor's degree holders will be eligible to work as recovery analysts. Those with a graduate certificate in the field may pursue employment as computer and information systems managers.

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