2022 Best Online Graduate Certificates in Homeland Security

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A graduate certificate in homeland security can provide you with the basic knowledge and principles of homeland security fields and practices.

Best Online Graduate Certificates in Homeland Security

There are several different branches that fall under the US Department of Homeland Security. Some of the duties of these branches vary widely, but all have a main focus of counterterrorism and defending the nation and people from possible threats.

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If you’re thinking about a career in homeland security, you can read on to get an idea of what you may learn in homeland security studies as well as possible career options.

Online Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Programs

Man getting a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security online

The purpose of homeland security is to provide protection to citizens and the nation from hazards, threats, and small- to large-scale dangers.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is in charge of handling domestic and national security issues. It has several agencies that operate within the department, each of which takes on different roles and responsibilities in the security and emergency management sector.

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An online graduate certificate in homeland security can be helpful in gaining further knowledge about skills and concepts relating to homeland security subjects and fields. If you’re thinking about pursuing an online graduate certificate in this sector, you may have an interest in national or domestic security.

Some subjects that could be involved with homeland security studies include:

  • Counterterrorism
  • National security
  • Domestic security
  • Cybersecurity
  • Emergency management
  • Intelligence services

Professionals with a graduate certificate may become a homeland security specialist in specific sectors of emergency management or homeland security. For example, you might have a specific interest in natural or man-made disaster relief, border security, or counterterrorism.

Homeland security graduate certificate programs are designed for individuals with at least a bachelors degree. Many students in this program have already earned either on-campus or online bachelors in homeland security degrees, whereas others have degrees in other fields.

Online certificate programs can be beneficial for individuals unable to attend on-campus classes. A graduate certificate could also help prepare you for a graduate degree in homeland security.

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Careers & Salaries

Homeland Security and Emergency Management Careers & Salaries

Homeland security and emergency management is a multidisciplinary field. It involves several sub-branches that pertain to security and defense procedures and strategies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations in emergency management and related sectors are expected to experience as fast as average growth over the next decade.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Information Security Analysts $102,600
Detectives and Criminal Investigators $83,640
Transportation Inspectors $79,770
Emergency Management Directors $76,730
Social and Community Service Managers $74,000
Transit and Railroad Police $64,930
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers $64,610
Public Relations Specialists $62,800
Transportation Security Screeners $45,470
Security Guards $31,470

Salaries and availability for these careers can differ depending upon location and experience. There may also be additional training involved for some of these positions.

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Homeland security and emergency management careers can often be found in private or public agencies. Obtaining a graduate certificate in homeland security may help you qualify for more job opportunities.

Homeland Security Graduate Certificate Curriculum & Courses

Information Security Analysts working in a secured facility

You may have the option of taking some of the following courses in a homeland security graduate certificate program:

  • Fundamentals of Homeland Security: This course introduces you to the basic concepts and principles of the homeland security field, including risks, preparation, response, and recovery strategies.
  • Emergency Management and Policy: This course allows you to explore different policies and issues of the emergency management sector, such as coordinating with other agencies to prepare and respond to disasters.
  • Foundations of Security Studies: This course is designed to help you understand basic concepts and principles of security studies in the field of political science.
  • Examining Terrorist Groups: This course may help you understand key terrorist groups, the history of terrorism, current terrorist threats, and counterterrorism strategies.
  • Cybersecurity Principles: This course introduces you to the foundations of cybersecurity, including cyber threats, network security, and risk assessment and management.
  • Risk Analysis: This course teaches you about management of risk assessment and modeling, including different risk assessment methods and applications commonly used.
  • Terrorists and Weapons of Mass Destruction: This course helps you understand the capabilities and intentions of terrorists as well as how biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear weapons are used.
  • Disaster Response Operations and Recovery: If you would like to explore the disaster relief sector, this course may provide you with an understanding of effective disaster responses and operations.
  • Transportation Safety and Security: This course introduces you to transportation safety and security measures, such as policies, infrastructure, protocols, and information systems.
  • Geographic Information Systems for Emergency Management: This course may help you get a better understanding of collecting and managing spatial data to analyze homeland security threats and emergencies.

Depending on the program, there could be more core and elective courses offered.

Admission Requirements

Admission Interview for Homeland Security degree

Colleges and universities can have different admission requirements, but the following requirements tend to be fairly common amongst most schools:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Prior undergraduate or graduate official transcripts
  • Minimum GPA (typically 3.0 or higher)
  • Letters of recommendation

Although these are common requirements, you can check with your prospective schools to discover the specific materials they require for admission. Admission requirements for undergraduate and graduate degrees can also differ from online graduate non-degree certificate programs.

Accreditation

University offering Graduate Certificates in Homeland Security

The accreditation status of a school or program is an important factor to consider when searching for a homeland security graduate certificate program.

Accreditation is the review of a college or universities’ quality based on established standards. Regionally accredited institutions are considered to meet or exceed quality standards and are continuously reviewed by various third-party accrediting organizations.

