Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Florida Guide

Learn About Studying Cyber Security in Florida, Requirements and Job Growth Careers Guide

Florida businesses and government agencies continue to tune into the importance of cyber security. The University of Florida houses the state's Center for Cyber Security. Kennedy Space Center calls Florida home and obviously, with all the hotel and tourist destinations throughout the state, credit card fraud protection is also an important issue to consider. Universities in Florida recognize the need for cyber security programs and the growing need to prepare students in the most advanced and up-to-date practices possible. Whether you decide to use your cyber security education in the state of Florida or use your education to move away and begin your career, there are many excellent university/college programs to choose from.

Why an Advanced Degree in Florida is Needed

In recent years, state officials have acknowledged the need to recruit well-trained cyber security professionals to Florida. Beautiful coastlines on three sides of the state, a lack of snow, and a relatively low cost of living makes Florida a desirable place to work, live, and play. When it comes to beating the competition and getting the job, a bachelor's degree is good, and a master’s degree is better. While you can start a cyber security career with a bachelor's degree, if you want to enjoy solid career advancement and higher salaries, you should set your sights on obtaining an advanced degree at some point. With all other things being equal, it also means you should attend an accredited program and if possible, a top-rate college in the cyber security field. As hacking programs become more technologically difficult to anticipate and destroy, the need for above average cyber security education becomes more and more important.

Florida Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

Associate’s Degree

An associate degree is typically earned at a community college. The core requirement for admissions to a community college in Florida is to hold a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED). According to Florida state education statutes, if you were home-schooled and did not obtain a GED, you will need to have a parent/legal guardian attest in writing that you completed the required curriculum for the completion of high school. State law allows each college's Board of Trustees to adopt additional requirements, so be sure to check with the community college of your choice to find out if there are additional things you need to provide to become a student.

An associate degree can provide you quick access to entry-level positions and/or serve as a stepping stone to your bachelor's degree in the field.

Courses at the associate degree level might include:

  • Programming
  • Writing HTML Code
  • Introduction to Information Technology

Bachelor’s Degree

In most cases, you will earn a bachelor's degree at a four-year university, though there are some community colleges that serve as satellite campuses to universities, thereby allowing students to earn a bachelor's at a community college location.

Admissions to bachelor's degree programs typically requires transcripts. If you are starting as a freshman, the university will want your high school transcripts – if transferring from a community college, those are the transcripts you will provide. Home-schooled students will need a letter from a parent or legal guardian confirming the fact that they successfully completed all state required levels in all core subjects.

Examples of classes you might take for a bachelor's program include:

  • Introduction to Computer Systems
  • Introduction to Cyber Security
  • Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity
  • Network Security

Master’s Degree

A master's degree in cyber security puts you ahead of the pack, career wise, whether you attain it prior to beginning that first cyber security job or you go back to school and get it years after breaking into the field. The courses required for a master’s degree build on the knowledge you receive during your undergraduate work. In many schools, to be admitted to a master's degree cyber security program you must have a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or an information technology focus. Your grade point average during undergraduate studies are often examined when you apply to a master's program. At least one Florida university requires you to carry a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale in every undergraduate course if you wish to enter the master's degree program in cyber security. In addition, you might be required to have completed a year of calculus as well as a year of post calculus work.

Examples of coursework for a master's degree include:

  • Social, Economic, and Policy Aspects of Cyber Security
  • Practical Applied Security
  • Principles of Data Mining Introduction
  • Smart Grid Cyber Security and Intelligent Electronic Devices Design

Certifications in Florida

Completing a certification program in Florida for cyber security can provide a foundation to begin working or interning in the field while you pursue degrees. They are also a good way to dip your toes into cyber security to be sure that it is the degree you wish to pursue.

In most cases, a certification program will take one year to complete and you will be required to finish 12-18 class hours of coursework. You will choose between a bachelor's level certificate or a master's level certificate depending on where you are on your educational path. Certificate programs will focus on one specific industry concentration.

Examples of possible certificates include:

  • Cyber Law
  • Homeland Security Management
  • Information Assurance
  • Healthcare Security
  • Cyber Security Policy and Privacy
  • Advanced Engineering

Why is Accreditation Important?

