Overview:  Early college credit is a mechanism to broaden pathways to address the cybersecurity workforce shortage.  Early college credit provides opportunities for high school students to learn about cybersecurity and launch into a cybersecurity pathway more readily and ably.

The U.S. needs to build these pathways as evidenced by CyberSupply where we find that at most 3.6% of high school students in our nation have access to a cybersecurity course while in high school.  By building early college credit opportunities (dual credit and concurrent enrollment), we can expand the number of students who can access cybersecurity.

Below are two pioneering efforts to build early college cybersecurity credit. 

  1. NCTA is the first and only effort in the U.S. aimed at credentialing teachers to teach cybersecurity through a graduate certificate.
  2. Models of early college cybersecurity credit are shared here so that others interested in building early college cybersecurity credit can use them as examples.

This work is supported by NCAE-C funding under grant number H98230-22-1-0310.


Concurrent Enrollment – educational programs that enroll secondary students in postsecondary offerings for postsecondary credit.

Dual Credit – educational programs that enable secondary students to earn both secondary and postsecondary credit.

Models of Early College Cybersecurity Credit


Gretchen Bliss
Serena “Sully” Sullivan
Univ of Colorado Colorado Springs

Dianne Burke
Missoula College/University of Montana and CyberMontana


Michael Tu
Purdue University Northwest


Paul Wagner
University of Arizona

Rhode Island

Lisa Bain
Suzanne Mello-Stark
Rhode Island College

Jereme Monette
University of South Florida

Montgomery College and Montgomery County Public Schools

Dakota State University

University of Arkansas Little Rock

Note on Processes for Establishing Dual Credit or Concurrent Enrollment

  • Requires collaboration among higher education and K-12 schools.
  • State policy(ies) often influence what can and cannot be accomplished wrt dual credit and concurrent enrollment.  A piece of this is funding, some states incentivize dual credit and concurrent enrollment through mechanisms such as tuition coverage, teacher support, etc.

Challenges for Implementing Dual Credit or Concurrent Enrollment

  • Recruitment, scheduling and transportation can be challenges for high schools.
  • Higher education challenges include faculty load, curriculum approval, and incentives.
  • Dual credit challenges include teacher credentials, lab support, IT infrastructure, curriculum, and low enrollment (especially at smaller schools).