Pursuing a homeland security degree online can help you learn the knowledge and skills to protect our communities from potential threats and to coordinate responses to crises.
Homeland security professionals work to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks, to maintain cybersecurity, or to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.
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Online homeland security degrees could be useful for students who want to pursue careers in fields such as law enforcement, cybersecurity, and emergency management.
Homeland Security Degrees Online
A homeland security bachelors degree program can be either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS).
A Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security provides you with a foundation in liberal arts and humanities. On the other hand, a BS in Homeland Security focuses somewhat more on technology and scientific thought.
Here are some subjects you might study while earning a degree in homeland security:
- Constitutional law
- Technology and information security
- Critical infrastructure protection
- Intelligence gathering and dissemination
- Risk assessment
A homeland security major can prepare you to either pursue an entry-level position in the field or to continue your education at the graduate level. There are many homeland security and counter terrorism degree programs available in both online and hybrid formats.
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Some programs include internships or capstone projects to be completed in person. These experiences can help you see how the knowledge you learned in class applies in the real world. Possible career paths in homeland or national security include border patrol agents, air marshals, disaster services analysts, and emergency management planners.
Security management careers often involve working for government agencies at the local, state, or federal levels. Graduates of homeland security degree programs may go on to work for the US Department of Justice or the US Department of Homeland Security.
Common Online Homeland Security Degree Concentrations
Many online homeland security courses allow you to choose a concentration within the major, allowing you to tailor your education to your specific career goals and interests. Here are some examples of commonly available concentrations:
- Counterterrorism. This concentration teaches you about strategies for preventing terrorist attacks, investigating possible terrorists, and responding to terrorist attacks. You can also study the history of terrorism and counterterrorism efforts.
- Cybersecurity. This concentration teaches you about the technological skills you need to protect electronically stored data from hackers and security breaches. You can also learn about policy, risk assessment, and laws related to cybersecurity.
- Public Health. This concentration teaches you how to protect communities from health hazards, such as contagious diseases and environmental pollutants.
- Public Safety. This concentration teaches you how to protect the public from the threat of fires, crimes, natural disasters, and other emergencies.
- Emergency and Disaster Management. This concentration teaches you about management strategies for fire departments, police departments, and similar organizations. You can learn about coordinating the work of first responders and keeping these agencies running efficiently and effectively.
Any of these concentrations could provide you with specialized information in the field of homeland security. Which track is best for you will typically depend on your interests.
Homeland Security Careers & Salaries
The knowledge and training you can acquire in a homeland security bachelor’s degree program could serve you in a variety of career paths. The most relevant industries for homeland security graduates include protective service, management, and computer and information technology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a homeland security degree can often prepare you to pursue a career in law enforcement, emergency management, or related fields.
|Annual Median Salaries
|Information Security Analysts
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators
|Emergency Management Directors
|Transit and Railroad Police
|Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
|First-Line Supervisors of Protective Service and Security Workers
|Transportation Security Screeners
Some of the highest-paying jobs for homeland security majors are found in the computer and information technology sector. Computer and information systems managers, security analysts, and computer systems analysts can all use cybersecurity knowledge in their daily work.
Homeland Security Bachelor’s Curriculum & Courses
Here are some examples of courses you might take while earning your bachelors degree in national security or homeland security:
- Introduction to Homeland Security and Counterterrorism: In this course, you’ll study how government agencies and law enforcement officials work to prevent terrorist attacks.
- Research Methods: In this course, you’ll learn how to conduct research, how to correctly interpret your research findings, and how to present your findings to others.
- Emergency Management: In this course, you’ll study how to apply the four steps for dealing with crises: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
- Immigration Law and Policy: In this course, you’ll study laws that govern who can come into the United States from a foreign country and who can apply for US citizenship.
- Cybercrime: In this course, you’ll study the national security threat posed by hackers, data thieves, malware creators, and other criminals who engage in illegal activity over the Internet.
