National Initiatives / Cybersecurity Education

Cybersecurity Education

Cybersecurity Education

Cybersecurity work is vital to our nation’s security and prosperity, yet hundreds of thousands of in-demand, high-paying cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled. To meet this urgent and growing demand, the United States needs to increase the supply of work-ready talent. This effort will require identifying and developing pathways from secondary education to postsecondary education and careers. However, many high schools do not have enough educators with the necessary expertise to provide a rigorous cybersecurity education.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is collaborating with other federal agencies on two initiatives to increase the number of career and technical education (CTE) teachers who can effectively prepare students for cybersecurity education and careers — the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award and CTE CyberNet.

OCTAE Contact

Albert Palacios
albert.palacios@ed.gov
(202) 245-7772

Learn about ED’s cybersecurity initiatives


The Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award honors cybersecurity educators for their contributions to our nation’s students

The Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award is presented by the United States Secretary of Education to educators in the field of cybersecurity to honor their contribution to the education of our nation’s students.

The award is presented annually to two educators—one at the elementary level, and one at the secondary level—who demonstrate superior achievement in instilling skills, knowledge, and passion with respect to cybersecurity and cybersecurity-related subjects. The award recognizes demonstrated superior educator accomplishment as well as academic achievement by the educator’s students.

Award recipients embody the expertise and dedication of educators who are critical to increasing the cybersecurity awareness of all students, inspiring the nation’s future cybersecurity workforce, and contributing to a more secure society.


CTE CyberNet is a professional development initiative to strengthen cybersecurity education in America’s high schools

CTE CyberNet seeks to increase the number of career and technical education (CTE) teachers who can effectively prepare students for cybersecurity education and careers. CTE CyberNet is driven by a local academy approach to help teachers deliver more rigorous CTE cybersecurity programs of study aligned to industry standards and industry-valued certifications. The academies give educators strategies and tools to impart the knowledge, skills, and abilities outlined in the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework. CTE CyberNet academies are designed to also align with the knowledge units of Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (CAEs).


Current Academies

CTE CyberNet

Chicago Academy
The Chicago Academy — led by Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) — provided six weeks of live, virtual instruction. The academy focused on ensuring teachers would be capable of helping their students attain in-demand credentials, namely industry certifications and two-year degrees. The Chicago Academy will resume in summer 2022.

CTE CyberNet

San Antonio Academy
The San Antonio Academy — led by San Antonio College (SAC) — hosted CTE high school cybersecurity teachers for seven weeks of live, virtual instruction. The academy leveraged the cybersecurity industry’s growing interest in education to ensure that its teachers had equal access to instructional resources. The San Antonio Academy will resume in summer 2022.

CTE CyberNet

South Dakota Academy
The South Dakota Academy — led by Dakota State University (DSU) — engaged teachers in seven weeks of self-paced, virtual instruction taught by 10 subject matter experts from DSU’s faculty. The academy experimented with teaching and learning formats to accommodate different backgrounds and abilities. The South Dakota Academy will resume in summer 2022.

CTE CyberNet

Miami Academy
More information coming soon
Beginning in summer 2022, will be led by Florida International University (FIU) in collaboration with Miami Dade College to establish pathways from high school to two-year programs and produce a replicable framework for leading an academy through partner institutions.

CTE CyberNet

New Mexico Academy
More information coming soon
Beginning in summer 2022, will be led by Eastern New Mexico University - Ruidoso and include dual-credit opportunities for high school students in the region and seek new tools for engaging middle school audiences to cultivate early interest in cybersecurity coursework.

Key Terms and Definitions in Cybersecurity

For those interested in learning more about the cybersecurity education ecosystem, the following organizations, initiatives, and frameworks have goals aligned with the mission of CTE CyberNet.

  • CAEs: The National Security Agency sponsors three types of Centers of Academic Excellence — Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE), Cyber Research (CAE-R), and Cyber Operations (CAE-CO). All regionally accredited two-year, four-year, and graduate-level academic institutions in the United States are eligible to apply to become a CAE-CDE school. NSA designated candidate institutions that meet stringent criteria and elect to specialize in one of several possible focus areas. Learn more about CAEs.

  • CRHs: CAE Regional Hubs act as a hub for CAE institutions within a particular geographic region. They host a variety of programs and cybersecurity instructor professional development workshops, seminars, and courses for designated and candidate institutions. Learn more about CRHs.

  • KSAs: The NICE Framework serves as a fundamental reference for describing and sharing information about cybersecurity work, workforce, training, and education, as well as the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities needed to complete cybersecurity tasks and responsibilities. Learn more about KSAs.

  • KUs: A CAE-Cyber Operations Fundamental program must include "knowledge units" (single or multiple courses, or course modules within single or multiple courses) covering 100% of the mandatory academic content and a minimum of 10 of the 17 optional academic content. Learn more about KUs.

  • NICE: The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce, is a partnership between government, academia, and the private sector focused on cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development. Learn more about NICE.

  • NICE Framework: The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework is the blueprint to categorize, organize, and describe cybersecurity work. It provides a common language to speak about cyber roles and jobs and can be referenced by those who wish to define professional requirements in cybersecurity. Learn more about the NICE Framework.

  • NIST: The National Institute of Standards and Technology is a non-regulatory agency and sciences laboratory, located within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST aims to promote innovation and its activities are organized into programs that include, among many areas, information technology and cybersecurity. Learn more about NIST.

  • SFS: The Scholarship for Service is a unique program designed to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals, and security managers to meet the needs of the cybersecurity mission for federal, state, local, and tribal governments. This program provides scholarships for up to three years of support for cybersecurity undergraduate and graduate (M.S. or Ph.D.) education. Learn more about SFS.