According to the FBI’s most recent data, Pennsylvania has been ranked as the 13th worst state for cyber-crime activity. With more tech companies and corporations looking to move to Pennsylvania due to the many business advantages, they will be in desperate need of well-educated cyber security and information assurance professionals. Pennsylvania has many Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) programs and additional outstanding cyber security programs for all. You can find advanced degrees and cyber security certificates at both four-year institutions and two-year community colleges, as well as technical and vocational colleges. These jobs typically pay between $80,000 and $100,000 and given the fact the cyber security industry will create roughly 3.5 million jobs in the coming years, this profession is far more stable than most. If you want a stable career for the foreseeable future that pays exceptionally well, cyber security might be right for you.
Why an Advanced Degree in Pennsylvania is Needed
You will most likely require an advanced degree to become a competitive and effective cyber security professional. For some careers, an advanced degree is simply an expensive piece of paper that sets you apart from other candidates. In cyber security, it is becoming essential. Cyber security professionals understand the inner workings of networks, hardware, software, devices, and essentially everything technical; whereas, the individuals who manage these professionals, along with the C-suite and executive-level team, are likely unaware of the intricacies of this profession. As a result, you must have degrees and certificates to prove that you know exactly what you are doing, as there is really no other way for non-cyber security professionals to know your value or your capabilities. Employers seek out candidates with degrees from regionally accredited higher learning institutions, as well as specifically accredited programs. In cyber security, your program can be endorsed as a CAE or by ABET. If you wish to seek out managerial roles, it is essential to complete a master’s degree and graduate certificates in cyber security or a related field. Both degrees and certificates can be completed online or in a classroom.
Pennsylvania Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements
An associate degree can have you working in cyber security in two years rather than having to go to school for four years. Keep in mind that you will want to complete your four-year degree while you work if you want to be as successful as possible in the field; however, an associate degree will provide you with access to support positions to begin gaining invaluable work experience. An associate degree in cyber security is also ideal for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another field. Whether you are changing careers or just want to start working sooner rather than later, an associate degree in cyber security is an advantageous building block in your career path. You can expect many introductory programs to cyber security in coursework, such as Introduction to Information Security or Introduction to Malware.
A bachelor’s degree is a critical component of your job-seeking arsenal. Most employers require a bachelor’s degree for even entry-level cyber security positions. This level of degree covers a broader array of topics at a more in-depth level than an associate degree. And the most progressive colleges and universities are offering dual majors and dual degree programs that complement one another so that you reduce the amount of time and money you have to spend on the education you need to be the best cyber security professional possible. You will have to meet a minimum GPA to enter a four-year college or university. Some of the top schools in Pennsylvania have far more stringent requirements than others, such as Carnegie Mellon with an average of a 3.76 GPA for incoming freshmen. This is not the requirement but it is the standard.
A master’s degree in cyber security leads to pay increases, better job opportunities, and the opportunity to become an industry leader in your field. The type of courses you complete will vary based on the specialized program you pursue such as Applied Information Assurance, Cyber Defense, Malware Analytics, Legal and Regulatory Environment of Information Science and Technology, and Information Security Management. These degrees will provide you with the ability to apply for decision-making positions and leadership roles. If you wish to become a director or executive of any sort or if you wish to pursue top jobs with top employers, you will require a master’s degree. This type of degree will also advance your career 10 years faster than if you did not have one.
Certifications in Pennsylvania
Certifications are booming in popularity at all levels. They are a much faster way to gain credibility and education in a specialized area of cyber security at a fraction of the cost of an entire degree. You can complete them at an associate, bachelor’s degree, graduate degree, or a professional certificate level. Each has its own parameters of value. Much like a master’s degree, the type of classes you take with vary greatly based on the specialization, such as Introduction to Computing Systems or Operating System Design and Implementation. A cyber security certificate is another great way for individuals who already have a four-year degree to shift professions. This will allow you to enter the field far more quickly.
Why is Accreditation Important?
You should definitely care about the accreditation of your college or university and the cyber security program you wish to complete. Whether or not your program is accredited and the type of accreditation they might have will determine the level of education you will receive. You want to complete a degree or a certificate from a regionally accredited college or university as they are held to the highest standards in educational requirements. Once you graduate, this tells employers that your education was better than another candidate who graduated from a nationally accredited college or university. In some fields, you can fake it until you make it. In cyber security, if you do not know what you are doing, you could ruin companies and livelihoods. Before you decide on a college or university, look at the Centers of Academic Excellence programs for cyber security. These are the programs that are approved and endorsed by the NSA and Homeland Security. A degree from these programs will catapult you to the top of any job application list once you graduate.
CAE Accredited Programs in Pennsylvania
- Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
CAE-CD / 2016-2021
- Carnegie Mellon University
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
CAE-R / 2014-2021
- Drexel University
CAE-CD / 2017-2022
- East Stroudsburg University
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania
CAE-CD / 2016-2021
- Lehigh Carbon Community College
CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
- Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
- Pennsylvania State University
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
- University of Pittsburgh
CAE-CD / 2014-2021
CAE-R / 2014-2021
- Valley Forge Military College
CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
- West Chester University of Pennsylvania
CAE-CD / 2014-2020
Computer Science or IT Programs in Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University has many cyber security degrees and certificate offerings. The programs are centered around networks, software, risk assessment, management, infrastructure, business, policies, design, and more. Here, you will receive an exceptionally well-rounded cyber security education along with research training. You will find specific cyber security and information assurance-related degrees at the master’s degree and PhD levels.
Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Computer Programming - Bachelor’s Degree
Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Information Technology – Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Cyber Forensics and Incident Response - Graduate Certificate
Cyber Ops - Graduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $30,847
College Retention Rate: 97%
Drexel University offers certificate, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorates in computer science and other cyber security related fields. You will learn about infrastructure so that you can protect networks and devices at the same time. You will gain hands-on experience to acquire practical, real-world know-how rather than simply theory. They also offer accelerated degree programs so that program participants are able to complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree within five years.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees, Undergraduate & Postgraduate Certificates
Computer Science - Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Informatics - Bachelor’s Degree
Information Science/Studies - Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $36,727
College Retention Rate: 89% (Full-time Students); 67% (Part-time Students)
University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Campus
The University of Pittsburgh does not offer degrees in cyber security, but instead offer degrees in information science and information technology project management. The programs focus on protecting networks and systems, as well as information in commercial environments. They also focus on critical components often overlooked at other programs including ethics, privacy, and the human factor.
Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
Computer Science - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
Information Science/Studies - Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate
Information Technology Project Management - Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees
Average Net Price: $24,040
College Retention Rate: 93% (Full-time Students); 43% (Part-time Students)
Pennsylvania State University – Main Campus
Penn State offers programs and degrees in cyber security at both the bachelor’s degree and undergraduate certificate level. The courses provide advanced training in cyber-attack prevention along with a solid background in computer programming and mathematics so that graduates are prepared for any cyber-crime scenario once they enter the real world and graduates will be able to complete cyber-attack assessments to determine the source of the attack with great confidence and accuracy.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s Degree & Undergraduate Certificate
Computer Science - Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
Information Science/Studies - Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Undergraduate Certificate
Information Technology – Undergraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $25,151
College Retention Rate: 93% (Full-time Students); 68% (Part-time Students)
Temple University prepares graduates of their cyber security programs to protect information and systems from attacks while remaining within the law and following regulations as established by the government, the state, and the company. Program participants will have hands-on experience, be able to assess damage, and learn to create safeguards and strategies for the most effective cyber defense based on the business and industry.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree, Undergraduate & Graduate Certificates
Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees, Undergraduate & Postgraduate Certificates
Computer Programming/Programmer - Undergraduate Certificate
Information Technology - Bachelor’s Master’s, Doctorate Degrees, Undergraduate & Postgraduate Certificate
Average Net Price: $23,192
College Retention Rate: 89% (Full-time Students); 67% (Part-time Students)
Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University provides an in-demand cyber security and information assurance program for individuals who wish to work for top employers. These graduates will be fully prepared to deter threats and protect vulnerabilities through their education and training. Program participants will also learn about compliance and standards. Some courses might include Microcomputing Technology, IT Governance, and Network Technology and Management.
Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s, Master’s Degrees & Undergraduate Certificate
Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst - Bachelor’s & Master’s Degrees
Information Science/Studies - Bachelor’s & Doctorate Degrees
Information Technology Project Management - Master’s Degree
Average Net Price: $25,690
College Retention Rate: 81% (Full-time Students); 33% (Part-time Students)
Pennsylvania Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees
The following community colleges offer an associate degree, certificate, or both in a cyber security-related field, such as computer science or information sciences. The certificate programs are ideal for learning about a specialized area of computing and information for those who require continued education or who wish to start a career in cyber security. The certificates could last between one and two years. An associate degree traditionally takes two years. You will require at least a high school diploma or a GED to qualify for these higher learning opportunities. Keep in mind that if you wish to continue your education at a four-year college or university, be sure to select a program that has a pathway or a transfer program so that you don’t have to retake courses once you begin your bachelor’s degree.
Montgomery County Community College
Average Net Price: $8,525
College Retention Rate: 62% (Full-time Students); 46% (Part-time Students)
Butler County Community College
Average Net Price: $3,938
College Retention Rate: 60% (Full-time Students); 44% (Part-time Students)
Lehigh Carbon Community College
Average Net Price: $5,700
College Retention Rate: 59% (Full-time Students); 48% (Part-time Students)
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
Average Net Price: $4,754
College Retention Rate: 55% (Full-time Students); 40% (Part-time Students)
Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP)
Deadline: February 14
The Cyber Scholarship Program (CySP) is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a tool used to recruit cyber security graduates with tremendous potential. You will receive a variety of benefits including full tuition coverage, an annual spending stipend of up to $30,000, a laptop, books, and more. If you accept this scholarship, you will have to work for the DoD for one year for each year you receive the scholarship.