It is important in Florida to select colleges/universities that are accredited for several reasons. Accredited schools have met stringent sets of standards when it comes to curriculum and achievements needed to pass their courses. In addition, those standards are aligned regionally and statewide. The Florida university system allows you to transfer credits from one school to another if both schools are accredited because it confirms that your knowledge and skill sets will be similar when coming from the old school into the new one. In addition, many employers in the cyber security industry will only hire those who graduated from an accredited school. Schools in Florida receive regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a government agency that sets the gold standard for academic excellence by assigning schools the title of Center of Academic Excellence (CAE). Schools participating in the CAE program underscore the organization's desire to protect the nation by promoting the highest education opportunities possible for future cyber security professionals.

The programs are deeply immersed in various cyber defense concentrations and students are held to a significantly high academic standard.

CAE Accredited Programs in Florida

  • Daytona State College
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach Campus
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • Florida A&M University
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022
  • Florida Atlantic University
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • Florida Institute of Technology
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • Florida International University
    CAE-R / 2016-2021
  • Florida State College at Jacksonville
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • Florida State University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021
  • Indian River State College
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • Nova Southeastern University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • Saint Leo University
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • St. Petersburg College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • University of Central Florida
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
    CAE-R / 2017-2022
  • University of Florida
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • University of North Florida
    CAE-CD / 2019-2024
  • University of West Florida
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • University of South Florida
    CAE-R / 2017-2022
  • Valencia College
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023

Computer Science & IT Programs in Florida

  • Florida International University

    The Florida International University, ranked by the Florida Board of Governors as the second-best college in Florida, offers a wide variety of computer-based bachelor's degree programs. With approximately 10 degrees to choose from in computer-based industries, you’re sure to find one that dovetails with your career goals. The university also offers a master’s degree program as well as a PhD program.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
    Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Master’s Degree
    Information Technology - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $6,556
    In-State: $6,546
    Out-of-State: $18,954
    Average Net Price: $9,180
    College Retention Rate: 90% (Full-time Students); 87% (Part-time Students)

  • Nova Southeastern University

    Nova Southeastern University offers strong programs in the areas of computer science. Whether you want to get a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or go all the way for a PhD, you can do so here. Established in 1964, it currently has eight campuses that are located in Florida and Puerto Rico. The school offers both online and classroom courses, allowing you to design an educational schedule that fits your lifestyle and obligations.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s, Doctoral Degrees & Postgraduate Certificates
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Science/Studies – Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $30,900
    Average Net Price: $25,867
    College Retention Rate: 79% (Full-time Students); 50% (Part-time Students)

  • University of South Florida – Main Campus

    The University of South Florida is known worldwide as a public research university. Established in 1956, this large university offers an array of cyber security programs for its students. In 2018, more than 41,000 students were enrolled at USF's main campus in Tampa, Florida. You can obtain your bachelor's degree, master’s or PhD, in computer science with a cyber security concentration from this university.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Science – Master’s Degree
    Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Master’s Degree
    Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $6,410
    Out-of-State: $17,324
    Average Net Price: $10,460
    College Retention Rate: 91% (Full-time Students); 72% (Part-time Students)

  • St Leo University

    With 13 campuses in Florida, St. Leo University is easily accessible to most Florida residents. If you would prefer to reside elsewhere but still attend, the university also offers online coursework. The school year consists of 8-week academic terms, with six different start dates each school year. Internet courses, video conferences, or in classroom settings are all a possibility.

    When it is time for a master’s degree in cyber security from Saint Leo you will choose either the online or the traditional, on campus option. Traditional program takes two years of a structured curriculum sequence for six consecutive semesters. The online program is adjusted to provide you the same classes but allows you to begin the sequence in any semester and move forward.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s Degree
    Information Technology – Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $23,020
    Average Net Price: $20,036
    College Retention Rate: 72%

  • University of Florida

    The University of Florida is home to the Florida Institute of Cyber Security Research, which offers a certificate program in cyber security. There are both online and classroom programs to obtain a bachelor's degree in computer science. The computer science bachelor's degree takes one of two paths. You can choose the degree that has a heavy engineering component (CSE) or the path that combines computer science with liberal arts curriculum (CSE).

