Salary and Career Info for Cybercrime Specialists

Jul 15, 2019

Learn about the education needed to become a cybercrime specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about cybercrime salary, schooling, job duties, and training requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

Like many other aspects of modern life, crime has moved online, and cybercrime specialists are tasked with fighting it where it lives. Cybercrime investigator jobs may include:

  • Information security analysts
  • Police and detectives
  • Private detectives and investigators

Depending on the type of work that you want to do, you may not require a degree, but earning one may improve your job opportunities, especially with government agencies. Educational options include associate's and bachelor's degrees as well as certificate programs.

Cybercrime Officer Essential Information

A cybercrime specialist, sometimes known as a computer security specialist, is an expert in using computer and digital forensics to help fight cybercrime. Depending on the position, educational requirements for these positions vary from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree. Computer skills are also needed, and training is sometimes required.

Required Education High school diploma; associate's or bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Computer skills
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)* 28% for information security analysts, 7% for police and detectives, 11% for private detectives and investigators
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $98,350 for information security analysts, $63,380 for police and detectives, $50,090 for private detectives and investigators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Cybercrime Specialists Career Information

Specializing in cybercrime allows cybercrime professionals to acquire skills in computer technology and digital forensics. Cybercrime specialists can expand their career by taking other positions, such as computer-digital examiner or computer systems specialist. Usually, no formal degree is required. Financial institutions, Internet providers, software developers, and other small to large businesses employ them. Government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security, also employ detectives, investigators or agents specifically for cybercrime investigations.

Cybercrime Investigator Salary

As of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for information security analysts was $98,350, while police and detectives in general earned a median salary of $63,380. Private detectives and investigators may also specialize in Internet crime and earned $50,090 that same year (www.bls.gov).

Cybercrime Job Outlook

As technology evolves, the need for more Internet and computer security increases. According to the BLS, job growth for information security analysts is expected to increase much faster than average from 2016 to 2026, at 28%, as companies - private and public - try to stay ahead of cybercrime. An increase of 7% from 2016 to 2026 for police and detective positions was forecasted from the BLS. The BLS predicts an 11% increase in jobs for private detectives and investigators, from 2016 to 2026.

Cybercrime Officer Qualifications & Educational Requirements

Though there is no formal degree requirement among most employers or widely recognized cybercrime certifications, taking educational and training courses can increase the chances for employment. Certificate programs and college degree programs that teach cybercrime and computer forensics are available through community colleges and technical schools. Typical courses would include some of the following:

  • Computer operating concepts
  • Criminal justice and procedures
  • Operating microcomputers
  • Technology in cybercrime

Students can choose to major in computer and digital forensics and earn a two-year associate's degree. Some of the courses may include some of the following:

  • Cyberlaw
  • Mathematics
  • Cyber forensics
  • Physics

If students obtain a cybercrime degree, jobs may be easier to find. They can expand their cybercrime careers by earning a bachelor's degree, such as the B.S. in Cybercrime Investigation. This could increase employment opportunities with federal agencies such as the FBI. Federal agencies generally require a bachelor's degree and prior work experience for employment. Employment by the FBI also requires candidates to complete an 18-week training program, according to the BLS.

Job growth is most significant in the information security sector, as companies try to prevent crime before it happens. Work is also available with police services and private investigation firms. Education requirements vary depending on where you wish to work, but some postsecondary study is recommended to gain access to better jobs in this field.

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