Having a homeland security degree can take you into all kinds of careers, but should you earn your homeland security degree online? As long as it fits your needs and lifestyle, then yes, online learning is a great option. An online homeland security degree, assuming that it comes from an accredited school, will be just as fulfilling and worthwhile as an on-campus degree. You’ll get the same courses, you’ll just learn them in a different format. Furthermore, your diploma should not indicate that your education was any different than that of on-campus learners.
Many adults with families, jobs, and other responsibilities choose online learning because it gives them more flexibility. They can tend to their other responsibilities and build a school schedule that fits into their lifestyles. Others choose online learning because it gives them more options. If a person can’t travel to an out-of-state campus, then that person is limited to local universities, and those universities may or may not have the programs that this person needs. However, online degree programs open up those options so that learners have a better chance of finding the school that works for them.
Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Online Homeland Security Degree Programs
To rank the best online Homeland Security degree programs, Bachelor’s Degree Center editors thoroughly researched fully online and hybrid bachelor’s and bachelor’s completion programs. Our pool was then ranked according to factors focused on value: Cost, Potential Salary, and Student Reviews. Only accredited, reputable institutions were considered.
1. Bellevue University
Bellevue University’s BS in Security Management teaches students a broad spectrum of skills. From theory to practice, these skills prepare students for the world of security, whether they choose to work for the federal government, a state government, or even a private business. In any case, this degree imparts the knowledge that they’ll need to recognize potential threats, stop threats before they happen, mitigate existing damage, and strengthen vulnerable areas. This wide-ranging skillset makes Belleview one of the best online homeland security degree sources available.
Bellevue University appeals to students for a lot of reasons. As an affordable, open-access university, this school removes many of the barriers that prevent some students from getting the education that they deserve. Belleview also uses what they call the Real Mastery approach to learning. In other words, students go beyond the basics. They dive deeply into their subjects, gain real-world experience, and learn what they need for full confidence in their career abilities.
What We Like: Bellevue consistently ranks among the nation’s top military-friendly schools.
Degree: Security Management, BS
2. George Washington University
George Washington University offers an Emergency Medical Services Management BS. Homeland security takes a lot of different types of professionals, from cybersecurity professionals to economic safety professionals. This particular degree focuses on medical professionals, preparing students to act quickly in the face of any emergency. For those who want to go into EMS and homeland security, this degree is perhaps the best homeland security degree online. It’s dynamic and challenging, and it helps students maximize their leadership skills.
Located in Washington DC, GWU has always been a top choice for students who want to serve, protect, or help the US. In its online programs, GWU is just as interesting and challenging as it is within its campus classrooms. All of GWU’s programs emphasize leadership, which helps students gain confidence in their own skills as they learn.
What We Like: GWU offers more than 12,000 internship opportunities.
Degree: Health Sciences in Emergency Medical Services Management, BS
3. Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University’s Emergency Management BS program enables students to jump into action wherever they’re needed the most. The program teaches the skills that the DHS and FEMA value the most, preparing students to help their communities during disasters. Classes are available online with flexible start dates, but students are encouraged to connect with local charities and internships to get the most out of their studies. For a lot of Jesuit students, SLU offers the best homeland security degree online.
Saint Loius University is a Jesuit Catholic school that uses a deep approach to education. As a matter of fact, it emphasizes educating the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Catholic students who want to make the most of their education while strengthening their Catholic faith are often drawn to SLU. Programs here are both meaningful and challenging, and as a research school, SLU has contributed to innovations around the world, especially in the realm of healthcare.
What We Like: Fourteen of SLU’s graduate and undergraduate programs are ranked among the top 50 by US News and World Report. Furthermore, SLU is the only Jesuit university in the US that offers an Emergency Management program.
Degree: Emergency Management, B.S.
4. Mercer University
Mercer University’s online homeland security program is built for those who want to protect their communities with managerial positions. Considered one of the best online homeland security degree options, this program gets students ready for careers as customs agents, air marshalls, disaster engagement specialists, and more. When emergencies happen, it’s important for calm and competent leaders to step forward. Mercer University prepares students to take on those all-important leadership roles.
