Applied Cybersecurity Certificate (ACS)

Not just for undergrads, our upper division Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program is for anyone (age 18 to 60+) with 2 years of college credits who wants the hands-on experience and cybersecurity certifications needed to launch a high-paying cybersecurity career. No prior technical experience is required. is proud to be an NSA Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

You’re 4 courses away from a high-paying cybersecurity job.

Launch your new career from the best college in cybersecurity. As you complete the program, you’ll earn 4 certifications that prove you've got the skillset employers need right now.

100% online option available. 
Applications are accepted monthly.

Numbers at a Glance

93% of our graduates gained employment in cybersecurity within 6 months.
The average starting salary of our Applied Cybersecurity Certificate (ACS) graduates is $104,000.
More than 700,000 job openings in cybersecurity are unfilled. (Source:

How It Works


Start when you want to.

We don’t have fixed semesters, so you can apply any month and start a few months later.


Take one class at a time.

The program consists of 4 courses you’ll take one at a time, with personalized support from a student advisor from start to finish.


Complete the certificate at your pace.

Earn your undergraduate cybersecurity certificate in 10 to 18 months while working full-time or pursuing a degree.


Earn 4 professional GIAC certifications.

As part of our program, you will earn 4 of the most highly regarded certifications in cybersecurity.


Get career services for life.

Our Career Center will help you choose a career path, build your resume, prepare for interviews, and land a job or advance your current career.

Student attends info session

Join an Online Info Session for Undergraduate Cybersecurity Programs

Learn more about the undergraduate programs in cybersecurity at a free online info session. Our Applied Cybersecurity Certificate (ACS) graduates have an average starting salary of $104K and our bachelor's degree (BACS) graduates have an average starting salary of $110K. We'll discuss why they become so marketable and how our Career Center supports their job search — and we'll answer your questions.

Thu, July 25 at 11 am (ET)

New to the field? No problem.

Our cybersecurity certificate program is for anyone (age 18 to 60+) with at least 48 college credits who wants to join the cyber workforce. It provides the quickest route we offer to a cybersecurity career. No prior technical experience is required.

Who Should Apply

  • Career changers from any field into cybersecurity
  • Bachelor’s students at other colleges, who want a career-launching certificate
  • Community college students or graduates
  • Holders of a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Graduates of theory-based cybersecurity programs, who want practical hands-on experience
  • Students who earned 48+ college credits at any time, even if a degree wasn’t completed

    “If you're new to cyber security and looking for a way to break into the field, I highly recommend the Applied Cybersecurity Certificate program. You'll learn all the fundamentals and get hands-on experience that is so important when it's time to look for a job.” - Yukyung Jung, Principal Security Engineer, Viking Cloud


    Prepare for a high-paying cybersecurity career – and pay little or no tuition until you’re employed.

    The Income Share Agreement (ISA) for U.S. citizens and permanent residents lets you earn a world-class cybersecurity bachelor's degree or Applied Cybersecurity Certificate now – and pay after you’re working.


    Earn Top Ranked Cybersecurity Certifications

    Cybersecurity professionals ranked GIAC certifications as the most valued certifications when selecting job candidates for interviews. (Source:

    Students in all of our undergraduate programs earn the GIAC Foundational Cybersecurity Technologies (GFACT) certification, which validates your knowledge of essential foundational cybersecurity concepts.

    Students in our upper division undergraduate programs earn multiple GIAC certifications, including GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) and GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH), which were named among the Top Ten Cybersecurity Certifications by Datamation.

    “After I passed my GCIH certification exam, I got a job offer for twice my current salary. I’m happy where I am, but it’s great to see recruiters going after GIAC certified professionals.”
    - Agnel D’Silva, IT Administrator, City of Danville, IL

    National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Is Designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the NSA

    “The CAE-CD designation is a testament to the quality of our cybersecurity faculty and programs. Our graduates are helping to meet the urgent cybersecurity needs of the U.S. government, industry, academia, and research, and we are proud to be part of a select group of cyber programs to have received this important designation.”

