Associate’s Degrees in Network Security
Earning an associate degree in network security can get you a start in a career that continues to grow every day. Learn what an associate degree in networking security all entails as well as what you may expect when you pursue network security as a career.
Network security involves policies and procedures determined by a network administrator who monitors and prevents unauthorized access to a computer network and network-accessible resources. It also prevents unauthorized users from modifying or misusing the computer’s network. As such, an associate degree in network security program teaches students what it takes to successfully complete the tasks required of a network administrator.
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Associate's in Network Security Requirements
Earning the associate degree typically takes two years and completion of at least 60 credits of study. The first year the student completes prerequisite or general education courses. These may include mathematics, English, composition, communication and psychology, etc. The second year involves actually computer courses that begin with simple computer troubleshooting and programming and lead up to actual network security and computer programming.
Network vs. Cyber Security
Network security and cybersecurity are often used interchangeably. Often the only prerequisites are a high school diploma and possibly some computer experience. In addition to coursework, students may also be required to complete supervised internships to obtain hands-on training in this field. Successfully completing the academic requirements for this program qualifies students to obtain several industry certifications, which can boost the individual’s resume.
Network Security Specific Degrees
While some colleges offer actual network security associate degree programs, others offer network-related degree programs that include network security courses as part of the curriculum. Here are a few degree names to be on the lookout for:
- Associate degree in Networking Specialist
- Associate degree in Information Technology – Cyber Security
- Associate degree in Cyber Security & Computer Forensics
- Associate degree in Cyber Security
- Associate degree in Cyber Technology – Programmer -Analyst concentration
Network security programs may also offer areas of concentration or tracks, which allow the student to focus on his or her area of interest. However, in most cases, network or cybersecurity is the area of specialization or offers an associate degree in cyber technology with a network security concentration.
Consider reading about the other Associates programs in Cyber Security.
AA or AS in Network Security Programs
Online Network Security Degrees
Associate degrees in network security are also offered through distance learning at some colleges. Distance learning or online programs allow students to complete the programs at their convenience and at their own pace. Instead of attending classes on campus, students learn through other methods like MP3 lectures, online discussion boards, chat rooms, streaming video and emails.
Pueblo Community College Program in Networking Cyber Security
An Associate of Applied Science in Networking Cyber Security can be earned in a two-year span at the Pueblo, Fremont, and Southwest campuses within the Pueblo Community College system. This requires 60 credit hours to complete, and offers students the ability to earn various certifications through CompTIA, such as Network+ and Security+.
Students will be able to take courses during the day or in the evening, and there is an opportunity to complete many courses online. The school provides enrollment for part-time and full-time status, with the former requiring four semesters to complete. Courses will have approximately 13 to 20 students, and there is an ability to enter into the program at the fall, spring, and summer semesters.
What do classes look like within this program?
Some online courses will be available through the Cisco WebEx videoconferencing software. Course topics throughout the program will consist of foundational topics in network security and how to troubleshoot issues within the infrastructure. Examples of courses include Fundamentals of Unix, Intro into Programming, Problem Solving with a Software Package, and Network Security Fundamentals.
Courses will need to be completed with at least a C grade or higher. Students will typically split the program into 32 credits in the first year and 28 credits in the second year, but course load can be offset with summer semesters. This program is ideal for individuals looking to become a network security technician.
St. Philip's College
Through the Department of Science and Technology, students have the ability to pursue an Associate of Applied Science for an Information Technology Cybersecurity Specialist. In addition to the associate degree, students can alternatively pursue a certificate or education toward a specific vendor to gain CompTIA Linux+ or Security+ certification.
What do classes look like within this program?
Gaining an education in this specialty will provide students with the knowledge to oversee and maintain network security and protect sensitive information from data breaches and other attacks. Students are only able to complete the AAS in San Antonio, but certifications are available online. Along with CompTIA certifications, students can also become a Certified Security Professional or Certified Ethical Hacker.
60 total credit hours are needed, and these courses are divided up into five different semesters. An ideal path is starting in the fall semester and taking one summer semester with two courses. General education is needed in the cores of Language and Philosophy, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Mathematics, and Communication, and these are chosen by the student.
Examples of courses that students will see in this program include an overview on routers, Implementing and Supporting Client Operating Systems, Network Administration, and Incident Response and Handling. Graduates have gone on to become professionals as cybersecurity analysts and cybersecurity specialists.
A Few Colleges with AA or AAS in Network Related Degrees
The Associate in Applied Science in Network Administration program offered at Alpena Community College. Courses in this program include network fundamentals, object oriented programming, Microsoft network management and information security.
Augusta Technical College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity, where students can expect courses like information security fundamentals, network security, network defense and countermeasures, ethical hacking/penetration testing, implementing operation systems security and computer forensics. Here is a list of a few colleges that offer associate degree network security programs.
American Business & Technology offers an online associate degree in network administration and information security.
University of the Potomac offers an online associate degree in network security management. When students are required to complete on-the-job training or internships, they may often get assistance in finding internships through the school.
Popular Courses for Associates Degrees
Associates degrees will typically require 60 credit hours worth of studying over a two-year span. The curriculum will consist of general education topics, such as social sciences and humanities, and a heavier portion of technical studies for information technology and cybersecurity. Some institutions will provide programs with accelerated or customizable schedules that will give students flexibility to complete the program earlier with summer courses.
Typical introductory coursework that you may take
Introductory courses define what exactly cybersecurity is and what violations can occur on a network. As an example, Network and Security Foundation includes specific terminology within information technology and identifying the components of various networks. Ethical Hacking explores unethical practices that are not allowed and other privacy policies when investigating hacking attempts on other computers.
What do programs focus around?
Many programs will focus on specific operating systems and administrative tools in order to get students comfortable with a variety of platforms. Linux Installation and Configuration is a course that gives a general overview of implementing the open-source operating system within an organization, setting up security software, and maintaining the security of sensitive information being stored in the network.
What courses you might take toward the end of the degree
Computer Forensics and Intrusion Detection are examples of courses often taken toward the end of the program that are more specialized topics in cybersecurity. Like other courses in the associate program, this will give theoretical ideas and concepts into how these techniques have improved security measures over the years in the cybersecurity field.
Career Outlook for Network Security
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that most careers working with computer networks require bachelor degrees; however, entry-level positions may be found with just an associate degree or an undergraduate certificate. Salary and wages will obviously vary based on location and company, but according to the BLS, the median salary for information security analysts was $99,730 in May 2019.