- Intelligence and Counterintelligence: In this course, you’ll learn how the government gathers information about potential threats and works to prevent espionage by foreign governments.
- Terrorism in the United States: In this course, you’ll study domestic terrorism within the US and how the threat of terrorism affects US culture.
- Security Management: In this course, you’ll study topics like security systems, asset and vulnerability identification and trends in public safety, and you’ll study how security practices have changed over time.
- Ethics of Homeland Security: In this course, you’ll study how to make decisions about what constitutes right and wrong behavior, and you’ll learn how to apply this thinking within the practice of homeland security.
- Catastrophic Events and Responses: In this course, you’ll study different types of emergencies that can affect the public suddenly and on a widespread level, and you’ll learn how public safety officials work to help people in the immediate aftermath.
Exact course titles and requirements vary at different schools.
How to Choose an Online Bachelor’s Degree in Homeland Security Program
When you’re deciding where to pursue your online bachelor’s degree in homeland security, here are some factors you may want to take into account:
- Available concentrations. It’s beneficial to attend a school that offers a homeland security concentration that interests you and fits your career goals.
- Course delivery options. Some online homeland security programs use synchronous courses, which have set meeting times similar to those on campus. Others use asynchronous courses, which let you set your own schedule. Some online programs even use a combination of both course types.
- Job placement rate. You may want to attend a school that has a track record of graduates who find employment within a year of graduating.
There are additional factors, such as a school’s cost and accreditation status, to consider as well. Figuring out which factors matter to you the most can help you choose the program option that’s best for you.
Bachelors in Homeland Security Admissions Requirements
Here are some common admissions requirements for a bachelor’s degree program in homeland security:
- High school transcripts
- Minimum GPA of 2.0, on average
- Personal statement or essay
- Letters of recommendation from teachers or other mentors
Admissions requirements can vary widely from one school to another. For instance, some universities may ask that you submit SAT or ACT scores, especially if you do not have a high GPA.
A college or university can obtain the status of regional accreditation once they’re evaluated by an outside organization and found to meet certain quality standards. Attending a school that has regional accreditation helps to ensure that you receive a high quality education. It can also be a precondition for financial aid.
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Most institutions provide information about their accreditation status on their websites. Before you apply to a school, it’s strategic to verify that they’ve received accreditation from a credible accreditor. You can learn more about accreditation by visiting the US Department of Education’s website.
Homeland Security Certifications and Licensure
Here are a few examples of certifications and licensures that are available for homeland security professionals to earn:
- Certified Homeland Security Protection Associate: This certification is offered by the Global Center for Public Safety. There are four different levels available, with the highest level requiring at least an associate’s and 4 years of work experience in the field.
- Associate Emergency Manager: This certification is offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers. It requires the completion of 100 hours of emergency management training, submission of an essay and three references, and the completion of a 100-question exam.
- Certified Emergency Manager: This certification is offered by the International Association of Emergency Managers, and it’s for those who have at least 3 years of experience working in the field.
Earning a certification may expand your career opportunities and demonstrate your knowledge to potential employers.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many ways in which qualifying students can receive financial aid to help make their education more affordable. For example, you might be able to qualify for state or federal aid, employer programs, or scholarships.
In some cases, you can also apply for financial aid from your school when you apply for admission. You can check your prospective school’s website to find out what scholarship and tuition aid opportunities they have available. To apply for federal financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Homeland Security Professional Organizations
You may want to consider joining a professional organization as you further your education and career. Here are some organizations for those who work in the field of homeland security:
- Global Society of Homeland and National Security Professionals (GSHNSP)
- International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals (IACSP)
- International Society of Homeland Security Professionals (ISHSP)
Professional organizations can provide opportunities to participate in continuing education and to earn various professional certifications. They can also be a way to network and form connections with other workers in your field.
What Degree Do You Need for Counterterrorism?
