The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificates

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Updated December 7, 2022

Want to earn your certificate in cybersecurity? Learn all about the process, and check out our ranking of the best online cybersecurity certificate programs.

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Cybersecurity certificate programs provide students with credentials in software, programming languages, and web development, allowing them to begin or advance careers in their respective fields. Seasoned, midcareer professionals may also benefit from earning certificates.

Holding a certificate helps candidates stand out against their competition on the cybersecurity job market, potentially leading to new career opportunities.

Cybersecurity jobs continue to grow rapidly as demand for qualified professionals increases. This guide offers information about cybersecurity certificate programs for prospective learners, including expectations for online learning, selecting the best program, and a ranking of the top online cybersecurity programs.

Why Get an Online Certificate in Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity certificate programs provide a simple path to earning credentials in the field. Current cybersecurity professionals and those looking to enter the field can benefit from cybersecurity certificates. 

Certificate programs generally take less time to complete than associate degrees. These shorter programs offer learners and professionals a way to gain new skills, advance existing knowledge, and even test out new practice areas without committing to a full degree.

Employers may look favorably on candidates with certificates in the industry. As more companies require bachelor's degrees for entry-level positions, a certificate can serve as a stepping stone toward a two- or four-year degree. As the cybersecurity field and other areas in information technology continue to grow and develop, professionals with skills relevant to those subjects enjoy increasing demand.

Consider these benefits to earning an online cybersecurity certificate.

  • Earn Additional Credentials: Seasoned professionals and new learners benefit from earning cybersecurity certificates. Many programs provide opportunities for certificates in specific programming languages and cybersecurity applications.
  • Pursue Career Advancement: Earning a cybersecurity certificate can provide the credentials you need to pursue advancement in your current career. With additional qualifications and the added experience of a certificate program, graduates may qualify for more advanced job roles.
  • Get In-Demand Skills: The IT and cybersecurity industries continue to grow more quickly than other industries in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a remarkable 35% growth in information security employment from 2021-31.

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Should You Get a Certificate or an Associate Degree?

Certificates and associate degrees in cybersecurity share many similarities. Choosing the best option depends on your career goals and the program that best serves them.

Learners seeking a more streamlined program featuring only courses in cybersecurity would benefit more from a certificate than an associate degree. Certificate programs emphasize key skills in a specific subject area, while associate degrees include general education courses outside the major field, extending the overall time to completion.

The table below compares cybersecurity certificates and associate degrees, featuring key elements of each option.

Comparing Certificate and Associate Programs

Cybersecurity CertificateCybersecurity Associate Degree
Program Length– Could range from one semester to a year

– Typically much shorter than an associate program
– Generally four semesters or two years

– Potentially completed faster with year-round enrollment
Course Requirements– Range from 9-30 credits

– Often includes 3-15 courses
Typically comprises at least 60 credits
CostCost depends on where courses are taken. Tuition per credit is likely the same for certificates and associate programs at most colleges– Varies widely depending on the institution

– Some free or discounted community college options in some states

– May ultimately cost more due to program length and credit requirements
FocusCourses specifically emphasize broad skills in cybersecurityCourse requirements include general education courses outside of the major area

Cybersecurity Certificates Versus Bootcamps

Bootcamps offer students a way to earn certificates or learn new cybersecurity skills in an intensive, accelerated learning workshop. Typically, bootcamps require a few months of study rather than a full semester or academic year. 

Cybersecurity bootcamps offer an efficient, effective method for learning new skills, softwares, or coding languages. These programs benefit seasoned professionals and new learners alike. Learners can choose programs that fit their specific goals based on their current experience levels.

Learn more about how bootcamps and cybersecurity certificate programs compare in the table below.

Comparing Certificate Programs and Bootcamps

Cybersecurity CertificateCybersecurity Bootcamp
Program Length– Typically 1-2 semesters

– Could take up to a year to complete
– Typically 3.5 months long or less

– Often takes less than one full semester
Cost– Cost varies by institution and credit requirements

– Could cost more than a bootcamp with tuition and fees
– Cost varies by program but typically ranges from $12,000-$20,000

– Some shorter bootcamps typically cost less (around $3,000)
Flexibility– Longer programs may require more time

– Can complete online, but may require some on campus work

– Enrollees can maintain their employment but may need to adjust enrollment
– Often fully online

– Shorter programs and less time commitment overall

– Continue working while enrolled
SpecializationCoursework covers broad cybersecurity foundationsHyperfocus on cybersecurity

Popular Cybersecurity Certificate Courses

Cybersecurity certificate programs cover many different topics and skills. Depending on the specific focus of the program, enrollees may encounter courses in different fields. Typically, programs include required core courses and additional elective courses students can tailor to their interests. The courses below serve as examples of courses often featured in cybersecurity programs.

This course examines the tools and infrastructure in safeguarding networks, including firewalls, VPNs, and intrusion detection programs. Learners prepare to manage, build, and navigate network security systems to protect networks from threats and breaches.
This general introduction course explores new and evolving tools and cyberthreats, existing and newly developed systems and processes, methods for managing and protecting data, and examining software through a data protection lens. Students gain a basic, foundational understanding of key concepts in cybersecurity.
Coursework focuses on the process of criminal investigations in data and software. Students learn methods of investigation and how to use scientific processes to conduct inquiries for computers, cloud servers, and mobile devices.
Enrollees learn the current policies in place for cybersecurity investigations, along with protections for internet users, businesses, and merchants. The course covers intellectual property, risk mitigation, and handling threats and compromised data.
This course introduces the basics of cloud storage and computing, emphasizing privacy and security procedures for cloud-based data. Students consider foundational topics in cloud security, threats to cloud-based data, designing and implementing security frameworks for cloud networks, and various policy requirements for those frameworks.
CyberDegrees.org 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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How Much Do Cybersecurity Certificates Cost?

Cybersecurity certifications offered by private learning institutions like CompTIA can range from $300-$1,000 for study materials and the required exam. Bootcamps typically cost more than $10,000 but offer a shortened, accelerated format. Certificate costs generally exclude materials like devices, hardware, and textbooks.

Jobs You Can Get With a Cybersecurity Certificate

The cybersecurity field continues to grow rapidly. Information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $102,600 as of 2021. A cybersecurity certificate alone does not qualify candidates for cybersecurity roles requiring bachelor's degrees, but it can help bolster a resume so you can pursue career advancement.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts work within businesses and organizations to develop security frameworks and protect data. They investigate violations or security breaches, maintain firewalls and other data protection systems, and assist employees with computer and device security. These analysts work in many industries and sectors.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +35%
  • Median Annual Salary: $102,590

Computer Support Specialists

Computer support specialists work for information technology and computer companies to provide assistance to users. They help customers troubleshoot and fix issues, install software, and learn to use device features. Some companies employ these specialists to assist company employees with computer training and software maintenance.

  • Required Education: Some postsecondary education or computer training
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +6%
  • Median Annual Salary: $57,910

Web Developers

Web developers work with individuals and businesses to design and create websites. They must possess a strong working knowledge of coding languages and web development software, often with some knowledge in graphic design. They create and code websites, along with monitoring usage and traffic. They mend coding issues and handle malfunctions and crashes.

  • Required Education: Associate degree
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +23%
  • Median Annual Salary: $78,300

Computer Systems Analysts

Computer system analysts work with companies to increase the efficiency of their existing computer and network systems. They apply a foundational understanding of business to the principles of information technology.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +9%
  • Median Annual Salary: $99,270

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and implement networks for use in business. They may create a system for a specific office or design systems and infrastructures used across multiple servers and locations. These professionals also create network security systems and monitor breaches.

  • Required Education: Bachelor's degree
  • Job Outlook (2021-31): +4%
  • Median Annual Salary: $120,520

Selecting the Right Online Cybersecurity Certificate

Our list of the best online cybersecurity certificate programs offers a great place to begin your research. However, every student should also carefully consider the following factors when searching for their program:

  • Potential for Further Education: Consider whether you want to eventually build off of your certificate and work toward an associate or bachelor's degree and select a program that allows for this growth.
  • Type of Program: Think about whether you want to pursue a certificate or a more long-term program. This can help you decide whether to enroll in a program at a college, with a certifying organization, or in a bootcamp.
  • Cost and Available Aid: Certificate or diploma programs at community colleges may cost significantly less than boot camp programs. Determine your budget and how much you want to spend, along with any available financial aid options for each program.
  • Admission Requirements: Some bootcamp or certificate programs may require prior knowledge or experience in cybersecurity or information technology. Choose a program that best accommodates your knowledge and experience level.
  • Job Requirements: If you have a specific career in mind, consider the education requirements for that career and choose a program based on that goal.

The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificate Programs

The rankings below feature the 15 best online cybersecurity certificate programs. We ranked these fully accredited programs based on factors like affordability, reputation, and overall academic excellence. Learn more about our methodology below.

Our Ranking Methodology

What the Best Cybersecurity Certificates Have in Common

Although academic experiences vary by school, many top cybersecurity certificate programs share several similar characteristics.

  • They are accredited. All schools on our rankings list hold regional accreditation. Regional accrediting bodies assess the quality and rigor of each school's academic programs to ensure the institution meets strict quality standards. The regional accrediting bodies featured on this ranking list include:
    • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
    • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
    • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • They represent academic excellence. We rank our schools and programs based on proven academic rigor and excellence. This includes expert faculty, high retention and graduation rates, and proven graduate success in job placement. For instance, Champlain College offers the InSight Program, designed to help students succeed and focus on their career as they take courses.
  • They are reputable. The schools featured in our rankings have strong reputations and prestige. To determine a school's prestige, we examine factors like acceptance rate, admissions yield, and average earnings of graduates after six years. Kennesaw State University, for example, only accepts about half of its applicants each year, which indicates the competitive school's programs are highly sought-after.
  • They are affordable. When ranking the best cybersecurity programs, we looked for high-quality programs with affordable tuition rates. We measure affordability based on net price, the loan default rate for graduates, the percentage of students with scholarships or federal aid, and the average amount of aid awarded. Many schools offer great financial aid options for students to make their degree more affordable. At Elmhurst College, for example, 100% of students receive some form of financial aid.