In 1833, Mercer started as a Baptist college with less than 40 students. Since that time, it has grown to become one of the most prominent research institutions in Georgia. Now an independent Christian institution, Mercer University empowers students to make the most of their unique talents. It combines theoretical and professional education, encourages deep faith exploration, instills confidence, and helps students become leaders.
What We Like: US News and World Report has ranked Mercer 2nd among top Georgia private universities for about 25 years.
Degree: Homeland Security and Emergency Management, BS
5. Adelphi University
Adelphi University offers an online BS in Emergency Management. This online degree prepares students to respond effectively in the face of terrorist attacks, health crises, natural disasters, and more. It’s designed to help students transition more easily into management roles than they would with job experience alone. Combining leadership skills with practical knowledge, this program is considered one of the best online homeland security degree choices available to students today.
Adelphi University’s online programs are designed to provide just as much challenge, communication, and meaningful learning as its on-campus degree programs. Adelphi has provided strong academics for over 120 years. During that time, it has adapted its strategies, growing and changing to meet the latest needs without sacrificing its commitment to challenge and leadership. Students here learn how to make connections as they sharpen their professional abilities.
What We Like: For the past ten years, the Fiske Guide has ranked Adelphi as one of their top “Best Buy” colleges.
Degree: Emergency Services Administration, BS
6. Thomas Edison State University
Thomas Edison State University’s homeland security and emergency management program helps students prepare for the day-to-day life of an emergency management policy leader. The program covers a wide array of topics, including the five National Preparedness subjects of prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. The program is offered completely online, and it covers both theoretical and practical skills so that students can approach homeland security from all angles. As a result, TESU is one of the best homeland security degree online options.
TESU was built specifically for adult learners, which means that it specializes in the unique learning opportunities that busy adults need. While adult learners may feel pushed aside at some universities, at TESU they’re central to their school’s mission and values. The school is transfer-friendly and lets students put their current knowledge to work in their classes. TESU accomplishes all of this while providing a relevant and challenging education.
What We Like: 91% of recent graduates report a high satisfaction rating with TESU.
Degree: Homeland Security and Emergency Management, BS
7. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers an online criminal justice and homeland security degree. This program provides the most relevant education in domestic and international terrorism. Its classes stay up to date, partially because its faculty members have so much relevant hands-on experience in the field. Many count this program as the best online homeland security degree because it prepares students for all sorts of criminal justice careers. Students move on to work in cyber security, land security, air security, and more.
Saint Leo University is a private Catholic school that values leadership and academic challenge. Though distinctly Catholic in its mission, Saint Leo educates students of all faiths. It has a strong liberal arts program that provides students with a well-rounded education, and its online programs are just as rigorous as its on-campus programs.
What We Like: Saint Leo ranks among the best colleges for social mobility.
Degree: Criminal Justice/Homeland Security, BA
8. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University’s homeland security program goes well beyond homeland security. As a matter of fact, it combines homeland security, criminal justice, and emergency management into one dynamic degree. WIth this program, students get a deep understanding of all facets of homeland security. This program recognizes that the need for security experts is growing, so it aims to help fill that need with talented and prepared individuals. Because of its multifaceted approach, many consider it to be the best homeland security degree online.
CTU provides a highly relevant education. Courses are taught by faculty members who are experts in their fields. Courses also use top-tier innovation so that students can stay up to speed in their future industries. The online courses at CTU provide the flexibility that busy learners need to maintain balance in their lives. With its unique career focus, CTU attracts a lot of goal-oriented students.
What We Like: US News and World Report has ranked CTU’s online programs among the best for 2020.
Degree: Criminal Justice/ Homeland Security & Emergency Management, BS
9. Southwestern College
Southwestern College’s Security Management BS prepares students to meet the most current security needs in the US. From emergency management to homeland security, courses in this program provides a comprehensive overview of the most relevant information. Students emerge from this program with confidence and the ability to improve safety procedures from several angles. For many, Southwestern’s program is the best homeland security degree online.
Southwestern College has a thriving professional studies program that lets students learn with flexibility. Though it’s just as comprehensive as its on-campus counterpart, the online program builds its classes around the schedules of busy adults. Southwestern is dedicated to helping students move into fulfilling careers, and it provides all of the support and resources that students need to do so.
What We Like: Southwestern has been recognized among the best online colleges in Kansas.
Degree: Security Management, BS
10. Medaille College
Medaille College’s homeland security program focuses 100% of its coursework on security and emergency management. Students get to work right away on the courses that are most relevant to them. They learn about a broad range of topics, including legal issues, emergency responses, and terrorism. Even among online programs, this one stands out for its flexibility. Though it has weekly due dates, it also has no set login times, so students can learn and study at their own pace. As a result, it’s one of the best online homeland security degree options for busy adults.
Medaille is a uniquely student-centered university. It takes each student’s individuality to heart, helping them build careers that empower them to make a difference. With a low student to faculty ratio, students get the individual help that they need in their studies. This school combines challenge and flexibility to create a dynamic learning experience for online and on-campus learners alike.
What We Like: Medaille College has a 95% job placement rate.
Degree: Homeland Security, BS
11. North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University offers a homeland security concentration in its criminal justice program. This program teaches students about the criminal justice system as a whole, including its history and branches. Those who study homeland security will learn about all of the different factors that go into keeping the US safe from terrorist threats and other safety threats. These studies combine theory and history with information on infrastructure and practice. It has a straightforward approach that makes it one of the best online homeland security degree choices.
NCCU is a Historically Black University that thrives in its research, community, and innovation. It has small class sizes, so students get all the support that they need for success in the classroom. Whether that classroom is on campus or virtual, students have access to resources that can help them make the most of their educations. This school is also uniquely committed to service, giving students lots of opportunities to help their communities.
What We Like: NCCU is ranked among the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the US.
Degree: Criminal Justice/Homeland Security, BS
12. Concordia University Portland
The BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management at Concordia University Portland is intended to give students a broad grounding in the principles of security, both domestic and international. While coursework is devoted to past and current issues in security, students also receive a deep understanding of essential skills that can be applied to dangers that will arise in the future as well. As a Christian institution, Concordia Portland roots its Homeland Security bachelor’s program in Christian ethics and morals.
Concordia University Portland is part of the nationally-renowned Concordia University System, made up of a group of top-ranked Lutheran universities. Like its sister institutions, Concordia Portland has become a national leader in online education, spreading the Concordia message across the US and the world.
What We Like: All Concordia Portland Homeland Security students take part in a Practicum with a real-world security organization for hands-on learning.
Degree: Homeland Security and Emergency Management, BS
13. Marian University
Marian University’s homeland security degree is designed with flexibility in mind. Not only does the online format provide flexible scheduling, but the program as a whole helps students carve out the career that will work best for their goals and lifestyles. The curriculum follows DHS and FEMA competencies so that students get the skills they need for homeland security work. Because of its flexibility, challenging nature, and transfer friendliness, Marian University has one of the best online homeland security degree programs in the country.
Marian University is a Catholic school with deep values. Students here explore their faith as they delve deeply into their studies and careers. This school has small class sizes, so students often work together as a cohort. Even in its online classes, Marian University provides a tight-knit community between students and faculty members. Whether students choose to move on to grad school or go straight to the workforce, Marian University provides a challenging and worthwhile preparation experience.
What We Like: Affordable Colleges Online ranked Marian as one of the “Highest Lifetime Return on Investment” colleges in Wisconsin.
Degree: Homeland Security, BS
14. California University of Pennsylvania
California University of Pennsylvania offers a 100% online homeland security degree. This highly ranked program teaches all about different criminal justice organizations, and the homeland security concentration teaches how the DHS interacts with all of these different organizations. Students in this program learn how to lead teams, protect vulnerable infrastructures, and mitigate all levels of disaster. With its online format and rigorous training, California University of Pennsylvania where many students go to earn the best homeland security degree online.
