Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Missouri Guide

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

In 2014, Missouri ranked #5 in the US for cyber security breaches. Though many think of rural, open areas when they think of Missouri, that doesn’t mean there’s no need for cyber security experts in the state. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in cyber security in Missouri, there’s lots you need to know. Let’s get started.

While there are many opportunities available in this field, individuals who attain a cyber security degree or certificate often find work as:

  • Information Security Analysts
  • Lead Software Security Engineers
  • Security Architects
  • Penetration Testers
  • Information Security Crime Investigators / Forensics Experts

Why an Advanced Degree in Missouri is Needed

In order to have a successful cyber security career in Missouri, you will most likely need to earn a higher education degree. Most employers will only consider hiring candidates who have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a related field such as computer science. And, while an undergraduate degree may be enough for entry-level positions, many companies prefer to promote candidates with a more advanced degree. Those who choose to pursue a master’s degree are often better prepared for professional employment, enjoy more advancement opportunities, and generally make more money.

Six of the top universities offering cyber security degrees in Missouri are Missouri University of Science and Technology, Washington University in St. Louis, Lindenwood University, University of Central Missouri, Park University, and University of Missouri in Columbia. All of these institutions are accredited and offer a variety of programs and degree levels that can help prepare students for successful cyber security careers.

Missouri Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

Associate’s Degree

The majority of cyber security work in Missouri requires a bachelor’s degree, but it may be possible to find employment, especially entry-level, after earning an associate degree. When coupled with significant professional experience, this degree can help you establish yourself in the field.

Admission requirements:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum high school grade point average (GPA)
  • All official transcripts
  • Completed application

Associate degree programs are available for students with diverse learning preferences. Many colleges and universities offer both on-campus and online degree options. Programs generally consist of around 60 credit hours of coursework that full-time students can complete in about two years. Credits earned at accredited institutions can also be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program if you’re interested in continuing your education.

Coursework varies, but frequently covers:

  • Network Fundamentals
  • Server Administration
  • Incident Response
  • Windows Operating Systems

Bachelor’s Degree

Most individuals who pursue a cyber security career begin by earning a bachelor’s degree. Students can find both on-campus and online programs, most of which consist of approximately 120 credit hours of coursework. Full-time students generally complete graduation requirements in about four years.

Admissions requirements:

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Minimum high school GPA
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Minimum SAT and/or ACT scores
  • Passing grades in any necessary prerequisite courses
  • Personal statement

Undergraduate degree curriculums usually include general liberal arts and major-specific coursework. Graduates from accredited institutions are generally prepared to apply for entry-level work in the field, but may also apply to advanced degree programs.

Coursework varies, but frequently covers:

  • Digital Foundations
  • Cyber Security Principles
  • Networks and Security
  • Virtualization & Cloud Security
  • Information Technology Systems Components

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree in cyber security is not required for most entry-level positions in Missouri, but it does offer certain advantages. As previously mentioned, potential employees often give preference to candidates with higher level degrees. These individuals are also likely to have more advancement opportunities and earn higher incomes, right away and in the future.

Admissions requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a related field
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Minimum GRE scores
  • Passing grades in any necessary prerequisite courses
  • Personal statement / Statement of purpose
  • Professional work experience

Both on-campus and online degree programs are available, and most consist of approximately 60 credit hours of coursework. Full-time students generally complete graduation requirements in two years but some bachelor-to-master degree programs can be completed faster.

Coursework varies depending on which concentration or specialty you choose, but can cover subjects such as:

  • E-Commerce Security
  • Information Security Management
  • Information Security Strategy and Policy
  • Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Analysis
  • Security Governance and Compliance

Certifications in Missouri

Many Missouri colleges and universities also offer on-campus and online certificate programs for individuals interested in cyber security. These generally require less time to complete than traditional degree programs, with some consisting of as few as 12 credit hours of coursework. Students can finish some certificate programs in less than a year.

Cyber security certificate programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In order to shorten the time to graduation, general education classes are excluded from the curriculum. This allows students to focus solely on the core subjects necessary for success in the field. Depending on the type, certificates can be used to enter the field, specialize in sub-field, or advance to another career level. These certificates usually require at least some previous cyber security experience.

Coursework varies, but can cover:

  • E-Commerce Security
  • Information Security Management
  • Information Security Strategy and Policy
  • Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Analysis
  • Security Governance and Compliance

Why is Accreditation Important?

