NPC Announces Cybersecurity Program, Cyber Range Grant

National Park College (NPC) announced a new Associate of Applied Science Degree in Networking and Cybersecurity this week. The degree was approved by the Board of Trustees in December and by the Arkansas Division of Higher Education Coordinating Board Friday.

The program revises NPC’s computer networking degree to include both networking and cybersecurity. The new program begins in the fall of 2021. Existing networking students that enrolled last fall will have the option to migrate to this new degree.

Instructor Robert Feighl explained the significance of the changes noting, “It means that each year NPC will be graduating a group of students that will be highly skilled in networking, but most importantly, skilled in cyber defense and incident response. In other words, they will have the skills to help protect their companies, their homes, their friends and family from attacks that occur every day in the cyber realm.”

“We face an ever-increasing threat to our online safety and privacy, and we need teams of individuals trained to combat these threats. Now, students interested in computer networking will continue to get that training along with essential cyber security training,” said Feighl.

The College was awarded a $49,000 Regional Workforce Grant from the Arkansas Division of Higher Education in December. The funds are being used to equip a new cybersecurity classroom which will provide students access to a cyber range. “The new range will allow students to hone their skills by competing in real world scenarios in a virtual network environment where common cyber-attacks will be performed, and the students will practice responding to and defending against these attacks in a fun and exciting way,” Feighl noted.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 32% job growth rate for information security analysts between 2018 and 2028. “Our Networking and Cyber Security graduates will be able to gain employment quickly. This is such a high demand field that we anticipate employers will be contacting us to fill vacancies, and these are very lucrative positions. Entry-level positions can pay $60,000 and above,” said Business and Technical Division Chair, Jennifer Lyons.