Best Online Associate in Homeland Security Programs
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An online associate degree program in homeland security teaches fundamental skills related to risk mitigation and emergency management. Online homeland security associate degrees are available through a number of universities and community colleges. Community colleges can offer students a well-rounded education at a lower cost, preparing them to enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree.
It takes about two years of full-time study to complete an online associate degree. Most programs require students to earn 60 credits to graduate. Both online and in-person associate degree programs can be completed in 24 months.
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The cost of an online associate degree program in homeland security varies widely. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of a two-year program in 2019-2020 was about $11,390. Whether a student attends an in-state or out-of-state school will affect total costs.
Homeland security careers are projected to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in positions for police and detectives are projected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. Security guard jobs are projected to grow 15% during the same period.
Salaries for homeland security associate degree-holders can range from $31,740-$71,740. According to Payscale, the top 10% of border patrol agents made $116,000 per year in February 2022.
What Can I Expect From an Online Associate in Homeland Security Program?
An online associate degree program in homeland security offers practical training for a variety of career paths. Graduates with an associate degree in homeland security understand the political, historical, and criminal basis for homeland security. They are prepared to demonstrate an understanding of key processes in the field.
Useful traits for those pursuing a degree in homeland security include strong analytical and communication skills and the ability to remain calm under pressure. Students with natural leadership abilities tend to do well in this career, as well.
An associate degree in homeland security usually requires students to earn 60-64 credits and can be completed in two years of full-time study. Common concentrations available within homeland security programs include:
- Criminal justice
- Emergency management
Online homeland security degrees are awarded as either an associate of art (AA) or an associate of science (AS). Most programs offer one or the other. AA and AS programs offer similar core curricula. Students may often choose between different elective offerings in AA and AS programs.
Many online associate degrees in homeland security offer asynchronous course formats, allowing students to review lessons and complete work on their own schedules. Students can adjust course schedules to continue working or to make time for personal obligations while earning a degree. Prospective students should note that certain concentrations, such as criminal justice, may require students to complete internships with physical fitness requirements.
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Popular Online Homeland Security Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Associate in Homeland Security Program?
Introduction to Criminal Justice
An introduction to criminal justice course offers students a basic overview of the United States criminal justice system. Course content includes information on the judicial process, trial elements, and correctional institutions.
Introduction to Homeland Security
This course covers the history and future of homeland security. Students gain insight into practical and organizational aspects of homeland security. Topics covered include prevention of and preparedness for domestic violence incidents, response and recovery, the role technology plays in homeland security, and definitions of terms.
Terrorism and International Crime
Courses on terrorism and international crime focus on the nature, causes, and consequences of domestic and international terrorism. Topics covered include the structure of terrorist organizations and the roots of political terrorism.
Emergency Management Response
Emergency management response topics include mitigation, preparedness, response in the case of threats, including natural disasters, and recovery. Students gain an understanding of the issues and policies that impact homeland security emergency responses.
Transportation and Border Security
This course gives students an understanding of the organizations responsible for border security, transport, and the supply chain. Topics covered include the legal, cultural, political, and financial concerns related to these areas.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Associate in Homeland Security Program?
Admission requirements for an online associate degree in homeland security vary by program. Most programs require proof of a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some also require high school transcripts or test scores.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent, for example, requires new students to submit a completed application form, a letter of recommendation, and high school transcripts.
Hawaii Pacific University takes into account students' high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and academic areas of interest.
To create the best opportunity for acceptance, applicants can focus on:
- Writing a unique, compelling personal statement or essay.
- Asking for a letter of recommendation from someone who can highlight strengths.
- Obtaining a score on college entrance exams that reflects your academic capacity.
- Earning a high school diploma or passing the GED test.
Gaining college credit for work or life experience to graduate faster.
What Can I Do With an Online Associate in Homeland Security Degree?
An associate in homeland security can lead to multiple career paths. Graduates can consider careers in law enforcement, border patrol, emergency management, security, or criminal justice. Other possible positions include detective, information security analyst, first line responder, or transit security screener.
