Computer Forensics Schools and Education

Computer crime is one of the fastest-growing types of crime in the world. With the Internet expanding, and email, social networks, ecommerce and texting so common, personal and corporate computers, cell phones and tablets, and other hand-held devices have become extremely vulnerable to attack. This has created an increased need for computer forensics analysts and investigators.

What Do Computer Forensics Investigators Do?

Computer forensics investigators are taught to combat crimes ranging from crimes against children to file system recovery on hacked or damaged computers. Computer forensics investigators—also known as a computer forensics specialists—recover data from digital media that may be used in criminal proceedings. Digital media refers to all methods of electronic data storage and transfer devices including computers, laptops, cell phones, PDAs and the documents, images, spreadsheets and other types of files stored on these devices. Once a computer forensics investigator retrieves the necessary information, they'll prepare detailed written reports on the collected data that may later be presented in court. Part of a computer forensics investigator's job is to testify in court regarding the information they recover and the methods they used to get that information.

Computer forensics consulting firms and freelance computer forensic investigators are also hired by large corporations to test the security of their information systems. Computer forensic specialists may mimic how a malicious hacker might attempt to gain access to a corporation's computer network. But the best place to get the education you need is in computer forensics school.

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Requirements to Become a Computer Forensics Investigator

Computer forensics is a relatively new field, so there have not been consistent requirements to become an analyst. Many individuals get their computer forensics skills by working in law enforcement or the military. Now that more colleges are offering computer forensics degrees and related information systems (security degrees/cyber crime degrees), education has become an important requirement to stay competitive in the industry. This includes continuing education once you've found a job to stay current in this rapidly changing field.

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Computer Forensics Education

We put together a collection of the skills you should look for in your computer forensics program to prepare you for a career in computer forensics. We consulted with leaders in the field of computer forensics and compiled their thoughts. Here's what they had to say:

Individuals should take courses in incident handling, investigation, management, protection, detection and reaction. They should study Internet crimes against people and children, learn about presenting digital evidence at trial, network security intrusion and detection, personal digital device forensics and advanced-file system recovery. Law and business are also critical to success in a computer forensics career.

One individual emphasized that a comprehensive knowledge of UNIX and NT is essential to retrieving deleted files and evidence of breaches in system security. We were also told that advanced knowledge of networking and routing has become increasingly important with the growth of the Internet and email.

All of the people we spoke with agreed that individuals with a desire to become computer forensics investigators should begin by earning a degree in computer forensics or a related degree such as information systems security or cyber crime.

Information systems security and computer forensics degrees are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. An associate's degree along with a law enforcement internship is sometimes enough to be hired by a police department as a computer forensics investigator. Associate's also transition well into bachelor's degrees. Graduate degrees are usually 2-year programs and may advance your career and increase your salary in computer forensics. Some computer forensics careers require certifications such as, CISSP, CISM, CISA or CCSP.

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Computer Forensics Investigator Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for information security analysts is $75,660. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Freelancers and those working in consulting firms can earn even more and the BLS estimates that 17 percent of those analysts working are self-employed.

Request information from the accredited online schools below. The degree programs offered here may provide you with the skills to succeed as a computer forensics investigator.

Online Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) - Computer and Information Security (Online)

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master's - Cybersecurity (Online)

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Information Technology - Digital Investigation (Online)
  • Bachelor of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security (Online)
  • Master of Information Technology - Information Assurance and Security (Online)

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Information Assurance (Online)

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Information Security & Assurance - Managing Cyber Forensic & Digital Incidents

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Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Information Security - Managerial Track (Online)
  • Master of Science in Information Security - Technical Track (Online)

Florida Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Coral Springs, Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Maitland, Miami

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

Campuses: Tampa, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Sarasota

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Forensics/Information Security
  • Master of Science in Information Security

Campuses: Kendall, Hialeah, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Miami, Pembroke Pines, Jacksonville, Margate, Orlando