Cal U is committed to providing an excellent education while providing a career edge. Students get a high ROI for their money, learning from field experts and making important networking connections as they study. Students here go well beyond the basics in their classes. They learn how to apply their classroom learning to their careers outside of the classroom, which means that their educations serve them well for many years.
What We Like: The Princeton Review consistently ranks Cal U as one of the Best Colleges in the Northeast.
Degree: Criminal Justice/Homeland & International Security, BS
15. Drury University
Drury University’s emergency management program provides students with a versatile learning structure. This way, whether they work in the public or private sector, they can feel confident that they have the skills they need to provide protection and safety to their communities. The program includes intro-level courses as well as more specialized courses on hazard management, conflict resolution, and more. It even has some classes geared specifically toward private-sector safety. Overall, a lot of students count this program as one of the best online homeland security degree opportunities.
Drury University is very intentional about combining history and theory with practical application. This way, students get a strong foundation of knowledge for their careers, and then they become empowered to apply that knowledge to the workforce. Because this school combines relevancy and innovation, Drury graduates can step into their careers with confidence. This church-affiliated university combines career and faith, an ideal combination for many of America’s students.
What We Like: In 2020, US News and World Report ranked Drury as one of the best regional universities in the midwest.
Degree: Emergency Management, BS
Should I Get My Homeland Security Degree Online?
When choosing between an online degree and an on-campus degree, it’s important to understand your own learning style, too. For example, are you able to create your own structure? Are you a self-starter, or do you need the structure of an in-person classroom. If you struggle with learning on your own, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t pursue online learning. However, you should know your own strengths and weaknesses and create a plan that will help you get the most out of your education. For example, if you need accountability to log into a virtual classroom, ask a friend or family member to check in with you every once in a while.
What Can I Do with a Homeland Security Degree?
What can you do with a homeland security degree? More than you might think. The Department of Homeland Security will always need people to fill crucial roles because it provides so many crucial services. You’ll see some examples of homeland security careers in the next session, but on a broad level, those with homeland security careers are tasked with keeping the nation safe. The DHS has multiple departments, each one focused on a different part of national security. There’s the TSA, for example, which prevents flight terrorism, and the Coast Guard, which is the only military department that falls under the NHS. Homeland security careers can lead you in any number of directions, and you’re not limited to a DHS career, either. You might also get a career in a state or local government, or you could even work in the private sector.
What Do People Do in Homeland Security Jobs?
As you’ve probably guessed after reading the section above, there’s no simple description for homeland security jobs. In fact, homeland security jobs include all kinds of descriptions. For the most part, the homeland security job description boils down to preventing and responding to terrorism. The DHS was established very shortly after the the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Its primary mission is to prevent attacks like 9/11 from happening in the future. However, the DHS has grown over the years, and so has its mission. Now, in addition to preenting terrorist attacks, the DHS responds to any factor that might threaten the United States. For example, other homeland security jobs include economic security and cybersecurity. Any time a threat to US safety emerges, the DHS works to prevent or respond to that threat. For example, the DHS did its part during the COVID-19 pandemic of early 2020, working along with the CDC to mitigate the disease in the US.
Obviously, your homeland security job requirements will depend on which of the homeland security jobs you pursue. On a general level, you’ll need the following:
- A passion and willingness to keep the US safe
- Strong analytical skills
- Work ethic
- A relevant education
Now, on a specific level, you can look up homeland security job requirements based on the specific job you might like to pursue. For example, take a look at the careers listed below.
A FEMA career might involve inspecting disaster sites, leading disaster response teams, analyzing relief programs, or training disaster workers.
A USCIS career might involve fraud detection, scheduling immigration appointments, or providing operations support.
A CISA career might involve overseeing security teams, providing education on cybersecurity threats, detecting potential threats, or protecting government websites from vulnerabilities.
In any case, the homeland security jobs description covers a lot of ground, which means that the DHS must keep these positions filled. That’s why having an online homeland security degree can open your path to a lot of job security.