Online Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Crime

With the growing complexity of computer networks and rising concerns around information usage and privacy, there has never been a better time to earn your bachelor's degree in cybercrime. A cybercrime investigation degree may also go by the titles of cybercrime technology, cyber forensics, information security, computer forensics, or cybersecurity -- all terms which tend to be used interchangeably. An information security analyst earns an average of $95,510 annually, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a job growth rate of 28% between 2016 and 2026 for these professionals. Many graduates obtain careers that help protect vulnerable and targeted populations from cybercrimes.

Cybercrime investigation degrees vary between schools. Prospective students should research concentrations as well as the time it takes to graduate. Most bachelor's programs take two to four years to complete, depending on the credit requirements and transfer allowances. Some cybercrime bachelor's programs require an associate degree in a related field to apply. Occasionally, cybercrime investigation degrees require a final project or internship. This may entail on-site work experience, a research project, or an advanced course in bureaupathology.

Some cybercrime bachelor's programs require an associate degree in a related field to apply.

There are on-campus and online cybercrime investigation degrees. Some programs also offer a hybrid option. Most online options are taught through an asynchronous format and have no on-campus obligations. This learning style benefits students who have other personal and professional responsibilities. Online learning is also typically more affordable. In addition to saving on commuting expenses, many online schools charge a standard tuition rate that applies to all students. Campus-based programs, on the other hand, often charge higher tuition for out-of-state students.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Cybercrime

Cybercrime investigation degrees tend to focus on different field specializations, such as security and forensic investigation, but their goals remain the same: to teach successful detection, prevention, and neutralization skills. Most cybercrime programs have a similar core curricula. The listing below will give you an idea of courses you can expect to take.

Example Courses

Cybercrime and Digital Investigation This course examines the techniques used in cybercrime investigations. Classwork also covers how cybercrime correlates with the computing environment, such as using the internet for theft and how to uncover digital evidence. This course helps prepare learners for a career as an information security analyst.
Cyber and Surveillance Law and Governance This law and governance course considers how evolving technologies challenge current regulations, which struggle to keep up with the changes. Learners also prepare to navigate the complexities of legislative and regulatory structures. Students who hope to become computer forensic examiners gain expert knowledge in the legal and regulatory aspects of surveillance, privacy, national security, and liability.
Information Security This information security course highlights the goals of working in the field: to protect confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility. Learners study techniques in risk management and prepare to address cyber vulnerabilities in their careers as information security analysts and computer network security administrators.
Ethics for IT Professionals Students learn about the ethical issues in information technology and security. The curriculum focuses on field-related issues that need consistent consideration, including balancing free speech and censorship, fair use, digital ownership, and surveillance that does not disrespect an individual's right to privacy.
Cryptography Cryptography is the art of creating and solving codes, and this course in modern digital cryptography emphasizes the fundamentals of encryption. Classes focus on hashing, digital signatures, computational secrecy, and different modes of encryption and decryption. Students hoping to become information assurance engineers and information security managers learn relevant skills.

How Long Does It Take to Earn an Online Bachelor's in Cybercrime?

An online bachelor's in cybercrime typically requires 120 credits and takes about four years to complete. Several factors may alter this timeline, including varied course lengths. Students with previous college credit may select a two- or three-year program that is designed for transfer students. Most schools will cap the amount of transfer credits that they will accept. Some also offer academic credit for students with military experience or criminal justice training. Prospective students can choose between individual and cohort learning. Individual learning includes asynchronous courses and allows students to work at their own pace. Cohort learning requires learners to learn as part of group, completing coursework in a synchronous manner. Cybercrime and cybersecurity programs generally take the same amount of time and share similar objectives, but they may prepare graduates for different careers. Students should research specific curriculums, timelines, prerequisites, and structures to ensure their program fulfills career objectives.

The demand for cybercrime experts continues to grow as companies develop expansive digital networks that contain valuable personal and consumer information. Major employers of graduates with bachelor's degrees in cybercrime include the FBI; financial organizations, such as Capital One and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; tech companies, like Apple and Google; and many major medical corporations. Bachelor's cybercrime investigation degrees prepare graduates for entry-level and more advanced positions, depending on their concentration and projected career path.

Bachelor's cybercrime investigation degrees prepare graduates for entry-level and more advanced positions, depending on their concentration and projected career path.

Some high-level positions require additional training, professional certification, or entry-level work experience before application. Associate degrees are available in cybersecurity and information technology, but a bachelor's degree is the minimum education requirement for the majority of careers. The projected salaries between the two degree levels vary significantly. A computer support specialist with an associate degree earns $52,810 per year on average; an information security analyst with a bachelor's degree earns an average of $95,510 annually.

