An online associate’s degree in homeland security is a fantastic first step for individuals interested in working in public safety and security. This degree can prepare students for entry-level positions in the field, as well as for further study. In this ranking, we explore the top 9 online associate’s degree homeland security options. The rating and ranking methodology we used to develop this ranking is listed below. Tuition information was collected from College Navigator. In the cases of a tie, the more affordable schools received the higher ranking.
Top Online Associate’s in Homeland Security
- #1 – Lamar Institute of Technology
- #2 – Trident Technical College
- #3 – St. Petersburg College
- #4 – Georgia Military College
- #5 – White Mountains Community College
- #6 – Eastern Kentucky University
- #7 – Central Texas College
- #8 – University of Maine-Fort Kent
- #9 – Keiser University
Rating and Ranking Methodology
• Under $15,000—1 point
• Under $12,500—2 points
• Under $10,000—3 points
• Under $7,500—4 points
• Under $5,000—5 points
• Under $2,500—6 points
• Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
#9 – Keiser University
Online Associate’s in Arts in Homeland Security
The online associate’s degree homeland security offering from Keiser University is a comprehensive 60-credit hour associate of arts program. The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level employment in homeland security areas, including employment in the United States Department of Homeland Security. Major courses include Introduction to Cyber-Terrorism, Organizing the War on Terrorism, Emergency Planning and Security Measures, and Constitutional Law for Homeland Security Professionals. This online associate’s degree in homeland security program can be completed entirely online.
Books and supplies $2,000
Room and board $10,252
Off Campus with Family
Total Expenses 2017-2018
Off Campus $40,202
Off Campus with Family $28,667
#8 – University of Maine-Fort Kent
Online Associate’s in Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security
The online associate’s degree homeland security option from the University of Maine-Fort Kent provides students with a strong liberal arts foundation and also emphasizes public safety, public administration, and emergency management. Enrolled students will take classes like Ethics & Community, Disaster Management, National Incident Management Systems, and Public Administration & Emergency Management. UMFK’s associate’s degree in homeland security online students may continue their studies in the school’s Bachelor of Science in Rural Public Safety Administration if desired.
#7 – Central Texas College
Online Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
The online associate’s degree homeland security offering from Central Texas College is a 60-credit hour Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. The program is designed for students who desire to enter the field of homeland security in an entry-level position as well as those who are already employed in the field and hope to advance in their current positions. The curriculum for the program is mostly prescribed and features course titles such as Principles of Basic Emergency Management, IT Security for Homeland Security Specialists, Understanding and Combatting Terrorism, and Managing a Unified Incident Command. A final project in homeland security and emergency management is also required for this associate’s degree in homeland security online program.
#6 – Eastern Kentucky University
Online Associate’s in Arts in General Studies: Homeland Security
The online associate’s degree homeland security offering from Eastern Kentucky University is a unique Associate of Arts in General Studies offering with a concentration in Homeland Security. The curriculum for this program consists of general education courses, four lower division homeland security courses, and three elective classes. Optional undergraduate certificates are also available in Disaster Management, Homeland Security, and Intelligence Studies. Graduates of this online associate’s degree in homeland security may enter the workforce or pursue further studies in the field. EKU offers both a bachelor’s and master’s program in homeland security.
#5 – White Mountains Community College
Online Associate’s in Science in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security
The online associate’s degree in homeland security program from White Mountains Community College is a broad, 60-credit hour offering. The program can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on the student’s needs and desired schedule. Specific course titles include Terrorism, Criminology, Legal and Ethical Issues, and Justice and the Community. Graduates of this online associate’s degree homeland security program are eligible for continued studies in a baccalaureate program or for entry-level positions in law enforcement or at the Department of Homeland Security.
#4 – Georgia Military College
Online Associate’s in Homeland Security
Georgia Military College offers a robust online associate’s degree homeland security option from its Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences/Justice Studies. Both an Associate of Science and an Associate of Arts program is available. Enrolled students will probe topics such as emergency management, risk analysis, intelligence and counterintelligence, strategic planning, and terrorism studies among others. Graduates of associate’s degree in homeland security online programs are prepared for careers in law enforcement, private security, corrections, and emergency preparedness.
#3 – St. Petersburg College
Online Associate of Science in Emergency Administration and Management: Homeland Security
St. Petersburg College’s online associate’s degree in homeland security offering is an Associate of Science in Emergency Administration and Management with a specialty in Homeland Security. Enrolled students will explore topics such as crisis communication, disaster recovery, guidelines for emergency response, and emergency operations, for instance. Graduates can enter the workforce after graduation as emergency management planners, directors, or specialists. Alternatively, the credits earned in this associate’s degree in homeland security online program can be transferred to the school’s bachelor’s program in Public Safety Administration.
#2 – Trident Technical College
Online Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security Management
Trident Technical College’s associate’s degree in homeland security online program is a 66-credit hour Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Homeland Security Management with available tracks in criminal justice, emergency medical, or fire service. Students will learn about topics in homeland security such as international and domestic terrorism, intelligence operations, infrastructure protection, and strategic planning for security. Specific course titles include Terrorism & Homeland Security, Critical Incident Management, and Public Health Emergency Preparedness. Graduates of this online associate’s degree homeland security program will be prepared for entry-level positions in homeland security such as mission support specialist, supervisory transportation officer, and human resource specialist, for example.
#1 – Lamar Institute of Technology
Online Associate of Applied Science in Homeland Security
Lamar Institute of Technology offers a 60-credit hour associate’s degree in homeland security online offering with two distinct career tracks: homeland security specialist and crime scene technician. The curriculum for the program consists of general education requirements such as Introduction to Sociology, Fine Arts Appreciation, and Social Problems as well as major-specific classes like Homeland Security Intelligence Operations, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Industrial Fire Protection. Students who complete this online associate’s degree homeland security program will also receive a certificate of completion in homeland security.
While homeland security may seem like a narrow field, it is surprisingly broad and interdisciplinary. It includes topics such as criminal justice, cybersecurity, and epidemiology. Graduates from these programs are also not limited to jobs in government agencies as one might expect. There are many similarities among homeland security programs, but there are also several differences that must be weighed before you can choose a school. This ranking will give you a solid start in finding an associate’s degree in homeland security online program that is right for you.
Formatting Variations for Online Associate’s Degree Homeland Security
While most online associate’s degree in homeland security programs are similar format-wise, there are some common variations in format that it is important to be familiar with before settling on a program. These variations are important in determining whether a program will fit your specific lifestyle and schedule.
A format variation that you are likely already familiar with is full-time versus part-time study. This format customization option is a standard option at nearly every school for both online and traditional programs. It is common for online students to study part time, taking fewer classes at a time. Choosing this option means that you will finish your degree in nearly twice the time it would take studying full-time, but it leaves more room for other responsibilities such as work or family obligations.
Another format variation that you may be less familiar with is asynchronous delivery versus synchronous delivery. Most online programs are primarily or even entirely asynchronous. This means that students can access course materials such as lectures and assignments at any time that is convenient for them. They still must meet set deadlines, but do not have to worry about logging in for live discussions. Synchronous delivery, on the other hand, requires students to meet virtually at specified times. This can be a great way to increase interaction in a format that tends to lack it, but it can also be difficult for students with busy schedules.
Lastly, while all of the online associate’s degree in homeland security programs in this ranking are either completely or primarily delivered online, you should note that some schools allow students to complete their degrees using a hybrid format. This allows students to take courses both online and on-campus. This option is great for students who thrive on face-to-face interaction, but can’t make it to campus often enough to attend all the classes they need to.
Being familiar with these variations in course format will help you choose an online associate’s degree in homeland security program that balances your education with your work and home responsibilities. While most people interested in an online program are looking for a lot of flexibility, some students do better with more structure.
Content Customization for Online Associate’s Degree Homeland Security Programs
It can be difficult to find ways to customize your online associate’s degree in homeland security. This is because most programs try to avoid students specializing too early, and an associate’s degree is primarily about giving students a broad foundation that they can build upon later. It can also be especially hard for the field of homeland security, as homeland security is often a concentration option for a bigger program such as an emergency management degree. However, there are still some opportunities for students to adjust the curriculum to their needs.
There are rare occasions where students may be able to choose between specialization tracks in homeland security, but the more common way for students to customize their education is through electives. Many programs include at least a couple general or major electives and encourage students to choose courses that best suit their personal career paths.
It’s okay if you can’t find an online associate’s degree in homeland security that has customization options specific to your individual career goals. Associate-level programs tend to be broad enough to be applicable to a wide range of career and educational goals. The interdisciplinary nature of the field means that more opportunities for specialization will be available as you advance in your studies.
Transfer-Friendliness of Associate Degree in Homeland Security Online Programs
How easy it is to transfer previous credits into your online associate degree in homeland security program may not be a priority for first-time students, but if you’ve ever taken college courses, being able to transfer courses over is very important. You can save both time and money by not having to sit through courses covering material you are already familiar with.
It is standard for schools to allow students to transfer in about 45 credit hours towards their associate’s degrees. However, this can still vary greatly from school to school. Some programs are stricter and do not allow students to transfer many previously earned credits while other programs expect students to transfer the majority of the credits needed to graduate.
Another thing to check before settling on a program is whether the specific courses you are transferring over match up properly with courses offered at the receiving institution. Some schools have generous transfer policies, but still have students lose credits because they cannot fit them within a program’s degree plan.
