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WGU has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense through the academic year 2026.
“CAE” stands for Centers of Academic Excellence, while “CDE” is a cyber defense designation. As issues surrounding cybersecurity become more prevalent and cyberattacks against both personal and professional targets continue to rise, there is a greater demand for cybersecurity professionals to act as the first line of defense.
This is where The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense (CAE-CD) program comes in. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) teamed up to co-sponsor this program with the goal to elevate and advance skilled cybersecurity professionals across a variety of government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.
Colleges and universities who receive CAE designation essentially get a stamp of approval for their cybersecurity programs from the U.S. Government. Schools with CAE designation go through intensive assessments to determine their capabilities, ensuring that students are receiving top-notch training designed to make them leaders in a variety of cybersecurity fields and provide extensive knowledge on how to address the threats we’re facing today.
Because the CAE is deeply dedicated to supporting the best of the best cybersecurity specialists in the field, designations can be hard to come by. Colleges and universities obtain their CAE-CDE designation by meeting the following criteria:
Students who wish to pursue a degree in cybersecurity should seek out colleges or universities with CAE-CDE designation. Not only does it ensure they’re getting a top-notch education in their field of choice, but students can also rest easy knowing they’re getting an education endorsed by two of the most prominent cybersecurity employers in the nation. Students can also enrich their cybersecurity degree program by participating in studies and academic collaborations with government entities as part of their school’s CAE-CDE designation.
Additionally, by studying concepts deemed essential by the Department of Defense and the NSA, students make themselves desirable hires to any potential employer in the cybersecurity field. It may also make an impression on hiring managers looking for students who have deep knowledge of cybersecurity and how to combat the variety of threats facing the industry today.
As cybersecurity threats continue to grow, the demand for cybersecurity specialists is in overdrive—which means there are countless opportunities for graduates of this educational field. However, not all schools have this designation, nor do all schools teach the same cybersecurity curriculum. It’s best to research a school’s accreditation before enrolling to ensure they’ve obtained their CAE-CDE designation.
While an accredited program is important for graduates, programs with additional designations and awards are invaluable. A CAE-CDE designation can impact graduates by: