The Information Age has ushered in a formidable list of new concerns for individuals, businesses, and government agencies. The field of information security sits at the forefront of the battle against cybercrime, and the demand for qualified security professionals has grown exponentially in the last two decades, a trend that isn’t expected to stop anytime soon. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 18% increase in information security positions between 2014 and 2024, a rate that’s about double the average of most other industries. The ranking below compiles some of the best options for earning an online information security degree.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR’s IN INFORMATION SYSTEMS PROGRAMS?
Drexel’s bachelor’s of science in computing and security technology is taught in a hybrid format. The online network security degree offers two concentrations: computing technology and computing security. The program is designed for students who are currently employed in information technology and looking to further or change the focus of their careers. Drexel offers a cooperative-style program that’s delivered in four, 10-week quarters, which provide students with hands-on experience. The 188-credit curriculum includes foundational courses such as web development and informatics design.
An accelerated program is offered that allows students to obtain a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. Incoming students may transfer up to 113 quarter credits with a minimum grade of C from an accredited institution. Applicants must have completed at least 24 college credits within the last 15 years.
Champlain’s bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity requires students to earn 120-credits and boasts a state-of-the-art virtual laboratory, which provides hands-on learning experiences. Online students focus on problem-solving and develop a skillset critical for long-term success in the field. The seven-week course structure, which includes classes like mobile security, ethical hacking, and project management, allows students to explore a diverse curriculum. The school offers six different starting dates per year.
Champlain offers the opportunity for students to earn a specialized certificate, which includes computer forensics and digital investigations, computer networking, cybersecurity, linux administration, and system administration. Incoming students may transfer up to 90 credits. Distance learners can earn credit for prior work experience and professional training.
Lewis is a Catholic university that was founded in 1932. The school offers more than 80 undergraduate majors, including a BS in information security and risk management. This program, which is nationally recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Council, specializes in the combination of technical knowledge and managerial theory. Concentrations are offered in information security, risk management, security management, IT operations, data communications, computer forensics, and ethical hacking. Lewis offers courses in an accelerated format in online and hybrid formats.
This 128-credit, online information security degree includes core courses like basic macroeconomics, principles of accounting, marketing, management, and finance. Students may select two elective courses to tailor their degree, including classes like entrepreneurship and mobile device forensics.
The online network security degree at UIS focuses on computer science fundamentals. This network security degree online has a career-minded curriculum that teaches applicable skills for positions in business, industry, government, and education. The core curriculum includes courses in hacking ethics, security fundamentals, and computer cryptography.
Students may transfer up to 12 general elective credits but must have the equivalent of two semesters of Java programming and at least one semester of business calculus, discrete or finite mathematics, and statistics. Incoming non-transfer students must be proficient in English or take an English entrance assessment during the first semester. Several research grants are available for information security systems students internally through the department.
Saint Leo is Catholic liberal arts school that was founded in 1889. The school offers more than 40 academic programs. Their BS in cybersecurity program is designed for working professionals. The program emphasizes network defense and ethical hacking techniques. Students complete work in a virtual lab which places them in simulations that develop problem-solving and internet security defense skills that are used in the field. Core courses in this 121-credit program include Christian philosophy, Catholicism, and human creativity. Major-specific courses cover a wide range of security and network defense topics, including information security management and disaster recovery. While not required for graduation, many students participate in a summer internship program. Previous students secured internships with national, regional, and local businesses, including Verizon Wireless.
DSU students pursuing a BS in network and security administration experience a hands-on approach to building and securing computer networks. The program emphasizes business management and teaches students to become effective communicators and leaders. Teachers help students secure relevant professional development opportunities, including internships. Major-specific courses include computer forensics fundamentals, scripting for network administration, and security fundamentals.
DSU’s 120-credit information security online degree provides students with access to virtual and physical labs, in which state of the art equipment is utilized for real-life learning experiences. Students explore various technological configurations and simulations and learn how to best handle common challenges that working professionals encounter in the field. Students can expect to complete this degree in approximately four years.
Mercy was founded in 1950 in New York City and offers more than 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees and certification programs. Its BS in cybersecurity is a 120-credit program that takes about four years to complete. The core curriculum includes foundational, major, and elective courses. As an elective option, Mercy offers two workplace experience in cybersecurity courses that provide hands-on training and situational strategy building. Students may also register for an independent study course, which allows them to work one-on-one with a faculty member and explore their interests in cybersecurity. Students may transfer up to 75 credits from a two-year institution or 90 credits from a four-year institution. Only six transfer credits may be applied towards the major-specific credit requirements.
UNO’s bachelor of science in management information systems is a 120-credit program. Full-time learners typically complete this degree in four years. Students learn the day-to-day operations of running a business and relevant planning strategies. This program prepares students for careers in business data management, information security, electronic commerce, and related areas. Although it is not mandatory for graduation, students may choose between five concentrations, including global IT leadership and management, i-business application development and management, information assurance, internet technologies, and IT audit and control. All students must complete the general education and major-specific courses with a minimum grade of a C-. The office of academic affairs advises students on the distribution of requirements, their chosen electives, and the most efficient way for them to complete their degree.
KSU is a public university that offers more than 70 online programs. The school’s online information security degree covers how to analyze and secure information and the systems that house that data. The program continues to evolve as digital technology changes and online threats to commercial information systems increase. Students learn critical managerial and technological skills, preparing them for careers as information security analysts, business risk analysts, and information systems managers. Major-specific coursework includes law and ethics, e-commerce defense, and data protection.
Online students receive technological and educational support. Learners may utilize their online tutor program, which provides students with assistance in the core courses. Their live tutoring sessions also feature real-time audio and visual feedback.
Davenport is a private, nonprofit university that was founded in 1866. The school offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs. For students pursuing an information security online degree, Davenport offers a BS in cyber defense. The program, which is nationally recognized by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, features specializations in healthcare information and information assurance. Students may add a supplementary specialty in mathematical modeling. T
his 120-credit program is designed to generate proactive professionals. Learners acquire the skills to handle threats and unwanted online intervention from inside and outside organizations. Courses include authentication and audits, wireless networking and security, calculus, and differential equations with modeling.
Limestone’s bachelor of science degree in computer and information systems security requires students to earn at least 123 credits. Beginning courses include basic concepts of the internet and introduction to computer science. Advanced courses include security architecture and design, continuity and disaster recovery planning, and cryptography. This information security degree online requires a capstone project to ensure mastery of major-specific course content.
Financial aid, scholarships, and grants are available. Active military and veterans pay a reduced tuition rate. Students may transfer general education credits from South Carolina Technical College with a minimum grade of C. Applicants must submit an online application, provide official transcripts, and submit SAT or ACT scores. Students over the age of 21 or who are currently serving in the military are not required to submit test scores.
WGU is an online university that features a competency-based program. The school’s BS degree in information technology-security is for established professionals already working in IT. The program gives students the opportunity to earn certifications and shift their career focus toward a security and assurance-driven position. WGU learners seeking a network security online degree typically commit 15 or more hours per week. Instead of paying tuition per credit hour, students at WGU pay a flat-rate tuition every 6 months, regardless of how many courses they complete. Most students complete all degree requirements in two to three years. Learners develop a personalized program with a faculty member to determine when they’ll graduate.
Bellevue University, founded in 1966, is a non-profit university in Nebraska that offers an online BS degree in cybersecurity. This 127-credit program features a specialization in information security theory with a focus on protecting technology systems and detecting weaknesses in those systems. Students also learn how to respond to cyber attacks in the public and private sectors. This degree has a 54-week accelerated program option. Courses are nine weeks long. Online learners register for all required courses at the beginning of the program. Core courses include introduction to cyber threats, network security, advanced cybersecurity, and cybercrime. Online students also receive technical support, online tutoring, and video tutorials.
