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VetSuccess Academy


A United States Cyber Academy program

To help fill the skills gap, the SANS Institute created the SANS CyberTalent Immersion Academy, an intensive, accelerated training program that provides SANS world class training and GIAC certifications to quickly and effectively launch careers in cybersecurity. SANS CyberTalent Immersion Academies are 100% scholarship-based and no cost to participants.

The VetSuccess Academies are open to:

  • Transitioning service members not more than six months away from separation.
  • Veterans less than five years out of the service who are not currently working in the information security field or who have prior information security work experience outside of the military service.

Preferred degrees and experience for applicants (you only need one of the three below):

  • Hold a bachelor's degree and have at least 1 year of work experience in information technology, information security, audit, signal, I & A or other communications branch
  • Hold an associate's degree and have at least 3 years of work experience in information technology, information security, audit, signal, I & A or other communications branch
  • Those without a college degree must hold at least 3-5 years of work experience in information technology, information security, audit, signal, I & A or other communications branch

Click here for a list of Current Immersion Academies and the admission requirements.

How the Program Works

Candidates meeting the Academy requirements will take the SANS CyberTalent Enhanced Assessment test and based on the result they may be invited to submit an application. Candidates invited to submit an application may advance to the next step for a personal interview. The Admission Committee will determine which candidates are accepted and will notify of next steps.

Students will complete up to three SANS courses and industry-leading certifications.

SANS Course GIAC Certification
SEC401 : SANS Security Essentials Boot Camp Style GSEC - GIAC Security Essentials
SEC504 : Hacker Techniques, Exploits & Incident Handling GCIH - GIAC Certified Incident Handler
Third Course is Elective. Typical Selections Include:
FOR408 : Windows Forensic Analysis GCFE - GIAC Certified Forensic Examiner
SEC501 : Advanced Security Essentials, Enterprise Defender GCED - GIAC Certified Enterprise Defender
SEC503 : Intrusion Detection In-Depth GCIA GIAC Certified Intrusion Analyst
SEC542 : Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking GWAPT - GIAC Certified Web Application Penetration Tester
SEC560 : Network Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking GPEN - GIAC Certified Penetration Tester

Time Commitment for Students

The Academy is a fast-track, intensive program and students are expected to complete all coursework and certifications in four to six months depending on the academy schedule. On average, it takes most SANS students 80 hours to prepare for one GIAC certification attempt.

The first course for each cohort is the SEC401: SANS Security Essential Bootcamp style which will be taken in a live classroom environment, at the location listed for each particular academy. The course will run for six full days and all students are required to attend. The second and third courses are taken online via SANS OnDemand and are self-paced. Students are required to complete the course and the certification in 5 to 8 weeks depending on the particular academy's schedule.

The VetSuccess Academies generally takes three to four months to complete. Most academies start with six days of onsite training.

Course Set Up

All students will begin their academy program by attending SEC401 live for six full days at their preferred location i.e. the academy the student applied to.

For VetSuccess Academies; students attend SEC401 live for six days and continue to study SEC401 at home for an additional four weeks preparing for the GIAC certification exam. Students who successfully pass the certification exam move on to SEC504 via SANS OnDemand and will have four to five weeks to complete the OnDemand course and certification exam. Students who opt-in to pursue a third course and certification will have four to five weeks to complete the course via SANS OnDemand as well.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are excited about this program and meet the basic requirements above, we invite you to review our Current Academies page to see which Academies are of interest. Please review the qualifications for each Academy as there may be different or advanced requirements for each.

If you have questions, please contact us at immersionacademy@sans.org.