Cybersecurity Program at PVCC

Monday, October 17, 2022
Cybersecurity Program at PVCC

As the greater metropolitan area of Phoenix continues to grow into a leading cybersecurity hub, Paradise Valley Community College is helping to develop information technology talent for institutions and workforce partners valley wide. In its first year, PVCC’s Cybersecurity Associates of Applied Science (AAS) program is earning high accolades and positive feedback, thanks in part to a grant initiative helping to recruit and retain disadvantaged students in underrepresented communities. 

PVCC was one of only 14 community colleges nationwide to be selected as a recipient of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) grant. This grant is designed to help bolster community colleges' efforts in preparing students for the surging digital economy. PVCC has positioned its program to meet the training needs of government and industry employees, emphasizing theoretical, legal, ethical, and practical skills needed to maintain security on mission-critical networking and server systems.

“Two of our original students have come back to PVCC this fall to work as lab technicians, helping students with complex lab assignments,” explained Dr. Sean Petty, Division Chair of Business/IT. “The grant helps fund lab techs who loved the program so much they wanted to come back and help others. These guys go above and beyond to help our students, coming Saturdays and staying after hours; their commitment continues to amaze me.”

Additionally, Dr. Petty noted that the $20K grant also helps provide vouchers for students to cover the costs of certification exams. Moreover, students who qualify could also receive tuition benefits for information systems related courses.

Cybersecurity Specializations

PVCC’s Security AAS includes three tracks – Cyber Operations, Cyber Engineering, and Cisco Networking and Security, all of which prepare students for internationally recognized IT certifications and business, government, and industry employment opportunities. For those not interested in an AAS degree, the tracks also have Certification of Completion (CCL) programs available to enhance your existing skill levels.

Cyber Operations

An emphasis on cyber operations will provide well-rounded knowledge of security on a broader scale. It provides a broader lens for security analysis and managing networks.

Cyber Engineering

Cyber Engineering’s main focus is on quality control, focusing on the vulnerabilities in software programs and code.

Cisco Networking and Security

The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification is taught by Cisco Certified professionals using the Cisco Networking Academy program curriculum, with hands-on labs and access to modern switching. The CCL provides the knowledge and skills training for those interested in working with network and internet hardware.

“Technology is one of the fastest growing employment sectors, actively seeking qualified, talented professionals to manage networks and keep their IT platforms running,” Dr. Petty said. “Our program delves into the skills required to secure, protect, and identify vulnerabilities in a network, including various operating systems and network devices. I want companies knocking on our door for students, not the other way around.”

For more information, contact Dr. Petty at or check out our website.