There are many different degrees you could get before pursuing a career in counterterrorism. Homeland security, criminal justice, and international affairs are all common undergraduate majors for those who are interested in this type of career path.
Many people also get experience in the military or in law enforcement before specializing in counterterrorism. There are no hard and fast rules about how to go about getting into counterterrorism, and different employers may have different expectations.
What Is a Homeland Security Degree?
A bachelor’s in homeland security degree is a type of undergraduate program that teaches you about how to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks as well as other threats to public safety.
This degree program can teach you specific knowledge related to homeland security as well as more general skills, such as effective communication, decision-making, and critical thinking. Many programs also include internships to help you gain work experience.
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A homeland security degree is intended to prepare you for challenges related to counterterrorism, protective service, or emergency management.
What Can You Do with a Homeland Security Degree?
There are a variety of careers you can potentially pursue with a homeland security degree. Some common occupations related to this field include emergency management director, transportation security officer, security systems specialist information security analyst, and police officer.
Federal agencies such as the US Department of Defense, the US State Department, the FBI, the CIA, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) can employ homeland security professionals. Homeland security graduates can also work for local law enforcement or for local or state government agencies. Some even go into the private security sector.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Homeland Security Online Degree?
A traditional bachelor’s degree typically requires 120 credit hours of coursework and takes 4 years to complete if you are enrolled in classes full-time. In this type of degree program, traditional semesters are 16 weeks long.
Some online degree programs, though, feature 8 week class sessions, which may help you finish your degree faster if you take classes full-time, including during the summer. Alternatively, if you choose to only take classes part-time, it make take you longer to finish your degree.
What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Homeland Security?
Some homeland security careers include emergency management director, transportation security officer, law enforcement officer, and information security analyst.
Many homeland security degree programs emphasize technology, which can be quite useful in the job market. Some of the highest-paying homeland security careers are those related specifically to cybersecurity. This technical knowledge could also apply to computer and information technology positions, such as computer and information systems manager or computer systems analyst.
Is Homeland Security a Good Career?
Yes, homeland security is a good career for many professionals. Homeland security can be both challenging and highly rewarding. Professionals who work in homeland security can have the satisfaction of knowing that they are protecting and serving their communities.
There’s a variety of different types of jobs available in homeland security, including both office and administrative roles and positions that involve performing active, hands-on work. Homeland security jobs often pay above average wages.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median annual salary of emergency management directors as $76,730. The median salary for information security analysts is $102,600. Overall, protective service jobs make a median of $46,590, per year.
How Much Do Homeland Security Agents Make?
There’s a wide range of salaries in the field of homeland security, and how much you can make can depend on a variety of factors, such as your level of work experience and education. Homeland security also encompasses many different sectors.
For instance, law enforcement positions in the federal government make a median salary of $93,970 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Meanwhile, transit and railroad police earn a median of $64,930 per year, and transportation security screeners earn a median of $45,470. The median annual salary for emergency management directors is $76,730 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Is a Homeland Security Degree Worth It?
Yes, a homeland security degree is worth it for many students. A homeland security degree could be useful in current and future job markets, and there are a variety of sectors and homeland security specializations to choose from.
A number of jobs related to homeland security are growing, especially those related to keeping online data secure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics currently projects that employment of information security analysts will grow by 33% over the next decade.
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Employment of protective service occupations are expected to experience 8% job growth over the same period (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Universities Offering Online Bachelors in Homeland Security Degree Programs
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 offers an online program for a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security. Classes in the program start monthly and are 8 or 16 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate to be eligible for the program.
APUS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Anderson University offers a Bachelor of Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. A student must complete 123 credit hours to graduate. Classes are offered online and are 8 weeks long. To be eligible for this criminal justice online degree program, applicants must submit official high school transcripts, two admissions essays, and ACT or SAT test scores.
