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USC Aiken and SANS Tech Start Cybersecurity Degree Program

A new partnership between USC Aiken and SANS Technology Institute will allow students to get hands-on training and four industry-recognized certifications while completing a bachelor's degree in cybersecurity.

(TNS) — The University of South Carolina Aiken has partnered with a premier cybersecurity institute in a deal that will augment the school's offerings and will likely propel more people into an industry of increasing importance.

Representatives with the university and SANS Technology Institute on Wednesday signed a related memorandum of understanding, which Chancellor Dr. Daniel Heimmermann said opens "a wonderful opportunity for our students."

Through the partnership, select students will have the option of completing a 12-credit undergraduate certificate in applied cybersecurity as part of their degree.

"We substitute four of SANS's certs, four of their courses, for four of our courses," said Dr. Daren Timmons, provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs at USCA. "By the time they graduate, they have a bachelor's degree in this area as well as four industry-recognized certifications."

The combination — mixing traditional education with hands-on training — is unparalleled, attendees at the Wednesday signing suggested.

"It testifies to both their skills and abilities at the moment, so that they are job ready," Timmons said, "and they'll also have that foundational, long-term perspective on the education side, so that they're ready to be impactful for years and years."

The SANS Technology Institute is seen as a leader in cybersecurity education; some 40,000 companies have trained with SANS in the past four years.

"If you know cyber, you know SANS," said Dr. Chad Leverette, the dean of the science and engineering college at USCA.

Hundreds of thousands of cybersecurity jobs are currently unfilled across the U.S., including more than 5,000 in South Carolina and more than 17,000 in neighboring Georgia, according to a database put together by CyberSeek.

©2021 the Aiken Standard (Aiken, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.