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Information assurance is part of the information security field. Information assurance professionals focus on risk management to help safeguard digital and physical data against security threats.

Cybersecurity industry leader Cisco predicts the annual number of distributed denial-of-service attacks to rise to over 15 million by 2023. Businesses must continually upgrade their data safety measures against external threats. Professionals with a degree in information assurance can help companies with this goal.

A bachelor's degree in information assurance may open doors to many opportunities in information technology and cybersecurity. This degree can benefit beginners as well as professionals seeking a career change.

This guide explains what to expect from a bachelor's in information assurance. We also look at possible career paths and salary potential for graduates. Find more details about the best on-campus and online information assurance programs in our ranking below.

Why Get a Bachelor's in Information Assurance?

A degree in information assurance can prepare learners for a variety of cybersecurity roles. With increasing business digitization and growing risk of cyberthreats, career opportunities are ripe for information security professionals. An information assurance program teaches students to learn, adapt, and innovate to stay ahead of cybercriminals.

A four-year degree in information assurance may best suit learners without prior infosec education or professional experience. Students looking for project-oriented training for specific information assurance roles could also consider cybersecurity bootcamps. These compact programs last 3-6 months on average.

The following are some benefits of a bachelor's degree in information assurance.

  • Career Stability: Nearly every business has data security needs. With many different career paths available, information assurance professionals enjoy strong job stability.
  • Salary Growth: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% job growth rate for all information technology occupations from 2020-2030, faster than the average for all occupations. According to the BLS, information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $102,600 as of 2021, indicating high-paying career potential for information assurance graduates.
  • In-Demand Skills: Learners develop desirable data protection skills in an information assurance program. The degree also hones interpersonal and communication skills that professionals can use in any industry.

What to Expect From an Information Assurance Program

A bachelor's degree in information assurance focuses on applied areas of cybersecurity. Most programs cover computer science fundamentals. Learners also study topics like incident response, risk management, computer forensics, and security policy and governance.

Some schools may not teach information assurance as a standalone program. Many information technology programs offer concentrations in information assurance, and some undergraduate business administration programs allow learners to specialize in information security or cybersecurity.

The best schools offering information assurance bachelor's programs are accredited. Accreditation ensures high educational quality to prepare students for a career in cybersecurity. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years to complete. Accelerated programs may be available. Many programs culminate in a capstone project.

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Admission Requirements

On-campus and online information assurance programs usually set the same admission requirements as other IT programs. Candidates may need some background in subjects like statistics and programming. Work experience can also boost applications. Applicants with an associate's degree may be able to transfer credits.

Many information assurance bachelor's programs require a GPA of at least 2.5. High school graduates and GED certificate-holders may need to provide SAT or ACT scores. Other application materials include resumes, personal essays, and recommendation letters. The application tool Common App makes it easy for candidates to apply to multiple schools at once.

Degree and Concentration Options

Undergraduate information assurance students usually earn a bachelor of science degree. Some schools offer bachelor of arts or bachelor of business administration options. Schools may use the terms cybersecurity and information assurance interchangeably. Engineering programs focused on programming or cybersecurity can also offer information assurance concentrations.

Traditional bachelor's programs feature in-person classes. Online information assurance programs may offer more flexibility and eliminate the need to relocate. Hybrid programs combine on-campus and online coursework.

Most information assurance bachelor's degrees, including accelerated programs, require about 120 credits. Some online programs use synchronous learning, with live classes and a fixed schedule. Other programs use an asynchronous format. Students taking an asynchronous information assurance course online can learn at their own pace with pre-recorded materials.

On Campus and Online Information Assurance Courses

Information assurance bachelor's programs combine core and elective courses. Many programs culminate in capstone projects that allow students to showcase their knowledge, propose new ideas, and practice their skills. Some degrees help graduates qualify for in-demand industry certifications.

  • Computer Forensics: In this course, students learn to gather and analyze cybercrime-related data. They develop incident analysis and data retrieval skills to combat illegal online activities like fraud, hacking, and espionage.
  • Network Security: This course teaches students to prevent, detect, and control cyberattacks and damage to a computer network. Participants learn practical and cost-effective ways to handle malicious activities.
  • Information Security: This course examines information system vulnerabilities and threats. Students learn to create, test, and implement security practices.
  • Ethical Hacking: Students in this course learn to use the same techniques and tools as cybercriminals to protect a business's computer network. Course content often focuses on cryptography and penetration testing.

