Cybersecurity Degrees and Careers Texas Guide

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

We live in a digital world, and no one is free from hacking and those otherwise seeking to harm the systems we depend on. The demand for cyber security experts far exceeds the current supply, so these are jobs in great demand. Texas boasts some of the top colleges and universities for cyber security in the country. No matter where you live in this huge state, it is possible to find a school offering cyber security classes and degrees from community colleges to the top universities. Of course, you can live anywhere and benefit from obtaining a degree online. Cyber security jobs are also portable, as there is a shortage of such professionals globally.

Why an Advanced Degree in Texas is Needed

Gaining a good job in the cyber security field requires an advanced degree. Obtaining an associate degree can get your foot in the door in the tech field, but moving up the IT hierarchy requires extensive education, including ongoing continuing education as the field evolves so rapidly. There are many accredited institutions of higher learning in Texas that can help cyber security employees at every step on their career ladder. The good news is that many employers will reimburse employees for tuition, especially those seeking specialized master’s degrees that will aid the company moving forward. Certifications offered by schools help cyber security workers stay at the top of their game. Of course, with more education comes the opportunity to earn more money, and cyber security salaries are already generous.

Texas Cyber Security Education Degrees & Requirements

When it comes to pursuing a cyber security degree, students have a variety of options. These include attending classes in-person, online, or in a combination of the two. The student’s personal situation can help him or her decide the best way to attend school. For example, students with small children or those who are working full-time may opt for online coursework, so they can take classes on their own schedule.

Associate’s Degree

When attending school full-time, cyber security associate degree may be completed within two years. This degree presents the graduate with the skills necessary for an entry-level job in the field. Requirements include a high school diploma or GED. Those considering an associate degree should have achieved good grades in their high school science and math courses. Core courses may include algebra, as well as specific classes relating to computers such as introductions to Linux and Unix operating systems and security concepts.

Bachelor’s Degree

It’s possible to complete a bachelor’s degree in as little as three years if the student goes to school each summer, but most full-time students take four years to finish. Admissions requirements mirror those of the associate degree, though bachelor’s programs may require a higher GPA and/or a minimum SAT/ACT score. The core courses might include information technology, networking, computer ethics, cyber defense, and digital forensics.

Master’s Degree

Because most people pursuing a cyber security master’s degree are already employed in a related field, the majority choose to take classes online. You can expect to earn the degree in 18 to 24 months. Eligibility usually includes having already earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology or a related degree, strong familiarity with programming, and a minimum 3.0 GPA. However, candidates with a bachelor’s degree in a similar field with strong work experience in tech fields may prove eligible at some universities. Schools often require the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) results for consideration. Core courses vary based on the student’s specific track.

Certifications in Texas

Whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, most certifications are completed within one year. Certifications are mostly focused on those currently working in the cyber security realm. Advanced certifications often require a prior certification, degree, and/or several years employment in the cyber security industry. Such certifications include Certified Cloud Security Professional, Ethical Cyber Hacker, Certified Information Security Manager, and Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator, among others. For those just entering the field, there are certifications designed for newbies and requirements depend upon the particular certification sought.

Accreditation

Do not consider attending a school that is unaccredited. A college or university’s accreditation status is vital, because it means the institution has met at least the minimum standard necessary. It is also not possible to receive financial aid from the federal or state government, as well as many scholarships, if the school has no accreditation. Few employers will hire someone graduating from an unaccredited school. In Texas, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges are responsible for regional accreditation.

As far as cyber security is concerned, the best schools receive National Centers in Academic Excellence (CAE) designation by the National Security Agency (NSA). Such colleges and universities meet the highest academic and program standards in cyber security in order to become CAEs.

