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Penn Highlands Designated A National Center Of Academic Excellence In Cyber Defense

Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:47 am

The National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have designated Pennsylvania Highlands Community College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE2Y). This specific designation applies to two-year institutions and Penn Highlands’ designation lasts through the 2023 academic year.

Academic institutions, like Pennsylvania Highlands, are designated as CAEs in Cyber Defense by undergoing an in-depth assessment and demonstrating they can meet the rigorous requirements needed to garner this designation. Sponsored by NSA and DHS, the CAE in Cyber Defense program aims to reduce vulnerabilities in our national information infrastructure.

“Thanks to the dedication and expertise of our faculty, Pennsylvania Highlands is the only two-year college in Pennsylvania west of Allentown and one of only four academic institutions (two or four-year) in western Pennsylvania accredited by the NSA and DHS,” stated Dr. Kevin Slonka, Assistant Professor, Computer Science. “This marks us as an elite school in the cybersecurity arena and affirms that our students are receiving an education of the highest quality.”

Cybersecurity professionals report an average salary of $116,000, which is nearly three times the national average (Source: National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies, DHS). As the demand for highly trained cybersecurity professionals grows, CAEs will continue to equip students with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to protect and defend our nation’s infrastructures.

The Cyber Security Center at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College helped the college meet the increasing demands necessary to be honored with the CAE designation. The Cyber Security Center houses the college’s Information Technology: Cyber Security associate degree program, which provides students with the ability to not only administer networks, but to also secure those networks and conduct penetration tests, ensuring those networks are not vulnerable to attacks.

Cyber Security graduates are expertly trained in computer hardware, operating systems, networking, databases, programming, and defensive and offensive security. They can enter the workforce immediately or transfer into a four-year program at colleges/universities through articulation agreements as a junior.

Pennsylvania Highlands has six locations throughout the Southern Alleghenies region that serve residents of western Pennsylvania. The Cyber Security Center can be found at the Richland Campus.

About Information Technology: Cyber Security (Associate Degree)
To obtain the Associate of Applied Science Information Technology: Cyber Security, a student must successfully complete a minimum of 63 credits based on general education and specific major courses. Students cover aspects of the Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), CompTIA Linux+, Net+, Security+ and A+, Wireshark Certified Network Analyst, and the EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker certifications.