Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Rhode Island Guide

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

Cyber security degree programs exist at all levels. As cyber-crime happens more and more frequently, government agencies and private organizations don’t have enough cyber security professionals to combat the surge. Community colleges in Rhode Island have begun to improve and expand their computer science and IT programs in response to this need. In early 2017, the Rhode Island Cyber Range Initiative was begun. This initiative is focused on giving students the opportunity to learn using hands-on methods, which is drawing students to the program. These students want to do more than read textbooks; they want to see what is happening and do something to stop the criminal processes behind the scenes.

Why an Advanced Degree in Rhode Island is Needed

Beyond being a popular topic of conversation, cyber security has become a high-demand degree program in Rhode Island. One Rhode Island university expanded its offerings of cyber security degrees to include a master’s in cyber security. This is no shock if you consider how competitive the field has become throughout the nation. An increase in competition means that students will do better upon entering the field if they come to the table with a higher-level degree. An associate degree will get your foot in the door, but a bachelor’s or master’s will assure you a solid position with good pay and even benefits.

The University of Rhode Island has been identified as a National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance/Cyber Defense. Professionals and students flock to the graduate certificate programs at the university. They also attend the annual symposium and Honors Colloquium at the Kingston campus, for the ability to listen to top cyber security leaders from within the US Department of Defense, the FBI, Congress, the media, and tech-focused businesses such as Google, Fidelity, and IBM.

Rhode Island Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

Associate’s Degree

Community college are beginning to take their technological degree programs more seriously. Instead of only providing the occasional certificate, many have begun offering full associate degrees in a variety of computer science and cyber security related fields. Entry to these programs is usually relatively easy, requiring only your high school transcripts or proof you have earned a GED. Some might require a certain level of GPA, but many continue to keep their GPA requirements low.

Example Courses

  • Introductory Cyber Range Tools and Techniques
  • Defending Internal Threats Using the Cyber Range

Bachelor’s Degree

Students who plan to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program must meet several admission requirements. They’ll need to show proof of graduation from high school or proof of a GED, just as with associate degree programs. If they have an associate degree, from a school with regional accreditation, their application will be considered once they provide those transcripts. Many universities still require SAT or ACT scores to gain admittance, and this is no different in Rhode Island. If you look around, you’ll find many bachelor’s programs are available completely online. This can help you earn your degree even if you are working or have other obligations on your time.

Example Course

  • Introduction to Information Assurance
  • Introduction to Network and Systems Security
  • Professional Skills for Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security Internship

Master’s Degree

Each school and even different departments within a university have their own admission requirements. Generally these admission guidelines require that you hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution with a regional accreditation, an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher in your chosen field (though this may not always be required, especially if you have work experience), and GRE or GMAT test scores.

Example Courses

  • Introduction to Information Assurance
  • Introduction to Network and Systems Security
  • Professional Skills for Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security Internship

Certifications in Rhode Island

Cyber security certificate programs exist at every degree level, from associate degree to doctorate. Universities are aware that demand for cyber security experts is only growing higher, and certificates provide a way for professionals to increase their expertise in the field and to shift from one discipline to another within cyber security.

Example Courses

  • Cyber Security Essentials
  • Auditing of Network, Security, and Technology
  • Cyber Intelligence and Cyber Security

Why is Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is vital for all school programs. It tells you, other schools, the Department of Education, and your future employers that the classes, degrees, and certificates earned from these institutions are of the highest academic standards. If you attend an accredited institution, it will mean that the computer or cyber security department in your university has been through a rigorous evaluation process, carried out by an outside, regional examination committee that looks through the departments educational material in close detail.

In Rhode Island, the regional accrediting body is The New England Association of Schools and Colleges. They have been approved by the Department of Education to oversee regional accreditation in the area and are the most trusted source of accreditation here. Another form of accreditation you should keep your eyes open for is National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). This designation is provided to individual cyber security programs by the NSA, who judges them on their up-to-date techniques and technology. It is the gold standard of accreditation for cyber security programs but is not necessary to get into the field.

CAE Accredited Programs in Rhode Island

  • Community College of Rhode Island
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • University of Rhode Island
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021

Computer Science & IT Bachelor’s & Master’s Programs in Rhode Island

  • Johnson & Wales University - Providence

    The strength of cyber security lies in fully secured systems and networks as well as fast response times when hacking techniques improve past what your firewalls can withstand. Graduating from this university, you’ll be able to join one of the fastest growing professions in the US. Your instruction teaches you how to combine security solutions as you and your co-workers work to stay ahead of the attempts of cyber-thieves.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
    Computer Programming/Programmer - Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees
    Information Science/Studies - Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $32,441
    Average Net Price: $28,089
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 71%; Part-time Students: 30%

  • Brown University

    “Strategy is the best security.” This is the mindset of the faculty at Brown University. This executive master program is academically rigorous, providing you with the concepts you need so you’ll be ready to respond to cyber crises and stop them before they happen.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $55,466
    Average Net Price: $27,238
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 98%

  • University of Rhode Island

    This university’s cyber security program is ranked highly for its comprehensiveness. If you are attending this school, you’ll be able to choose from one of several degree and certificate offerings. You’ll be able to major in an online certificate program in cyber security, a graduate certificate program in the same program, or a master’s degree in cyber security. All are available online.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $14,138
    Out-of-State: $30,862
    Average Net Price: $19,731
    College Retention Rate: Full-time Students: 83%; Part-time Students; 13%

