Metropolitan Community College has been named a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense for its cybersecurity program. MCC joins about 200 other U.S. colleges and universities with that top-tier designation, among them just 70 two-year colleges.

The Centers of Academic Excellence program is jointly sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. The CAE designation goes to colleges with “robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units (KUs), validated by top subject matters in the field.” MCC’s designation runs through 2023.

For those pursuing careers in cybersecurity, Metropolitan Community College offers an A.A.S. (associate in applied science) degree in secure systems administration and engineering. The program prepares students to enter the in-demand information technology and cybersecurity fields by blending current systems administration concepts with essential security skills and best practices necessary to deploy, administer, harden and defend computer and network systems.

MCC’s high-quality, rigorous cybersecurity curriculum includes industry-leading labs and certified program faculty with industry experience, Chancellor Kimberly Beatty says.

“With this program, employers and students have confidence that education and training are in accordance with current national and industry standards,” Dr. Beatty says. “Whether a student is just starting their career, changing careers or retooling, they leave MCC with the knowledge and skills necessary to enter the workforce.”

The CAE designation recognizes excellence in cybersecurity education and is awarded to schools that meet a long list of academic and institutional criteria. Earning the designation was about a four-year process for MCC, says Brian Hurley, the College’s cybersecurity program coordinator.

MCC was awarded on its first application submission with no requests for evidence or further information, which is rare, according to Hurley.

“We have made significant strides in cybersecurity education in recent years, and with this designation, Metropolitan Community College looks forward to contributing significantly to the growing demand for cybersecurity talent in the Kansas City region,” Hurley says.

In addition to coursework, students are encouraged to join the MCC Cybersecurity Club and the National Cybersecurity Student Association, and participate in cyber competitions such as the National Cyber League.

“As a greater priority is placed on strengthening cybersecurity and safeguarding citizens, our nation is increasingly looking to higher education to produce skilled and capable cybersecurity professionals able to defend our networks and infrastructure,” according to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) website.

For more information about Metropolitan Community College’s cybersecurity program, contact Brian Hurley at 816.604.6659 or