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.

Find a Computer Forensics School

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.

Find a Computer Forensics School

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.

Find a Computer Forensics School

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.

Florida Criminal Justice Schools

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

Degrees Offered:

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

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

Degrees Offered:

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

Campuses: New Port Richey, Ocala, Tampa, Lutz, Fort Myers

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology Management: Information Security
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security
  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security

Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Erie

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Computer Career - Security/Forensics

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

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate in Specialized Technology- Network Administration and Security

Campuses: Phoenixville, Warminster, North Wales

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Web Security and Administration

Request Info

Campuses: Summerdale

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor in Information Technology Networking and Security

Ohio Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Dayton

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's in Cyber Security and Forensics

Missouri Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: St. Joseph, Saint Charles, Saint Louis

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Information Systems Security
  • Associate's in Information Systems and Securities Specialist

Illinois Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Fairview Heights

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Information Systems Security

Campuses: Rockford, Mokena, Aurora, Romeoville

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology Management: Information Security
  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security

Request Info

Campuses: Chicago

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Computer Forensics

North Carolina Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Wilmington, Raleigh, Greenville

Degrees Offered:

  • Network Administration and Security - Diploma

Virginia Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Lynchburg

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate of Occupational Science - Network Administration and Security

Oregon Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Portland

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma - Network and Internet Security Specialist

California Criminal Justice Schools

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

Degrees Offered:

  • Information Technology and Network Security (Associate Degree)

Minnesota Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Moorhead, Blaine, Bloomington, Lake Elmo, St. Cloud, Brooklyn Park, Eagan, Mankato

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology Management: Information Security
  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security

Campuses: Waite Park, Blaine, Brooklyn Center, Elk River, Lakeville, Richfield, Rochester

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Networking and Security

Request Info

Campuses: Roseville

Degrees Offered:

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

North Dakota Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Fargo, Bismarck

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology Management: Information Security
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security
  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security

Wisconsin Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Wasau, Appleton, Green Bay

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology Management: Information Security
  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security

Kansas Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Topeka

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology Management: Information Security
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security
  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security

Request Info

Campuses: Wichita

Degrees Offered:

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

New York Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Rochester

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Computer Security

Texas Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: El Paso

Degrees Offered:

  • Computer Security Specialist

Request Info

Campuses: Austin

Degrees Offered:

  • Computer Security Specialist

Campuses: San Antonio (North), San Antonio (South)

Degrees Offered:

  • Computer Security Specialist

Request Info

Campuses: Georgetown

Degrees Offered:

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

Utah Criminal Justice Schools

Campuses: Orem, West Jordan, Layton

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology: Networking & Security

New Jersey Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: South Plainfield

Degrees Offered:

  • Certificate - Computer Network & Security

Idaho Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Meridian

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology: Networking & Security

Rhode Island Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Lincoln

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Computer Networking & Security

Colorado Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Colorado Springs

Degrees Offered:

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

Request Info

Campuses: Aurora

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Management - Information Systems Security

Kentucky Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Louisville

Degrees Offered:

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

Arizona Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Tucson

Degrees Offered:

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

South Dakota Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Sioux Falls

Degrees Offered:

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

Iowa Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Des Moines

Degrees Offered:

  • Diploma in Information Systems Security

Online Criminal Justice Schools

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • BSBA - Information Assurance
  • BSIT/Information Security and Assurance
  • MSIT - Information Security and Assurance

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master's - Cybersecurity (Online)

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Associate's - Information Technology Management: Network Security (Online)
  • Diploma - Information Technology Management: Network Security (Online)

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Assurance and Security (Online)
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance and Security (Online)
  • PhD in Information Assurance & Security (Online)

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

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

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology - Networking and Security

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

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

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Bachelor's - Information Technology: Networking & Security

Request Info

Campuses: Online

Degrees Offered:

  • Master of Science in Information Assurance (Online)

Back to Top

Home | Career Center | Contact Us | Resources |

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.