Best Certificates in Cybersecurity 2022

Updated September 13, 2022

A certificate in cybersecurity can set you on the path toward a new career in computer science. Read on to learn about the benefits of the best cybersecurity certificate programs in 2022.

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Cybersecurity certificates graduates can pursue entry-level roles and promotions in the field. Learners may spend less time and money completing certificate programs than cybersecurity degrees. Certificate-seekers can also enhance their existing education with cybersecurity certificates for career advancement.

Cybersecurity dates back to the 1970s with the evolution of the first computer systems. Technological advancements in the following decades led to the creation of the internet, paving the way for cyberattacks. The industry continues to grow as cyberthreats become more prominent and sophisticated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 33% growth for information security employment from 2020-2030.

Continue reading to learn about the benefits of cybersecurity certificates. We have also included some of the best cybersecurity certificate programs in 2022 to start your search.

Why Get a Cybersecurity Certificate?

The need for cybersecurity became clear in the 1970s and 1980s as computer systems quickly advanced. With the internet, cyberattacks began to threaten computer and network security. Since the 1987 birth of the first antivirus product, the cybersecurity industry has grown exponentially. Experts project a global market worth $345.4 billion by 2026.

The need for cybersecurity professionals continues to grow. The industry requires many positions specializing in different cybersecurity areas. For example, security analysts, penetration testers, and information security officers all fall within the cybersecurity umbrella.

Additionally, these professionals work in various industries. Along with technology companies, manufacturing, healthcare, and government organizations hire cybersecurity experts.

A cybersecurity certificate can help prospective professionals pursue entry-level positions in the field. A certificate may also bridge the gap between a degree's curriculum and specific job-required skills. Like coding bootcamps, cybersecurity certificate programs can be beneficial for career advancement.

The certificate's affordability compared to a degree can make it an attractive option for some learners. Certificates may also fulfill some employers' continuing education requirements with less of a time commitment than a degree.

Career Recognition

Certificates demonstrate professionals' knowledge and skills for cybersecurity positions, whether they're entering the field or seeking promotions. While not generally required for employment, a cybersecurity certificate can help candidates stand out from their competition.

Specialized Skills

Cybersecurity degrees cover computing, security, and response topics. Some certificate programs concentrate on one focus area, like ethical hacking.

Time-Saving Education

A prospective professional can sometimes enter the field with a cybersecurity certificate. These programs generally take less time to complete than a full degree. Some certificate credits may also transfer to a degree, saving time and money when students are ready to continue their education.

What to Expect From a Cybersecurity Certificate Program

Cybersecurity certificates can help bridge gaps in industry knowledge. Entry-level professionals often pursue certificates to gain the necessary skills to begin or change careers. Certificate programs that focus on specialized skill sets can allow enrollees to pursue more advanced roles or boost their earning potential.

Many certificate programs take about one year to complete, although entry-level programs may only last a few months. Generally, enrollees should expect to complete 12-40 credit hours. Graduates may transfer their earned credits to an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree program.

Students pursuing cybersecurity certificates can expect to gain data analytics, network security, and ethical hacking skills. Some graduate-level programs also dive into legal principles and advanced threat defense tactics.

Programs are available online, on-campus, and in hybrid formats. Various delivery options, like synchronous and asynchronous classes, allow certificate-seekers to choose educational pathways that fit their needs.

Admissions Process

The cybersecurity certificate admissions process differs among schools and certificate levels. Entry-level certificate programs usually do not require prerequisite courses or experience.

However, some graduate programs feature prerequisites. These programs build on fundamental computing skills and prior knowledge of programming languages like Python and Java. Enrollees may also need work experience and other credentials.

Certificate program enrollees can expect to submit transcripts or test scores, like the GMAT or GRE. Many certificate programs, especially at the graduate level, require a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Different Certificate Types

Computer science certifications demonstrate that a candidate's knowledge and skills meet industry standards, typically by passing an exam. In contrast, a certificate program demonstrates a learner's industry-specific educational background.

Online learning perks include flexible scheduling and convenient course delivery. Online students can attend synchronous courses with their peers at scheduled times. Comparatively, asynchronous classes allow enrollees to complete coursework at their convenience.

In-person programs work best for students who prefer face-to-face learning. Certificate-seekers who desire practical experiences and self-paced coursework might prefer hybrid programs, which blend online and in-person formats.

Schools also provide certificates at different educational levels. Entry-level certificates often accept students without prior industry experience or education. Degree-holders and current professionals can pursue graduate certificates in other fields or advanced roles in their current careers.

