A cohort of 25 high school students in Bartow County, Georgia, will participate in a new cybersecurity certification program after signing and committing to the course last week.
Students will be able to pursue lucrative careers in the cybersecurity sector after course completion and help meet the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals, according to a press release. The program’s courses begin Jan. 7.
“These students will immediately enter into the workforce as ‘high demand’ candidates with salaries ranging from $32-35,000 a year,” Georgia State Sen. Bruce Thompson said in the release.
According to the 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study from the ISC Center for Cyber Safety and Education, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million cybersecurity professionals by 2022. The same study estimates that the U.S. will have 265,000 more cybersecurity jobs than qualified workers by 2020. As a result of the growing workforce deficit, Sen. Tompson said it is “imperative to have the technical colleges” and universities develop curriculum.
According to the press release, students participating in the new distance learning initiative will be able to earn three certifications by graduation: CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+. “No other high school program in Georgia offers all three credentials,” Bartow County School System Superintendent Dr. Phillip Page said in the press release.
These core certifications align with IT infrastructure and cybersecurity career paths and deepen IT expertise, according to CompTIA, a top provider of skills certifications for technology professionals. Department of Defense Directive 8570.01-M, which lays out requirements for training, certification and management of the department’s cyberspace workforce, has approved several CompTIA baseline certifications for its cybersecurity professionals.
Partnering with CyberTec Academy, a Nevada-based certification training company, Cass High School will simultaneously train and certify an instructor and the first class virtually. The school system hopes to certify more instructors and implement a non-virtual model of the program at each Bartow County high school by the end of the 2018-19 school year, according to the press release.
As one of the top-10 career fields in America, cybersecurity gives students new career opportunities, and Page said the school is “giving Bartow County students a distinct advantage over others entering the workforce.”