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Attending a college or university that’s accredited can establish your education’s credibility and can also affect your eligibility to receive federal or state grants and loans. The accreditation status of your school may also be considered by employers. Depending on the program you pursue, accreditation can also impact your ability to pursue professional licensure for certain fields.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for Graduate Certificates in Homeland Security

State and federal financial aid options could be available depending upon your eligibility. You can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for government aid.

You might qualify for scholarship programs or tuition assistance through certain companies or agencies as well as your school. Some employers even offer benefits and financial assistance to help their workers further their education and training.

The US Department of Homeland Security offers a number of scholarships, fellowships, and homeland security training programs to select students. You can look for eligibility pathways on the DHS students and grads career webpage.

What Is a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security?

A graduate certificate in homeland security is a non-degree program that covers advanced concepts, principles, policies, and procedures within the homeland security sector. While earning a homeland security graduate certificate, you may be introduced to topics that involve hazardous risks, international and domestic terrorism, and security measures.

A graduate certificate can be supplemental to a current or future career in homeland security. Whether you have a bachelors degree in homeland security or an unrelated field, a graduate certificate could help you further your knowledge and skill sets in this rewarding sector.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security?

Two Information Security Analysts with degree in Homeland Security

There are several career paths you may be able to pursue with a graduate certificate in homeland security. Individuals with a homeland security graduate certificate tend to explore careers in the fields of emergency management, security services, law enforcement, cybersecurity, or analytics.

A graduate certificate program can help you gain more experience and knowledge in a specific homeland security sector. It could also allow you to expand on your current role in the field.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Online?

An online graduate certificate in homeland security tends to take as little as 6 months to 1 year to complete with full-time enrollment.

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Program credit hours can also differ depending on the college or university. Some schools have programs with a minimum of 12 credit hours, while others may offer a program with 18 credit hours. Depending on the program you choose and the number of credit hours required, it may be possible to complete a homeland security graduate certificate online in as little as one semester.

What’s the Difference Between a Graduate Certificate vs. Masters in Homeland Security?

Graduate certificate coursework may overlap with some of the coursework for a masters degree in homeland security, but here are some of the key differences between the two.

Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Master’s Degree in Homeland Security
  • Non-degree program
  • May take 6 months to 1 year to complete
  • Often consists of half the course load of a masters program
  • Involves career-oriented training
  • May be credited toward a masters
  • Degree program
  • May take 1 to 2 years to complete
  • Offers more courses
  • Focuses on a specific field within homeland security
  • May prepare you for doctoral studies

A homeland security graduate certificate will often not take as long to complete as a master’s degree, but a masters could also offer more in-depth study in the field.

What’s the Difference Between a Homeland Security Certification vs. Certificate?

Although they sound similar, homeland security certification is not the same as a homeland security graduate certificate.

Homeland Security Certificate Homeland Security Certification
  • Academic non-degree program
  • Involves coursework on basic homeland security concepts and principles
  • Does not give you professional certification for a specific position or field
  • Professional credential
  • May require additional coursework or fieldwork hours
  • May involve exams or assessments
  • Can certify professionals in a specific homeland security branch

Certification may be more concentrated on a specific homeland security field and include an extra process to become certified.

Is a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Worth It?

Police Patrol Officers on duty

Yes, a graduate certificate in homeland security is worth it for many students. It can provide you with helpful knowledge and necessary training in the homeland security field.

A graduate certificate could help you qualify for more job opportunities and be a strategic addition to your resume or curriculum vitae. Several careers within the homeland security sector are expected to experience faster than average job growth, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that homeland security positions may be more available in the coming years.

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Overall, protective service occupations are expected to see 8% job growth over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

American Public University

American Public University campus

American Public University offers an online program for a graduate certificate in homeland security. Courses start every month and are 8 or 16 weeks long. The program requires the completion of 18 credits of coursework. Classes include Research Methods in Homeland Security, Homeland Security and Defense, Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups, and more.

APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University offers an online program for a homeland security graduate certificate. The program requires a total of six classes that are each 7.5 weeks long. There are four required courses: Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction, Homeland Security, Seminar in Domestic Terrorism, and Seminar in International Terrorism. Students must also complete 2 electives.

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

DeSales University

DeSales University campus

DeSales University offers an online program for a graduate certificate in homeland security and counterterrorism investigations. The program requires just 4 courses and is designed to be flexible so that students can continue working while completing it. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and GRE and GMAT scores are not needed to apply.

DeSales University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Fairleigh Dickinson University campus

Fairleigh Dickinson University offers a graduate certificate in homeland security administration. The certificate requires the completion of 6 courses, for a total of 18 credit hours. Courses you may take include Emergency Management and Safety Administration, Global Preparedness for Catastrophic Emergencies, Current Issues in Cyber Forensics, and more.

Fairleigh Dickinson University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

George Mason University

George Mason University

George Mason University offers a graduate certificate in emergency management and homeland security. The certificate can be completed 100% online and requires 15 total credits: three required courses and two electives. New students can start in the fall or spring. Credits may be transferred into the Master of Public Administration program at Mason.

