How Long Does it Take to Get a Cybersecurity Degree?

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The field of cybersecurity is growing as more businesses rely on digital networks, data, and cloud computing solutions to succeed. They need skilled cybersecurity professionals with the knowledge and expertise to protect their digital assets from attacks and minimize potential risks.

To meet these demands and develop that knowledge and expertise, students can earn advanced degrees, such as an online master’s in cybersecurity. The constant evolution of technology and cyber crime will continue to make the role of cybersecurity professionals vital across industries.

How long does it take to get a cybersecurity degree and begin building a career in this dynamic industry?

A cybersecurity analyst works on his laptop with other monitors in the background

How Much Time Does It Take to Get a Degree in Cybersecurity?

Bachelor’s degrees commonly require 120-125 credits and take four years to complete. Advanced degrees, such as a master’s in cybersecurity, typically require 30-36 credits and take two years to complete.

The time ranges can vary based on different factors, including the following:

  • Previous credits from other college programs. If students have already completed credits that they can transfer to their cybersecurity programs, they may be able to reduce the time it takes to complete their degrees.
  • Part- or full-time schedules. Some degree programs offer part-time tracks to help students balance work, life, and school. While part-time programs require less up-front commitment, they can also increase the time it takes to earn a degree.

Online vs. On-Campus Cybersecurity Programs

Online cybersecurity programs offer more flexibility to students. Remote learning options make it easier for students to attend classes and complete their degrees on their own time. As such, online degree programs may take longer if students choose to complete the coursework part time. On the other hand, students may be able to take advantage of the flexibility (and no commute time) to complete their online programs in less time than it would take to complete on-campus programs.

How Long Is a Cybersecurity Program at Maryville University?

Maryville’s online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program contains 30 credits and is conducted completely online — no campus visits required. Students complete their coursework using the Maryville Virtual Lab.

Due to the flexibility and autonomy that this program provides, students can graduate in as few as 12 months.

Benefits of an Online Cybersecurity Program

No matter how long it takes to get a cybersecurity degree, earning an advanced cybersecurity degree can provide students with the potential to earn a higher salary and pursue a wider range of jobs.

According to April 2021 data from PayScale, the median annual salary for professionals with a master’s in cybersecurity is about $88,000. Meanwhile, the median annual salary for those with a bachelor’s in cybersecurity is about $72,000. Even with the same job titles, such as cybersecurity analyst and cybersecurity engineer, people with master’s degrees earn higher incomes on average than those with bachelor’s degrees.

With a master’s degree in cybersecurity, graduates can also be better prepared to pursue advanced careers in management and executive positions, such as chief information security officer and information security manager.

Earning a cybersecurity degree through an online program also provides many benefits, including the following:

  • Working professionals can better balance their jobs and academic experiences by taking virtual courses.
  • Students with long commutes to their campuses or difficulty traveling can easily attend classes from the comfort of their homes.
  • Many online programs allow students to make their own schedules and take ownership of their academics, helping them develop important skills in self-discipline and communication.

Maryville University’s Online Master’s in Cybersecurity Program Breakdown

Maryville’s online master’s in cybersecurity program is built to train the next generation of cybersecurity professionals for success.

Comprising 15 credits, the program helps students build their foundational knowledge and skills through the following core courses:

  • Controls for Effective Cyber Defense
  • Information Technology Management
  • Ethical Hacking
  • Cybersecurity Incident Response and Examination
  • Legal Aspects of Privacy and Compliance

For an additional 15 credits, students can customize the program by completing one of three areas of emphasis. They can also choose to take courses from within each specialization track:

  • Courses cover areas such as cybersecurity governance and management, as well as data security and analysis.
  • Courses cover areas such as hacking, forensics, and security log management.
  • Courses cover areas such as information security and practical applications of cybersecurity.

Students can also earn certifications in certain courses, allowing them to build their credentials and develop key technical skills in areas such as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA), EC-Council Certified Encryption Specialist (ECES), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), and Splunk Core Certified Power User.

Courses with certification options include the following:

  • Auditing of Cybersecurity. This course prepares students for the CISA exam.
  • Domains of Cybersecurity. This course prepares students for the CISSP exam.
  • Ethical Hacking. This course prepares students for the ECSA exam.
  • Network Security. This course prepares students for the ECES exam.
  • Security Log Management and Analysis. This course prepares students for the Splunk Core Certified Power User exam.
  • Cloud Migration and Security. This course prepares students for the CCSP exam.

Striving Toward an Important Career

The need for expert-level cybersecurity professionals in the workplace will only increase as more businesses invest in digital devices, software, and services. As you consider how long it takes to get a cybersecurity degree and the benefits of such a degree, consider Maryville.

Maryville’s online cybersecurity master’s degree program can provide you with the advanced knowledge and skills you need to compete in this growing industry and gain a competitive edge. You can build your credentials in high-impact, technical areas, such as ethical hacking, security analysis, and cloud migration.

Discover more about how Maryville’s online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program can help you build an impactful career in the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity.

Recommended Readings

9 Essential Steps for Building Your LinkedIn Cybersecurity Profile — And Getting Noticed by Top Companies

Careers in Cybersecurity: Cryptography vs. Encryption

Women in Cybersecurity: Closing the Gender Gap

Sources

Digital Guardian, “What Is Cyber Security? Definition, Best Practices & More”

Forbes, “4 Evolving Technology Areas of Smart Cybersecurity”

Maryville University, Earning your Cybersecurity Degree Online vs. On-Campus

PayScale, Bachelor of Science (BS/BSc), Cybersecurity Degree

PayScale, Master of Science (MS), Cybersecurity Degree