Professionals with an associate degree in homeland security have the opportunity to work in growing fields. The BLS projects jobs for security guards and gambling officers will grow 15% between 2020 and 2030. Jobs for police and detectives are projected to grow by 7%.
Graduates with an associate degree in homeland security can earn salaries from $30,000-$70,000. Exact salaries depend on a person's specific career, location, company or organization, years of experience, and additional qualifications.
Police Officer or Detective
Police officers work to create order in society and protect people and property. Detectives gather information and facts related to crimes. Related to homeland security, police officers can work in immigration and customs enforcement. Detectives may work in counter-terrorism offices.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $66,020
Border Patrol Agent
Border patrol agents ensure safe travel and transport across a country's borders. These agents understand the laws and policies related to border protection. Job locations include border checkpoints at airports, railways, and roadways. Some positions may require patrolling a border's waters or remote areas.
Average Annual Salary (February 2022): $77,740
Transit and Railroad Police Officer
Transit and railroad police officers protect railroad stations and other points of transit. Their role is to protect employees, passengers, and products in these areas. An associate degree program in homeland security can qualify graduates for these positions.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $64,930
Transportation Security Screener
Transportation security screeners work to scan luggage, cargo, and passengers. Their role is to uphold the Travel Security Administration's policies. This career may require the operation of an X-ray scanner or hand wand. An associate degree in homeland security can help applicants stand out but is not required.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $31,470
Homeland Security Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Graduates with an associate degree in homeland security regularly go on to pursue a bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees. Credits from accredited programs can often be transferred to four-year colleges and universities to earn a bachelor's degree in two additional years of study. These degrees can open doors to high-paying jobs and greater career opportunities.
After earning an associate degree in homeland security, graduates can pursue bachelor's degrees in:
How Do I Choose an Online Associate in Homeland Security Program?
One major deciding factor in choosing an online associate in homeland security program is the total cost. The true cost of a program is higher than simply tuition. Online students can save on housing and transportation costs, leading to lower total expenses. Choosing an in-state or community college program can also reduce costs.
Programs can be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous programs have scheduled lectures and meeting times, while asynchronous formats allow students to complete work on their own schedules. Some advantages of synchronous formats are peer connections and faculty interaction. On the other hand, synchronous formats allow more flexibility.
Also consider whether the program is full time or part time. Other possible program formats to look out for are accelerated programs or programs that offer credit for work experience. These can cut down on the time it takes to earn a degree.
Location is an important factor for convenience, travel time, and total costs. In-state tuition can be less expensive than out-of-state tuition. Some programs have on-campus requirements, which have to be factored into planning. Choosing a nearby program can reduce travel time and total costs.
Institutions and programs can gain accreditation to prove they meet certain academic standards. Be sure to choose an accredited school to ensure you can transfer credits to another institution and find employment after graduation.
Accredited degrees are more highly regarded by employers. Choosing an accredited program is essential to ensure degree recognition.
Student support is a major deciding factor for students choosing a college. It's a good idea to research the type of student services a college offers, as well as student services for online students. Mentorship programs for student success can provide additional support.
Some colleges also have work agreements or internships that give students an advantage in applying for jobs.
Best Accredited Associate in Homeland Security Programs
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Best Online Associate in Homeland Security Programs
Fort Lauderdale, FLTuition
Established in 1977, Keiser caters specifically to the career-focused educational needs of nontraditional students. The school currently ranks as the third-largest nonprofit university system in Florida, with a student body of approximately 20,000 members.
The school offers an online associate in homeland security that is a good introductory credential for aspiring antiterrorism professionals. The program helps graduates secure employment in homeland security-related positions.
Students learn how to identify and safely handle hazardous materials, and they also cover professional incident response and disaster recovery techniques. Those in financial need can access a generous aid program; Keiser has awarded more than $75 million in scholarships over the past two years.
Hawai'i Pacific UniversityLocation
HPU boasts favorable student-to-teacher ratios and offers an associate in homeland security that students can complete entirely online. This 60-credit, two-year program centers on major core requirements that cover essential aspects of disaster preparedness.
