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The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) recently highlighted Fayetteville Technical Community College for its “great achievements” as one of the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense program across the United States.   

NICCS describes itself as a one-stop shop for cybersecurity careers and studies, connecting the public with information on cybersecurity awareness, degree programs, training and more while helping the public connect to more than 5,000 courses every day. 

“Community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities are designated by top subject matter experts in the cyber defense field based on strength of degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units (KUs),” NICCS says at its website

The College’s Cyber Defense Education Center is overseen by Department Chair Chris Herring; he’s also an instructor in the Systems Security & Analysis program. Both programs fall under the Computer Information Technology curriculum, which is overseen by Tenette Prevatte, who serves as dean. FTCC’s program aims to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cyber defense and producing professionals with cyber defense expertise.  Herring called the acknowledgement from NICCS an “honor.”  


FTCC’s Systems Security & Analysis Department Chair Chris Herring.

“We feel NICCS is a well-known organization committed to helping individuals find the best career fit and education for that person,” he said. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact our program will have meeting the cyber talent needs for not just the state of North Carolina, but the nation.”   

Herring added, “The College is committed to meeting the workforce demand for cyber talent in the state of North Carolina and the United States. To be selected as a featured CAE program reflects the hard work put in by the Fayetteville Technical Community College team.”   

FTCC has been a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education since May 2018. The designation for the 2-year program was made by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency. Both jointly sponsor CAE. During the last two years, FTCC also earned the 2019 Academic Innovator of the Year by EC-Council and this past September, its Red Hat Academy program earned the namesake Training Innovator of the Year Award. FTCC student Tiffany Alford was named the Red Hat Training Student Ambassador of the Year.   

Herring noted the College’s cybersecurity program and courses are for everyone. Currently, 24 percent of the students enrolled in Systems Security & Analysis are out-of-state residents.  

“Prospective students can come in with no experience in the field and expect a robust educational experience in a nationally recognized program,” he said. “The courses are offered 100% online as well as face-to-face with the same rigorous coursework thanks to our partnerships with vendors such as Palo Alto, EC-Council, Cisco and RedHat.”   

NICCS’s announcement about FTCC coincided with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, recognized annually in October. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) encourage institutions – designated as “champions” like FTCC – to share tips and information about cybersecurity with the public during the month-long effort.   

NICCS also recognized three other postsecondary institutions for their programs alongside FTCC: Mountain Empire Community College in Virginia; New England Institute of Technology in Rhode Island and Coastline College in Southern California.   

Learn more about FTCC’s Cyber Defense Education Center and its programs by clicking here.