#1 The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificates

Champlain College

  • Burlington, VT
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The certificates and programs at Champlain College help professionals advance their careers and pursue new opportunities. The institution features on-campus programs and 60 online programs, including a cybersecurity fundamentals undergraduate certificate.

Online learning allows students to work full time while earning their degrees. As an accredited school, the institution can distribute federal financial aid. A total of 2,301 online learners enroll at the school. Learners take core computer forensics courses and receive specialized training.

Champlain College Facts:

Certificate Programs Available: 19

Number of Certificate Programs Online: 19

Average Per-Credit Price: $329

Transfer Credits Permitted: No

The school features an undergraduate admission rate of 85% and reports a graduation rate of 65%. Champlain College is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$41,728
Out-of-state
$41,728
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
85%
Students Enrolled
4,385
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificates

St. Petersburg College

  • Clearwater, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The certificates and programs at St. Petersburg College help professionals move into new careers or advance in their current field. The cybersecurity certificate is offered by the school to accommodate students interested in topics like auditing tools and information assurance.

Learners can access the institution's student support services online and in person. Professional tutoring helps learners excel academically. The school enrolls a total of 16,980 online learners. Program coursework teaches core information in network security basics.

St. Petersburg College Fast Facts:

Total Certificate Programs Offered: 54

Total Online Certificate Programs: 15

Offers Transfer Credits: No

The school reports that 33% of students graduate. St. Petersburg College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting agency.

Average Tuition
In-state
$1,943
Out-of-state
$7,774
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
28,853
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificates

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

  • Granite Falls, MN
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Granite Falls-based Minnesota West Community and Technical College is a public school. The institution offers 23 online certificate programs, including an information security certificate.

The school’s affordability is a key factor in student enrollment. Applicants must send school transcripts for admission. The institution enrolls a total of 1,671 online students. Program curriculum teaches core information assurance topics and specialized training.

Minnesota West Community and Technical College At a Glance:

Total Certificate Programs Offered: 71

Number of Online Certificate Programs: 23

Price Per Credit: Unavailable

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

The institution reports that 45% of students graduate. Minnesota West Community and Technical College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, an independent accrediting agency.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,300
Out-of-state
$10,600
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,421
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificates

Hinds Community College

  • Raymond, MS
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Raymond-based Hinds Community College is a public institution. The cybersecurity technology certificate is offered by the school to accommodate students interested in secure information technology infrastructure.

The school offers an affordable education; admission requires students to submit school transcripts. Busy students and working adults benefit from the information assurance program's convenient format.

Hinds Community College Information:

Number of Certificate Programs Offered: 63

Number of Online Certificate Programs Offered: 11

Transfer Credits Toward Degree: No

The school reports that 33% of students graduate. Hinds Community College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,200
Out-of-state
$6,250
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
11,827
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 The Best Online Cybersecurity Certificates

Anne Arundel Community College

  • Arnold, MD
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Anne Arundel Community College offers certificates and programs that prepare graduates for new careers or advancement in their current field. The school offers on-campus programs and 12 online programs, including a cyber technology certificate.

Online learning allows degree-seekers to work full time while completing their studies. Since the institution holds accreditation, it can issue federal financial aid. Like on-campus students, online students work with advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff. The virtual classroom setting lets learners interact with faculty and peers through a distance-learning format.

Anne Arundel Community College Facts:

Total Certificate Programs Offered: 65

Number of Online Certificate Programs: 7

Awards Transfer Credits: No

The institution reports a 28% graduation rate. The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Average Tuition
In-state
$6,930
Out-of-state
$11,850
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
12,655
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cybersecurity Certificates

Is cybersecurity a good career?

Yes. Employment in the field continues to grow rapidly, making right now an ideal time to earn your credentials and start a career. Professionals in this field also earn annual salaries over $100,000.

What's the difference between a cybersecurity certificate and certification?

Certifications generally highlight a specific skill, such as certain coding languages, and are bestowed by independent companies. Schools deliver certificate programs, which offer more broad knowledge of a field.

How much does a cybersecurity program cost?

Costs for cybersecurity programs vary widely based on factors like program type, school type, and program length. They range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand or more. Some programs offer financial aid options for students.

Can you get a job in cybersecurity with a certificate?

Yes. While some employers may specifically seek candidates with degrees, others may look for applicants with specific training developed in a certificate program and relevant experience. This varies from employer to employer.

Is a certificate in cybersecurity worth it?

Yes. Graduates can enter a rapidly growing industry and establish a background to eventually pursue higher degrees. Certificates provide pathways to the job field and further education.

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