What is an MBA in Information Security?
As big data becomes more and more important, professionals who can reliably protect that data have become more valuable. With an online MBA in information security, you can be that professional. The BLS projects the information security field to grow by 18% through 2024.
The BLS projects the information security field to grow by 18% through 2024.
An online MBA in information security will teach you how to protect and administer your company’s network. While there isn’t a drastic difference between entry-level pay for professionals with a bachelor’s degree and those with an MBA, the gulf widens over time, as you can see in the table below.
Comparison of Information Security Master’s Degrees
There are a variety of master’s degrees in information technology. Earning an MBA in information security online prepares students for careers in network security, while related programs train students for careers in adjacent fields. The table below breaks down a few common degrees related to information security.
|Degree||Description||Average Salary (1-4 years experience)||Length|
|Master’s Degree in Information Technology Management||The master’s degree in information technology management prepares IT professionals to manage complex IT networks. This degree is a great opportunity for IT professionals with prior experience to advance to management positions.||$70,000||18 Months–2 Years|
|Master’s Degree in Computer Science (CS) & Engineering||Unlike an IT or network security-specific program, the master’s degree in CS and engineering provides a broad foundation in computer science theory, including programming, computer systems, and artificial intelligence. This degree helps working professionals advance their careers.||$65,000||2–2.5 Years|
|Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Information Security||The MBA in information security teaches both a broad business foundation and specific network security and IT skills, which is ideal for helping IT professionals transition to the business side. This degree prepares graduates to lead company teams in information security endeavors.||$60,000||2 Years|
Graduates of an information security MBA online program acquire an advanced skill set in network security and IT. Though programs differ in teaching methods and coursework, they all impart core competencies. Below, we’ve listed a few sample classes that you’ll find in most MBA in IT curriculums.
|Course||Competencies Developed||Occupational Skill Level|
|IT Security & Infrastructure||Design and improve security of complex networks and IT systems.||
TITLE: Security Consultant
SALARY: growth of 8%
|Security Risk Management||Create firewalls and other security mechanisms. Proactively prepare for security breaches.||
TITLE: Information Security Engineer
SALARY: growth of 1%
|Security Testing and Auditing||Test, implement, and audit new technologies to protect networks.||
TITLE: Information Security Analyst
SALARY: growth of 4%
MBA in information security online graduates work in a wide range of positions within the field. Below, we’ve broken down a few popular career options.
|Information Security Engineer||Median Salary: $91,524|
||Information security engineers design and manage security protocols that ensure the safety and integrity of a company’s data. Engineers may travel between a company’s locations or work from home.|
|Information Security Analyst||Median Salary: $70,126|
||Information security analysts research, gather data, and create strategies to protect data and maximize productivity. They also respond to breaches and provide customer service. Analysts generally work in an office.|
|Security Operations Center Analyst||Median Salary: $67,500|
||Security operations center analysts work from a security center to create protocols and manage the protection of a company’s data. They also respond to breaches in a company’s network.|
|Rank||School||Location||Cost||Toggle||Logo||Tuition||% Receiving Financial Aid||Student Population||School Type||Description|
|Location Bellevue, NE||Tuition||Tuition $20,340||% Receiving Financial Aid 44%||Student Population 9,760||School Type Private||
Fort Hays State University
|Location Hays, KS||Tuition||Tuition $13,600||% Receiving Financial Aid 41%||Student Population 14,210||School Type Public||
James Madison University
|Location Harrisonburg, VA||Tuition||Tuition $37,800||% Receiving Financial Aid 38%||Student Population 21,227||School Type Public||
ConcentrationsVisit School Website
Oklahoma State University
|Location Stillwater, OK||Tuition||Tuition $19,908||% Receiving Financial Aid 42%||Student Population 25,930||School Type Public||
Saint Leo University
|Location Saint Leo, FL||Tuition||Tuition $25,920||% Receiving Financial Aid 60%||Student Population 15,800||School Type Private||
If you’ve decided that an MBA in Information Security is right for you, then it is time to start narrowing down the list of schools you are interested in. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through this process.
Search for schools in your area
Even though you are looking for online programs, it can be helpful to choose a school within 100 miles of your home. Online students often report that they enjoy being able to visit campus. In addition, schools often partner with local businesses, meaning a school in your area can help you find a job close to home.
Compare student outcomes data
Many schools provide this information on their website; however, if you can’t find it, contact the school and ask for it. This data should include graduation rates, employment rates, and the compensation levels of recent graduates. When viewed side-by-side, this information provides a glimpse at program quality.
Estimate the expected costs of your programs
Prospective students often underestimate the total cost of their program. Multiply the total number of credit hours you will need to graduate by cost per credit hour. Do not forget to include the cost of supplies, internet, and factor in the time you will not spend earning an income. Also compare financial aid options; different schools may offer better financial aid packages or scholarships that can offset the cost of education.
Check that classes will fit in with your schedule
One of the central benefits of online education is flexibility. However, some programs require set meeting times, synchronous workshops, and mandatory campus visits. Be aware of all time commitments, and be sure they fit into your current schedule.
Look for partnerships with local businesses
The main objective of getting your MBA in Information Security is to find a secure job with a healthy salary in a field you enjoy. To that end, attending school that is well connected with local businesses can be a fantastic leg up upon graduation. Many of these partners will offer internships to students that can lead to full-time employment or provide the network and experience you need to get a job elsewhere.
Make sure the program is accredited
Accreditation is the formal review process that ensures a school is offering a reputable program adhering to minimum academic standards. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the national agency that accredits for undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs in business and accounting. By checking a program’s status with the AACSB, you can be confident you are receiving a recognized, quality degree. Employers generally will not hire job candidates who possess a degree from a school that is not accredited, and schools will not accept academic credentials from an unaccredited program.
Talk to current students and/or recent alumni
One of the best resources when it comes to making a final decision on an online MBA in Information Security program is actual students and graduates. They can give you an unbiased, real-world take on how the program has served them, what they have liked, and what they have disliked. Ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with a current student or recent alumni. Alternatively, use LinkedIn or Facebook to find and reach out to people.
While an online MBA in information security increases a professional’s skill set and employability, certain positions in IT require additional proof of competency. This proof comes in the form of certificates, which can be earned through extra coursework and by passing an exam. Below are two industry-standard certificates.
|Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®)||The CISSP is issued to professionals who have demonstrated exceptional competency in network security. The certificate is ideal for security analysts, security consultants, security managers, and IT managers.|
|Certified CISO (CCISO)||The CCISO is issued to elite security executives and is ideal for those pursuing security management roles.|
- Careers to Fit Your MBA
- The History of Accreditation
- Studying at Your Own Pace
- Working as an MBA Degree Holder
A variety of scholarships are available to those pursuing graduate degrees in information security fields. Some are merit-based, while others have prerequisites, such as chapter membership. Many scholarships are awarded to underrepresented groups in the field, such as women or ethnic minorities. Below, we’ve highlighted a few prominent options for financing your online MBA in information security.