Online College Degrees for an Information Security Specialist

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Information security online programs aren't widely available. Associate's degree programs are available in both online and hybrid formats and take about two years to complete. Bachelor's and master's degree programs are designed with flexible schedules to accommodate working professionals. At the master's level, hybrid programs that combine both online and on-campus requirements are available. Applying to graduate level programs requires a bachelor's degree.

Associate's Degree in Information Security

This program provides students with an overview of the tasks and duties required of information security professionals. Course material introduces students to security infrastructure issues and solutions for computer, data and voice network technology. Program topics include change and risk management, legal issues, security policies and best-in-practice defense measures. Students will gain the skills to identify recent trends in information security and implement real world situations.

Program Information and Requirements

Admission to an online associate's degree information security program is open to high school graduates and working adults who are considering a career change. Some schools offer joint-credit programs for students currently enrolled in high school. Courses can be taken strictly online or in a hybrid format with some classes offered online and others completed on campus. Programs take anywhere from two to three years to complete.

Common Associate-Level Information Security Courses

Course delivery includes live online classes and tutors, uploaded material, textbooks, streaming video and prerecorded training sessions.

Fundamentals of Information Technology

This course introduces students to information technology topics, including network structures, hardware used and common software applications. Students learn how information technology is molded by, and affects, business today. Topics include computer design, configuration and maintenance, software installation and removal, operating systems and network configuration.

Network Security

This class provides students with a basic knowledge of computer network security topics. Topics discussed include common terminology web server, DSN and email security, cryptography, firewalls, intrusion reporting and avoidance software and disaster recovery tactics.


Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology Security

This degree program prepares provides students with the training and skills necessary to enter the information technology security field or to improve their skills for career advancement. The program covers areas related to information security such as network infrastructures, web server configuration, system monitoring and database management.

Program Information and Requirements

Although this degree program does not require students to have a background in information technology, those who already have a basic understanding of computer systems will have an easier time understanding course material. Many schools offer flexible schedules to accommodate working adults.

Common Bachelor-Level Information Security Courses

Although the majority of coursework emphasizes security processes and procedures, many programs also include business writing and management courses.

Computer Crimes

This class exposes students to the various crimes committed over the Internet, including e-mail scams, phishing, hacking and distribution of malware. Students will learn how to detect and counter these and other attacks.

Technical Writing

In this course, students learn the various types and appropriate formats for technical documents. Upon completion of the course, students will have the skills to research and write technical documents.


Master's Degree in Information Security

A master's degree in information security teaches students how to apply their technical understanding of system security toward a leadership role within an organization. Students learn how to prepare, implement and manage an organizational security plan. While information security is the primary focus of this degree program, students will learn how to oversee hardware and software upgrades and manage an organization's computer and information technology needs.

Program Information and Requirements

Successful completion of a bachelor's degree in a computer related field is required for admission to a master's degree program in information security. Students can opt to take courses online or in a combination of online and in-person classes. Most programs can be completed in two years.

Common Master-Level Information Security Courses

Computer Privacy and Ethics

This course covers the ethical and legal issues of information security. Legal topics include a review of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, HIPAA compliance, the Telecommunications Decency Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Ethical topics address privacy and user rights.

Computer Cryptography

Material in this course provides students with an introduction to computer cryptography, including digital certificates and signatures, encryption formats, Discrete Logarithm. Network and website protocols and applications are also discussed.


Career Information for Graduates

In 2018, the median annual salary for information and computer systems managers was $142,530 (www.bls.gov). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of information systems managers will grow by 11% from 2018 to 2028. This growth is faster than the national average for all occupations.

Continuing Education Information

While enrolled in online information security degree courses, many schools grant students professional certificates as coursework is completed. Examples of certificates titles include Network Security Specialist and Linux Security Specialist. Program graduates may also consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in information technology.

Many schools incorporate industry specific certificates as part of their curriculum. Some certificates include Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) CompTIA A+, CompTIA Security+ and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Security Certification. Students interested in furthering their education may want to consider a master's degree in information technology.

Individuals interested in careers in information security can pursue online education at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. These programs prepare students with courses on topics including computer crime, cryptography, network security and technical writing.

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