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New Advanced Degree in Information Security Operations Offers Tuition Discount For Feds

The current deadline for applying for the online master’s program offered through Champlain College is Feb. 8.

Federal employees now can pursue a master’s degree in information security operations at discounted tuition rates through a new online offering from Champlain College.

The master of science degree is “designed to elevate the practitioner’s strategic planning abilities in the prevention and response to cybersecurity incidents such as data loss and cybercrime, while increasing technical skills and industry acuity,” said a press release from the Burlington, Vermont school.

Feds can take advantage of the opportunity through the truEd program, a partnership between the Office of Personnel Management and Champlain’s online continuing professional studies division. That partnership, launched in April 2015, offers feds, their spouses and adult dependent children access to more than 60 certification, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in various areas, including cybersecurity, digital forensics, health care administration and human resources management.

The total cost of the M.S. in information security operations for federal employees and their adult dependents is just under $12,000, based on the 2015-2016 Champlain tuition rates that will be locked in through 2017, and is 50 percent less than standard tuition rates. The current deadline for applying to the online program is Feb. 8, and the first class is March 14. The program is 30 credits, and students can complete the program in 20 months, or sooner, depending on the student’s motivation.

The increase in cyberattacks, including the massive OPM hack brought to light last spring, have demonstrated the need for professionals with technical know-how but also strategic thinking skills to prevent and adequately respond to cybersecurity breaches.

“Today’s cyber threat landscape is constantly changing, requiring a skilled, integrated and highly adaptable cybersecurity workforce to protect our nation,” said Beth Cobert, OPM Acting Director. “Federal agencies need advanced techniques to secure information as well as the experience to respond effectively to incidents. Champlain College’s online M.S. in Information Security Operations will help prepare Federal IT professionals to confront existing and future cybersecurity challenges.”

The new offering in the OPM-Champlain partnership is also part of a “broader effort to attract more cybersecurity talent to the federal service,” Cobert wrote in a Jan. 20 OPM blog post.

The degree will prepare students to identify risks, understand “current and future attack vectors” and protect data housed within IT infrastructures, according to the school.

“It is designed for security leaders and practitioners who want to move beyond theory and instead focus on the practical and effective application of information security methods, practices, tools, and techniques,” said John Pironti, president of IP Architects, a consultant with experience in information risk management.

Interested federal employees can call 888-545-3459 to learn more about the new offering, or attend one of two upcoming webinars on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28.

Champlain is known for its strong cybersecurity curriculum and is designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency, Homeland Security Department and Air Force.

In 2014, OPM announced a similar partnership with the University of Maryland University College. Federal workers who live outside of Maryland can receive a 25 percent discount on all undergraduate and most graduate programs offered at the school. Federal workers’ spouses and their legal dependents also are eligible for the reduced rates. The tuition break applies to in-person and online classes.

(Image via Dragon Images/Shutterstock.com)