Cybersecurity Programs in Alabama

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Alabama colleges and universities offer a variety of cybersecurity-related degrees. These credentials can prepare you for in-demand careers in digital information security. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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State capitol in Montgomery, Alabama Credit: Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing nationwide, including in Alabama: According toCyberseek, there are over 11,000 open cybersecurity positions in Alabama as of May 2023.

Several universities and colleges in the state — including theUniversity of Alabama in Huntsville,Auburn University, andAlabama A&M University — offer cybersecurity-related programs that can help graduates qualify for jobs like security consultant,penetration tester, andforensics analyst.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of cybersecurity programs in Alabama.

Alabama at a Glance

  • 2022 Average Wage for Computer and Mathematical Occupations: $92,440
  • Percentage of Workforce in Tech: 4.1%
  • Economic Impact of Tech Industry: $10 billion
  • Number of Higher Learning Institutions: 60

Sources: Cyberstates™,NCES,OEWS

Why Go to College for Cybersecurity in Alabama?

Students in Alabama can enroll in an array of higher education programs, including cybersecurity degrees. Alabama has made efforts to improve its education system, including reforms to K-12 education and expanding access to higher education. For example, the state offers several college scholarships and financial aid programs.

Alabama schools can connect learners to diverse student bodies in a state with a rich civil rights history and beautiful natural landscapes. Higher education institutions in Alabama are located in rural and urban environments. Some schools have large student bodies, while others are smaller and offer more personalized learning environments.

Online programs also provide flexibility and accessibility, allowing students to learn without relocating. However, some online and hybrid programs may require mandatory on-campus components, so research these stipulations before applying.

For professionals seeking careers in Alabama after graduation, attending a school in the state can prove advantageous because of networking opportunities. Some institutions may partner with local organizations for internships or career fairs, which can help students connect to employers and find job leads.

Education Statistics for Alabama

Alabama vs. National Education Statistics
Higher Education Statistics Alabama Data National Data
Four-Year Colleges 36 2,520
Two-Year Colleges 24 1,216
Students Enrolled in Distance Education 57.9% 59%

Sources: NCES

Accreditation for Alabama Schools

Accreditation ensures that a school or program meets established criteria for educational quality. Attending an institutionally accredited school means that the entire institution has been evaluated and meets certain standards of quality. When choosing a school in Alabama, look for colleges and universities that hold accreditation from organizations like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Some cybersecurity programs or departments may even hold programmatic accreditation from agencies like ABET. Programmatic accreditation evaluates whether a degree's curriculum adequately prepares learners for jobs in the field.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Considerations for a Cybersecurity Degree in Alabama

When choosing a cybersecurity degree in Alabama, consider factors like degree level, reputation, and accreditation status. Some degrees may offer classes or specializations that align more fully with learners' career aspirations, so research each school's curriculum.

Online learning has grown more common in recent years, including in Alabama: According to 2021 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 29% of students in Alabama are exclusively enrolled in distance education courses, while 28.9% of learners are enrolled in some distance education courses. With over half of all enrollees pursuing at least some online courses, this suggests that Alabama maintains robust distance learning offerings.

Before deciding to pursue an online program, consider your learning style. While online programs typically offer increased flexibility, in-person classes have more structure and peer interaction, which some students prefer.

Cybersecurity Concentrations and Similar Degrees

Some cybersecurity degrees in Alabama offer a broad survey of cybersecurity topics, while other programs include concentrations that explore specific aspects of the field. Below, we discuss three examples of popular specializations for cybersecurity degrees:

Cybersecurity Management

A cybersecurity management concentration emphasizes the technical and managerial skills necessary to design, implement, and manage security programs. This concentration can lead to management positions in various industries, including healthcare, banking, and government.

Digital Forensics

A digital forensics concentration explores how to use digital evidence in investigations, litigation, and incident response. Learners who pursue this specialization can pursue careers in law enforcement, including digital forensics investigator roles at government agencies and corporations.

Information Assurance

An information assurance concentration focuses on protecting computer networks and systems from cyberattacks. Students who complete this specialization can qualify for jobs in industries with sensitive data, including aerospace, defense, and healthcare.

Paying for Your Cybersecurity Degree

According to NCES data from the 2020-21 academic year, the average tuition rates at Alabama public schools are similar to national averages for both in-state and out-of-state students. However, average tuition at private schools in Alabama is almost half the cost of the national average for these institutions, making them much more affordable than similar schools in other states.

Though paying for a cybersecurity degree in Alabama can be expensive, there are several financing options available. Scholarships, fellowships, grants, and loans can all help cover tuition costs. Alabama maintains a number of funding programs, including theAlabama Student Assistance Program and theAlabama GI Dependents' Scholarship Program.

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

In Alabama, in-state students at public schools pay lower tuition rates than their out-of-state peers. Some schools in Alabama participate in the Academic Common Market, a tuition reciprocity program managed through the Southern Regional Education Board. Online programs may also offer in-state or online-only tuition rates for all enrollees, regardless of residency status.

Alabama's Cost of Living

Students considering in-person programs should investigate cost of living to determine how expenses like groceries, utilities, and rent may impact their budgets. According to theWorld Population Review, Alabama's cost of living index score is 87.9 — lower than the national average, which can translate to more affordability.

Careers for Cybersecurity Graduates in Alabama

Alabama has a diversified economy, including industries such as aerospace and defense, healthcare, and manufacturing. The state also has a growing technology sector thanks to companies likeRedstone Arsenal,Dynetics, andAdtran.

According toCyberstates data from 2023, Alabama employs approximately 7,750 workers in cybersecurity-related occupations, including areas like network security, cloud security, and incident response. The average wage for all tech workers in the state is $85,800.

