An FBI study found that between 2016 and 2017, cyberattacks in Pennsylvania increased by 25 percent. In that study, Pennsylvania ranked second worst when it came to handling cyberattacks. It was discovered that for every 100,000 people in Pennsylvania, there were 195 cyberattack victims. (Hawaii was ranked the worst among all states in terms of cyberattacks). 

It is hoped that, if this study were repeated today, the numbers would improve. Pennsylvania has invested much in improving its cybersecurity and guarding against cyberattacks, since that time. Additionally, Pennsylvania was the first state to take advantage of the Department of Homeland Security’s offer to perform a cybersecurity vulnerability assessment. Many of the voting machines in the state were replaced after this assessment, in the hopes of increasing election cybersecurity. 

Cybersecurity is still a work in progress in much of Pennsylvania, however. In 2020, it was announced that Luzerne County, PA has fallen victim to a cyberattack in May 2019 that crippled its county network and cost the county over half a million dollars. Although the county did have a cyber-risk insurance policy to cover some of the losses, they had to sustain some of the costs themselves. 

As you can see, cybersecurity is complicated and requires someone with the right education and training to understand its nuances and ever-changing technology. If you would like to work in the field of cybersecurity in Pennsylvania, you should consider getting an associate degree or certificate. 

Cybersecurity Law in Pennsylvania

On November 21, 2018, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that employers have a responsibility to protect their employees’ data from cyberattack. The case Dittman v. UPMC established that negligence is a valid cause of action when an employer breaches that responsibility, even if the damages suffered are just economic. 

Now, in case of a cyberattack, Pennsylvania employers can be sued for economic damages that result from a failure to protect employees’ sensitive personal data. The onus is upon employers to implement policies and practices to avoid cyberattack risks. Pennsylvania will most likely see an increase in cyber breach litigation due to this landmark case. 

Aim to Graduate with an Associate Degree in Cybersecurity in Pennsylvania

Cybersecurity Jobs for Grads with Associate Degrees in Pennsylvania

Entry-level positions in cybersecurity are often available to those who hold a certificate or associate degree in cybersecurity. A recent search of available jobs in Pennsylvania for those with this level of education showed the following possibilities:

  • Cyber Security Engineer – Deacom, Inc., King of Prussia
  • Security Engineer – Linode, Philadelphia
  • Security Engineer – PSCI, Wawa
  • Cyber Incident Response Analyst – QVC, West Chester
  • Security Analyst – Pencor Services, Inc., Palmerton
  • Network Security Engineer – Heimlich Group, Philadelphia
  • Security Engineer – Computer Enterprises Incorporated, Philadelphia
  • Information Security SOC Analyst II – eNGINE, Pittsburgh
  • IT Security Engineer – Beacon Hill, Devon-Berwyn
  • IT Cybersecurity Specialist – US Department of Defense, Mechanicsburg 

Pennsylvania Cybersecurity Associate Degrees

Associate degrees in cybersecurity in Pennsylvania are called many things. Some of them include:

  • Associate of Science in Computer Forensics & Digital Security 
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Specialist – Network Technology 
  • Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology – Cyber Security
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems – Networking and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Associate Degree and Certificate Programs in Pennsylvania

When seeking an associate degree or certificate program in cybersecurity, make sure that the institution in which it is contained is accredited by one of the agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

Some associate degree and certificate programs in cybersecurity are accredited at the program level. One type of programmatic accreditation that exists is through the federal government. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) and the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) programs. Certain associate degree and certificate programs are recognized as Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE). 

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Pennsylvania

CAE in CD Education (CAE-CDE) associate degree/certificate programs in Pennsylvania include:

  • Lehigh Carbon Community College – 

Associate of Science in Computer Forensics & Digital Security

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Specialist – Network Technology

Noncredit Training Course in Certified Ethical Hacker

Dept. of Computer Science & Information Technology

4525 Education Park Drive

Schnecksville, PA 18078

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

Susan Miner, Associate Professor 

(610) 799-1027; [email protected] 

Cyber Security Center

101 Community College Way

Johnstown, PA 15904

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2023

Leisa Zuccolotto, Instructor

(814) 262-6482; [email protected] 

Other Cybersecurity Associate Degree/Certificate Programs in Pennsylvania

Other cybersecurity programs to consider include:

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation (MSCHE)

107 College Drive

Butler, PA 16002

(724) 287-8711

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation (MSCHE)

Division of Business and Technology

Room B2-22

1700 Spring Garden St.

Philadelphia, PA 19130

(215) 751-8414

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation (MSCHE)

340 DeKalb Pike

Blue Bell, PA 19422

(215) 641-6300

  • West Chester University –

Certificate in Computer Security (Information Assurance) (Graduate Level) 

Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation (MSCHE)

Computer Science Department

700 South High Street

West Chester, PA 19383

(610) 436-1000

Pennsylvania Cybersecurity Associate Degree Program Courses

You will encounter courses on the same concepts and topics across associate degree cybersecurity programs in Pennsylvania, although their names may change. Examples include:

  • Computer Applications & Concepts
  • Network Technology 
  • Principles of Operating Systems
  • Intro to Cybersecurity
  • JavaScript
  • Fundamentals of Unix and Linux 
  • Windows Server Configuration
  • Computing and Network Security
  • Computer Mathematics and Logic
  • Quality Control/Quality Assurance 
  • Cyber Investigation
  • Ethical Hacking & Penetration Testing

Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates in Cybersecurity in Pennsylvania

A wide variety of certificates, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, are available in the cybersecurity realm in Pennsylvania. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Graduate Certificate in Digital Forensics (online)- DeSales University, Center Valley
  • Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity and Information Privacy Compliance (online) – Drexel University, Philadelphia
  • Professional Certificate in Information Technology Auditing and Cyber Security (graduate level) – Temple University, Philadelphia
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Security Assured Information Systems (SAIS) – University of Pittsburgh 
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Telecommunications Security – University of Pittsburgh

Cybersecurity Salaries for Professionals in Pennsylvania

The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) quotes the salary for information security analysts working in Pennsylvania as of May 2019 at $97,300. Those working in certain metropolitan areas of the state earned even higher average wages, as noted below:

  • Chambersburg/Waynesboro: $121,400
  • Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington: $101,970
  • Pittsburgh: $99,640