Montana Cybersecurity Certificate and Associate's Degree

Pine Cove Consulting publishes an annual report on data breaches in Montana each year. The 2019 report was just published, and the findings indicate that a record number of organizations were the victims of cyber breaches that year, affecting Montana residents in the hundreds of thousands. In 2019, according to the report, 233,485 Montanans were affected by a data breach. The average number of days that an organization in Montana suffered from a cyberattack in 2019 was 116 days. In 2019, there was a 24.8 percent increase in successful cyberattacks against organizations in comparison to 2018. A total of 514 organizations in Montana were victims of cyberattacks in 2019. The largest of these cyberattacks occurred in Kalispell, in which 126,805 Montanans were affected by the data breach. 

These figures should be very disturbing to those who are concerned with privacy and security of information and data. Despite having stringent laws, Montana cannot escape the wrath of cyber villains who attack when it is least expected. All that Montanans and the state government can do is be better prepared for such attacks.

If you think that working in the field of information security in Montana sounds exciting,  your first step towards achieving that goal should be to obtain an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity. Keep reading to discover how you can set upon the path to do so and accomplish your dream. 

Cybersecurity Law in Montana

Montana Code Annotated sets forth the obligations a business must fulfill if a Montana resident’s personal information becomes compromised, under Montana law. A breach of the security of a data system is any unauthorized acquisition of computerized data that compromises the confidentiality, security or integrity of personal information a business maintains, and causes, or can cause, injury or loss to a Montana resident. Businesses must notify both the consumer and the state government if even one resident is affected. The Montana Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection must be notified as well, stating how the customer was notified and when. 

Earning an Associate Degree or Certificate in Cybersecurity in Montana 

With an associate degree or certificate in cybersecurity, you may be eligible for the following jobs in Montana:

  • Security Specialist – US Air Force, Malmstrom AFB
  • IT Security Analyst – State of Montana, Helena
  • IT Specialist Infosec- Department of Veterans Affairs, Helena
  • Cybersecurity Analyst – IBM, Missoula
  • Information Security Analyst – State of Montana, statewide
  • Security Specialist – Target, Billings
  • Security Analyst Anti Phishing- PayPal, Helena
  • Cybersecurity Consultant – LMG Security, Missoula 
  • Security Analyst – NIC Inc., statewide
  • Cybersecurity Positions – Federal Aviation Administration, Missoula

Montana Cybersecurity Associate Degree and Certificate Programs

In selecting your associate degree or certificate program in cybersecurity in Montana, make sure that the program you choose is contained within an institution that holds a regional accreditation through an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Titles of Associate Degree in Cybersecurity Programs in Montana

Some of the associate degree programs in cybersecurity available in Montana include:

  • Associate in Applied Science in Cybersecurity
  • Associate of Applied Science in Information Technology- Network Administration and Security option
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems Technology
  • Associate of Science in Cyber Security/Network Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity Information Assurance
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Networks and Cybersecurity 

Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE)

The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) set up the program National Centers of Academic Excellence program in 1999 in order to highlight the best cybersecurity degree and certificate programs across the nation.  

Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education in Montana

The following cybersecurity programs in Montana are designated as Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CD) under the National Centers for Academic Excellence program:

  • Great Falls College, Montana State University – 

Associate in Applied Science in Cybersecurity 

Certificate of Technical Studies in Cybersecurity

Cyber Center

2100 16th Avenue South

Great Falls, MT 59405

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2024

Laramie Smovir, Enrollment Specialist

(406) 771-5132; [email protected] 

Certificate  of Technical Skills in Cybersecurity (Must have an AAS in IT-Network Administration & Security in order to qualify for this program)

Applied Computing & Engineering Technology

909 South Ave West

Missoula, MT 59801

CAE- Cyber Defense Education- Accredited through 2022

Victor Valgenti, Program Director

(406) 243-7913; [email protected] 

Additional Cybersecurity Associate Degree and Certificate Programs in Montana

Other cybersecurity associate degree and certificate programs in Montana include:

  • City College, Montana State University Billings – 

Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems Technology

Associate of Science in Cyber Security/Network Technology

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

3803 Central Avenue

Billings, MT 59102

(406) 247-3000; [email protected] 

Workforce Programs

101 Hamilton Hall

Bozeman, MT 59717

(406) 994-5536; [email protected] 

Business/IT/Network Technology

1300 West Park Street

Butte, MT 59701

(406) 496-4401

College of Business – Gallagher Business Building 

32 Campus Drive

Missoula, MT 59812

(406) 243-4831

Montana Cybersecurity Associate Degree Program Courses

Examples of courses that you can expect to take in an associate cybersecurity degree program in Montana include, but are not limited to:

  • Cybersecurity Essentials
  • Introduction to Networks
  • Routing and Switching
  • Network Operating Systems
  • Introduction to Python Programming
  • Computer Repair and Maintenance
  • Scaling Networks
  • Server Administration
  • Network Security Fundamentals
  • Ethical Hacking & Network Defense
  • Fundamentals of Wireless LANS
  • Linux

Cybersecurity Salaries in Montana 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor, information security analysts working in Montana in May 2019 earned an annual mean wage of $74,250. Those working in the Southwest Montana nonmetropolitan area earned an annual mean wage of $71,330. Unfortunately, salary data for other cities and metropolitan areas within the state of Montana for that time period was not available.