    - Ed Skoudis, SANS Technology Institute President

    “I've been crazy impressed with the career services folks. After I reworked my resume per their recommendations, I got a hit from a recruiter for a job I hadn't even applied for." - Preston Fitzgerald, Security Researcher, Synack Red Team

    Our Grads Get Hired

    Our graduates get hired for cybersecurity positions by companies like Amazon, Deloitte, Dragos, Google, Northrup Grumman, Red Canary, Wells Fargo and Walmart. More than half our students received their first cybersecurity job offer before they finished the program.

    Job Titles Earned

    SOC Analyst

    Cyber Threat Intel Associate

    Information Security Analyst

    Security Engineer

    Security Consultant

    Cyber Software Engineer

    Penetration Tester

    Detection & Response Analyst

    Incident Handler

    Cyber Risk Consultant

    Intrusion Analyst

    Cybersecurity Specialist

    InfoSec Specialist

    Security Administrator

    Forensics Examiner

    Vulnerability Management Engineer

    Incident Response Team

    Nattional Cyber League - Spring 2024

    Join the Winning Team

    At the spring 2024 National Cyber League (NCL) competition, demonstrated its cybersecurity prowess once again.  Among more than 500 participating colleges and universities, stood out as one of just three to achieve Top 10 power rankings in both the Standard Student and Experienced Student brackets.

    • #1 Power Ranking (Experienced Students)
    • #1, #2, #3, and #4 Individual Players (Experienced Students)
    • More than 30% of the Top 100 Individual Players in the Experienced bracket were Sentinels

    cybersecurity student

    Take Your Next Step

    Need more information? We’re happy to answer your questions. Join us for an info session, email or call 301.241.7665.

    Ready to apply? We look forward to learning about you and your cybersecurity career goals.

    Join us for a free online info session to learn more.


    What makes someone good at cybersecurity?

    You don’t need a background with computers to succeed. In fact, some of our most successful students didn’t. As part of our admissions process, students interested in our Applied Cybersecurity Certificate and bachelor's degree programs take a 1-hour quiz that tests their natural ability to succeed in cybersecurity.

    Applicants to our Cybersecurity Fundamentals Certificate program don't need to the assessment exam since that program starts at a more foundational level.

    If you like solving puzzles and have a desire to learn about technology, cybersecurity could be a great fit for you.

    Course Delivery Options

    Your mind has no borders. Why should your college? Our online and in-person course options are designed to fit your life and how you like to learn.


    Total Program Cost: $18,600

    Tuition includes the cost of the courses, textbooks, and 4 GIAC certification tests that serve as exams for courses.

    If you’ve taken a SANS course and passed the corresponding GIAC certification, for example SANS SEC275 and the GFACT certification, you may be able to waive one course into this program. 

    Undergraduate Certificate Program Salary Infographic

    Set Yourself Up for Success

    Our Applied Cybersecurity Certificate graduates have an average starting salary of $104,000 — and more than half of our students received their first job offer before finishing the program. 

    Funding Options

    A degree or certificate from is a great investment in your career. We offer a variety of tuition options to make that investment accessible.

    “Between starting and finishing the undergraduate certificate program, I made enough salary gains to pay for the program twice. The people are great; the school is great; there's nothing not to love.” - Jake Danuser, Associate Security Consultant, AHEAD

    Get More Info

    Discover how the SANS Technology Institute can help you launch your cybersecurity career. Complete this form and we'll send you additional information, invitations to upcoming online info sessions, and updates.


    We're happy to help. Email or call 301.241.7665.

    About the SANS Technology Institute

    Founded in 2005, the SANS Technology Institute ( is the independent, regionally-accredited, VA-approved subsidiary of SANS, the world's largest and most trusted provider of cybersecurity training, certification, and research. Offering undergraduate and graduate programs at the cutting edge of cybersecurity, is strengthening the cyber workforce through a career-focused curriculum built on proven SANS courses and industry-recognized GIAC certifications.

    The SANS Technology Institute is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education

    (1007 North Orange Street, 4th Floor, MB #166, Wilmington, DE 19801 - 267.284.5000), an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.