Anderson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Angelo State University offers a Bachelor of Security Studies in Border and Homeland Security. To graduate, the student must complete 120 credit hours, including a minor in a subject of their choosing. The program is designed for those who have already completed an associate degree or who are on active duty. Admissions counselors are available to help applicants through the process.
Angelo State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The California State University of Pennsylvania offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland and International Security. The Student must complete 120 online credit hours to graduate. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, a personal essay, and letters of recommendation.
The California University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Campbell University offers a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Homeland Security. The student must complete 124 credit hours to graduate. All classes are 8 weeks long. Applicants must have a high school degree with a GPA of 2.0 or higher and need to submit official transcripts.
Campbell University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Columbia Southern University offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. The program covers a wide range of topics, including counterterrorism, border management, immigration, cyber networks, critical infrastructure, and disaster resilience. Completion of 120 credit hours is required to graduate.
Columbia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
DeSales University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have been out of high school for more than 5 years, have full-time careers, or be looking to earn their second degree.
DeSales University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Eastern Kentucky University offers a BS in Homeland Security. This online degree program offers terms that are 8 weeks long. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher. Standardized test scores are not required but encouraged by the school.
Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers a BS in Homeland Security. Students may choose to take two minors or one minor and 15 related courses. To graduate, students must complete 123 credit hours. Applicants must submit official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT test scores.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Excelsior College offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Applicants must submit an online application with official transcripts from all schools attended and a current resume.
Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Mercer University offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Those with two years of professional experience in the field may complete a competency test to receive credits. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.25 or higher and submit high school transcripts or proof of GED.
Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
National University offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. All classes are offered online and are 4 weeks long. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. Those interested in the program may apply to enter or transfer credits into the program year round through the school’s website.
National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Saint Leo University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. The program offers a field placement for those interested in gaining hands-on experience. Applicants must submit placement test scores and official high school transcripts or GED score reports.
Saint Leo University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southern New Hampshire University offers a BS in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate. The school offers rolling admission, and students may submit their online applications through the school’s website at any time.
Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
State University of New York—Canton offers a Bachelor of Technology in Homeland Security. Students must complete 122 credit hours to graduate. The program is designed for applicants who have already completed an associate’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and have a high school average of 80.
SUNY Canton is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Thomas Edison State University offers a BS Degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. To graduate, students must complete 120 online credit hours, including a capstone project. Applicants must have a high school degree or a GED certificate and be either 20 years old or 18 years old and a member of the United States Military.
Thomas Edison State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Trident University International offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. Students may choose to add a concentration in Criminal Justice Administration, Cybersecurity, Emergency and Disaster Management, or Leadership. Students must earn 120 credit hours to graduate. Applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.0 or higher or the equivalent.
Trident University International is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Tulane University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security Studies. Students must complete 120 credit hours with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher to graduate. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and submit copies of their standardized test scores. Tulane also offers an online masters in homeland security studies.
Tulane University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers a Bachelor’s in Homeland Security. To graduate, students must complete 120 credit hours, including a minor. A vertical pathway program is available for those interested in starting a master’s degree in the field. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher and submit official high school transcripts.
The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Wichita State University offers an online program for a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security. Students must complete 120 credit hours, with 36-50 credits related to the major. Applicants must have a high school diploma with a GPA of 2.25 or higher and ACT test scores of 21 or higher.
Wichita State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Getting Your Homeland Security Bachelor’s Degree Online
If you are interested in earning a homeland security bachelor’s degree online, there are many credible options available to you from accredited universities.
For instance, an online homeland security degree can offer synchronous or asynchronous classes, internships, and a variety of specializations and concentrations. This is the case whether it’s an online bachelors, online masters, or an online PhD in Homeland Security.
Homeland security knowledge—as well as the general critical thinking skills you can learn in a homeland security degree program—could be useful in a variety of professions.
If you’re interested in joining this rewarding field, you can start by exploring homeland security courses to find the specialization that’s right for you.