Information Assurance Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Course Info

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Associate's and bachelor's degrees in information assurance can lead to careers in computer and network security. Get the truth about the requirements, courses and career options, and find out what you can do with your degree.
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Studying Information Assurance: Degrees at a Glance

Information assurance degree programs teach you how to protect data from being misused by individuals both within and outside an organization. You gain an understanding of the laws and relationships between information, technology, people, systems and policies. Courses instill how to use conceptual understanding in science and methodology to keep data and information private and safe.

Graduates are desired by businesses and government agencies to protect their systems and computers. Professionals in this field are able to prevent viruses, hackers and corporate spies from infiltrating a system and stealing information or revealing trade secrets that can cost money and delays. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), careers in computer and information systems are rapidly growing as people and industries become more dependent on technology.

Associate's degree Bachelor's degree
Who is this degree for? Students with a high school degree or the equivalent who wish to work in the field of computer and information technology or who intend to transfer to a four-year program upon completionStudents who have a high school diploma, GED or associate's degree who anticipate working in the security of information over network systems
Common career paths (with approx. median salary except where noted) - Information assurance technician (Unavailable)
- Computer technician ($21,170-$48,940)**
-Computer support specialist ($45,260)*
- Information security analyst, web developer and computer network architect ($75,660)*
- Network and computer systems administrator ($69,160)*
- Computer systems analyst ($77,740)*
- Computer and information systems manager ($115,780)*
Time to completion2 years, full time4 years, full time
Common graduation requirements - 60 credits
- Core program courses
- General education courses
- Minimum grade of a C in all classes
- Liberal arts classes
- Foundational courses in business and technology
- Information and computer security courses
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED
- Interest in computer and information technology
- High school diploma, GED or associate's degree
- Prior course work (at high school or undergraduate level) in math, composition and computer technology
Online availability Full or partial online programs are availableFull or partial online programs are available

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010 figures), **PayScale.com (2012 figures for those earning pay in 10th-90th percentile, with less than 1 year experience).

Associate's Degree in Information Assurance

An associate's degree in information assurance will give you the foundation necessary to begin a career in computer and information technology. These programs, which typically take two years of full-time work to complete, require you to complete general education courses along with required network and information security classes. You will learn the basic skills needed to secure a technological environment and protect an institute's information.

Many careers involving network and information security are expected to experience significant job growth from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS. As more and more companies and businesses rely on computers, professionals are needed to protect their information. However, most of these jobs require at least a bachelor's degree for employment. The associate's degree program can prepare you for transfer to a four-year college or university.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • People with degrees in information assurance are in high demand
  • Partial or full programs are available online
  • Most credits can be transferred to a four year degree program

Cons

  • Many jobs in this field require a bachelor's degree
  • Some programs require up to 90 credits to graduate
  • You must constantly be aware of new developments in the field of information assurance

Courses and Requirements

As with most associate's degree programs, you're typically required to take general education courses such as composition, math and history. Additionally, your course load will include core courses in computer information and technology. These courses may include:

  • Database management
  • PC hardware fundamentals
  • Network operating systems
  • Visual Basic
  • C#
  • Security foundations

Online Degree Options

Associate's degrees in information assurance or comparable majors are available online. These online programs require the same amount of coursework to be completed, including liberal arts courses and electives. You may choose to complete the entire degree online or take only certain courses remotely. Upon completion of these programs, students will be just as prepared to enter the field of information assurance.

Stand out with this Degree

To make yourself even more desirable to potential employers, it is important that you keep up with the field of information assurance. Keep abreast of recent developments, and be sure to implement them in your work. Any technology courses can help, so focus on computer classes as your electives. Additionally, you should have excellent problem-solving skills, because analyzing, testing and coming up with solutions is incredibly important in information assurance and security.

Bachelor's Degree in Information Assurance

A bachelor's degree in information assurance prepares you for a career in computer and network security. These programs will teach you how to maintain, protect, investigate, analyze and support networking and computer systems. Graduates will be able to defend vital information within a company and prevent fraud or a breach in security.

Careers within the field of information assurance are rapidly growing, and there may be many opportunities for graduates to attain a job out of college. Companies in private, public and government sectors all need information security, so you could prepare to enter any kind of agency.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many entry-level position require a bachelor's degree
  • Job opportunities are expected to grow through 2020
  • A bachelor's degree program prepares you for a career at any company or agency

Cons

  • Some employers may require additional certification
  • A master's degree may be necessary for significant advancement in this field
  • Some courses may be offered online only

Courses and Requirements

Similar to the associate's degree, you're expected to take liberal arts foundational courses in subjects such as English, math and speech communication. You may also take business courses such as management or professional ethics and technology courses including database design and systems foundations. Core courses in the information assurance major may include:

  • Computer and network security
  • Secure system administration
  • Secure data communication
  • Incident handling
  • Digital forensics

Online Degree Options

Some colleges and universities offer full or partial online bachelor's degrees in information assurance. The entirely online programs require student/teaching interaction via e-mail and the online platform of the college's choice. Generally, the same courses are required. Additionally, some bachelor's degree programs may offer partial online programs, and you may find that certain classes are offered online only. In these cases, you are required to be on campus for at least half of the time, but the rest of your courses can be completed remotely from the comfort of your own home.

Stand out with this Degree

There are many different certifications offered by companies such as Microsoft and Cisco that you can apply for and add to your resume. Typically, these certifications require you to study for and pass a written or technical exam. Also, the knowledge of many different computer and network systems - which can be gained through careful course selection - is vital, because you are typically required to maintain security over a variety of different types of computer equipment.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BSIT - Information Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security
      • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Information Assurance
      • Bachelor: Information Technology
      • BS - Management - Cybersecurity Management
      • BS - Computer Science - Cybersecurity Engineering
      • BS - Business Administration - IT
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - General
      • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technology - Information Security
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Baker College Online

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
      • Game Software Development - Bachelor
  • Online Programs Available
    5. City University of Seattle

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
      • B.S. Applied Computing
      • B.S. Information Systems
      • B.S. Information Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
      • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking
      • Information Systems Mgmt., B.S.
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Utica College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
      • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
      • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
      • BS in Cybersecurity
      • BS in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
  • Chicago, IL

    DePaul University

  • Kennesaw, GA

    Kennesaw State University

  • San Antonio, TX

    The University of Texas

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • BS in Information Technology/Information Security and Assurance
  • BS in Cybersecurity
  • BSIT - Information Management

Which subject are you interested in?

Colorado Technical University

  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Computer Systems Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security - Information Assurance
  • Bachelor: Information Technology

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

What is your highest level of education completed?

Baker College Online

  • Information Technology and Security - Bachelor
  • Game Software Development - Bachelor

What is your highest level of education?

City University of Seattle

  • B.S. Cybersecurity and Information Assurance
  • B.S. Applied Computing
  • B.S. Information Systems

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Christian University

  • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Database Management
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S. - Emphasis in Networking

What is your highest level of education completed?

Utica College

  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation

What is your highest level of education completed?