Average Cost of Getting a Bachelor's Degree

The cost of a bachelor's degree in information assurance depends on several factors. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) tracks tuition data. According to NCES, average undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year cost $9,400 at public institutions. Students paid an average of $36,700 a year at private nonprofit institutions and $19,100 at private for-profit institutions.

Program costs can vary based on a school's reputation and its public or private status. Out-of-state learners at public schools usually pay more than in-state students. The price of attending a private, non-profit institution is generally the steepest.

Financial aid such as fellowships, grants, scholarships, and work-study programs can help students pay for school. To find out federal aid eligibility, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Before looking at loans, students should consider all forms of aid that do not need repayment.

How Much Do Online Information Assurance Programs Cost?

Earning a bachelor’s degree in information assurance online can often be cheaper than an on-campus program. Many schools offer the same degree online at a lower cost than the in-person program.

Online schools may provide other financial advantages, such as accelerated programs or a tuition rate lock. Distance learners can also save money by avoiding transportation and relocation costs.

Jobs for Information Assurance Graduates

A degree in information assurance can lead to entry-level jobs with scope for advancement and high salary potential. The BLS projects 33% job growth for information security analysts and 11% for computer and information system managers from 2020-2030 — both faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS notes a median annual salary for information security analysts of $102,600 as of 2021.

Information assurance graduates may qualify for the roles discussed below. More senior positions may demand a master’s degree, certifications, or related work experience.

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts monitor networks for unauthorized access. They detect and prevent security breaches and develop data recovery plans. Candidates may need related work experience to qualify for this role.

  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +33%
  • Median Annual Salary: $102,600

Security Consultant

Security consultants evaluate businesses' computer systems and networks. They scan for vulnerabilities and create security solutions tailored to the company's needs.These professionals take responsibility for protecting a client’s data from breaches and attacks.

  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): Not available
  • Average Annual Salary: $87,322

Database Administrator

Database administrators collect and organize digital data using specialized software. These professionals can work in industries like retail, banking, transportation, and healthcare. Common educational backgrounds for database administrators include information assurance, IT, and computer science.

  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +8%
  • Median Annual Salary: $98,860

Penetration Tester

Pen testers — also known as assurance validators or ethical hackers — perform authorized mock attacks on computer systems and networks. These tests help detect weaknesses. Pen tester roles include devising strategies to strengthen networks against real cyberattacks.

  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): Not available
  • Average Annual Salary: $88,380

Computer Network Architect

Network architects build digital communication infrastructure and cloud-based networks for organizations. These professionals work on both large-scale and small, local networks.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2020-30): +5%
  • Median Annual Salary: $120,520

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Choosing the Right Information Assurance Program

When looking at information assurance bachelor's degrees, students should only choose from schools with institutional accreditation. Some programs and departments also hold programmatic accreditation from agencies such as ABET.

Prospective enrollees should consider their own goals and needs. University resources, school location, and extracurricular activities are some factors to weigh. For online information assurance programs, degree-seekers should note the networking opportunities on offer. Alumni networks, career services, teacher-to-student ratio, and future earning potential can also affect program choice.

Students should pay attention to financial aid when selecting a program. Find out the types of financing opportunities each school offers and research how quickly past graduates have secured work.

Should You Get Your Information Assurance Degree Online?

The popularity and success of online learning have grown exponentially in recent years. Distance education can make it more convenient to earn a degree in information assurance. Students can access live classes or pre-recorded, self-paced materials, complete with group projects and networking opportunities.

An online information assurance degree requires the same devotion and effort as any traditional college program. Students seeking the best of both worlds could thrive in a hybrid learning atmosphere.

Top Programs for Bachelor's in Information Assurance

The following ranking highlights the five best information assurance bachelor's programs for 2022. Students can use this list to search for a program that aligns with their preferences and goals. To learn about our ranking methods, follow the link below.

#1 Online College in Alabama

Columbia Southern University

School Information
Location Orange Beach, Alabama
Graduation Rate 22%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Distance Education Accrediting Commission

A degree from Columbia Southern University helps graduates advance their careers and pursue new opportunities. The bachelor's in information assurance meets high standards of quality. Undergraduate students gain the knowledge and skills they need to secure roles in their field. 

