Cyber Security Degrees in Arkansas
Arkansas has two institutions that holds higher education in cyber security and has been accredited by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
NSA CAE Designated Institutions for Cyber Security in Arkansas
Two universities are are recognized as National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) - the University of Arkansas has a designation of cyber research while the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's curriculum is based around cyber defense.
The NSA and Department of Homeland Security designate institutions as CAE's if they meet criteria specific to cyber security operations, defense, or research.
Here is a list of Arkansas cyber security degrees that are from NSA CAE Designated Institutions:
- University of Arkansas
- University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Online Cyber Security Programs in Arkansas
The University of Arkansas has an online Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security, which can be fully completed in a virtual setting. Four eight-week courses are needed to complete the 12 credit hours needed for the certification. Required courses in the program are Introduction to Operations Management, Supply Chain Management for Operations Managers, and Homeland Security for Operations Managers.
The final course is a list of electives that are mostly specialty skills in cyber security. All of these courses can begin at any time of the year, allowing for plenty of flexibility when creating schedules.
University of Arkansas Programs
Since this is a graduate program, a Bachelor's degree is required for admittance with at least a 2.5 GPA over the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. There are no GRE or GMAT scores required to submit. At the completion of the program, students can use the credit gained toward a Master's degree in the College of Engineering with disciplines in Engineering, Engineering Management, or Operations Management.
When it comes to online education, coursework can usually be done at any time of the day, and this will either be done at the students' own pace or they will need to meet weekly deadlines to keep up with the rest of the class. All communication is done through the university's content management system, with tools such as chat rooms, discussion boards, and instant messaging.
Master's in Cyber Security Degrees in Arkansas
Pursuing a higher-level program, such as a Master's degree, in cyber security will have many requirements for admission. Holding an undergraduate degree, typically a Bachelor's degree, with a cumulative 3.0 GPA is at least recommended. Higher scores are especially beneficial in the later years of the program. Prior coursework should be completed in multiple levels of calculus and computer programming.
In some cases, entrance exam scores, such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), will need to be submitted, or they will be optional and prospective students can use them to enhance their application. At this time, there are no full Master's degrees available at a designated CAE in the state of Arkansas, but the Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security offered at the University of Arkansas can be part of a Master's degree in the College of Engineering.
Getting Started Working in Cyber Security in Arkansas
Undergraduate degrees and certifications are available for students to obtain in the state of Arkansas with institutional locations at Fayetteville and Little Rock. Those locations, and Bentonville, are the best locations for job opportunities in the industry. For additional opportunities in the discipline, students can look elsewhere at online programs in other states.
- Undergraduate Degrees:
Through the Department of Computer Science, students at the University of Arkansas Little Rock can pursue a minor in Information Assurance within a variety of disciplines, including Computer Science, Information Science, Systems Engineering, Criminal Justice, and Business Management. Students pursuing this minor will need to have prior coursework in composition and college math. The curriculum consists of core courses (cyber crime, computer forensics, and ethics), computer networking topics, database management and concepts, and electives from a variety of topics.
- Masters and Continuing Education:
In addition to the Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security at the University of Arkansas, there is also a Cybersecurity certification that can be earned on campus. This is a 12-credit hour program that requires the completion of the Computer Security course, and then the student is able to customize the curriculum with three electives. Course examples include Network Security, Database Security, Computer Forensics, and Advanced Cryptography.
- Cyber Security Employment Options:
Bentonville, Little Rock, and Fayetteville are the most intriguing locations to find cyber security opportunities. Along with the Walmart headquarters, the Little Rock Air Force Base is constantly looking to improve their efforts in cyber operations. There are government opportunities, like the Arkansas Department of Transportation, that has an IT security analyst that investigates any security breaches and acts swiftly to solve any problems due to the sensitive private information of the many citizens in the area. They will perform audits, create policies and procedures, and develop disaster recovery plans when attacks occur.
Arkansas Cyber Security Careers
The state of Arkansas has around 6,000 positions related to systems and cyber security analysts according to CompTIA, which is a significant number considering the tech industry represents just 4.7 percent of the total workforce. Average salary for tech jobs in the state are at $63,323, which is right on line with most surrounding states, but significantly lower than states like Missouri and Texas.
Cyber Security and Tech Employers and Organizations
Walmart is one of the top companies in the state of Arkansas due to their headquarters being located in Bentonville. There are frequent opportunities available within the cyber security field, including risk managers, engineers, and analysts. A technology risk manager at the company will be able to identify any issues through risk analysis and will implement new technologies and innovations for security efforts to be more streamlined and efficient. Those looking for this type of position will need certification as an auditor, a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, and have at least three years of experience in information technology.