SAN MARCOS — The Cybersecurity program at Palomar College was ranked 24th in the U.S. among online associate degree options by UniversityHQ, placing it among the top information technology colleges and universities in the nation.

The ranking, which can be accessed here, was based on several factors, including the cost of tuition, retention rate, graduation rate and student-to-faculty ratio.

“At Palomar, we’re training and equipping the next generation of skilled cybersecurity analysts, who will help keep our nation’s infrastructure online and secure,” said Palomar College Superintendent/President Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey.

The program, which was launched in 2018, offers a two-year Associate of Science degree that can be completed entirely online.

Cybersecurity Professor David Meske has said that the field, facing increasingly urgent and complex threats, effectively has a “zero unemployment rate.” At Palomar, students are trained in computer, network and application security to ensure the “confidentiality, integrity and availability of enterprise computing and information systems infrastructure.”

“Students will develop skills in risk and vulnerability management as well as learn competencies in cyber defense and penetration testing strategies,” Meske writes.

According to UniversityHQ, job candidates holding an associate degree in cybersecurity can expect to earn more than those without a degree across the board in positions including:

  • Information Security Associate — average salary of $60,700
  • Cybersecurity Penetration Tester — average salary of $85,500
  • Network Security Analyst — average salary of $72,400
  • Cybersecurity Analyst — average salary of $76,600
  • Information System Security Officer — average salary of $92,300

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 28 percent growth in the cybersecurity field in the next decade, far outpacing most other industries.