General education requirements for bachelor's degree-seekers include classes in areas such as English and mathematics. Major coursework builds on foundational knowledge from general education classes. Adding a minor to their bachelor's degree can improve graduates' competitiveness for specialized positions.

Learners with transfer credits may need less than four years to graduate. Learners may receive federal financial aid from the accredited institution. The school delivers student support services. Learners can use peer tutoring sessions to improve their grades.

Per credit, learners at the school pay an average of $282. According to the school, 94% of degree-seekers receive financial aid and 29% take out loans. Scholarships and grants help defray the cost of tuition and need no repayment.

#2 Online College in New York

Monroe College

School Information
Location Bronx, New York
Admission Rate 48%
Graduation Rate 60%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
A degree from Monroe College leads to new career opportunities and increased responsibilities. The institution offers some of the highest-quality bachelor's programs in the country, including a bachelor's in information assurance. Bachelor's-level curricula emphasize the knowledge and skills that employers value. Bachelor's programs require foundational coursework in areas such as English and mathematics. The major delves into advanced concepts students can apply in real-world contexts. Degree-seekers can add a minor to improve their chance of securing specialized roles after graduation.

As an accredited school, the institution can distribute federal financial aid. To help students succeed, the institution provides a variety of support services. Learners can take advantage of peer and professional tutoring from the institution.

Monroe College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an independent accrediting agency.

#3 Online College in Michigan

Baker College - Flint

School Information
Location Flint, Michigan

A public school, Baker College - Flint is located in Michigan. Students at the school can pursue a variety of bachelor's degrees, including a BS in information systems. After completing a bachelor's program, individuals can continue their education or enter the workforce. 

While completing a bachelor's program, learners take foundational coursework and field-specific classes. Bachelor's degree-seekers can add a minor or concentration to customize their undergraduate curriculum. Degree-seekers can attend networking events to connect with peers and professionals in their field.

The institution's affordable tuition rates help minimize the financial burden of earning a degree. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions department for information about financial aid opportunities.

#4 Online College in Colorado

United States Air Force Academy

School Information
Location USAF Academy, Colorado
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission

Colorado-based United States Air Force Academy provides a comprehensive catalog of 39 online and on-campus programs, including a bachelor's in cyber science. The school offers bachelor's degrees in many fields. Bachelor's programs in all fields require general education coursework. After completing general education classes, students take upper-division classes relevant to their major. 

While earning a bachelor's degree, learners gain transferable critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Undergraduate students typically earn their bachelor's degree in four years. Learners who enroll part time may need longer to earn their bachelor's degree.

The institution accepts 11% of applicants.

#5 Online College in Virginia

University of Richmond

School Information
Location University of Richmond, Virginia
Admission Rate 28%
Graduation Rate 89%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 2% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private school, University of Richmond educates students from its Virginia campus. The school’s catalog includes four-year programs. Bachelor's degree-holders can pursue entry-level positions or a master's degree. While completing a bachelor's program, learners fulfill general education and major requirements. 

The school allows bachelor's degree-seekers to add a minor or concentration. Students at the school benefit from an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, which allows students individual time with professors. Degree-seekers can join student organizations to access professional development and network with peers.

The institution offers affordable tuition rates, which help students minimize debt. The school charges undergraduate in-state and out-of-state degree-seekers $54,690 annually. The school admits 28% of undergraduate applicants. 

University of Richmond holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Prospective bachelor's degree-seekers can contact the admissions department for information about financial aid opportunities.

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FAQ About Bachelor's in Information Assurance Programs

What is information assurance?

Information assurance is the process of ensuring the safety, integrity, availability, and authentication of digital and nondigital data.

Are online information assurance programs hard to get into?

Online bachelor's programs usually set the same admission requirements as traditional on-campus programs. These may include a minimum GPA, SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, resumes, and personal statements.

What can you do with a bachelor's in information assurance?

Information assurance graduates can find work opportunities and career advancement in most industries. Common job titles for information assurance specialists include security analyst, cybersecurity consultant, database administrator, and computer network architect.

Is information assurance the same as cybersecurity?

Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, information assurance differs from cybersecurity in a few ways. Cybersecurity focuses on protecting computer networks and systems, while information assurance involves the safety of both digital and nondigital data.


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