WilmU offers more than 90 online degrees and certificates, including the BS in computer and network security. Students learn how to secure computer networks in the private and public sectors, retrieve data, and investigate fraud and corporate crimes. Graduates are prepared for professional positions in which they protect information and vital data from cyber criminals. Courses include the fundamentals of economics and criminal evidence and procedures. Graduates are prepared for careers as ethical hackers, network defense technicians, penetration testers, and more. The school has been designated as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cybersecurity by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security. Certificates are available in digital evidence discovery and digital evidence investigation.
Excelsior is a nonprofit distance learning institution that was founded in 1971. More than 30 degree and certificate programs are offered online, including the BS in information technology (information security). This 120-credit program prepares students to address a broad set of threats that often hinder online systems, including natural disasters, theft, viruses, and system failure. Learners take courses to develop the critical skills necessary to evolve with advancing technology, including courses in computer forensics, software analysis and design, and network security. Students choose between specializations in cybersecurity technology, general IT, information security, and network operations. Graduates understand the professional, ethical, and social responsibilities of working in the information technology field.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Information Systems Program
You may be eager to start your online network security degree, but there are several factors to consider before committing to a school or program, including curriculum length and level of online support. The following questions will help you find the right network security degree online for you.
What Will I Learn In This Program?
Most information security online degrees offer similar core courses, but many include concentration options, allowing you to follow career and personal interests. Specializations, such as network administration, digital forensics, and information assurance, offer increased career opportunities by providing a more in-depth curriculum. Some career paths may require certain undergraduate courses or majors, so if you have a position in mind, research what sort of educational background employers look for.
How Long Will It Take To Complete This Program?
Online information security degrees are typically designed to accommodate working students, but different schools enact this in different ways. Some may offer an accelerated curriculum that allows you to quickly complete degree requirements and enter the workforce, while others adopt a part-time format that helps you balance school with other obligations like work and family. Some schools may even offer both options within the same program.
How Does This Program Support Online Students?
Online students are typically less connected to campus support services, so it’s important to determine what type of online resources are available. Does the school offer online access to academic advisers and career counselors? Does it offer online tutoring through its own tutoring center or an outside contractor? Do online students have opportunities to connect outside of class? School websites often list the resources available to online learners, so be sure to do your research. The resources offered will differ between schools.
Careers for Graduates of this Program
Graduates who hold network security online degrees are prepared to serve in many IT positions, which come with different opportunities. This chart compiles some of the most common positions in the field, along with a brief description of each job and its median salary.
Information Security Analyst
Security analysts typically serve in support roles within IT departments, examining security threats, analyzing security tools, and monitoring networks for possible intrusions. They may be responsible for implementing digital security policies within an organization.
Median Salary: $70,059
Network administrators oversee an organization’s computer networks and networking practices, installing hardware, maintaining general network operations, and ensuring that systems are not vulnerable to cyberattacks. They may also train other employees on the use of networking software and telecommunications systems.
Median Salary: $57,773
Information Security Engineer
Security engineers design network security systems and implement new hardware and software. They may dictate security protocols and respond to intrusions.
Median Salary: $91,892
Information Security Manager
Security managers interact with upper management and hire new security employees. They typically take a leadership role in planning and coordinating IT security policies, data safeguards, and applications. They may also be responsible for general day-today management of security activities.
Median Salary: $99,579
Forensic Computer Analyst
Analysts work alongside other security professionals to investigate digital information for forensic evidence, which can assist with identifying system vulnerabilities and analyzing past cyberattacks. They may also analyze user data patterns to suggest new solutions for digital security.
Median Salary: $68,161
Job Outlook and Salary
Given the increase of cyberattacks, graduates with online network security degrees are expected to have many career options available; the industry is projected to grow faster than computer and information technology as a whole. While job growth can vary depending on factors such as location, position, and specific industry of employment, the job outlook, in general, is strong. The chart below collects data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for projected growth of security analyst jobs, which show faster than average growth.
Employment Growth for Web Development
||Projected Employment, 2024
Salary Growth By Experience
Information security offers significant increases in annual salary as professionals accumulate experience. After completing an information security degree online, you can expect increased wages in 5-10 years — particularly if you move into a managerial role. The chart below compiles median salary data for three popular positions at different career stages.
To determine the best online associate in economics programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the 10 best online associate in economics programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.