HPU also grounds its homeland security curriculum in important cultural, historical, and theoretical approaches. By engaging in detailed examinations of recent U.S. history, degree-seekers build advanced understandings of the root causes and presentations of terror threats.
These broad perspectives frame a skills-focused curriculum that encompasses aspects of political science, criminal justice, and U.S. cultural history. Learners emerge with a process-oriented understanding of government response to ongoing threats. Graduates are prepared to pursue immediate employment.
Buies Creek, NCTuition
Campbell's entirely online associate in homeland security teaches learners about disaster response and emergency preparedness techniques, strategies, and infrastructure. Students also delve into intelligence analysis, antiterrorism operations, and homeland security administration.
The study path includes 62 credits built around a 24-credit core. In the core curriculum, learners explore terrorism and security from national and international perspectives. Degree-seekers with military backgrounds may qualify for transfer credits and advanced program standing.
Based in North Carolina, Campbell functions as a nondenominational Christian school. The university holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Central Wyoming CollegeLocation
CWC offers an online associate degree in criminal justice. Learners can configure their studies to earn an associate of arts or an associate of applied science.
The arts path — designed for transfer to a four-year college — takes a multidisciplinary perspective, incorporating topics in sociology, political science, civics, and law. Students can use their electives to learn more about homeland security-related issues. The applied science path serves as a standalone credential for individuals preparing for entry-level careers related to criminal justice and homeland security.
Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1976, CWC offers more than 125 academic scholarships. The school's degree and certificate completion rates have increased sharply since the mid-2000s and now top all Wyoming junior colleges.
Georgia Military CollegeLocation
GMC allows students to earn an online homeland security and emergency management degree with an associate of arts or associate of science designation. Both options prepare graduates for entry-level careers or bachelor's programs at four-year institutions.
The academic requirements in the arts and science study paths differ somewhat. AA students complete 70-73 credits, while AS students need 65-69 credits for graduation. The AA pathway has a foreign language component, which requires students to take at least two French, German, or Spanish classes.
GMC specializes in career-focused academic programs that empower graduates to make meaningful contributions to society. It holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
University of Maine at Fort KentLocation
Fort Kent, METuition
UMFK offers an online associate of science in cybersecurity and information security that teaches students direct applications related to antiterrorism and domestic protection. The skills that participants develop in this program also translate well into enterprise settings.
Functioning as both a standalone credential and a transitional pathway into a four-year bachelor's program, the program covers topics like vulnerability and threat reduction, incident response strategies, system resilience, recovery methods, and cyberattack deterrence. Participants complete capstone projects and develop a computer portfolio that reflects their academic growth.
Graduates can pursue work as information security analysts — a profession that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects to grow by 32% between 2018 and 2028.
Barton Community CollegeLocation
Great Bend, KSTuition
Kansas-based BCC offers an online associate of applied science in emergency management that features a homeland security emphasis. The 64-credit program features 36 credits of major requirements and 10 credits of major electives.
Core classes introduce students to essential aspects of emergency preparedness, with a special focus on terrorism-related events. Learners also take a series of response-oriented classes, learning how to delegate tasks and responsibilities, manage and mobilize volunteers, deal with hazardous materials, and conduct emergency operations.
BCC delivers its virtual classes through its proprietary BARTonline portal. More than 60% of BCC students take at least one course through the web platform, reflecting the system's quality and reliability.
White Mountains Community CollegeLocation
New Hampshire's WMCC hosts a hybrid associate of science in criminal justice/homeland security that focuses on the criminal aspects of antiterrorism. Learners cover the causes and manifestations of foreign and domestic threats, and the program delivers a balanced mix of academic theory and practical application.
This online associate in homeland security examines key topics from legal and criminal corrections standpoints. The program trains students for law enforcement careers, while simultaneously supporting transfer into a four-year institution. WMCC maintains formal transfer agreements with multiple New Hampshire colleges, giving graduates a direct path to advanced standing in bachelor's programs.
Graduates of recognized police and state corrections academies can enter this associate track with advanced standing. Applicants should note that the program requires on-campus meetings every other week in Berlin, New Hampshire.
