The Best Online Master’s in Homeland Security
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A master's degree in homeland security gives students the knowledge and skills they need to work in areas like cybersecurity, emergency management and preparedness, border control, and law enforcement.
Professionals in these areas enjoy strong job prospects. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for police officers and detectives to grow 5% between 2018 and 2028. These professionals earned median annual salaries of $63,380 in 2018, with the top 10% of earners making more than $100,000 during the same period.
|#1||Pennsylvania State University-World Campus University Park, PA|
|#2||Angelo State University San Angelo, TX|
|#3||Towson University Towson, MD|
|#4||Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX|
|#5||Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA|
|#6||Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus Teaneck, NJ|
|#7||National University La Jolla, CA|
|#8||Thomas Edison State University Trenton, NJ|
|#9||Wilmington University New Castle, DE|
Featured Online Schools
Best Online Master's in Homeland Security Programs
Online Master's in Homeland Security Programs Ranking Guidelines
We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Choosing an Online Master's in Homeland Security Program
Prospective students should weigh several factors when searching for the best online master's in homeland security program. The following list outlines several important considerations for students.
- Program Cost: Typically, public schools cost less than private schools, and in-state learners pay less than out-of-state learners. However, some programs allow all online students to pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
- Transfer Policies: Many schools offer transfer credit for prior academic work, professional experience, and military training, which can save students time and money on a degree.
- School Size and Type: A school's size and type can impact a student's learning experience. For example, small private schools may cost more, but they also offer more individualized attention than a larger public school.
- Program Length: Most online master's in homeland security programs take two years of full-time study to complete, but some programs also offer accelerated timelines.
- On-Campus Requirements: Some online programs have on-campus requirements, which students should ensure they can meet before committing to a program.
- Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: Many programs have thesis or internship requirements. Students should ensure their chosen programs have requirements that are aligned with their career goals.
What Is Homeland Security?
Homeland security explores the practices, procedures, and theories designed to protect the country from various threats. Master's in homeland security programs cover topics like U.S. foreign policy and national security, intelligence collection and analysis, and interagency cooperation. Some programs allow students to specialize their degrees through concentrations in areas such as counterterrorism, information security, public health preparedness, and biosecurity.
Homeland security explores the practices, procedures, and theories designed to protect the country from various threats.
Successful homeland security professionals have a strong desire to uphold the Constitution. They are detail-oriented problem-solvers who enjoy seeing projects through to completion. These professionals can assume a variety of roles. For instance, they may run security for a large corporation, develop emergency preparedness protocols for metro governments, or consult with the federal government on domestic and international terrorism threats.
The overarching goal for any homeland security professional should be to protect American citizens and their rights.
What Is a Master's in Homeland Security Degree?
Online master's in homeland security degrees examine national security threats and challenges, including physical threats, natural disasters, cybersecurity problems, and bioterrorism. Learners gain knowledge and skills in areas like biosecurity, public health preparedness, information security, and counterterrorism. Students who pursue this degree typically hold a bachelor's degree and have some related professional experience.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Homeland Security Program?
The following sections cover common master's in homeland security coursework and concentrations in addition to relevant homeland security certifications.
Online Master's in Homeland Security Curriculum
This foundational course introduces learners to homeland security theories and methodologies. Students learn how emerging policy solutions can help address 21st-century security needs. The course typically includes a mix of individual and group assignments.
Designed for learners who want to focus their efforts on cybersecurity, this course addresses common challenges around keeping networks and cloud-based systems secure from infiltration. Students learn to identify vulnerabilities, address threats, and implement security countermeasures.
This course covers topics like strategic planning and intelligence techniques, anti-terrorism and emergency preparedness, the National Incident Management System, and threat and vulnerability assessments.
Homeland Security Concentrations
This concentration appeals to students seeking careers in local, state, and federal governments. Courses explore topics like justice and public policy, national security policy, intelligence analysis and criminological theory, and terrorism and counterterrorism in practice.
This concentration gives students the advanced knowledge and skills needed to protect and secure sensitive data. Classes often cover topics like cryptology and communication security, mobile and ubiquitous computing, and software security engineering.
Emergency management concentrations focus on creating systems and protocols that help communities and governments effectively respond to natural and manmade disasters. Courses may include budgeting for emergencies and disasters, humanitarian crisis management, project management during emergency situations, and risk perception awareness.
Designed for students who want to focus on securing a nation's ports from domestic and international threats, this concentration includes classes on aviation security, disposing of hazardous materials, and multifunctional management of port security measures.
Homeland Security Certifications and Licenses
Homeland security credentials demonstrate specialized expertise to current and prospective employers. The following list outlines common homeland security credentials.
- Certified Homeland Protection Professional: The Global Society of Homeland Security Professionals provides this credential for public safety professionals who have at least four years of experience and an associate or bachelor's degree.
- Certified Homeland Protection Associate: This credential offers four different levels to meet the needs of various homeland security professionals. Requirements for the credential vary by level, but each level requires relevant training and an examination.
- Associate Emergency Manager: Emergency management professionals can pursue this credential to demonstrate expertise in the field. Candidates need at least 100 hours of emergency management training and must pass a 100-question exam.
- Certified Emergency Manager: This credential requires more education and training than the lower-level associate emergency manager credential. Candidates need at least three years of relevant experience and a bachelor's in emergency management.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Homeland Security Degree?
An online master's in homeland security prepares graduates for a variety of roles in areas like law enforcement, emergency preparedness, and national security. The following sections outline common jobs and potential salaries for graduates, the importance of attending an accredited school, and professional organizations for homeland security students and graduates.
Homeland Security Jobs
Master's in homeland security programs prepare graduates for leadership roles in areas like counterterrorism, information systems, and emergency preparedness. We outline several common jobs for graduates below.
Police officers and detectives work to enforce local laws and monitor communities. They routinely make traffic stops, patrol neighborhoods, and arrest suspects. Detectives investigate crimes, which involves following leads, interviewing witnesses, and collecting evidence.
These professionals need at least a high school diploma, but some departments may require a college degree. Police officers must also complete specialized training at a police academy.
Median Annual Salary
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Information security analysts help organizations develop secure networks and systems. They implement new security software and hardware, identify security breaches, teach employees how to maintain secure documentation, and stay up-to-date on industry trends.
These professionals typically need at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or information security, though some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree.
Median Annual Salary
Projected Growth Rate
Emergency management directors develop protocols and procedures to address natural or manmade disasters as they occur, including acts of terrorism. They may develop training programs, coordinate resource sharing, implement response plans, and apply for funding.
These professionals need a bachelor's degree at minimum. Some states require emergency management directors to have certification.
Median Annual Salary
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Accreditation for Online Master's in Homeland Security Programs
When researching prospective online master's in homeland security programs, students should look for a school's accreditation status. Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to faculty qualifications, academic rigor, and student learning outcomes. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.
Accreditation benefits students in several ways. Only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid, and many schools only accept degrees and credits from accredited institutions. Additionally, many employers prefer to hire candidates with accredited degrees.
Programs within a school may also receive accreditation. For example, the National Centers for Excellence— sponsored by the National Security Agency — awards Center of Academic Excellence designations for qualifying cybersecurity programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
A master's in homeland security is an advanced degree that examines national security protocols, procedures, practices, and theories.
Graduates with a master's degree in homeland security can pursue leadership roles in areas like criminal justice, anti-terrorism, and emergency preparedness.
Full-time students can typically complete an online master's in homeland security in two years.
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