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
    Computer System Analysis/Analyst – Master’s Degree
    Informatics – Doctoral Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $6,381
    Out-of-State: $28,659
    Average Net Price: $11,313
    College Retention Rate: 91% (Full-time Students); 81%(Part-time Students)

  • Florida Atlantic University

    Florida Atlantic University is in Boca Raton but also has satellite campuses in five cities. While it is well known for its oceanography programs, this university also boasts a strong computer sciences area. As with other universities in the Florida state, FAU offers a full bachelor's degree program both online and in the traditional classroom setting.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral Degrees, Undergraduate & Postgraduate Certificates
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Undergraduate Certificate
    Information Science/Studies – Undergraduate Certificate
    Information Technology – Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $4,831
    Out-of-State: $17,276
    Average Net Price: $9,486
    College Retention Rate: 82% (Full-time Students); 78% (Part-time Students)

Florida Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

While it is a good idea to obtain a minimum of a bachelor's degree if a cyber security career is your goal, you can start with an associate degree or by completing a certificate program in cyber security, computer science, or information technology. This allows you to examine the field, perhaps work in it as an intern or assistant, and decide if this is what you want to do for a career before investing in a higher degree. Each school below offers a certificate program, an associate degree or both in the computer field.

  • St Petersburg College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,682
    Out-of-State: $9,286
    Average Net Price: $3,477

  • Valencia College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,444
    Out-of-State: $9,383
    Average Net Price: $4,892

  • Palm Beach State College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $2,444
    Out-of-State: $8,732
    Average Net Price: $3,064

Scholarships

  • CyberCorps National Science Foundation Scholarship for Service

    Amount: $7,500
    Deadline: Open Enrollment
    Link: https://apply.scholarsapply.org/barrygoldwater/
    This scholarship will provide up to the listed amount each year for your sophomore, junior and senior year. Funds can be used for room and board, tuition, books, and fees.

  • CyberCorps National Science Foundation Scholarship for Service Program

    Amount: $22,500 (Undergraduates); $34,000 (Graduates)
    Deadline: Open Enrollment
    Link: http://fics.institute.ufl.edu/nsf-cybercorps-sfs/
    If you are awarded this scholarship, your entire tuition will be paid for. There are also stipends available for books, fees, room and board.

  • SWISS (Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security)

    Amount: Up to $10,000
    Deadline: February 1
    Link: https://cra.org/cra-wp/scholarships-and-awards/scholarships/swsis/
    If you are a woman interested in pursuing a bachelor's or master’s degree in information security, this scholarship can help pay for your education.

  • John M. & Mary A. Shanley Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: $20,000
    Deadline: February 24
    Link: http://floridacommunity.com/scholarships/
    Computer science is listed among the required degrees being sought to get this scholarship. You must have graduated from high school in either Charlotte, Hendry, or Lee County Florida.

  • Department of Defense Scholarship Program

    Amount: $25,000 (Undergraduates); $30,000 (Graduate Students)
    Deadline: February 18
    Link: https://www.usf.edu/arts-sciences/departments/information/programs/graduate-programs/ms-in-intelligence-studies/dodcysp.aspx
    To apply for this scholarship, you must be a junior or senior undergraduate. You must also agree to work for one year for the Department of Defense if you receive this scholarship. It will pay for tuition, fees, books, and provide stipends for living expenses.

Conferences and Workshops

Annual Cyber Security Symposium

This conference will focus on protection techniques against credit card information being compromised, network attacks, and security breaches by former employees.

https://10times.com/annual-cyber-security-symposium-tampa

SANS Miami

This annual five day conference puts you in front of industry leaders to learn the latest techniques in cyber security to protect your clients or organization from security breaches. Each conference has a specific focus.

https://tradefest.io/en/event/sans-miami

Florida Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

If you decide you want to work in Florida after getting your degree, your future looks bright. The following are statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding some of the computer related positions in Florida.

  • Information Security Analysts
    5,240 active jobs
    $86,630 average annual salary
  • Computer Systems Analysts
    20,880 active jobs
    $82,210 average annual salary
  • Computer Programmers
    10,670 active jobs
    $79,770 average annual salary
  • Database Administrators
    7,440 active jobs
    $84,860 average annual salary
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
    18,970 active jobs
    $79,360 average annual salary
  • Systems Software Developers
    16,500 active jobs
    $101,090 average annual salary

Resources

Leaders in Cyber Security Education: Find Your Career Today

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