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Best Cyber Security Programs in Florida for 2024: Online & On-Campus

Florida’s best cyber security programs offer flexible and affordable academic options that prepare students to meet the growing demands of an expanding workforce. See which schools top our list.

Author: James Mielke
Editor: STEPS Staff
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If you’re interested in a rapidly growing field with higher-than-average salaries, look no further than cyber security in Florida. While jobs for information security analysts are projected to grow by 32% nationally, workers in Florida can expect jobs to expand by as much as 52% with over 1,000 annual job openings.

But how do you develop the skills necessary to tap into this rapidly growing employment market? The Sunshine State is home to a long list of cyber security degrees. From associate degrees to online PhD programs, schools in Florida are ready to meet the demands of the job market and offer flexible and affordable cyber security programs at every academic level.

On this page, we spotlight standout online and on-campus cyber security programs. Read on to see the schools we’ve selected, and how a quality program can help you jumpstart a cyber security career.

Best Colleges to Earn a Cyber Security Degree in Florida: Campus-Based Programs

Finding the cyber security program that aligns with your academic goals, professional dreams, and educational needs is vital. In the following section, we identify some of Florida’s standout cyber security programs, identifying schools that prioritize affordability, accreditation, and robust student support services.

Keep reading to see which schools top our list. Additionally, stay tuned for a more comprehensive ranking later in 2024 when we dive deeper into Florida’s diverse list of cyber security programs.

Based in Pensacola, the University of West Florida is home to one of the state’s best in-person bachelor’s in cyber security programs. This interdisciplinary program leans on a forward-looking curriculum and state-of-the-art facilities to train the next generation of cyber security professionals. This ABET-accredited program prepares graduates to tackle diverse roles as information systems security professionals and system administrators.

Throughout this 120-credit, in-person bachelor’s program, students complete a blend of core classes, electives, and general education courses. Core classes include vital topics such as malware analysis, introduction to database security, cyber war gaming, and introduction to cyber security. Before graduation, students commonly tackle an internship to gain vital hands-on training in a professional setting.

The University of West Florida also offers two fully online cyber security certificates (see below). Interested cyber security students can apply online and must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. Applicants must include official transcripts, and the required SAT/ACT scores.

Delivery:

  • Online
  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BS in Cyber Security
  • Cyber Security Certificate
  • Cyber Technologies Certificate

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security
  • Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security

Established in 1963, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is a public research institution that serves over 60,000 students. Home to standout online and in-person programs, UCF offers a quality in-person master’s in cyber security and privacy. This 30-credit program supplies students with two unique academic pathways: a technical track and an interdisciplinary track.

Throughout this 30-credit master’s program, students tackle required courses such as advanced software systems security, cyber operations, and foundations of computer security and privacy. In-person learners can choose between a thesis or non-thesis track, with non-thesis students completing additional coursework in lieu of an extensive research project.

Prospective students typically have degrees in fields like computer science, computer engineering, or information technology. Applicants with a strong undergraduate record are free to apply but must complete prerequisites in computer science and computer security.

Delivery:

  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security and Privacy

Based in Tampa and founded in 1956, the University of South Florida (USF) is a public research institution with a total enrollment of nearly 15,000. Among this school’s standout academic options is a bachelor’s in cyber security that both introduces the field while leaning on a solid computer science foundation. As a result, students gain a holistic education that prepares them for varying careers in diverse fields.

Throughout this 120-credit in-person bachelor’s degree, students complete a blend of major, elective, and general education classes. Core coursework includes topics such as foundations of cyber security, advanced program design for IT, human aspects of cyber security, penetration testing, IT risk management, and information policy and ethics. Before graduation, students complete a senior IT project as a degree-culminating capstone experience.

Freshman applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED. In addition to GPA and standardized test scores, USF takes a holistic approach to admissions, considering the strength of curriculum, character, and extracurricular activities. USF does not require an essay for admission.

Delivery:

  • On-Campus
  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BS in Cyber Security

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security Intelligence and Information Security
  • MS in Cyber Security

Top Online Cyber Security Degree Programs in Florida

For many students, the flexibility and affordability of an online program allow them to earn their degree while keeping up with the responsibilities of work and home. Additionally, tech-savvy students might feel right at home working in a virtual format. Florida is home to a long list of online cyber security degree options.

The best online cyber security programs in Florida are also more diverse than you may think. Some require in-person attendance, while others are entirely online, allowing you to complete coursework on your own time and at your own pace. Like the campus-based programs, watch this space to review our comprehensive list of standout online cyber security programs later in 2024.

Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, St. Petersburg College is a public institution that’s home to a long list of associate degree and bachelor’s programs. Among the school’s standout degrees is a bachelor’s in cyber security that students can complete online. As students work through this flexible and affordable online option, they can gain high-level industry certification.

Throughout this 120-credit online program, students gain the theoretical and practical skills necessary to jumpstart a cyber security career. Core requirements include classes such as operating system security, ethical hacking, network security foundations, and laws and legal aspects of IT security. Before graduation, students also complete a degree-culminating capstone.

Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, applicants must hold an associate degree in a related field, including an AS in cyber security.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • AS in Cyber Security
  • Certificate in Cyber Security
  • BAS in Cyber Security

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online

Established in 1963 as part of the State University System of Florida (UWF), the University of West Florida is a public institution that’s home to a standout online master’s in cyber security. Taking only two years to complete, this program emphasizes vital hands-on learning through real-world simulations.

In this 30-credit online master’s, students complete a blend of core requirements and specialization courses. Core classes include topics such as computing and programming essentials, cybersecurity principles, and legal aspects of cyber security. Students can choose from various specialization areas, including data security, national security, and security management.

