Computer Networking & Information Systems Security Degree

The CNISS program helps prepare students to pursue careers in a variety of entry to mid-level positions including but not limited to Help Desk, network system administration and cyber security. Our instructors prepare students for careers involving the protection of information on computers and networks against unauthorized access or modification of information, and against the denial of service to authorized users.

Degree Info at a Glance

Type: AAT or AAS-T Degree

Approx. # of Quarters: 6

Estimated Cost: $10,636.04

Prerequisites: COMPASS Reading 68 and Writing 33, or successful completion of ENG 82. Prior to completion of first quarter, student must provide documentation of a background check with the Washington State Patrol.

Admission Dates: Fall, winter, spring and summer quarters

The CNISS AAT/AAS-T program focuses primarily on the technical and problem-solving skills associated with PC and network management and cyber-security implementation but adds hands-on experience building computer and network systems. Additional skills include administration, configuration and security for Cisco, Linux and Microsoft products. Our focus also includes ethical hacking and prevention, and assessing the security needs of computer networking systems, developing safeguard solutions for computer and information system infrastructures and countermeasures.

The AAT or AAS-T degree is earned by completing technical core requirements, general education requirements, and choosing one specialty option (Option 1: Cisco Network Design & Security; or Option 2: Computer & Communications Security; or Option 3: Microsoft Network Administration & Security).

The program includes preparing students for the CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+ and Linux+; Cisco CCENT and CCNA; and Microsoft MCTS & MCITP certification examinations and internship work experience.

Employers include business and industrial firms, financial institutions, government agencies, consulting firms, software developers, health providers, and Internet service providers. Innovations in computer technology continue to rapidly change and expand the computer security field. Therefore, the following courses of study may be subject to change in order to offer students training based on current industry standards.

The CNISS program is certified for cyber-security skills education through the National Security Agencies (NSA), Committee on National Systems Security. The program has been awarded the NSTISSI-4011 National Training Standards for Information Systems Security Professionals and is currently working on the CNSS 4013 National Training Standard for System Administrators in Information Systems Security.

This program is approximately six quarters in length, depending on the time students need to satisfactorily complete all graduation requirements. Program hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to the program course requirements, students must also complete the general education requirements for the degree they seek to obtain. The two degree options in this program are the Associate in Applied Technology (AAT) or the Associate of Applied Science-T (AAS-T). The different requirements for each degree are listed below:

AAT Degree General Education Requirements (15 credits)

  • ENGL& 101 English Composition or CMST& 220 (or higher)
  • MAT 105 Math for Industrial Professions (or higher)
  • PSYC& 100DIV General Psychology (PSY 112DIV, SOC& 101DIV, or other humanities course that meets the diversity requirement)

AAS-T Degree general education requirements (20 credits):

All AAS-T degrees must have a minimum of 20 credits of transferable general education. These credits replace the academic courses required for the AAT degree. Required credits include:

  • 5 credits in Communication: ENGL& 101
  • 5 credits in quantitative reasoning: MAT 110, MATH& 141, MATH& 142, MATH& 146 or MATH& 151
  • 5 credits in a social science that meets the diversity requirement (PSYC& 100DIV or SOC& 101DIV)
  • 5 credits in social science, humanities, or science (choose one from the following): PSYC& 100DIV, PSYC& 200, PSY 210, PSYC& 220, SOC& 101, ART& 100, MUSC& 105, ASL& 121, BIOL 118, BIOL& 160, BIOL& 175, BIOL& 241, BIOL& 242, CHEM& 121, CHEM& 110, GEOL& 110, PHYS& 114, ECON 101, ECON& 201 or ECON& 202

Students pursuing an AAT or AAS-T degree must complete all College degree requirements prior to graduation. This includes courses that meet the capstone project, diversity, and computer literacy requirements.

Program Requirements

Catalog # Course Name Credits
NSS 101* IT Essential I 5
NSS 105*CL IT Essential II 4
NSS 110* Networking Fundamentals I 4
NSS 115 Law & Ethics in the Workplace 4
NSS 120 MS Desktop Support I 5
NSS 125 MS Desktop Support II 4
NSS 130 Server Fundamentals 4
NSS 135 Implementing System Security 4
NSS 140 Introduction to Data Analysis 5
NSS 144 Intro to Microsoft SQL Server Admin 4
NSS 155 Computer Security Concepts 4
NSS 160 Introduction to Linux 5
NSS 163 Intro to Virtualization 5
NSS 165 Contingency Planning 4
NSS 201 Advanced Linux 5
NSS 211 Server Administration 5
  Total Technical Course Requirements 70
  General Education Requirements (See listing above) 15
  Program Option 1, 2 or 3 (see listing below) 24-33
  Total Credits for Completion of AAT Degree 109-118

AAS-T Program Requirements

Technical Course Requirements (Same as AAT) 70
General Education Requirements (See listing above) 20
Program Option (see listing below) 24-33
Total Credits for Completion of AAS-T Degree 114-123

For an AAT or AAS-T degree, students must complete one of the specialty options listed below. These options may also be taken as a stand-alone certificate for those not pursuing a degree.

Option 1: CISCO Network Design & Security

Catalog # Course Name Credits
NSS 180CAP Internship I 2
NSS 250CAP Internship II 2
NSSC 200* Cisco Networking I 5
NSSC 201* Cisco Networking II 5
NSSC 203* Cisco Networking III 5
NSSC 205* Cisco Networking IV 5
  Subtotal 24

Option 2: Computer & Communications Security

Catalog # Course Name Credits
NSS 180CAP Internship I 2
NSS 250CAP Internship II 2
NSSB 201 Overview of Hacking, Phreaking, & Cracking 5
NSSB 215 Computer Forensics 4
NSSB 225 Communications Best Practices 5
NSSB 231 Web Security 5
NSSB 238 Virus, Worms, & Hazardous Software 5
NSSB 245 Scripting 5
  Subtotal 33

Option 3: Microsoft Network Administration & Security

Catalog # Course Name Credits
NSS 180CAP Internship I 2
NSS 250CAP Internship II 2
NSSD 251 Securing Network Infrastructure 6
NSSD 254 Active Directory Configuration 6
NSSD 257 Implementing Application Services 6
NSSD 260 Mail Server Administration 6
  Subtotal 28

*Articulated courses with high schools for dual enrollment