CAE Accredited Programs in Texas

  • El Paso Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • Hill College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Houston Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
  • Laredo College
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • McLennan Community College
    CAE-2Y / 2019-2024
  • Our Lady of the Lake University
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022
  • San Antonio College
    CAE-2Y / 2014-2020
  • South Texas College
    CAE-2Y / 2017-2022
  • Southern Methodist University
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • St. Phillip’s College
    CAE-2Y / 2014-2020
  • Texas A&M University
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
    CAE-R / 2016-2021
  • Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
    CAE-CD / 2016-2021
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022
  • Texas State Technical College in Harlingen
    CAE-2Y / 2018-2023
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • University of Dallas
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
  • University of Houston
    CAE-CD / 2014-2020
    CAE-R / 2014-2020
  • University of North Texas
    CAE-CD / 2017-2022
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • University of Texas at Austin
    CAE-R / 2019-2024
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021
  • University of Texas at Dallas
    CAE-CD / 2014-2021
    CAE-R / 2014-2021
    CAE-CO / 2015-2020
  • University of Texas at El Paso
    CAE-CD / 2014-2020
    CAE-CO / 2016-2021

Computer Science or IT Programs in Texas

  • University of Houston

    Those looking to study in a large city with all of its amenities and cultural opportunities should consider the University of Houston. There is a student population of approximately 46,000, of whom 38,000 are undergraduates, and a student-to-faculty ratio of 22 to 1. In 2018, the school awarded 26 Master’s degrees in Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences - Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctorate Degrees
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance - Master’s Degree
    Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst - Bachelor’s Degree
    Information Science/Studies - Bachelor’s Degree
    Information Technology Project Management - Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $8,913
    Out-of-State: $21,273
    Average Net Price: $16,002
    College Retention Rate: 85%, Full-time Students; 66%, Part-time Students

  • University of North Texas

    Located in Denton, this public university has a student population of approximately 38,000 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 25 to 1. In 2018, UNT awarded 187 bachelor’s degrees, 235 master’s degrees and 16 doctoral degrees in the computer and information science fields, as well as 43 postgraduation certificates.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Science/Studies – Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $10,852
    Out-of-State: $20,812
    Average Net Price: $12,600
    College Retention Rate: 78%, Full-time Students; 57%, Part-time Students

  • The University of Texas at Austin

    This large public university boasts an overall student population of approximately 52,000, of whom about 41,000 are undergraduates. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18 to 1. In 2018, the UTA awarded 423 bachelors’ degrees in the computer sciences, 143 masters’ degrees, 24 doctoral degrees, and 149 certificates.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences– Bachelors, Master’s , Doctorate Degrees & Undergraduate Certificate
    Computer and Information Systems Security/Information Assurance – Master’s Degree
    Information Science/Studies – Master’s & Doctorate Degrees

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $10,610
    Out-of-State: $37,580
    Average Net Price: $14,156
    College Retention Rate: 95%, Full-time Students; 89%, Part-time Students

  • The University of Texas at Dallas

    Although located in Dallas, UTD is more of a midsize than large university, with a student population of roughly 29,000, of whom 20,000 are undergraduates. The student-to-faculty ratio is 25 to 1. In 2018, the university awarded 463 bachelor’s degrees in the computer sciences, an impressive 1,047 master’s degrees, 18 doctoral degrees and 159 certificates.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer and Information Sciences – Bachelors, Master’s , Doctorate Degrees & Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Science/Studies – Master’s Degree & Postgraduate Certificate
    Information Technology – Bachelor’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $13,034
    Out-of-State: $36,876
    Average Net Price: $9,989
    College Retention Rate: 88%, Full-time Students; 73%, Part-time Students

  • Southern Methodist University

    This private, not for profit school located in Dallas has a student population of approximately 11,500, of whom 6,500 are undergraduates. The student-to-faculty ratio is 11 to 1. In 2018, SMU awarded 46 bachelor’s degrees, 168 masters’ degrees and three doctoral degrees in the computer science field.