Popular Cybersecurity Certificate Courses

Cybersecurity certificate programs cover topics like network security, programming, and incident response. These programs usually begin with introductory computing topics before transitioning to more advanced theory and principles.

Cybersecurity certificate students commonly encounter the following courses:

Ethical Hacking

This course teaches students to identify security vulnerabilities in computer systems and software. Cybersecurity professionals use these skills to improve organizations' network security.

Software Development

Improving software security requires knowledge of how to create applications. Enrollees explore development techniques that prevent software-related security issues.

Risk Management

Professionals reduce risk for organizations by identifying cybersecurity threats and providing solutions. Risk management courses guide learners to recognize and respond to common threats.

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.

How Much Do Cybersecurity Certificates Cost?

Schools usually charge a per-credit or per-course fee for cybersecurity certificate programs. Students can expect to pay $6,000-$15,000 for a cybersecurity certificate. Tuition depends on the program's length, number of courses, and education level. Rates also vary among public and private schools, in-state and out-of-state status, and online vs. in-person format.

Some programs may charge fees for books, technology, and applications. In contrast, bootcamps usually roll all costs into one price that often compares to a cybersecurity certificate's tuition.

Students can expect to pay $6,000-$15,000 for a cybersecurity certificate.

Federal financial aid may cover some certificate programs through loans and grants. Learners eligible for veterans' education benefits may apply their funds toward approved programs. Certificate-seekers should also check with prospective schools to discuss financing options, which may include monthly payments, discounts, or tuition deferment.

Cybersecurity Careers

Entry-level jobs requiring a bachelor's degree include security analysts, IT architects, and database administrators. Certificates can help learners transition to master's or doctoral degrees in cybersecurity, further enhancing their technical skills and career opportunities.

Combined with education, cybersecurity certificates can also help professionals advance to higher-level jobs, like cryptographers and chief information security officers. Explore a few potential cybersecurity careers below.

Information Security Analyst


Information security analysts monitor and secure computer systems against threats. A cybersecurity certificate or higher education can demonstrate a candidate's capabilities for advanced positions. Chief security officer jobs may require security analysts to complete further education and training.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +33%

Median Annual Salary: $103,590

IT Architect


IT architects design, create, and maintain an organization's computer and network infrastructure. Some employers may require candidates to possess certificates, certifications, or master's degrees. Employers hire these professionals in technology and telecommunications industries, along with manufacturing, healthcare, and other non-tech sectors.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +5%

Median Annual Salary: $116,780

Database Administrator


Database administrators build, maintain, and secure company databases. These experts also test and back up databases. A database administrator's cybersecurity background also helps them restore databases that have experienced intrusions.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Job Outlook (2020-30): +8%

Median Annual Salary: $98,860

Penetration Tester


Ethical hacking training allows penetration testers to safely access locked computer systems. These tests help testers find security vulnerabilities and respond with safeguarding techniques. Penetration testers receive practical experience testing applications, software, cloud computing systems, and databases.

Required Education: Bachelor's degree

Average Annual Salary: $88,140

Chief Information Security Officer


Chief information security officers oversee organizations' computer and network security operations. These executive-level professionals manage several technical departments simultaneously, including risk management and governance. Employers often seek individuals with several years of experience, master's-level education, and certifications.

Required Education: Master's degree

Average Annual Salary: $166,330

Salaries pulled December 2021

Choosing the Right Cybersecurity Certificate

The right cybersecurity certificate program can influence a student's outcomes. Specifically, certificate-seekers should consider the following factors when searching for a program:

  • Student-to-teacher ratio
  • Staff credentials
  • Class size
  • Program length
  • Program curriculum
  • Certificate objectives
  • Cost
  • Advancement and salary potential
  • Required admissions process
  • Future educational opportunities within the school

Learners should also ensure that possible programs are accredited. Employers often seek candidates from accredited institutions. While accrediting bodies do not typically endorse certificate programs, they do endorse schools.

Regional accreditation ensures that schools meet specific academic standards. Industry-specific accrediting organizations, like ABET and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity, approve cybersecurity programs within institutions.

Should You Get Your Certificate in Cybersecurity Online?

A cybersecurity online education blends flexibility with in-demand skills training. Fully online cybersecurity certificates can benefit learners with careers and personal responsibilities. While the online experience works for some students, others may prefer in-person learning. These classes allow for direct peer-to-peer and instructor interaction.

Certificate-seekers should also decide if an online program's cost, class schedules, and curriculum quality align with their schedules and goals. Additionally, students with strong self-discipline, motivation, and technology skills can excel in online programs.