It is very important to consider the accreditation status of colleges and universities before selecting a cyber security program. Accreditation impacts degree validity, credit transfer, financial aid availability, and employment. While not required, adhering to the regulations laid out by an accrediting agency does ensure the school meets important academic standards. Unaccredited institutions and programs may not be recognized by potential employers because there is no guarantee that the education provided adequately prepares graduates for success in the field.

The US Department of Education currently recognizes six regional accrediting agencies for high education institutions. This means that regionally accredited colleges or universities meet the general academic expectations and standards necessary to find work or transfer credits.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Security Agency (NSA) also jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program. Any regionally accredited institution is eligible to apply for designation as CAE in cyber defense, cyber operations, etc. which adds further credibility to the programs offered. The schools with this designation are regarded as top subject matter experts in the field.

CAE Accredited Programs in Missouri

  • Metropolitan Community College – Kansas City
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • Southeast Missouri State University
    CAE-CD / 2019-2024
  • St. Louis Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
  • University of Missouri – Columbia
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • University of Missouri – St. Louis
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • Webster University
    CAE-2019-2024

Computer Science & IT Bachelor’s & Master’s Programs in Missouri

  • Missouri University of Science and technology

    Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) was founded in 1870 as one of the first technological institutions in the region. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $9,440
    Out-of-State: $26,461
    Average Net Price: $13,994
    College Retention Rate: 83% (Full-time Students) – 75% (Part-time Students)

  • Washington University in St. Louis

    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university founded in 1853. It is among the world’s leaders in teaching, research, patient care, and service to society. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Technology Project Management – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $53,399
    Average Net Price: $27,931
    College Retention Rate: 97% (Full-time Students); 43% (Part-time Students)

  • Lindenwood University

    Lindenwood University is a private liberal arts university founded in 1827. It offers 131 degree programs to nearly 10,000 students a year. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education. It is also a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and a National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) approved institution.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Master’s Degree
    Data Analysis – Undergraduate Certificate
    Data Science – Undergraduate Certificate
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $17,600
    Average Net Price: $18,654
    College Retention Rate: 70% (Full-time Students); 13% (Part-time Students)

  • University of Central Missouri

    The University of Central Missouri is a public university founded in 1871. It offers 150 degree programs to over 11,000 students a year. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education. It has also earned the Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, and Cyber Security baccalaureate accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET for undergraduate-level programs.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $7,673
    Out-of-State: $14,442
    Average Net Price: $12,616
    College Retention Rate: 70% (Full-time Students); 46% (Part-time Students)

  • Park University

    Park University is a private university founded in 1875. Over 11,000 students attend the university. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Associate, Bachelor’s Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Data Modeling/Warehousing and Database Administration – Master’s Degree
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $11,572
    Average Net Price: $15,359
    College Retention Rate: 55% (Full-time Students); 30% (Part-time Students)

  • University of Missouri – Columbia

    The University of Missouri in Columbia is a public research university founded in 1839. It is Missouri’s largest university, enrolling nearly 30,000 students. The institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education. It has also earned Computer Science accreditation from ABET.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services – Master’s Degree
    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $9,972
    Out-of-State: $27,042
    Average Net Price: $17,833
    College Retention Rate: 87% (Full-time Students); 68% (Part-time Students)

Missouri Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

Missouri students can also enroll in associate degree programs related to computer science and cyber security. It is important to realize that this degree level may not qualify graduates for immediate, high-level employment, but it can lead to entry-level positions or educational opportunities in the future.

  • Metropolitan Community College – Kansas City

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $3,120
    In-State: $5,520
    Out-of-State: $7,140
    Average Net Price: $6,475
    College Retention Rate: 61% (Full-time Students); 36% (Part-time Students)

  • St. Louis Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $3,315
    In-State: $4,725
    Out-of-State: $6,465
    Average Net Price: $7,700
    College Retention Rate: 59% (Full-time Students); 37% (Part-time Students)

  • St. Charles Community College

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $2,664
    In-State: $3,888
    Out-of-State: $5,376
    Average Net Price: $3,668
    College Retention Rate: 65% (Full-time Students); 39% (Part-time Students)

Scholarships

  • Scholarship for Services (SFS) Program

    Amount: $20,000 per year for seniors continuing their Master’s / $32,000 per year for Master’s and PhD students
    Deadline: July 31
    Link: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=504991
    The Scholarship for Services (SFS) is funded by the National Services Foundation (NSF) to support students pursuing study in cyber security. Through the SFS program, the Missouri University of Science and Technology offers grants to students completing master and doctoral degrees in computer science. Full tuition fees are covered, as well as some professional development, health insurance, and textbooks.

  • Benson Electrical Engineering Scholarship

    Amount: Varies
    Deadline: February 1
    Link: https://mst.academicworks.com/opportunities/21430
    The Benson Electrical Engineering Scholarship is an Alumni Association Scholarship funded by the Missouri University of Science and Technology. The scholarship is awarded to a current undergraduate student who has declared his or her major in electrical engineering or computer engineering after admission to the academic department. No additional application is required and the award amount is based on the general scholarship application.

  • Information Technology and Cybersecurity Outstanding Student Award

    Amount: $500
    Deadline: Students do not apply, but are nominated
    Link: https://itc.missouristate.edu/scholarships-and-financial-aid.htm
    The Information Technology and Cybersecurity Outstanding Student Award is funded by the Missouri State University’s Information Technology and Cybersecurity Department. A single scholarship is awarded annually to a student selected by department faculty. It is nonrenewable.

  • Dr. Neil E. Swanson Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: $500 - $750
    Deadline: March 1
    Link: https://itc.missouristate.edu/scholarships-and-financial-aid.htm
    The Dr. Neil E. Swanson Memorial Scholarship is funded by Missouri State University. The scholarship is awarded to a full-time junior or senior majoring in Information Technology and Cyber Security. Applicants must have completed at least 18 credit hours or relevant coursework and have an overall GPA of 3.5. Involvement in campus, community, or professional activities is also required.

  • Information Technology and Cybersecurity Department Scholarship

    Amount: Varies depending on funding available
    Deadline: March 1
    Link: https://itc.missouristate.edu/scholarships-and-financial-aid.htm
    The Information Technology and Cybersecurity Department Scholarship is funded by Missouri State University. It is awarded annually to a full-time student seeking to major in Information Technology and Cyber Security. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0.

Conferences and Workshops

Missouri Digital Government Summit

The Missouri Digital Government Summit takes place yearly. The event promotes best practices and spurs innovation in the public sector. IT leaders work to create a relevant and actionable agenda for government attendees. Attendees will have access to inspirational keynotes, technology discussions, educational sessions, and lively networking breaks.

SecureWorld St. Louis

SecureWorld visits St. Louis yearly to provide an affordable, high-quality training and education opportunity for individuals interested in the cyber security industry. Attendees have access to featured keynotes, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. Professionals can also earn 12-16 CPE credits through various educational elements.

STL Cybersecurity Conference and Career Expo

The STL Cybersecurity Conference and Career Expo brings cyber security students, researchers, practitioners, and job seekers in the St. Louis region together. It features presentations, panel discussions, and keynotes by distinguished speakers. The career expo is attended by major employers seeking new professionals.

Missouri Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

Most professionals in computer-related security occupations work as information security analysts, computer system analysts, computer programmers, database administrators, or network and computer systems administrators. In 2018, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported there were 31,440 of these positions in Missouri, with the highest employment levels in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, and Jefferson. Because these professionals plan and carry out security measures that protect computer systems, demand for their expertise is high. Employment in this field is projected to grow 5-32% from 2018 to 2028. This is much faster than the average for all other occupations. Information security analysts are expected to experience the best job outlook.

The earning potential for cyber security professionals is decent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for information security analysts in Missouri was $91,210 in 2018. Even computer programmers, the lowest paying of these positions, reported a median annual wage of $76,530 in 2018. This is significantly higher than the median annual wage of $37,690 as reported for all occupations in the United States.

It is worth noting that salaries will vary significantly depending on the position and your years of experience in it. For example, computer programmers in the bottom 10% of the profession’s pay scale make less than $48,790, whereas those in the top 10% of the information security analyst pay scale make more than $156,580.

Resources

  • OWASP St. Louis, Missouri
    The St. Louis chapter of the OWASP Foundation is a professional, non-profit association of global members. It is open to anyone who is interested in software security. They meet regularly and often host sponsored speakers.
  • St. Louis 2600 + DC314
    The St. Louis 2600 is a monthly meeting dedicated to hacking. This open forum setting is open to anyone, regardless of age and expertise. Attendees will enjoy a presentation on a relevant topic, followed by a discussion.
  • STL Cyber Meetup
    The STL Cyber Meetup is a regular gathering of cyber talent in the St. Louis region. Meetings feature an industry/enterprise expert speaker, demonstrations of innovative technologies, panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities.
  • STLSec
    STLSec is an information gathering of like-minded security professionals in the St. Louis area. Attendees have the opportunity to discuss topics of interest in a non-work, non-vendor setting. Meetings are held monthly.
Leaders in Cyber Security Education: Find Your Career Today

Get started today on your path to advance your career!