As is the case for many industries, in-person cybersecurity positions tend to cluster in larger cities. In Alabama, workers can find jobs in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Montgomery. The continued demand for cybersecurity skills and the unfilled positions in Alabama correlate to a positive job outlook for cybersecurity graduates in this state.

Select Cybersecurity Careers in Alabama

Penetration Testers

Penetration testers — also called ethical hackers — test computer systems, networks, and applications for vulnerabilities. They identify weaknesses in security defenses and simulate attacks. They help businesses and government agencies prevent cyberattacks by identifying and addressing security vulnerabilities.

Average Salary for Penetration Testers in Alabama: $93,120

Security Consultant

Security consultants are professionals who assist organizations in protecting their computer systems and networks from cyberattacks. They develop security plans, implement security measures, and conduct audits to identify vulnerabilities and recommend solutions.

Average Salary for Security Consultants in Alabama: $101,500

Forensics Analyst

Forensics analysts are responsible for collecting and analyzing digital evidence related to cybercrimes, cyberattacks, and data breaches. They use specialized tools and techniques to uncover information and help identify perpetrators of these incidents.

Average Salary for Forensic Analysts in Alabama: $85,050

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Alabama Employment Trends

According to data from Projections Central, jobs like computer network architect and software developer are projected to grow in Alabama from 2020 to 2030. Though computer hardware engineers are projected to decline in Alabama during the same time period, the decline represents only ten positions; nationally, the career is still projected to increase employment by 1.7%.

Projected Job Growth for Computer Hardware Engineers, Computer Network Architects, and Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers
Year State National
Computer Hardware Engineers
2020 Employment 1,150 66,200
2030 Projected Employment 1,140 67,300
Projected Job Growth, 2020-2030 -0.9% +1.7%
Computer Network Architects
2018 Employment 1,890 165,200
2028 Projected Employment 1,980 174,200
Projected Job Growth, 2018-28 4.8% +5.4%
Software Developers and Software Quality Assurance Analysts and Testers
2020 Employment 17,220 1,847,900
2030 Projected Employment 20,630 2,257,400
Projected Job Growth, 2020-2030 19.8% +22%

Source: Projections Central

Salaries for Cybersecurity and Related Careers, 2022
Career Alabama Employment Alabama Annual Mean Wage National Median Annual Wage
Computer and Information Systems Managers 5,150 $130,000 $173,670
Computer Hardware Engineers 790 $126,810 $140,830
Computer Network Architects 3,260 $120,800 $129,490
Computer Network Support Specialists 1,110 $65,420 $76,060
Computer Programmers 2,110 $87,890 $93,000
Computer Systems Analysts 4,880 $109,060 $107,530
Information Security Analysts 2,660 $107,280 $119,860
Network and Computer Systems Administrators 4,970 $83,490 $97,160
Software Developers 15,680 $107,870 $132,930
Web Developers 1,090 $56,500 $87,580

Source: BLS OEWS

Cybersecurity careers in Alabama typically earn average salaries lower than national averages for the same jobs. However, this is reflective of the lower cost of living in the state — living in a less-expensive state like Alabama means that salaries can have higher purchasing power. Additionally, for almost every career in the table above, average salaries in Alabama exceed the national average wage for all careers.

Cybersecurity Employers in Alabama

Regions Financial Corporation: A Fortune 500 company, Regions Financial Corporation is a regional bank holding company headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. They offer a multitude of financial services and employ cybersecurity experts in roles like information security analyst, cybersecurity engineer, and security operations center analyst.

Adtran: A global provider of networking and communications equipment, Adtran is based in Huntsville, Alabama. They offer an array of cybersecurity solutions, including firewall and VPN technologies. The company employs cybersecurity experts in roles such as network security engineer, security consultant, and threat intelligence analyst.

SAIC: A Fortune 500 company, SAIC is a technology integrator committed to engineering solutions and digital infrastructure modernization. Though headquartered in Reston, Virginia, the company maintains operations in several Alabama cities, including Huntsville. They employ cybersecurity experts in roles like information security analyst, penetration tester, and cybersecurity engineer.

Popular Online Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Professional Cybersecurity Organizations in Alabama

Joining a professional cybersecurity organization in Alabama can help you connect to the state's cybersecurity industry. These groups support students, recent graduates, and new cybersecurity professionals through networking events, professional development, and continuing education. We explore several Alabama-specific organizations below:

The Central Alabama Chapter of the Information Systems Security Association

This organization is a local chapter of ISSA International. It provides networking opportunities, training, and educational events to cybersecurity professionals in central Alabama. Members can attend monthly meetings, webinars, and other events to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in cybersecurity.

The Alabama Cybersecurity Association

The Alabama Cybersecurity Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cybersecurity awareness and education in the state. The organization offers training, workshops, and educational events to students, educators, and professionals in the cybersecurity field.

Schools With Cybersecurity Degrees in Alabama

Questions about Cybersecurity in Alabama

Can I get a cybersecurity degree in Alabama?

Yes. An array colleges and universities in Alabama offer cybersecurity programs at various degree levels, including bachelor's and master's programs.

Do cybersecurity engineers in Alabama make good money?

According to ZipRecruiter data from May 2023, cybersecurity engineers in Alabama earn an average wage of $93,090 per year. This salary is higher than the national average wage for all occupations.

What cybersecurity jobs can I get with a degree from Alabama?

Earning degrees in cybersecurity from schools in Alabama can qualify graduates for a variety of occupations in the tech field. These roles include cybercrime investigator, security consultant, and forensics analyst.

Is cybersecurity a good career in Alabama?

Cybersecurity is a field with high demand nationwide, including in Alabama. Expertise in computer systems security, sensitive data management, and network security can translate to competitive prospects on the job market.

Page last reviewed on 04/10/2023.

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