Several schools offer online certificate programs in information security. These programs are almost exclusively graduate certificate programs, though, so applicants need to hold a bachelor's degree. Most programs offer all courses and related materials online, with no in-person work required. Some schools may offer hybrid options. The certificate may take as little as one year to earn.
Information Security Certificate
An information security certificate program trains managers and information technology (IT) professionals to protect their networked computing systems. Most coursework is in the area of computer science, though programs also include classes in business and public policy. Certificate programs generally presume that students have a good working knowledge of computers and networking from previous education or on-the-job experience. Graduates of an online information security program might work as system administrators or other IT professionals in homeland security or at a private corporation.
Program Information and Requirements
Online information security certificate programs are generally designed with working professionals in mind, so they tend to offer flexible scheduling options. Depending on the scope of the required coursework, and on the amount of time students can devote to their classes, a program might take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete. Students should have a modern computer with high-speed Internet access to take advantage of the online course materials.
Common Information Security Course List
Information security courses mainly require technical work in areas of computer science. However, some more theoretical classes also introduce principles from business management, law and public policy.
A computer security course generally covers the hardware and software requirements for securing data on networked computers and protecting systems from attack. Particular areas of focus include encryption, authentication, firewalls and operating system security.
An enterprise security course focuses on the particular challenges of maintaining secure systems for very sizable networks, such as those used by government agencies and large corporations. In addition to systems administration, programs often discuss business strategies for planning and implementing technology policies.
Drawing from history, law, and technology, a security policy course explores the operations of business and government from an IT perspective. Laws and case studies are examined in order to establish the best practices for business IT policies.
Career Information for Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for information security professionals is expected to increase much faster than the national average, at a rate of about 18% between 2014 and 2024. The median yearly salary for information security professionals as of May 2015 was $90,120.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an online information security certificate program may pursue professional certification from private hardware and software vendors, including Microsoft and Cisco Systems. Vendor certification is a standard qualification in the information technology industry, with employers often valuing professional certification over formal education. Students who are interested in further study might choose to earn an online master's degree in information security.
Students interested in studying information security can easily find online graduate certificates to prepare for careers in the field. Coursework in the program often includes computer security and security policy, and students can typically graduate within one year.