  • Roger Williams University

    A cyber forensics and counterterrorism program is housed within the School of Justice Studies. Students who graduate from this program refit from the advanced offerings the university provides; upcoming generations of students will easily adjust to the high level of demands in their jobs. Your instructors explain how you can solve new threats, such as cyber-attacks, hacking, and internal threats. They also offer several other computer-related paths through their computer science department.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Computer Science – Bachelor’s Degree
    Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $34,522
    Average Net Price: $37,138
    College Retention Rate: 81%

  • New England Institute of Technology

    The faculty at this university bring the best cyber security practices to bear when teaching you and your fellow students. You’ll also learn the processes required to ensure networked systems and computers are fully secured. Your courses will include Windows and Linux security, incident response, computer systems, handling evolving threats, mobile and network forensics, and how to properly use certain security tools.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Bachelor’s Degree
    Computer Programming/Programmer – Associate & Bachelor’s Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $29,856
    Average Net Price: $30,624

Scholarships

  • Centennial University - Merit Scholarship and Transfer Merit Scholarship

    Amount: Varies
    Deadline: December 1
    Link: https://web.uri.edu/enrollment/centennial-university-scholarship-transfer-merit-award/
    Each general scholarship requires you to hold a 2.8 GPA, which is checked in May, after the academic year ends. To continue receiving these scholarships, you must maintain this scholarship throughout. You must also maintain your full-time enrollment of 12 credit hours each semester or you may lose your scholarship.

  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program

    Amount: (Average: $12,785) Covers difference between financial aid, and full tuition, housing, and books.
    Deadline: Not listed
    Link: https://gmsp.org/
    This scholarship program is aimed at minority students – specifically Asian Pacific Islander American, African-Americans, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic. The Gates Millennial Foundation feels a responsibility to assist minority students who have individual talents and have been serially overlooked for financial aid.

  • Harry S. Truman Scholarship

    Amount: Up to $30,000
    Deadline: February 1
    Link: https://www.truman.gov/
    This scholarship was created by the U.S. Congress in 1975. The foundation itself was Truman’s idea. He hoped to create a “living memorial” to help provide financial support to students who wanted to have a career in public service or in government. Truman’s hope in establishing this scholarship was that future students would work to earn their degrees and then go into public service.

  • Coca-Cola Scholars Scholarships

    Amount: $4,000 - $20,000
    Deadline: October 31
    Link: https://www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/
    This scholarship has become a major competition as more than 250 scholarship awards are provided to competing scholars. These students’ academic and leadership qualities, as well as their talent, are what the review committee is looking for.

  • Jackie Robinson Fund

    Amount: Up to $6,000 yearly
    Deadline: February 1
    Link: https://www.jackierobinson.org/apply/
    This scholarship comes from the Foundation created by Jackie Robinson, for minority youth. He created this fund so that students who aspire to a higher education would be able to receive the financial support they need to attend the four-year accredited institution they have chosen.

Conferences and Workshops

Opal Group’s Cybersecurity Summit

Attendees meet and mingle with well-known and respected cyber security professionals who have come from the US and other countries to work on new solutions and tools that help cyber security professionals know how to protect their employers’ businesses from cyber-attacks. The summit contains round-table discussions and panels. Attendees and speakers meet with each other to socialize, engage, and share ideas.

Layer 8 Conference

This event takes Social Engineering and makes it the conference’s entire focus. You’ll take part in activities that help you learn more of what you want to learn—mental health hacking, lock picking, or learning about the OSINT village. Attendees and speakers also have the chance to relax with massages.

Digital Forensic Research Workshop

This annual conference combines the skills and knowledge of many organizations: military, researchers, academics, professionals, law enforcement, and industries. The goals of this conference is to create clear lines of communication and to present new and current challenges in the science of digital forensics. Now, DFRWS also runs technical working groups and annual challenges.

Rhode Island Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

Rhode Island is geographically small, so the number of state residents and available jobs is also small. Keeping this in mind, the state houses 350 cyber security professionals, who are currently employed in this field. However, size doesn’t affect the annual salary of cyber security professionals; on average, their earnings are $109,580, which is higher than the annual salary paid to cyber security professionals in many other states.

Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training Labor Market page shows that there were 1,206 computer network support specialists in 2016; in 2026, this is expected to increase to 1,326, adding 120 new employees within the state. There were 1,173 computer and information systems managers 2016 and, in 2026, this is expected to increase to 1,304, a jump of 131.

Resources

Rhode Island Cyber Range Initiative

Governor Raimondo, in a combined effort with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, joined in a partnership with the Community College of Those Island, The Rhode Island National Guard, the Rhode Island State Police, and the Southeastern New England Defense Industry Alliance in creating the Rhode Island Cyber Range Initiative. The Cyber Range gives students opportunities for hands-on learning and offers a virtual platform to model cyber security simulation and job training for future cyber security professionals.

Rhode Island Corporate Cybersecurity Initiative (RICCI)

This is part of the Pell Center Cyber Leadership Project, allowing cyber security leaders to offer thought leadership, deep research, and new policy recommendations. As the cyber security field grows, RICCI is intended to help senior business leaders to lead change, protecting the state’s businesses and crucial industries.

NIST Cybersecurity Framework Certification Bootcamp

This event is offered by itSM Solutions LLC and UMass Lowell, to offer training to cyber security professionals. The bootcamp is available to network engineering operations and business teams to make operational the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Program controls. Participating organizations’ employees gain skills, abilities, and knowledge as they work to increase cyber security protections.

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