Even if you are unsure whether your previously earned credits will transfer, it is worth speaking to a transfer advisor or someone in admissions at the school you are transferring to. They will be able to answer your questions and help make the transfer process as smooth as possible. You may be surprised to find that courses you don’t expect to transfer actually do, and vice versa.
Paying for Your Online Associate’s Degree in Homeland Security
The cost of earning your associate’s degree in homeland security online is also a factor in choosing a school. There are plenty of quality degree programs that are also affordable, but there are also many excellent schools that are pricier. Thankfully, there are many ways to make these expensive programs more affordable.
The main source of financial aid that varies from school to school is scholarships. An expensive program that is generous with its scholarships can end up being more affordable than a low-tuition program that does not offer much in the way of scholarships. If cost is a major concern for you, the scholarships offered should be an important part of your decision. It is ideal for scholarships to make up the majority of your financial aid, as you won’t have to worry about paying them back.
Another source of financial aid that students won’t have to worry about paying back are grants. Government grants, such as the Pell Grant, can cover a sizable part of your tuition. To receive government grants, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is also important for student loans and many scholarships. In this context, it determines your financial need, and you will be offered a grant based on that need.
When it comes to loans, it is best to get a federal direct student loan instead of a private loan. Federal student loans are generally much cheaper than private loans because they have low, fixed interest rates. They also include benefits that the majority of private loans do not, including loan forgiveness programs, tax-deductible interest, and forbearance or deferment options.
Career Outlook and Options for Associate’s Degree Homeland Security Graduates
There are several jobs available for individuals with an online associate’s degree in homeland security. The Department of Homeland Security is one of the largest agencies of the federal government with over 183,000 people working on the federal level. There are also jobs available at the local and state levels of the public sector, as well as many private-sector jobs where your skills and education can be applied.
Students with an associate’s degree in homeland security often find jobs in private security firms, local emergency management, and law enforcement. Those with a bachelor’s degree can find work in federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
More jobs may be available to individuals that pursue certifications such as the Certified Emergency Manager program and the Professional Development Series offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with other leading organizations in the field. Which certifications individuals should pursue depends heavily on their specific job interests. There is so much variation in the field that there are not many one-size-fits all certifications that cover the entire field.
Frequently Asked Questions for Online Associate’s Degrees in Homeland Security
Any degree program requires a large commitment of time and money, and online associate’s degree homeland security programs are no exception. It’s always a good idea to gather as much information as possible before settling on a school. Below, you will find some of the most frequently asked questions that prospective students need answered before they can start their education.
How long will it take for me to earn my associate degree in homeland security online?
Most online associate degrees in homeland security are designed so that they can be completed within two years. However, most schools leave room for students to complete their programs more slowly or more quickly depending on their needs. Some students will only need one year to graduate, whereas others may need three or more, for example.
The main factors in how long it will take for a student to complete their degree are course load and transfer credits. As mentioned above, full-time students with heavier course loads can earn their degree much faster than part-time students with lighter course loads. Students with a lot of transfer credits can cut the time to complete their degree in half while also saving money by not retaking courses they already have credits for.
Are online associate’s degree homeland security programs legitimate?
Yes. Though many people may be worried that online programs are scams, there are many legitimate online associate’s degree homeland security programs for students to choose from. As long as the program is accredited by a respected accrediting body, you do not have to worry about your online degree being worthless. Most online programs have the same curriculum and professors as their traditional-format counterparts, so if a university is well-known for good on-campus programs, it should be able to provide a quality online education as well.
Who should pursue their associate’s degree in homeland security online?
Anyone can take advantage of an online degree as long as they are self-disciplined enough to meet the deadlines set for them. Some students do not succeed in online programs because they need more structure than most online programs provide. Others thrive in a format that gives them more freedom. As mentioned above, there are many formatting options that can help an online degree better fit almost any lifestyle. The types of people who typically take online courses include working adults, parents with family responsibilities, and students who live far away from their desired college.
Can I really earn my online associate’s degree in homeland security completely online?
Yes. The majority of online associate’s degree in homeland security programs can be completed without ever visiting campus. However, some programs do require students to visit campus at least once for orientations, conferences, labs, or other activities. This is less common for associate’s-level degrees, but it’s still worth paying attention to the program requirements to make sure your selected program doesn’t require a visit to campus, especially if this is a deal-breaker for you.
Will employers and other universities respect my online associate’s degree homeland security?
Yes. Most employers don’t care if you earn your degree using a distance format. However, even if they do, most degrees and transcripts don’t indicate that you studied online. Potential employers won’t know that you earned your degree online if you don’t volunteer that information.
Other universities don’t typically care about what format you took your degree in either. When it comes to transferring, what’s most important is accreditation. As long as you earned your degree at a regionally accredited institution, it should transfer just fine.