CyberCorps Scholarship for Service
Deadline: July 31
You must be enrolled in a Center of Academic Excellence cyber security program to qualify for this scholarship. It can be a CAE program of any kind including defense, operations, or research. You will be required to work for a government entity upon graduation for the length of time that you receive the scholarship. Scholarship winners will have everything paid for, from tuition to a spending allowance of roughly $25,000 each year.
Center for Cyber Safety and Education Scholarship - Graduate
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education Scholarship for graduate students requires that applicants be pursuing a degree at the graduate level in information assurance or cyber security. You must attend the program at least part-time, have a minimum of a 3.3 GPA, and be a first or second-year master’s degree student or a PhD student.
Center for Cyber Safety and Education Scholarship - Undergraduate
Deadline: March 1
The Center for Cyber Safety and Education Scholarship for undergraduates must be high school seniors or freshmen, sophomores or juniors in undergrad in pursuit of a cyber security education or a related field of study. You must have a 3.3 GPA and attend a program at least part-time. You can be a citizen of any country, attend any college or university worldwide, and study online or in the classroom.
Center for Cyber Safety and Education Scholarship - Women
Amount: Up to $40,000
Those in pursuit of the Center for Cyber Safety and Education Scholarship for women can be either an undergraduate or graduate. Either way, you must be in pursuit of a degree in cyber security, information assurance or a related field. You must have at least a 3.3 GPA and attend a program part-time or full-time. You can live anywhere and be a citizen of any country. And you can choose an online program or a program that requires classroom attendance.
Conferences and Workshops
Public Safety Cybersecurity Leadership Summit: Southeast Pennsylvania
The Public Safety Cybersecurity Leadership Summit in Southeast Pennsylvania is dedicated to discussing the current threats facing public safety networks. The roundtable also discusses solutions and shares tips regarding ways to manage your business if an attack does occur. This summit is held in each region of Pennsylvania and the event is invite only. The event is hosted by Mission Critical Partners and Delaware County Emergency Services.
Cybersecurity for Small Business Conference
The Cybersecurity for Small Business Conference is hosted by Penn State Hazleton Department of Continuing Education. It lasts one morning to discuss cyber security entrepreneurship and teach small businesses about possible cyber-attacks. Participants will also learn ways to prevent becoming victims of cyberattacks.
Philadelphia CISO Inner Circle
The Philadelphia CISO Inner Circle is dedicated to senior security executives and CISOs only. This cyber security event is designed to provide a collaborative forum to discuss current issues and solutions centered around cyber security. Participants will be seated at small tables for roundtable discussions over dinner. This is an invitation-only event.
Symposium on Electronic Crime Research by APWG (Anti-Phishing Working Group)
The Symposium on Electronic Crime Research by APWG focuses on E-Crime and the ways it is directly impacting business. This cyber security event will also discuss effective methodologies in cyber-crime prevention and offer resources and recommend best practices for forensic professionals and first responders.
Pennsylvania Cyber Security Jobs and Salary
- Information Security Analysts
Information security analysts currently hold roughly 2,960 jobs in Pennsylvania with a median salary of $97,620. As an Information Security Analyst, you will manage all software installations, analyze existing security practices, and make improvements to the existing system and network.
- Computer Systems Analysts
These professionals currently hold around 21,910 jobs in Pennsylvania with a median salary of $95,990. As a computer systems analyst, you will be required to carefully examine the existing design and process of computer systems. You will also offer effective and efficient solutions to make improvements. You must understand both IT and business.
- Computer Programmers
Computer programmers currently hold around 8,990 jobs in Pennsylvania with a median salary of $85,800. As a computer programmer, you must be able to write in several programming languages, as well as possess the ability to test and repair existing code.
- Database Administrators
The supervisory professionals currently hold roughly 5,390 jobs in Pennsylvania with a median salary of $84,510. As a database administrator, you will be responsible for ensuring the databases are work together properly, as well as creating new databases, merging databases, and eliminating ineffective or outdated databases.
- Network and Computer Systems Administrators
Network and computer systems administrators currently hold roughly 12,760 jobs in Pennsylvania with a median salary of $77,700. As an administrator, you will largely be responsible for the daily operations of various networks and computer systems.
- Software Developers
Software developers currently hold around 8,810 jobs in Pennsylvania with a median salary of $103,520. As a software developer, you will be required to create new applications by taking into consideration the needs of the end user, parameter limitations, budget constraints, and deadlines.
- Small Business Development Centers - Pennsylvania
The Small Business Development Centers in Pennsylvania are a tremendous resource for cyber security training for all small businesses. You can complete training courses, self-evaluate the state of your existing cyber security, and examine many other resources for all your cyber security needs.
- Pennsylvania Governor's Office of Homeland Security
The Pennsylvania Governor's Office of Homeland Security offers invaluable resources for both individuals and professionals to examine and implement additional cyber security. Some tips are dedicated to one’s home; whereas, other tips are for small businesses.
- Institute for Cyber Security at Indiana University of Pennsylvania
The Institute for Cyber Security at Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers an annual Cybersecurity Day available to everyone. All activities are dedicated to preventing cyber-crime. If you are a student taking cyber security courses, you can receive a certificate if you attend and participate. The Institute also offers additional resources to all throughout the year.