Best Online Homeland Security Programs
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Homeland security plays a crucial role in safeguarding our nation from threats both foreign and domestic. Whether dealing with terrorist attacks, hurricanes, or wildfires, homeland security professionals work tirelessly to coordinate emergency responses and mitigate damage. They also protect our national security from complex and dangerous cyberattacks.
Traditional and online bachelor's in homeland security programs prepare students for important roles in law enforcement, emergency management, and cybersecurity. Students develop skills in leadership, management, critical thinking, technology, crisis communication, and strategic planning. Graduates can apply these skills directly to an entry-level career in homeland security or use their degree as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree in their field.
What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?
An online bachelor's in homeland security teaches students the fundamentals of national security, emergency management, and cybersecurity. Consisting of approximately 120 credits, these programs focus on preparing students for entry-level work in the field. Full-time students typically complete their degrees in four years.
Students enrolled in homeland security programs at the bachelor's level can often specialize their degrees by choosing a concentration. Concentrations can help students narrow their focus around their specific career goals. Below are a few of the most popular homeland security concentrations:
- Public Health
- Public Safety
- Emergency Management
- Information Security
- Infrastructure Protection
Bachelor's in homeland security programs may be offered as either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science depending on the school. BA degrees provide a foundation in liberal arts, whereas BS programs emphasize computer science and information technology. Both degrees prepare students for entry-level careers in homeland security.
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Popular 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 Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?
While individual bachelor programs in homeland security will all have slightly different course offerings, many will include courses in these general areas.
This course explores the origins and motivations of terrorists in order to develop strategies and techniques to defend against them. Students learn to evaluate sources and assets for potential risk, develop contingency plans, ethically manage counterterrorism, and conduct basic research in the field.
Students learn to employ basic research methods and analytical thinking to produce quality research papers on topics within homeland security and other social sciences. Coursework builds skills in writing, critical thinking, data evaluation, research strategy, and communication so students can clearly and professionally present their findings.
Emergency management courses help students understand how to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate natural and human-made disasters. Students learn about crisis management, risk assessment, disaster response and recovery, and emergency preparedness and mitigation.
Immigration Law and Policy
This course examines how the immigration structure works under the U.S. legal system. Covered topics include citizenship law, naturalization, detention policies, undocumented migration, and immigration enforcement policies.
Cybercrime courses introduce students to the methods used to detect, investigate, and prevent computer-related crimes. Covered topics include best practices and industry standards in cybersecurity, digital forensic analysis, data encryption, and legal protocols for collecting digital evidence. Students also examine prominent cyberattacks to better understand prevention strategies.
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What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?
The admission requirements for an online bachelor's in homeland security vary by program. Some programs have a simplified application process for online students. Other programs require online students to meet the same application requirements as on-campus applicants. Online programs may also ask students about relevant work experience, AP courses, or college credits.
Most online programs require students to fill out and submit an application. Many online programs have rolling admissions or open enrollment so online students don't have to meet a specific deadline. Applications for online and on-campus programs are generally similar and cover basic information about prospective students.
Test score requirements vary by program. Most online bachelor's degrees in homeland security programs don't require test scores, although some programs strongly encourage submitting test scores. If applicants have taken college entrance exams, they can submit those scores with the application.
Letters of Recommendation
Online degree programs in homeland security do not always require letters of recommendation. Many only require an application and official transcripts. Check with your college to see their latest policy. If they do require a letter of recommendation, applicants should choose someone who can highlight their strengths.
Online bachelor's degrees in homeland security are less likely to require essays as part of the application process. If essays are a requirement, application essay topics typically vary. Applicants can use the essay to highlight unique perspectives and their connection to the program.
Most online homeland security degree programs ask applicants to submit official transcripts. Many programs require official transcripts but don't require a minimum GPA. Those that do state minimum GPA requirements usually ask students to possess a 2.0-2.5. Many programs allow transfer credits from accredited colleges. These can be submitted with official transcripts.
What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Degree?
Earning a bachelor's in homeland security prepares graduates for careers in law enforcement, emergency management, cybersecurity, and immigration. Degree-holders can also find work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), filling positions in information technology, intelligence, travel security, and disaster prevention and response.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), police and detectives earned a median annual salary of $66,020 in 2021 while emergency management directors made a median salary of $76,730 that year. Information security analysts earned a median annual salary of $102,600 in 2021, with a projected growth rate of 33% between 2020 and 2030.
