The need to protect computerized data and confidential network systems is especially crucial in the digital age. Students seeking a meaningful career protecting fellow citizens should consider an online associate in homeland security. As the threat of terrorism and cyber terrorism increase, the demand for homeland security professionals with both tactical and technical emergency and disaster management experience increases. The demand for information security analysts will increase by 28% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Educational Paths After an Associate Degree in Homeland Security
While an online associate in homeland security may qualify you for some entry-level jobs in criminal justice or IT, transferring to a bachelor's program provides you with the opportunity to maximize your career options and earning potential. According to Payscale, information security officers with a bachelor's degree earn an average salary of nearly $90,000 a year (with work experience). Other occupations that emphasize this unique combination of technical and professional skills-- such as information security analyst or IT manager--also require a bachelor's degree and work experience. Below are common educational paths for students holding an online associate in homeland security.
- Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security: The BA in homeland security offers curriculum aligned with the current standards and practices of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Coursework combines elements of technology, database-oriented and on-the-ground security, and emergency management.
- Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management and Homeland Security: This degree prepares graduates for careers as police officers, firefighters, and EMS and EMA first responders. Students can customize their major by choosing a specialization in emergency management, disaster response, or homeland security.
- Bachelor of Science in Security Management: The BS in security management emphasizes crisis management and mitigation skills that can be applied to criminal justice, cybercrime, law enforcement, and risk management. Security management programs also prepare students for select positions within the military or the U.S. government.
Online Associate in Homeland Security Degree Program Ranking Guidelines
We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.
The Best Online Associate in Homeland Security Programs
1 Keiser University–Ft Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Keiser is the third-largest nonprofit university in Florida and enrolls nearly 20,000 students. The university has sites in Nicaragua, China, Taiwan, Korea, and Moldova. Students can earn Keiser's AA in homeland security at its Florida campus, at an international site, or online.
The online associate in homeland security program reviews components, agencies, laws, authorities, and actions of the Department of Homeland Security. The curriculum explores acts of terrorism and homeland security agencies' response and recovery actions. Homeland security students complete 36 general education credit hours and 24 major hours.
A separate admissions team works with military personnel and their families. For military-affiliated students, Keiser offers monthly start dates, asynchronous courses, and unlimited access to Tutor.com. Keiser awards credit for military training and offers merit- and need-based scholarships. Distance learners have access to the online career center, which provides resume-building assistance, interviewing skills coaching, professional development workshops, and job postings.
Keiser University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
2 Campbell University
Buies Creek, North Carolina
Campbell began offering online programs in 1999. Each faculty member is certified in the online learning management system, and all of Campbell's online courses receive Development Evaluation for Course Instructional Design Elements certification. Campbell delivers online courses asynchronously in accelerated, eight-week terms.
The fully online associate of science in homeland security covers topics including emergency management and terrorism. Students complete 40 credit hours of general education core coursework and 24 hours in the homeland security concentration. Students must complete the Campbell seminar course during their first term. Campbell students must maintain a 2.0 GPA, and online tutoring services are available.
Military-affiliated students receive discounted tuition rates, and Campbell awards credit for military training. The university accepts a maximum of 64 transfer hours from two-year institutions and lower-level military credit. Students may transfer more than 64 hours from upper-level military credit, CLEP exams, and four-year institutions.
Campbell University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
3Barton Community College
Great Bend, Kansas
Barton offers an associate of applied science in emergency management with an emphasis in homeland security. The program is designed for aspiring emergency management professionals and current professionals who want to advance their careers. Barton also offers a one-year, 34-credit emergency management certificate program.
Students earning the homeland security online associate degree complete 64 credits of general and major courses. Transfer students must earn at least 15 credits through Barton. The curriculum covers topics including hazardous materials, emergency planning, and terrorism. Military-affiliated students receive unlimited access to online tutoring services; all other students receive eight free hours of tutoring per semester.
All online students pay the same per-credit tuition rate, regardless of state residency. Barton awards credit for work experience, military training, and civilian education. Barton encourages students to submit transcripts from prior colleges and universities, exam results, and certificates of employer-based training for transfer credit evaluation.
Barton Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
4 University of Maine at Fort Kent
Fort Kent, Maine
Known for catering to the educational and professional success of rural communities, UMFK offers the only associate of arts in emergency management and homeland security program in Maine. The program is ideal for students pursuing careers in public service and public safety administration.
The curriculum emphasizes policy, public safety, and leadership. Students develop financial and management skills. The majority of program instructors are experienced law enforcement professionals, including forensics specialists, police chiefs, and prosecutors. Graduates often pursue careers in law enforcement and criminal justice at the federal, state, regional, and local levels.