Should You Pursue a Certificate, Associate Degree, or Bootcamp?

Cybersecurity certificates, associate degrees, and bootcamps have many similarities, making it challenging to decide on the best option. Knowing each program's differences can help prospective enrollees identify their ideal pathway.

An associate degree offers a general cybersecurity curriculum. In contrast, a certificate concentrates on a specific area. Meanwhile, a coding bootcamp can provide more intensive skills in a shorter time period.

The following table compares certificates, associate degrees, and bootcamps.

COMPARISON POINT CYBERSECURITY CERTIFICATES CYBERSECURITY ASSOCIATE DEGREES BOOTCAMP PROGRAMS
Program Length One year Two years A few months
Course Load 12-40 credits 60 credits Typically a few courses on specific topics like ethical hacking or network security
Types of Classes All cybersecurity-focused courses, like IT security law and network defense General curriculum courses, like writing and algebra, plus cybersecurity classes Introductory to intermediate cybersecurity courses designed to advance beginner knowledge; may also include a mix of programming and networking topics
Program Goal Target a key area of cybersecurity to fill in knowledge gaps Provide a foundational skill set to transfer to a bachelor's degree Allow learners to gain practical and technical skills to begin a cybersecurity career
Average Cost $6,000-$15,000 $18,000-$26,000 $11,000-$18,000

Other Educational Paths

Generally, earning a bachelor's or master's degree in cybersecurity can lead to higher salaries. According to Payscale, bachelor of science in cybersecurity degree-holders earn an average annual salary of $72,000 while certificate-holders earn $65,000 in December 2021.

Cybersecurity certificates can help graduates transition to advanced degrees or help professionals pursue promotions. Still, a degree may lead to more job opportunities than a certificate alone.

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Bachelor's Degrees in Cybersecurity

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Online Bachelor's in Cybersecurity

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Master's Degrees in Cybersecurity

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Online Master's in Cybersecurity

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Doctoral Degrees in Cybersecurity

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Top Five Certificates in Cybersecurity 2022

We created the following ranking after analyzing recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Explore the top five cybersecurity certificate programs for 2022 to begin or advance your security career.

1

Oconee Fall Line Technical College

Oconee Fall Line Technical College began in 2010 after Heart of Georgia Technical College and Sandersville Technical College merged. OFTC now offers students two campuses, one in Dublin and another in Sandersville. The institution also provides instructional centers and extension campuses throughout Georgia.

Cybersecurity Technical Certificate

OFTC's cybersecurity technical certificate program includes seven classes, totaling 26 credit hours. This comprehensive certificate combines elements from OFTC's other cybersecurity certificate programs, helping to prepare graduates for work as computer forensic technicians. The courses cover information security basics, network defense, and operating systems security implementation. Students also learn about legal issues surrounding personal and network security.

The courses combine theory and practical work. Enrollees complete lab exercises, create information security policies, analyze computer network activity, and practice investigative skills. The final class on ethical hacking and penetration testing covers critical skills cybersecurity specialists need. Students gain hands-on experience with port scanning, cryptography, footprinting, and hacking wireless networks.

Applying to OFTC

OFTC requires a GED certificate or high school transcripts. If applicable, students must also submit college transcripts. Candidates must pay a $25 fee to complete the online application. OFTC accepts SAT, PSAT, ACT, PACT, Compass, and ACCUPLACER scores but does not require them.

Program at a Glance

    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
    • Tuition: $2,762
    • Program Length: 2 semesters
    • Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous); On campus
    • Percentage Awarded Loans: 0%
2

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

GNTC has offered various technical programs with a student-oriented learning approach since 2009. The college partners with local businesses and adapts programs to ensure graduates possess in-demand skills.

Cybersecurity Fundamentals Technical Certificate of Credit

GNTC offers the cybersecurity fundamentals certificate exclusively at the Catoosa County campus. The curriculum includes 18 credit hours, covering computer concepts, hardware maintenance, information security overview, and security policies.

The courses include knowledge and practical components, allowing students to participate in labs and develop projects. The hardware installation and maintenance class also equips students with CompTIA A+ certification exam skills.

Enrollees can choose between two final courses on network fundamentals. One prepares students for CompTIA's Network+ certification exam, and the other prioritizes Cisco networking. Graduates may continue their cybersecurity education with a GNTC diploma or associate degree program.

Applying to GNTC

Individuals must fill out an application, pay the $25 fee, and provide any high school or college transcripts or a GED certificate. Students can take the ACCUPLACER test or submit scores from exams like the SAT and ACT. Applicants must attend orientation.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $100/credit
  • Program Length: Varies
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 7%
3

Ogeechee Technical College

Ogeechee Technical College began with only 25 nursing students in 1986. Almost 40 years later, this Statesboro, Georgia school has over 2,900 enrollees. The college offers numerous programs and workforce training to meet local industry demands.

Cybersecurity Certificate

Ogeechee Tech's cybersecurity programs help prepare enrollees for work as computer system analysts and information security analysts. Cybersecurity certificate students must complete seven courses -- or 26 credits -- to graduate. Topics include information security fundamentals, network defense, and computer forensics.

Classes typically combine general instruction and hands-on experience. Students start with a foundation course that reviews information security history, development, and legal concerns. Subsequent classes provide practical experience in systems security implementation, secure data evaluation, and firewall configuration.

The certificate curriculum includes an ethical hacking course. Students learn how to hack wireless networks and web servers and gain experience in identifying vulnerabilities.

Applying to Ogeechee Tech

Ogeechee Tech has minimum scores for various assessments. For example, cybersecurity certificate applicants who take the Accuplacer need a 55 in reading, 60 in writing, and 34 in math. Students also must submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate, a $25 fee, an application, in-state residency proof, and US lawful presence validation.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • Tuition: $2,970
  • Program Length: 2 semesters
  • Delivery Format: On campus
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 0%
4

Lincoln Trail College

As part of Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Lincoln Trail College strives to provide outstanding yet affordable education. LTC has trained professionals in various industries since 1969. The small campus in Robinson, Illinois, provides students with a personalized education.

Computer Security and Forensics

LTC's computer security and forensics certificate offers a comprehensive curriculum to provide students with analytical, investigative, and reporting skills.

The first semester includes a computer fundamentals course that helps prepare students for the CompTIA IT fundamentals certification and careers as systems support specialists. The criminal investigations class gives a broad look at general investigatory procedures, while the computer ethics course covers legal topics in system networks. Enrollees also take a technical math class to learn concepts applicable to cybersecurity.

The second semester focuses more on computing classes. The foundational courses cover productivity software, networking technologies, and wireless network management. In the computer forensics class, enrollees learn to complete an investigative report.

Applying to LTC

Candidates must complete an application and present high school transcripts or a GED certificate. If applicable, students must submit college transcripts, a physical exam, and a background check. LTC also requests scores from standardized tests like the SAT, Accuplacer, and ACT.

Program at a Glance

    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
    • Tuition: $100-$342/credit
    • Program Length: 2 semesters
    • Delivery Format: On campus
    • Percentage Awarded Loans: 14%
5

Rend Lake College

Rend Lake College has served Ina, Illinois, and surrounding communities since 1966. RLC incorporates four learning objectives in every program: oral communication, written communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Cybersecurity Specialist

RLC's cybersecurity specialist certificate includes seven required courses, totaling 25 credits. Each class combines hands-on experience with theory and lab components.

This occupational certificate helps prepare students to become cybersecurity specialists and take various certification exams. The first hardware and operating systems course covers topics on the CompTIA A+ exam. The network security class includes elements from the CompTIA security and professional exam. Likewise, the Windows courses prepare enrollees for the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate certification.

Before completing the information security fundamentals course in the first semester, students must complete a criminal background check. The course covers data retrieval, documentation, computer forensic tools, and evidence analysis. Students also need a background check before handling system attacks in the network security firewalls and VPNs course.

Applying to RLC

Prospective students must fill out an online form and submit high school or college transcripts or a GED certificate. RLC offers placement assessment tests, but students can present scores from standardized exams like the SAT and ACT.

Program at a Glance

  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition: $2,750
  • Program Length: 3 semesters
  • Delivery Format: On campus (some online and hybrid courses)
  • Percentage Awarded Loans: 0%

Cybersecurity Certificate Questions

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a STEM field that prevents security vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks. Cybersecurity professionals plan, build, and test organizations' systems to protect against future threats and intrusions.

Is a cybersecurity certificate worth it?

Yes, depending on your goals. A cybersecurity certificate can help candidates transition to higher degree levels. It can also lead to career advancement and higher salaries by delivering specialized knowledge in the field.

Can you get a job with a cybersecurity certificate?

Some employers may hire certificate-holders who do not possess degrees, especially if the candidate has prior cybersecurity experience. Graduate-level certificates can also lead to advanced opportunities and higher salaries. Undergraduate certificates allow candidates to pursue entry-level jobs.

Is a cybersecurity certificate hard?

Cybersecurity certificates may cover advanced topics that build on current computing knowledge. However, these programs do not include general subjects, like math and writing.

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