    Programs Offered:

    Computer Science – Bachelors, Masters & Doctorate Degrees
    Computer Systems Analysis/Analyst – Master’s Degree
    Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management – Master’s Degree
    Information Science/Studies – Master’s Degree

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $54,492
    Average Net Price: $38,562
    College Retention Rate: 91%, Full-time Students; 100%, Part-time Students

  • The University of Texas at San Antonio

    About 32,000 students are enrolled at UTSA, of whom 28,000 are undergraduates. The student to faculty ratio is 25 to 1. In 2018, the university awarded 265 bachelor’s degrees, 62 masters’ degrees, 10 doctoral degrees and two postgraduate certificates in the computer sciences.

    Programs Offered:

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

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $8,049
    Out-of-State: $19,538
    Average Net Price: $13,064
    College Retention Rate: 73%, Full-time Students, 55%, Part-time Students

Texas Colleges Offering Certificates and Associate Degrees

Community colleges offer good value for your money and many classes are available online. All of the following schools offer one-year and two-year certificates, as well as associate degrees in computer or information sciences. If desired, students can pursue a higher degree after graduation, and in many cases, employers may reimburse all or part of the tuition.

  • San Antonio College

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $2,820
    In-State: $6,300
    Out-of-State: $13,830
    Average Net Price: $4,918
    College Retention Rate: 58%, Full-time Students; 37%, Part-time Students

  • Texas State Technical College

    Tuition Cost

    In-State: $5,570
    Out-of-State: $10,080
    Average Net Price: $6,812
    College Retention Rate: 70%, Full-time Students; 48%, Part-time Students

  • Northwest Vista College

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $2,820
    In-State: $6,300
    Out-of-State: $13,830
    Average Net Price: $4,565
    College Retention Rate: 66%, Full-time Students; 51%, Part-time Students

  • Collin County Community College District

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $1,504
    In-State: $2,884
    Out-of-State: $4,864
    Average Net Price: $5,471
    College Retention Rate: 66%, Full-time Students; 52%, Part-time Students

  • St Philip’s College

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $2,820
    In-State: $6,300
    Out-of-State: $13,830
    Average Net Price: $4,745
    College Retention Rate: 56%, Full-time Students; 40%, Part-time Students

  • Central Texas College

    Tuition Cost

    In-District: $2,700
    In-State: $3,390
    Out-of-State: $7,050
    Average Net Price: $5,258
    College Retention Rate: 54%, Full-time Students; 35%, Part-time Students

Scholarships

  • CyberCorps: Scholarship for Service – Texas A&M University

    Amount: $22,500 undergraduate - $34,000 graduate
    Deadline: February 2
    Link: https://cybersecurity.tamu.edu/students-corner/available-scholarships/sfs-scholarship/
    In partnership with Houston Community College, Texas A&M offers the Scholarship for Service to students in their final year at HC who plan to pursue further education at Texas A&M. For the graduate scholarship, students must be in their junior or senior year at Texas A&M and plan to pursue a master’s degree there. Recipients must undertake summer internships in cyber security at a federal, state, or local government agency and after graduation, they must work in a position at a similar government agency or national laboratory for as many years as they received the award.

  • Cyber Security Scholarship – University of Texas at Dallas

    Amount: $22,500 undergraduate - $34,000 graduate
    Deadline: April 19
    Link: https://utdallas.edu/finaid/scholarships/scholarship-listing/109
    Only US citizens may apply for this scholarship. Students require enrollment or admission in the undergraduate fast track program or as a graduate student in the Computer Science Department when applying. A minimum GPA of 3.2 for undergraduates and 4.0 for graduate students is necessary for eligibility.

  • Infosec Scholarship for Service - University of Texas at Austin

    Amount: $24,000/Year
    Deadline: Spring
    Link: https://www.cs.utexas.edu/undergraduate/academics/scholarship-service
    Students already enrolled full-time in the UTA computer science program may apply for the Infosec Scholarship for Service (SFS). The scholarship is only available for undergraduates. Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above and must complete the cyber security concentration of coursework within two years of entering the SFS.

  • The George S. Sturgeon Cyber Security Scholarship for Women

    Amount: $1,500 - $3,000
    Deadline: December 31
    Link: https://udallas.edu/offices/finaid/grad-fa/cybersecurity_sch_women.php
    Women pursuing a Master of Science in Cyber Security and MBA students with a second year cyber concentration may apply for this scholarship at the University of Dallas. Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 GPA. The application requires a video or in-person essay and recipients may use the funds for tuition, books or fees.

  • Texas National Security Network Fellowships

    Amount: Minimum $3,000
    Deadline: N/A
    Link: http://www.archercenter.org/texas-national-security-network-fellowship.html
    Archer Fellows are competitively selected from applicants throughout the University of Texas system to participate in the graduate program in public policy at the Archer Center in Washington, D.C. The goal of these fellowship is creating the top university system in the nation for network security. Both undergraduate and graduate students may apply for this internship.

Conferences and Workshops

Cyber Texas

Held each August in San Antonio by the Cyber Texas Foundation, this conference also features a vendor hall with the latest cyber tech products. Visitors come from around the world to share information and analysis and learn from experts in the field.

InfoSec Southwest

Early May in Austin means it is time for the annual InfoSec Southwest information security and hacking conference. Designed and hosted by the Austin hacker community, InfoSec covers a broad range of subjects, from hacker culture and legal issues to cutting edge tech. The open forum permits anyone to speak at this conference.

Texas Cyber Summit

Held each October in Houston, the Texas Cyber Summit welcomes every cyber security group or organization to its multi-day conference. The event features renowned keynote speakers, cutting-edge research papers, technical briefings, various workshops and hands-on training. Most training sessions are held in English, but there are Spanish speakers and trainers available. The TCS is run by the Texas for-profit companies TXCIBER, Inc. and Grayhat.

Texas Cyber Security Jobs and Salary

Approximately 364,000 people in the Lone Star State are employed in the IT or computer field. In Texas, the mean annual salary for those in computer-related occupations as of May, 2018, was $90,743, but many in this field earn considerably more. From 2016 to 2026, the number of workers in this field is expected to grow by 19.1%, meaning demand is very high.

A breakdown of employees and wages according to specific jobs includes:

  • Computer Programmers - 20,960 workers - $91,970 mean annual wage
  • Computer systems analysts - 51,710 workers - $98,000 mean annual wage
  • Database administrators - 11,020 workers - $95,470 mean annual wage
  • Information security analysts - 8,520 workers - $104,000 mean annual wage
  • Network and computer systems administrators - 35,100 workers - $ 89,500 mean annual wage
  • Software developers - 28,720 workers - $110,740 mean annual wage

Resources

  • Cyber Texas Foundation
    The CTF’s mission is organizing cyber workforce development initiatives on the local, state, and national level for cyber security workforce development. This includes conducting clinics for future cyber workforce development, as well as retaining, recruiting, and growing Texas cyber businesses.
  • North Texas Cyber Security Group
    The mission of the NTCSG includes enriching members’ professional skills via interactive forums, learning about various offensive and defensive cyber security concepts, and staying on top of the latest trends and developments in the cyber security industry. The group also offers networking and socialization opportunities.
  • South Texas ISSA
    Membership in the non-profit South Texas Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) is perfect for information security professionals. ISSA provides opportunities for educational forums, professional interaction, and other activities to further knowledge and career advancement. Members are encouraged to pursue formal security certifications in their fields and STISSA offers continuing education options.
  • Texas Cybersecurity Council
    Created by the Department of Information Resources, the TCC’s purpose is developing partnerships between the private and public sectors to protect sensitive information and critical infrastructure. The TCC also helps develop an “exemplary cybersecurity workforce” for protecting resources from threats, as well as strategizing for solutions.
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