The Cyber Defense program of study (AAS Systems Security) at Alamance Community College is featured in the institutional publication of the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity. The publication (NCAE-C Program Book) serves as a guide to all institutions of higher learning across the U.S. that offer cybersecurity programs and have been vetted by the NSA/DHS for excellence.


Academic institutions may choose from three designations: Cyber Defense (CAE-CD), Research (CAE-R) and Cyber Operations (CAE-CO). Alamance Community College holds the CAE-CD designation and is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Cyber Security, meaning the college’s program meets or exceeds national standards in both academic content and community engagement.


When ACC received its initial designation in June 2020, the college was among fewer than 400 institutions and only 116 community colleges in the continental U.S. with that distinction.


“We are very proud to be among such an elite group”, said Debra McCusker, Program Manager for the Center of Academic Excellence-Cyber at ACC.


The guide notes that “ACC’s location and demographics have motivated it to focus on how cybersecurity intertwines with its regional employers in the sectors of healthcare services and materials handling.”


The associate degree that ACC offers in this discipline emphasizes the cyber operations skillsets that are employed within a SOC Tier I Analyst position. This provides a pathway for graduates to step immediately into a paying job that requires them to analyze IDS alerts, inspect suspicious emails, examine network logs, and perform packet analysis.


In all of ACC’s cybersecurity courses, the college is intentional in emphasizing and cultivating critical thinking and creativity.


For more information about ACC’s Cybersecurity program of study, contact Debra McCusker at or Blain Jones at