George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Indiana University

Indiana University campus

Indiana University offers a graduate certificate in homeland security and emergency management that can be earned 100% online. The program is designed to provide flexibility for working professionals. Students in the program must take 3 core courses and 2 electives. The core courses are Emergency Management, Risk Analysis for Public Safety, and National and Homeland Security in America.

Indiana University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University campus

Michigan State University offers a graduate certificate in homeland security. The program requires the completion of 3 courses: Issues in Criminal Justice: Public and Private Partnerships, Foundations in Homeland Security, and Terrorism. The program is available fully online. Degree-seeking graduate students can also add the certificate to their degrees as a specialization.

Michigan State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University campus

Old Dominion University offers a graduate certificate in homeland security through its School of Continuing Education. Students must take Introduction to Homeland Security Logistics and then choose 3 electives. Courses are offered in a live online format to accommodate busy professionals. The curriculum emphasizes real-world knowledge and skills.

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

Pennsylvania State University offers a graduate certificate in homeland security that can be earned online. Students in the program must complete 12 credits of coursework, including two required courses and two electives. The required courses are Fundamentals of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Defense in Practice.

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Pennsylvania Western University

Pennsylvania Western University campus

Pennsylvania Western University’s homeland security graduate certificate can be earned entirely online. Credits earned in the program are designed to be applied toward a master’s in legal studies. The program can typically be finished within 1 year. It requires the completion of 15 credits of courses, such as US Homeland Security, Domestic Extremism in the United States, and Intelligence Practice in Homeland Security.

Pennsylvania Western University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers a certificate in homeland security that can be completed online. The program can typically be completed in just 6 months. It requires the completion of 4 courses: Global Terrorism, Terrorist Techniques and Counterterrorism, Threat Assessment, and Intelligence Collection and Analysis. Classes have no set meeting times and are taught by experienced professionals.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Texas A&M University

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

Texas A&M University offers a homeland security certificate that can be earned online or on campus. Areas of emphasis include National Security Policy and Management, Emergency Management and Crisis Preparedness, Critical Infrastructure Protection, and Border Security. Each class is 15 weeks long and is designed to be transferred into a graduate degree program.

Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The Citadel

The Citadel campus

The Citadel offers a graduate certificate in homeland security. It may be earned 100% online or on campus. The online format is designed to accommodate working adults and members of the armed services. The certificate requires the completion of five courses that are 3 credit hours each.

The Citadel is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas campus

The University of Arkansas offers a graduate certificate in homeland security. Classes are fully online, and each one is 8 weeks long. Students must complete 12 credit hours of coursework, including two required courses: Introduction to Operations Management and Homeland Security for Operations Managers. Students must also complete two electives of their choice.

The University of Arkansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Central Missouri

University of Central Missouri campus

The University of Central Missouri offers a graduate certificate in terrorism and homeland security. The certificate can be earned online, on campus in Warrensburg, or in a hybrid format. The program can typically be completed in 1 year, and includes four courses: Philosophy and Policy, Comparative and International CJ Systems, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

The University of Central Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs campus

The University of Colorado—Colorado Springs offers a graduate certificate in homeland security and emergency management. The certificate can be completed online or on campus. The program consists of 5 courses, such as Emerging Threats and Homeland Security, Emergency Management Administration, and Environmental Challenges and Human Security.

UCCS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a 15 credit graduate certificate in homeland security management. All courses are available online, and select courses are also available in a hybrid format. The curriculum covers how to develop security strategies and make data-informed decisions.

University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University campus

Virginia Commonwealth University offers an online program for a graduate certificate in homeland security and emergency preparedness. The program requires the completion of 15 credits and can be started in the fall or spring. Courses are asynchronous and include Introduction to Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Survey of Terrorism, Risk Assessment, and more.

VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Walden University

Walden University campus

Walden University’s graduate certificate in homeland security requires the completion of 4 courses, for a total of 18 quarter credits. The required courses are Foundations of Graduate Study, Current Issues in Homeland Security, Critical Leadership Incident and Planning, and Terrorism: Legislation and Policy. Walden’s courses are fully online and designed to provide flexibility for adult learners.

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Westfield State University

Westfield State University campus

Westfield State University offers a homeland security graduate certificate. Students are required to take 4 criminal justice courses of their choice and then complete a capstone project to demonstrate what they have learned. Advisors are available to help students choose the best courses for their career goals. All courses besides the capstone are designed to be applied toward a master’s degree.

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Getting Your Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security Online

Man completing his Graduate Certificates in Homeland Security online

An online graduate certificate in homeland security could be beneficial if you’re looking to expand on your knowledge in the field.

There are several homeland security career paths to consider that include a wide variety of job titles and responsibilities. If you’re especially interested in protecting others from dangers and assessing risk factors, you may find this field rewarding. Much like on-campus or online homeland security associate’s degree programs, homeland security graduate certificate programs differ between universities, and some schools may also offer programs that concentrate on your specific interests.

Exploring available programs from accredited schools could help you discover the homeland security graduate certificate that best aligns with your interests and goals.

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Amy Hayes
WRITTEN BY
Amy Hayes
Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.