Fountain Valley, CATuition
California's Coastline College supports an associate of arts in emergency management and homeland security program to help aspiring emergency response professionals land entry-level jobs. The program may also appeal to experienced workers who want to improve their management and communication skills.
Built around a 24-credit core, the program covers the fundamentals of emergency management and homeland security through detailed explorations of preparedness and response, disaster recovery, and hazard mitigation strategies. Learners customize the program through electives, which offer focused study opportunities in targeted areas such as border security, intelligence analysis, and crisis response.
Excellent student retention rates indicate high levels of satisfaction with Coastline College. Data from 2018-19 indicates an 87% annualized end-of-term retention average, which far exceeds nationwide averages.
Trident Technical CollegeLocation
At TTC, degree-seekers pursuing an online associate of applied science in homeland security management study in seven-week terms. The program's curriculum focuses on managing and responding to incidents of international and domestic terrorism.
Classes build critical skills in key response-oriented areas, covering strategic planning, emergency preparedness, and infrastructure protection. Degree-seekers also study international relations and learn how to analyze and evaluate intelligence related to pending threats.
Regionally accredited by the Southern Association on Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, TTC features small class sizes. This online associate degree in homeland security program hosts an intimate learning community that encourages high levels of interaction between students and their instructors.
Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Homeland Security Programs
Is an associate degree in homeland security worth it?
Yes, an associate degree in homeland security can be worth it. The program can be a stepping stone to a bachelor's degree or graduate degree. Online degrees offer the same education and are just as highly regarded as in-person degrees, but they give students greater flexibility.
Graduates have the option to transfer associate degree credits toward a bachelor's degree or join the workforce. Graduates with an associate degree in homeland security typically earn between $30,000 and $70,000 if they join the workforce right away.
The cost to earn an associate in homeland security can also be more affordable than the cost to earn a bachelor's degree. In-state programs and community colleges are typically less expensive.
How fast can I get an associate in homeland security degree online?
Homeland security associate degrees require students to complete around 60 credits. Learns can usually complete the program in two years of full-time study.
Students can also get credit for work experience and AP classes or tests. This will reduce the time and cost to earn an associate degree in homeland security. If the program offers summer courses, students may be able to earn their associate degree in 18 months.
Students who want to earn an associate degree in homeland security quickly can also choose a college with an asynchronous or accelerated program and take additional credits.
Is an online associate degree in homeland security credible?
An online associate degree in homeland security from an accredited college is credible. Students can get an excellent education online on their own schedule. The degree can open career pathways in security, border patrol, cybersecurity, information technology, or emergency management.
The curricula and faculty of accredited online degrees are held to the same rigorous academic standards as on-campus programs. Online degrees are becoming more widely accepted by many employers as well.
An associate degree in homeland security can be a step toward a bachelor's degree. Students often choose this route to save money on tuition and then go on to complete a bachelor's degree from a four-year university.
Is an associate degree in homeland security in demand?
An associate degree in homeland security can prepare graduates for careers that are growing and in demand. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security employs more than 250,000 workers, up from 180,000 employees in 2003.
Graduates with an associate degree in homeland security can pursue a wide range of positions. These include border patrol agent, travel security screener, police officer, or first responder.
The BLS projects the following job growth rates from 2020-2030 for some possible career paths:
- Emergency management directors: 6%
- Police officers: 7%
- Private detectives and investigators: 13%
- Security guards and gambling officers: 15%
Information security analyst: 33%
How much money can I make with an associate in homeland security?
Graduates with an associate degree in homeland security can expect to make $30,000-$70,000. Salary and earning potential depend on a graduate's specific career path, years of experience, and other qualifications.
Possible positions for those with an associate degree in homeland security include:
- Railroad and transport police officer
- Cybersecurity analyst
- Emergency manager
- Border patrol agent
- Security screener
With experience, there is a possibility for greater earning potential. According to Payscale, the top 10% of border security agents earned an average salary of $116,000 in February 2022. According to the BLS, the top 10% of railroad and transit police earn a median salary of $98,250 in May 2021.
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