Students complete 29 general education credits and 31 major credits. UMFK students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. UMFK considers supplemental application materials, including professional and life experiences and letters of recommendation.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC-CIHE).
5Ocean County College
Toms River, New Jersey
Located in New Jersey, OCC offers one of the best online associate in homeland security programs available; the associate of arts in emergency management and homeland security explores safety and security issues.
The curriculum covers subjects including terrorism, natural and man-made disasters, and emergency management. The homeland security online courses develop students' understanding of prevention and protection, information sharing and analysis, research and technology, and preparedness and response. Students complete 64 credits, including 36 major credits in topics such as domestic and international terrorism, risk management and analysis, and international relations.
Asynchronous courses adhere primarily to traditional 15-week semesters. However, some courses are available in accelerated formats, with terms lasting from four days to seven and a half weeks. OCC offers 24/7 online tutoring and a digital library. OCC encourages military-affiliated students to submit military transcripts for transfer credit evaluation.
Ocean County College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
6Georgia Military College
GMC offers two associate degrees in homeland security and emergency management: an associate of science and an associate of arts. GMC's associate of arts in emergency management and homeland security explore subjects including terrorism studies, law and policy, and strategic planning and risk analysis.
Along with the traditional postsecondary program, GMC offers homeland security online training as a dual enrollment program; high school students in the Move On When Ready program can enroll in up to 16 quarter credit hours per term to earn their high school diploma and associate degree simultaneously. State funding and GMS scholarships cover the costs of tuition, fees, and books for dual enrollment students.
The AS in homeland security and emergency management requires 90 quarter hours, including 25 concentration hours. The AA comprises 95 quarter hours. GMC delivers online courses synchronously. Students receive ten hours of free online tutoring per term. GMC awards credit for military experience, and military-affiliated students may qualify for VA education benefits and tuition assistance.
Students earning the online homeland security degree must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and must complete 25% of all quarter hours through GMC. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate. More than 80% of GMC students receive financial aid.
Georgia Military College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
7 Eastern Kentucky University
EKU offers an associate of arts in general studies with a concentration in homeland security. The program requires 64 credit hours, including 52 general education hours and 12 hours in homeland security online courses. The curriculum covers subjects including disaster management, intelligence studies, and security operations.
EKU also offers an online homeland security certificate, which requires 24 credit hours and provides a foundation for future studies and/or career in homeland security. EKU delivers online courses asynchronously. Fall and spring semesters follow eight-week terms, and summer courses are structured in six-week terms.
Transfer students may bring up to 49 previous credit hours, and the university awards credit for military experience. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency. Students have access to the online library and tutoring services, and EKU offers resources including internship placement, resume assistance, career services, and online workshops and webinars.
Eastern Kentucky University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
8Laramie County Community College
Based in Wyoming, LCCC's homeland security program holds support from local, state, and federal organizations, including partnerships with the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and the Laramie County Sheriff's Office. The 62-credit AS in homeland security includes courses in safety, critical infrastructures, and terrorism.
Students in LCCC's homeland security program can earn optional credentials in the field. LCCC delivers flexible online programs in an accelerated format, ideal for working professionals and military students. Students have 24/7 access to online tutoring services. Online students also have access to on-campus resources, including the student success center and the writing center.
LCCC maintains a transfer agreement with American Public University to facilitate a seamless transition for LCCC graduates pursuing bachelor's degrees. LCCC participates in the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which provides discounted tuition for students from other member schools.
Laramie County Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Based in the state of Washington, Pierce College offers an associate degree and a certificate in homeland security emergency management. The program combines classroom work with practical experience. The associate in technology in homeland security emergency management requires a five-credit work-based learning course.
Most students earn the 98-credit degree in two years. Pierce also offers a 26-credit certificate program that takes one year to complete. Pierce delivers online courses asynchronously, and each professor determines whether to require the use of proctors for assessments. Students devote an average of 15 hours per week to each course. Online tutoring services are available.
Pierce offers financial assistance for students who are unemployed and for low-wage working parents. Pierce provides a dedicated online program for military students. Online programs follow a quarterly schedule, and the military online program offers continuous entry and flexible participation requirements. Active military personnel and their family members pay in-state tuition rates, and Pierce awards credit for military training.
Pierce College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
10Community College of Allegheny County
Located in Pennsylvania, CCAC offers an AS in homeland security that explores topics including risk management, political and ethical issues, terrorism, and cybersecurity. Many graduates pursue careers in border, airport, and seaport security; intelligence; and disaster and emergency response.