Online Bachelor's in Cybercrime Careers

A bachelor's degree in cybercrime prepares graduates for many careers. Those specializing in cybercrime can work to protect individuals from digital exploitation, while a graduate more interested in cybersecurity can focus on system vulnerabilities in government networks. Both private and public sector employers need specialists in this field, so careers are available in many different settings.

Information Security Analyst

As cyberattacks become more common, organizations are looking to employ more information security analysts, who develop security plans meant to protect a digital network. Almost all analyst positions require a bachelor's degree, and many employers additionally prefer applicants to have professional experience in a relevant field.

Security Manager

Security managers create and implement policies and procedures meant to protect company assets. They often supervise other staff and attempt to streamline company processes. As this is a managerial role, many employers require a bachelor's degree in management or a relevant field and ample work experience in a related role.

Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analysts work with large amounts of confidential data and need strong skills in computer research, database systems, and signal intelligence. Generally employed in government agencies, these analysts need a bachelor's degree, and they may need to acquire security clearance or additional specialized training at an intelligence collection and analysis school.

Information Security Manager

Often in charge of a team of IT professionals and general program maintenance checks, information security managers develop strategies to increase network security and update policies and procedures to match new technologies and corresponding regulations. Employment requires a bachelor's degree related to information technology and certain companies may request additional certification or IT experience.

Security Analyst

This position typically requires a bachelor's degree and at least a year's worth of experience in computer science or electrical engineering. Security analysts troubleshoot and resolve network problems, identify and neutralize risks, and manage audit compliance initiatives. They often work with multiple levels of staff and management, and thus, must display strong communication skills.
Occupations and Salary for Online Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Crime Graduates
Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (>20 years)
Information Security Analyst $70,794 $63,000 $82,000 $91,000
Security Manager $64,408 $46,000 $56,000 $70,000
Intelligence Analyst $66,776 $55,000 $67,000 $88,000
Information Security Manager $108,455 $87,000 $102,000 $121,000
Security Analyst $67,102 $61,000 $79,000 $80,000
Source: BLS, May 2017

Before pursuing your online bachelor's in cybercrime, you should make sure that the program is fully accredited. Nationally and regionally accredited schools fulfill the standards set by the Department of Education (ED), and only ED-approved agencies can award these designations. National accreditation is generally awarded to technical and vocational programs. Regional accreditation is commonly awarded to schools with high academic standards, and credits are more easily transferred between schools with this accreditation. National accreditation agencies award schools across the whole country. The six major regional agencies accredit schools in their area. No program specific accreditation agencies exist to vet cyber criminology programs yet, but some programs work directly with governmental bodies who provide additional assurance to applicants.

Earning a cybercrime technology degree paves the way for lucrative career opportunities, but necessitates a significant financial investment. While online programs give distance learners the flexibility to work while studying, this may not provide enough monetary support. Luckily, many programs exist to assist students in achieving their educational goals.

You should start your financial research by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You should start your financial research by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application determines your eligibility for federal funding opportunities such as scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs. Several federal grants award need-based aid to students with financial limitations, and learners can apply for additional scholarship opportunities.

Students engaged in military service may also receive financial support from military organizations in exchange for their service. Some organizations issue specialized scholarships for students studying cyber criminology. The National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security partner to award scholarships to students specializing in information assurance. In exchange, recipients serve in federal, state, local, or tribal government positions after graduation for a designated period of time. The following section introduces scholarships that are available to students concentrating on cybercrime and criminal justice.

Cybercrime Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to cybercrime students meeting various application criteria. Scholarships are not repaid like a loan, but they may application requirements such as organization-specific employment after graduation. You can research national and state criminal justice scholarships here, or reference the list below for a sample of cybercrime scholarships available nationwide.

Bachelors Degree in Cyber Crime Scholarships

(ISC)² Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: Must be a high school or undergraduate student with a minimum 3.3 GPA planning to pursue or currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in cybersecurity or information assurance. View Scholarship

CyberCorps Scholarship for Service $20,000/year

Who Can Apply: Requires undergraduate enrollment in an approved program, and all recipients must work after graduation in a state, federal, local, or tribal government cybersecurity position for a period equivalent to the length of the scholarship. View Scholarship

International Association for Intelligence Education Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: scholars must submit an essay outlining their goals for an intelligence career in order to earn this merit-based scholarship that is dedicated to promoting national cybersecurity roles. View Scholarship

Raytheons Women cyber Security Scholarship $8,000

Who Can Apply: must be either a high school senior or undergraduate student with a minimum GPA of 3.0 pursuing a degree in cybersecurity or information security. Applicants need to submit a letter of application and a statement of purpose detailing their professional career goals. View Scholarship

Jim and Anna Hyonjoo Lint Scholarship $1,500

Who Can Apply: Presented to students hoping to improve national security. Applicants must write an essay on an issue that involves counterintelligence, international affairs, or national defense or security. View Scholarship
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