One of only three community colleges in Arizona to achieve the honor.

Cochise College has been designated a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense by the NSA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This prestigious designation is awarded to higher education institutions that meet rigorous program criteria to serve the nation in protecting the National Information Infrastructure. The college is one of only three community colleges in Arizona to receive this recognition.

Cochise College offers a Cybersecurity Associate of Applied Science degree that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to succeed in further academic endeavors or direct employment in cybersecurity. Major areas of study include security fundamentals, operating systems, scripting, digital forensics, cyber operations, cloud computing and network defense.

Students have access to a high-tech data center with 100 workstations and an online Virtual Learning Environment, which can accommodate up to 600 students. Students work with programs and tools they will use in future jobs, including Windows, Linux and cloud-based systems. They also work with real-world tools like NMap, Wireshark, Forensics Toolkit, Encase Forensics and Autopsy.

“The national designation is such an honor for the college and validates the culmination of hard work and dedication,” said Kristy Ritter, Ed.D., dean of business and technology. “Our faculty are trained educators with real-world experience who personally engage students and actively collaborate with colleges, universities and industry partners.”

The Cybersecurity program has been educating and training students of all ages for nearly 20 years. It provides cyber education, awareness, and training for K-12 and college students, military and civilian employers, and the community. Cochise College offers and supports programs such as CyberPatriot, Computer Challenge, and the President’s Cup (Blue Team/Red Team event) to support cybersecurity learning opportunities for middle and high school students.

In addition to the degree program, it offers certification opportunities through CompTIA to boost students’ skills and marketability in the industry. These opportunities are available to everyone locally in Cochise County, Arizona, or halfway around the world.

“The  Cybersecurity degree is a great choice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in this exciting field,” added Dr. Ritter. “The program provides students with hands-on training and real-world experience, preparing them to be successful cybersecurity professionals.”

Cochise College has partnered with all three of Arizona’s four-year universities for credit transfers to Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona. Additionally, the college has agreements with several universities, facilitating credit transfers.

For further information about Cochise College’s Cybersecurity program, please visit