Alaska Cybersecurity Associate's Degree and Certificate

A rural hospital in Homer, Alaska gained notoriety in 2017 for the ways in which it handled the security of patient information. The director of South Peninsula Hospital’s Information Technology department and his staff monitor and manage user accounts, monitor installed systems and hardware, and research protective software to aid in the hospital’s cybersecurity, every day. This is important, as smaller rural hospitals are often ransomware targets and many do not have the proper training to know how to respond should such an incident occur. 

In addition, the IT department of South Peninsula Hospital is responsible for safeguarding staff information. They make sure that all new employees receive an hour of training in cybersecurity, and receive more cybersecurity training throughout their careers as well through continuing education. They emphasize the importance of training for all users, not just for information technology professionals. 

Cybersecurity was made a top priority at South Peninsula Hospital, while still making sure to provide the best care possible to patients. The small information technology team of six staff members remains dedicated to protecting the security of all users as well as of its patients.

If you would like to explore the field of information security in Alaska, getting a certificate or associate degree is a great first step. Keep reading to discover how you can set upon this path to a new career. 

Cybersecurity Law in Alaska

In 2020, Alaska’s legislature introduced a bill that would redefine “disaster.” Under the proposed bill, House Bill No. 245, which did not pass, disaster would include “a cybersecurity attack that affects critical infrastructure in the state, an information system owned or operated by the state, information that is stored on, processed by, or transmitted on an information system owned or operated by the state, or a credible threat of an imminent cybersecurity attack or cybersecurity vulnerability that the commissioner of administration or commissioner’s designee certifies to the governor has a high probability of occurring in the near future; the certification must be based on specific information that critical infrastructure in the state, an information system owned or operated by the state, or information that is stored on, processed by, or transmitted on an information system owned or operated by the state may be affected.” 

This bill was introduced into Alaska’s legislature in February 2020. Just because it has not yet passed does not mean that a later revision of the same bill might not pass the state’s legislature. IT is a step in the right direction in trying to include cybersecurity in the definition of disaster, to make cybersecurity events eligible for federal disaster monies and reimbursement should they occur. 

Alaska Jobs for Cybersecurity Associate Degree/Certificate Holders

Many entry-level cybersecurity jobs in Alaska are attainable with a certificate or associate degree. They include:

  • IT Security Analyst – Bristol Bay Shared Services, LLC, Anchorage
  • IT Security Analyst – Doyon Security Services, Fairbanks
  • Information Security Analyst III – American Express, Juneau
  • Information Security Analyst – General Dynamics Information Technology, Eielson AFB
  • Information Systems Security Officer – PassionHR, Fort Greely 
  • IT Security Analyst – BRS, Anchorage
  • Incident Response Analyst – PayPal, Juneau
  • Information Technology Security Analyst – Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc., Anchorage
  • Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Network Defense & Incident Response – Boeing, Fort Greely

Titles of Cybersecurity Associate Degrees in Alaska

Names of associate degrees within the information security field in Alaska include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer & Networking Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in IT Specialist – Network and Cybersecurity
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems Technology
  • Associate of Science in Computer Info Office Systems
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Info Office Systems

Alaska Cybersecurity Associate Degree and Certificate Programs

Any associate degree or certificate cybersecurity program that you choose, regardless of its location, should hold accreditation through an agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  Although Alaska has no programs that have been designated as the Centers of Academic Excellence Program of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), they do offer the following associate degree and/or certificate programs in cybersecurity:

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Building Technologies Division

3190 Alumni Drive

Social Sciences Building 221

Anchorage, AK 99508

(907) 786-6465

  • University of Alaska Fairbanks – 

Associate of Applied Science in IT Specialist: Network and Cybersecurity 

Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity Management

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

604 Barnette Street

Fairbanks, AK 99701

Rick McDonald, Program Coordinator

(907) 455-2934;  

Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

11066 Auke Lake Way

Juneau, AK 99801

(907) 796-6100

Alaska Cybersecurity Associate Degree Program Coursework

Courses that you will likely encounter within an associate degree cybersecurity program in Alaska include:

  • Server Operating Systems
  • Computer & Network Security
  • Professional Practices in Information Technology
  • Networking & LAN Infrastructure Basics
  • Routing & Switching Essentials
  • Intermediate Networking & LAN Infrastructure 
  • Advanced Network Infrastructure Services
  • Cybersecurity Defense & Countermeasures
  • Network Security Penetration Testing 

Certificates for Cybersecurity Professionals in Alaska 

In addition to the certificates in cybersecurity listed above, other types of certificates available to those interested in the field in Alaska include:

  • Computer Info Office Systems Certificate – University of Alaska Prince William Sound College
  • CompTIA Security+
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP)
  • CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

Cybersecurity Salaries in Alaska 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, as of May 2019 information security analysts working in Alaska averaged an annual mean wage of $97,000. Those working in Anchorage, the only metropolitan area for which statistics on wages are kept, earned a slightly higher average salary at $101,870.