Find out what else you can do with a bachelor's in homeland security.
Police Officer or Detective
These professionals respond to emergencies, patrol neighborhoods, collect evidence, interview victims, and interrogate suspects. When they aren't enforcing the law, police officers and detectives write detailed reports and are often required to testify in court cases.
Emergency Management Director
To successfully respond to emergencies like natural disasters, emergency management directors must formulate and execute complex emergency response plans. These directors must coordinate with government agencies and public safety officials to minimize risk, analyze resources, and mitigate damage while prioritizing the safety of first responders.
Information Security Analyst
Information security analysts design and implement security systems that keep computer networks and sensitive data safe from cyber criminals. These analysts detect vulnerabilities in computer networks and develop firewalls and data encryption programs that strengthen the overall security of an organization's computer network.
Transportation Security Officer
These professionals conduct security screenings of passengers and their baggage to ensure they comply with Transportation Security Administration regulations. Since transportation security officers usually work in airports, they also monitor other airport security measures and report suspicious activity.
Transit and Railroad Police
Transit and railroad police ensure the safety of railroad stations and yards by apprehending and removing trespassers from railroad property and coordinating with other security staff. These professionals often work in tandem with local law enforcement to investigate suspicious activity on railroad property.
Homeland Security Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
A homeland security bachelor's is a common degree for students interested in pursuing a career with the DHS. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in homeland security can pursue a master's degree in homeland security or related fields.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains a list of federally endorsed homeland security master's and other graduate programs. These advanced degrees can allow graduates to pursue more senior or specialized positions.
A bachelor's degree program in homeland security also prepares students for master's degree programs in criminal justice, cybersecurity, information security, or emergency management. Possible areas for graduate study include counterterrorism, intelligence analysis, security, and cybercrime.
How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Program?
The cost of homeland security degrees is similar for on-campus and online programs. In-state tuition is usually less at public institutions. Total costs vary, but tuition at some of the top online homeland security bachelor's degrees ranges from $480-$600 per credit. Online students often have lower total program costs than on-campus students because of savings on housing and transportation.
Most online homeland security programs feature a flexible asynchronous schedule. In others, students can choose between synchronous and asynchronous program formats. The program format can be part time or full time. Some programs offer an accelerated format. Others allow students to transfer up to 90 of the 120 required credits.
When selecting an online program, location can still be a deciding factor. Many colleges allow online students to use the library or other campus resources. Some programs have on-campus requirements, making a nearby program more convenient. In-state program tuition can also be less than out-of-state tuition.
Accreditation lends authority to online degrees. Online colleges must meet the same strict standards of accreditation as physical campuses. Schools and programs that are accredited adhere to academic criteria to ensure students are prepared after graduation. Accredited degrees are favored by potential employers. An accredited degree is also usually required to pursue graduate studies.
Student support services like career advice, course selection, mentorship, and tutoring can improve student outcomes. When selecting an online degree program, consider whether the program offers student support to online students.
Best Accredited Online Bachelor's in Homeland Security Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor's in Homeland Security Programs
Is a bachelor's in homeland security worth it?
Students who are passionate about protecting the U.S. can find meaningful careers after earning a bachelor's in homeland security. Graduates can find satisfaction in their work and earn strong salaries.
What can I do with a bachelor's in homeland security?
Graduates with a bachelor's in homeland security can pursue careers as police officers and detectives, emergency management directors, firefighters, customs and immigration officers, agricultural specialists, and cybersecurity professionals.
Are homeland security majors in demand?
Yes. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the DHS is one of the largest federal agencies, with 193,867 employees in 2013. Additionally, the BLS projects 33% employment growth for information security analysts and 7% employment growth for police and detectives between 2020 and 2030.
How much money can I make with a bachelor's in homeland security?
Annual salaries for graduates of bachelor's in homeland security programs vary by location, position, and level of experience. For example, the BLS reports that the lowest 10% of police and detectives earned less than $40,420 per year in 2021, while the highest 10% earned more than $105,540.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a bachelor's in homeland security?
Some of the most lucrative positions in homeland security are in cybersecurity and information technology. For instance, according to the BLS, computer systems analysts earned a median annual salary of $99,270 in 2021, and information systems analysts made a median salary of $102,600 that year. Professionals in these fields can earn even higher salaries after gaining experience.
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