Your Guide to Selecting a School for a Cybersecurity Degree in Ohio

Cybersecurity degrees

Thanks to the diversity of its economy and its status as a hub for science and technology, Ohio is still a center for industry decades after the Rust Belt years. The majority of the state’s biggest employers are health care providers or colleges. The government hires the third-largest number of people in Ohio.

Government and healthcare providers are among the most common targets for cybercriminals, as Ohioans have discovered.

Over the past few years, Ohio’s state government has taken the cybersecurity danger very seriously. The laws and other policies in place attest to this. The following are a few of them. Ohio’s stated aim is to encourage cybersecurity preparedness for all Ohioans while also fostering a favorable climate for the cybersecurity industry. This involves ensuring that aspiring information security practitioners have access to a variety of educational opportunities.

Government legislation surrounding cybersecurity in Ohio

The state of Ohio released CyberOhio in September 2016. CyberOhio is a series of programs aimed at providing technical solutions and support to Ohio businesses in order to improve the protection of their data.

In 2017, then-Ohio Governor John Kasich demanded, and the Ohio National Guard agreed, the formation of a cybercrime alliance between public, private, military, and educational organizations.

The goal of the Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee (OC3), which has over 120 members, is to foster the creation of stronger cybersecurity infrastructure and workforce. One of OC3’s main objectives is to create initiatives that will increase the number of new cybersecurity practitioners qualified through certifications and degrees.

The Ohio Cyber Range Institute, a collaboration between Ohio’s Department of Higher Education and the Adjutant General’s Department, is one of the results of this collaboration. The aim was to use state tools to help students improve their cybersecurity skills by simulating real-world cyber attacks in a simulated environment.

On November 2, 2018, Ohio enacted a cybersecurity law that was hailed as ground-breaking by many. The “Data Security Act” establishes a presumption of protection against litigation claiming damages as a result of malicious business hacking. The legislation protects Ohio businesses from damage lawsuits resulting from data breaches as long as their cybersecurity activities fairly adhere to industry-endorsed information security frameworks.

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A bill aimed at insurance companies’ information management policies went into force on March 20, 2019. The legislation defines cybersecurity standards that all insurance firms doing business in Ohio must adhere to. The aim is to improve the insurance industry’s preparedness while also protecting the personal details of Ohio residents and businesses that these companies store. It is only the second state, following South Carolina, to pass such legislation.

Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation creating a new unit charged with responding to cyberattacks on the state’s several local governments on October 25, 2019. This cyber reserve force will operate in the same capacity as the National Guard, responding to emergencies as required. The power, however, will be made up of private citizens.

Cybersecurity education in Ohio

The state of Ohio has clearly attempted to encourage the advancement of top education options for the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, as shown above. Despite these efforts, the state’s higher education institutions have been remarkably quiet in establishing cybersecurity credential and degree programs. To be sure, there are some excellent training services available to assist professionals in starting and progressing their careers in information security. Still, in a state the size of Ohio, with so many excellent colleges and universities, one would expect a much larger number of programs to be available. More cybersecurity education opportunities are expected to become available soon.

ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE

The area of cybersecurity encompasses a wide range of functions that are needed to provide adequate protection against hacking. Many of these positions now necessitate bachelor’s degrees, and an increasing number of information security jobs necessitate master’s degrees. However, due to a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity experts, there are still plenty of entry-level jobs available, with employers willing to recruit someone with only an associate’s degree. Associate’s degree programs in cybersecurity usually take one to two years to complete, making them more accessible to those on tight budgets or with limited time to devote to education.

New practitioners may get their start by earning an advanced associate’s degree in either a general study of information security or a specific specialization. Once a career has been developed, we recommend returning to school to earn a cybersecurity bachelor’s degree, or even a master’s degree if time and resources allow. In a labor-scarce job market like cybersecurity, both degrees would be highly valued.

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Campus-based associate’s degrees in Ohio

Six options for obtaining an associate’s degree in cybersecurity via a campus-based format are currently available in Ohio. The table below summarises these six options.

Cybersecurity Associate’s Programs in Ohio

 

School City Program Website
Clark State Community College Springfield Associate of Applied Science in CyberSecurity / Information Assurance
James A Rhodes State College Lima Associate of Applied Science in Network Security
Sinclair Community College Dayton Secure System Administration – Associate of Applied Science
South State Community College Hillsboro AA in Cyber Security & Forensics
Terra State Community College Fremont Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems – Cyber Defense
Terra State Community College Fremont Associate of Applied Science in Systems and Networking Support – Cyber Defense

 

Online associate’s degrees in Ohio

Students seeking an associate’s degree in information security can now choose from three different online programs offered by Ohio educational institutions. For more details, see the section below.

Cybersecurity Online Associate’s Programs in Ohio

 

School City Program Website
Franklin University Columbus A.S. Cybersecurity
National University Roanoke Associate of Science in CyberSecurity
Valley College Cleveland Cybersecurity Associate’s Degree
Cincinnati State Cincinnati Computer Network Engineering Technology – Cyber-Security Major (NETCCS)

 

BACHELOR’S DEGREE

The cybersecurity job market is extremely high, which means that more opportunities are being generated than there are available cybersecurity professionals to fill them. Employers in search of trained information security applicants must often make compromises and hire people that aren’t as skilled or have the specific education they desire. Many cybersecurity positions are filled by people with bachelor’s degrees in non-cyber security fields.

Many employers consider STEM majors to be sufficient. There is no replacement for a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity for those who have yet to select a field of study but are certain cybersecurity is right for them. When it comes to landing an entry-level job, getting a major or concentration in any area of information security can give you an edge over other technology majors.

Campus-based bachelor’s degrees in Ohio

Surprisingly, only one school offers campus-based bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity in a state like Ohio, where training new cybersecurity professionals is a specified priority. From its main campus in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University offers two different bachelor’s degrees. One is a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering (BS-CSE) with an Information and Computation Assurance specialization. A Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science (BS-CIS) with a specialization in Information and Computation Assurance is the second choice. The BS-CSE differs from the other programs in that it includes more math, science, and engineering. More general education courses, including a foreign language, are required for the BS-CIS.

CYBERSECURITY BACHELOR’S PROGRAMS IN OHIO

 

School City Program Website
Kent State University Kent Bachelor Of Science In Cybersecurity Engineering
Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus Bachelors of Science in Computer Science and Engineering (BS CSE) – Information and Computation Assurance
Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus Bachelors of Science with a major in Computer and Information Science (BS CIS) – Information and Computation Assurance
Ohio State University-Main Campus Columbus Information Security Minor
Franklin University Columbus B.S. Cybersecurity
Valley College Cleveland Cybersecurity Bachelor’s Degree

 

Two cybersecurity bachelor’s degree programs are currently available in online formats at Ohio colleges and universities. Valley College offers a 31-month online Cybersecurity Bachelor’s degree, and Franklin University offers a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity.

MASTER’S DEGREE

The demand for professionals with advanced education, especially master’s degrees, is rapidly growing as the field of cybersecurity continues to expand and evolve. A specialized master’s degree in cybersecurity is needed for information security veterans interested in returning to academia as a professor, research positions, or even cybersecurity consulting. A master’s degree is also well worth the time for those destined for management-level information security positions, especially c-suite corporate positions such as Chief Information Security Officer.

Campus-based master’s degrees in Ohio

There are currently only two master’s degree programs in cybersecurity offered by Ohio colleges and universities. Both are campus-based programs; there are currently no online options. Via its College of Engineering and Computer Science, Wright State University offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity program. The Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management offers a Master of Science in Cybersecurity Operations.

An online master’s program in legal studies in cybersecurity and data privacy is offered by Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.

CERTIFICATIONS

There are many types of cybersecurity certifications. Different services are created with different goals in mind and for different audiences. Certifications are available to meet the needs of those involved in cybersecurity. Introductory certifications are available for those who simply want to get some experience to see if it’s the right profession for them. Basic cybersecurity certification courses are available for students who want to get a head start on their careers or gain an advantage in the job market. Specialty certifications, such as penetration testing, will help information security practitioners who are already well into their careers advance their skills and expertise. Also, information security professionals with little time that choose to add a master’s degree to their resume may find cybersecurity master’s degree certifications that can be completed in far less time. Any of these types of cybersecurity certification programs can be extremely beneficial to those who put in the effort to complete them.

Campus-based cybersecurity certifications in Ohio

Two Ohio schools also offer certification programs with a focus on information security. Network Engineering Security Associate, Information Systems Security, and Linux Security and Network Essentials are three different cybersecurity “short-term” professional certification programs offered by Sinclair Community College. Foundations of Cybersecurity is an undergraduate program offered by the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.

Online cybersecurity certifications in Ohio

At the moment, Ohio schools only offer one cybersecurity certification program that is available online. The Cybersecurity Analytics Certificate is a graduate-level program offered by Wright State University.

Cybersecurity Jobs in Ohio

According to Cyberseek, Ohio hired 26,975 cybersecurity professionals in the 12 months ending in September 2019. During the same time span, Ohio employers advertised 13,749 new information security positions. In Ohio, four metropolitan areas accounted for a large portion of the market for information security professionals. Employers in the Columbus area posted 5,130 new information security positions, followed by Cincinnati (2,699), Cleveland (2,474), and Dayton (2,474). (1,559).

Ohioans as a whole have a lower cost of living than the national average, by around 17.5 percent. Security analyst annual pay scales in Ohio only slightly reflected this lower standard of living. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage was $45.08 and the average annual income was $93,770, which was just marginally lower than national averages. Also, the most expensive city in Ohio, Columbus, has a cost of living that is almost 10% lower than the national average.

Cybersecurity in Ohio

Ohio has been the target of a number of successful cyber attacks. And the state legislature has responded with a slew of new laws and policies aimed at safeguarding the government, corporations, and people from potential cyberattacks. Among these programs are efforts to expand and strengthen the state’s cybersecurity workforce through educational opportunities. However, these prospects have not yet materialized in the numbers that one would predict.

The good news for cybersecurity practitioners is that the state’s trained information security workforce is more likely to remain understaffed. For those who are already employed in the industry or are about to start, this means even more job security and better pay. So, if Ohio is a desirable place to live, take advantage of the educational opportunities available and benefit from the demand for cybersecurity professionals. As a result of this demand, average cybersecurity salaries in Ohio are substantially higher than the state’s relative standard of living would suggest. And the disparity is only going to widen in the future.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.