Prospective students can apply online and must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. In addition to a complete application, interested degree-seekers must include a letter of intent, official transcripts, and a resume outlining related work experience.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BS in Cyber Security

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online

Specializations Offered:

  • Data Security
  • National Security
  • Security Management
  • Software and System Security

Established in 1964, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a private institution that serves over 20,000 students. Based in the Miami metro area, NSU offers a deep roster of in-person and distance learning options, including a standout hybrid PhD in cyber security management. For both future cyber security leaders and college professors, this program prioritizes cutting-edge research in areas like cyber security policy, security architecture, and risk assessment and management.

Students enrolling with a bachelor’s degree encounter a 66-credit program where they complete coursework both online and at the school’s Fort Lauderdale campus. PhD degree-seekers complete courses such as ethics in computing, human-computer interaction, fundamentals of cyber security, and information system auditing. Before graduating, PhD students complete a dissertation that adds new and unique research to the field.

Prospective students with a bachelor’s degree must hold a minimum 3.2 undergraduate GPA and show they have taken courses in areas like programming and statistics.

Undergraduate Programs:

  • BS in Cyber Security

Graduate Programs:

  • MS in Cyber Security
  • PhD in Cyber Security

Program Options:

  • Part-Time
  • Full-Time
  • Fully-Online
  • Partially-Online

Types of Cyber Security Degrees You Can Earn in Florida

In the Sunshine State, future cyber security professionals can access a diverse catalog of programs at every academic level. Whether you prefer online or campus-based programs, Florida is home to many degree options that align with any student’s educational needs and academic and career goals. Keep reading as we spotlight the various types of cyber security degrees provided in the state.

Undergraduate Cyber Security Degrees in Florida

Associate Degrees in Cyber Security

An associate degree in cyber security offers students the foundational knowledge necessary to jumpstart their careers. Students gain skills in areas like digital forensics, network security, and computer systems while also completing various general education requirements. An associate degree is also an affordable way to complete requirements before transferring to a four-year institution.

Accredited Florida Colleges with an Associate Degree in Cyber Security

Bachelor’s Degrees in Cyber Security

Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cyber security experience comprehensive education, introducing vital areas like network security and cyber defense. Graduates with a bachelor’s in cyber security can choose various careers, including information security analysts in public and private sectors. Full-time students can graduate in about four years.

Accredited Florida Colleges with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cyber Security

Graduate Cyber Security Degrees in Florida

Master’s Degrees in Cyber Security

For bachelor’s grads wanting to expand their career options, a master’s in cyber security offers sophisticated skills and advanced knowledge to take on leadership roles in various fields. Students often tackle specializations in areas like machine learning, biometrics, advanced data mining, cryptography, and data privacy and security.

Accredited Florida Colleges with a Master’s Degree in Cyber Security

Cyber Security PhD Programs

Whether you’re interested in teaching at the college level or enhancing career options and earning potential, a cyber security PhD program introduces innovations in the field. Students can expect to specialize in areas spanning from secure cloud computing to global strategy and operations. Graduates have the practical skills and deep theoretical knowledge to become leaders in the cyber security field.

Accredited Florida Colleges with this Cyber Security PhD Programs

Graduate Certificates

For students wanting to develop cyber security skills in a relatively short time, a graduate certificate is a flexible and affordable way to enhance both skills and career options. Students gain specialized skills in areas like digital forensics and cloud security without committing to the academic timeline and financial investment of a full graduate degree.

Accredited Florida Colleges with Cyber Security Certificate Programs

Paying for Your Cyber Security Degree in Florida

As you apply for your cyber security program in Florida, you can submit the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The results not only show your eligibility for federal aid, but schools also use this information to determine your eligibility for institutional financial aid opportunities.

Additionally, schools like the University of West Florida and Florida International University offer links to federal programs aimed at bolstering the workforce with talented cyber security graduates. Be sure to check out our financial aid and scholarships guide to learn about other ways to fund your cyber security degree.

Salary and Growth for Cyber Security Grads in Florida

For cyber security grads, national and state employment and salary data point to a field that is both lucrative and growing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, information security analysts earn a median salary of $112,000 and can expect their field to grow by as much as 32% over the next decade.

Additionally, Florida-based information security analysts can anticipate an average annual salary of over $106,000 and a projected job growth of 52% between 2020 and 2030. Keep reading as we highlight job growth and wage data for various roles common for cyber security graduates.

Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings
(2020-2030)
Annual Mean Wage
(2022/2023)
Information Security Analyst52%1,080$106,440
Computer and Information Research Scientist36%150$114,590
Computer and Information Systems Manager27%2,320$145,000
Computer Network Architect25%720$110,100
Computer Programmer6%630$87,430

Sources: Projections Central;Bureau of Labor Statistics

Florida Cyber Security Professional and Student Resources

  • Cyber Florida
    Cyber Florida is a state-funded initiative offering awareness and training for public sector workers in the state. Operated through the University of South Florida, workers have access to various training, events, outreach, and funding opportunities.
  • Florida Cyber Range
    Offered in partnership with the University of West Florida Center for Cybersecurity, Florida Cyber Range is a cutting-edge platform facilitating cyber security research, education, and training.
  • Cyber Student Intern Program
    The Cyber Student Intern Program offers current degree-seekers the opportunity to work alongside cyber pros from the US Department of Homeland Security. Students gain hands-on experience in technical areas spanning from digital forensics to network diagnostics.
  • National Cybersecurity Student Association
    The National Cybersecurity Student Association is the leading group for cyber security students in the United States. This network offers students career opportunities, extracurricular activities, and mentoring.
  • (ICS)2 Central Florida Chapter
    This Florida chapter of the (ISC)2 professional association provides students and professionals with various events, training and workshops, and networking. This group also promotes mentorships, professional development, and scholarship opportunities.