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's Degree - Information Technology
  • Computer & Network Technician - DIP

Campuses: Tampa, Fort Myers

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's in Information Technology and Security Systems
  • Bachelor's in Cyber Technology and Security

Texas Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Stafford, Plano, San Antonio, Cedar Hill, Houston, Dallas

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management

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Campuses: Allen

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Computer Security & Forensics

Virginia Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Alexandria, Ashburn, Midlothian, Fredericksburg, Newport News, Manassas, Chesapeake, Arlington, Various Locations, Glen Allen, Virginia Beach, Woodbridge, Richmond

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems

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Campuses: Lynchburg

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Occupational Science - Network Administration and Security

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Campuses: Arlington

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Cybersecurity

Tennessee Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance

Georgia Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Atlanta, Douglasville, Morrow, Roswell, Savannah, Lithonia, Augusta, Columbus

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

South Carolina Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: North Charleston, Columbia, Greenville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

District of Columbia Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Washington

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

Alabama Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Birmingham, Huntsville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance

West Virginia Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Scott Depot

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

Delaware Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Newark

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Philadelphia, Center Valley, Springfield, Warrendale, Trevose, King of Prussia, Pittsburgh

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management

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Campuses: Erie

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Computer Career - Security/Forensics

Campuses: Carlisle, Allentown, Hazleton, Pottsville, Dickson City, Wilkes-Barre

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate in Specialized Technology- Network Administration and Security

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Campuses: Summerdale

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor in Information Technology Networking and Security

Campuses: Phoenixville, North Wales, Warminster

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Web Security and Administration

New Jersey Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Cherry Hill, Willingboro

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance

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Campuses: Jersey City

Degrees Offered:

  • Computer Networking and Security - DIP

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Campuses: South Plainfield

Degrees Offered:

  • Certificate - Computer Network & Security

Mississippi Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Jacksonville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology

North Carolina Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Raleigh, Concord, Huntersville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Morrisville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology

Campuses: Raleigh, Greenville

Degrees Offered:

  • Network Administration and Security - Diploma

Maryland Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Baltimore

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance

Louisiana Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Metairie

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Criminal Justice - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Enterprise Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Digital Forensics Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Forensics Management
  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Cyber Security Technology
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Homeland Security & Information Systems
  • Bachelor's - Information Systems - Cyber Security Management
  • Master's - Information Systems - Computer Security Management
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance

Ohio Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Dayton

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Cyber Security and Forensics

Illinois Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Chicago

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Computer Forensics

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Campuses: Fairview Heights

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Information Systems Security

Missouri Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Saint Louis, St. Joseph, Saint Charles

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Information Systems Security

California Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Rancho Cordova, Roseville, Milpitas, Hayward, San Francisco, Concord

Degrees Offered:

  • Information Technology and Network Security (Associate Degree)

New York Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Rochester

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Computer Security

Arizona Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Tucson

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Science in Digital Forensics & Investigation
  • Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics & Investigation

Kentucky Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Louisville

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Network Security / Forensics
  • Bachelor's in Computer Network Security and Forensics

Iowa Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Cedar Falls, IA, Cedar Rapids, IA

Degrees Offered:

  • Computer Forensics Postbaccalaureate Certificate
  • Information Security, Graduate Certificate
  • National Security Administration Postbaccalaureate Certificate
  • Information Security Postbaccalaureate Certificate

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Campuses: Des Moines

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Information Systems Security

Kansas Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Overland Park

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Security

South Dakota Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Sioux Falls

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Computer Security & Forensics

New Mexico Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Albuquerque

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Computer Security & Forensics

Colorado Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Aurora

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Management - Information Systems Security

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Campuses: Colorado Springs

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Computer Security & Forensics

Minnesota Criminal Justice Schools

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Campuses: Roseville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Technology - Computer Security & Forensics
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Security

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Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Earning a degree may not qualify you for specialized careers that require more education or experience in the field.