The curriculum includes 61 to 63 credits of general education and major requirements. Courses cover topics including emergency medical services, information security, psychology, and grant writing. CCAC delivers online courses asynchronously, so students can complete coursework at their convenience. The college also offers a 22-credit homeland security certificate program.
CCAC awards credit for dual enrollment courses, military training, life experience, professional training, and community service. Dual enrollment students pay a reduced tuition rate. Military students qualify for in-state tuition rates and additional benefits. Admitted students must attend an online orientation and complete placement tests.
The Community College of Allegheny County is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE).
Port Angeles, Washington
PC is a public community college based in the state of Washington. The college offers an associate of applied science in homeland security and emergency management that combines classroom learning with practical training. Students complete a work-based learning experience course that provides opportunities to network with potential employers and professionals in the field. The professional experience gained during this course sets graduates apart from other job seekers.
PC offers an open-door policy; students can enroll during any term. Military-affiliated students qualify for in-state tuition rates and priority registration, which ensures enrollment in VA educational benefits courses. The worker retraining program creates a path from instruction and training to employment and offers assistance with tuition and fees, childcare costs, and transportation. Eligible students include dislocated workers, displaced homemakers, those who were formerly self-employed, vulnerable workers, veterans, and active military members.
Peninsula College is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
12Tidewater Community College
TCC offers an associate of applied science in criminal justice with a specialization in homeland security. Courses are delivered asynchronously, and the curriculum covers criminal law, the juvenile justice system, and principles of criminal investigations.
Students in the online homeland security program complete coursework in corrections and evidence, along with a required internship. The 61-credit program prepares graduates for positions in law enforcement, security, and investigation. Full-time students typically complete the program in four semesters. TCC maintains transfer agreements with Old Dominion University, Strayer University, and Virginia Wesleyan College.
Military-affiliated students comprise one third of TCC's student population, and the college maintains diversity and inclusion task forces to support underrepresented populations. TCC students receive resources including free access to Microsoft Office 365. Military students have access to the Center for Military and Veterans Education, which is staffed with veterans and spouses of active service members. Military students are eligible for tuition assistance, GI Bill benefits, financial aid, and discounted tuition rates.
Tidewater Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
13Guilford Technical Community College
Jamestown, North Carolina
Located in North Carolina, GTCC enrolls 40,000 students annually and is the third-largest school in the North Carolina Community College System. GTCC's associate of applied science in criminal justice technology with a homeland security track explores criminal justice systems at the local, state, and federal levels. The program emphasizes criminal justice systems, juvenile justice, investigative principles, and community relations.
The homeland security track requires 56 to 57 credits and is designed for students planning to work in general areas of national security. The curriculum covers subjects including court procedure and evidence, interviews and interrogations, and constitutional law.
GTCC delivers online coursework through Moodle; instructors determine specific course structures and delivery methods. New students must complete an introduction to distance learning course and an online readiness assessment. GTCC awards criminal justice scholarships with various eligibility requirements.
Guilford Technical Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
14Trident Technical College
Charleston, South Carolina
TTC's online associate in applied science in homeland security management requires 66 credit hours in areas such as strategic security planning, international relations, intelligence operations, and public health.
Instructors determine whether to deliver coursework asynchronously, synchronously, or using a mixture of both methods. Online courses follow seven-week terms, and online students do not pay additional fees. TCC students receive access to Microsoft Office 365, library resources, and tutoring services. Students can improve their computer skills through resources to help them navigate software and online tools.
TTC offers two types of dual enrollment programs: dual credit and early admit. Students in dual credit programs complete high school and college coursework simultaneously, while early admit students focus entirely on earning college credit hours. Dual enrollment students pay course-related expenses, including the cost of tuition, books, and fees. Dual enrollment students may be eligible for need-based scholarships and state tuition assistance programs.
TTC provides tuition assistance for military members, veterans benefits, and a veterans-only center at its campus in Charleston, South Carolina.
Trident Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).
15Palm Beach State College
Lake Worth, Florida
PBSC's associate of science in emergency management with a concentration in homeland security teaches students to prepare emergency management plans, coordinate response efforts, and execute damage control. Many graduates pursue careers as emergency management directors, emergency planners, and emergency preparedness program specialists.
Online courses are asynchronous, and instructors decide whether to require on-campus components, such as proctored exams; professors may allow the use of online proctors. The 60-credit curriculum awards several Federal Emergency Management Administration certifications. Most full-time students complete the program in two years, and part-time students typically require three years.
PBSC offers a dual enrollment program that allows Florida high school students to earn college credit free of tuition, fees, and registration charges. PBSC offers benefits for military students, including tuition assistance. Students have access to online tutoring through Smarthinking and a digital library.
Palm Beach State College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS).