Affordable Online Associate in Homeland Security Degrees

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Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has only existed since 2002, America has long emphasized the nation’s safety. As the threat of terrorism grows and governments work to disarm cybersecurity, nuclear, and bioterrorism threats, demand for homeland security experts is on the rise. DHS employs nearly 250,000 professionals, and thousands more positions are available in other federal agencies. Homeland security professionals are passionate about keeping our nation secure. Keep reading to discover the top online associate in homeland security programs, common positions for graduates, and salary projections for careers in the field.

Online Associate in Homeland Security at a Glance

Fast Facts

Time to Complete Full-time students typically complete an associate degree in homeland security in two years.
Credit Hours Most online schools for homeland security require 60 to 65 credits for an associate degree.
Concentrations
  • Introduction to homeland security
  • The war on terrorism
  • Emergency planning and management
  • Geospatial technologies
  • Cybersecurity
Accreditation No field-specific accrediting body exists for homeland security associate degrees, but prospective students should look for regionally accredited programs.
Additional Info Associate degrees do not require licensure or internships, but most four-year homeland security degrees do require an internship.

What are the Most Affordable Online Associate in Homeland Security Degrees?

15 Affordable Online Associate in Homeland Security Degrees
Rank School Score Toggle Content
1

Laramie County Community College

Value Score 7.54
Average Tuition $1,992
Students Receiving Financial Aid 93%
Net Price $3,853
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Retention Rate 56%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 42%
Number of Online Programs 26

Based in Laramie County, Wyoming and established in 1968, Laramie County Community College offers 80 associate degrees and 30 completion certificates. These include a number of distance learning programs, such as the school's fully online associate degree in homeland security. LCCC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

LCCC tailors its 62 credit associate of science in homeland security to the needs of entry-level distance learners. Learners graduate with the essential knowledge they need to predict, understand, and counteract both natural and manmade emergencies, and leave campus prepared to enter the field in both the private and public sectors. The major's curriculum includes coursework on geospatial technology, infrastructure, and terrorism. General education courses include English, economics, and chemistry. Completion of the degree awards graduates a FEMA professional development certificate. LCCC also offers a credit diploma intended for working professionals looking to further their knowledge of the field.


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2

Central Wyoming College

Value Score 6.81
Average Tuition $1,992
Students Receiving Financial Aid 90%
Net Price $3,865
Graduation Rate 25%
Student to Faculty Ratio 13:1
Retention Rate 53%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 42%
Number of Online Programs 7

Founded in 1966 and based in Riverton, Central Wyoming College offers several fully online associate degrees, among them an associate degree in homeland security. CWC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

This 60 credit associate degree provides students with a broad perspective on the Department of Homeland Security's various facets and how the department works to prevent, understand, and counteract terrorism. Students graduate with the skillset and knowledge essential to understand and combat domestic, international, environmental, agricultural, and cyber terrorism. Required courses towards the major cover topics like homeland security law and religious extremism. Additionally, as part of the technical studies program, students can combine the online version of the degree with a number of other compatible programs (from which students can choose). CWC offers online tutoring resources free of charge for all students via Smarthinking. Students can transfer in a maximum of 45 credits and must complete at least 15 credits through CWC.


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3

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Value Score 6.29
Average Tuition $16,784
Students Receiving Financial Aid 98%
Net Price $28,372
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 12:1
Retention Rate 89%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 46%
Number of Online Programs 14

Established in 1977 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University offers learners a wide variety of degrees. The school's offers its distance learner-focused degrees through its Fort Lauderdale online division, which includes a number of degrees offered exclusively through the internet, such as the school's homeland security associate degree. KU holds accredited from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school tailors its 60 credit associate degree in homeland security to entry-level learners. KU's curriculum provides students with a thorough foundation in the workings of the Department of Homeland Security and in the many facets of domestic and international terrorism. Additionally, the program aims to develop verbal and written communication skills learners need before embarking on a future in the field. Major coursework topics include bio-terrorism, cyber-terrorism, and approaches to the war on terrorism. In addition to access to the school's job postings board, KU offers students resources such as academic advising and professional development opportunities. U.S. service members and their families gain free access to tutoring via tutor.com.


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4

Barton County Community College

Value Score 5.88
Average Tuition $2,176
Students Receiving Financial Aid 70%
Net Price $8,153
Graduation Rate 28%
Student to Faculty Ratio 23:1
Retention Rate 53%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 39%
Number of Online Programs 23

Established in 1965 in Great Bend, Kansas Barton County Community College offers a number of distance learning programs, including its associate degree in emergency management/homeland security. BCCC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The school flexibly structures its 64 credit homeland security associate degree to accommodate the needs of both entry-level learners and experienced professionals. The curriculum provides students with the formal training they need to predict, understand, and counteract natural and manmade emergencies. Major coursework covers topics such as emergency management and developing and managing volunteer resources. Topics covered by BCCC's associate degree in applied science include the humanities, computer technology, social and behavioral science, natural science and math, and oral and written communication. Students receive credit for relevant experience and education in the military, workplace, or civilian life (however, learners must complete a minimum of 15 credits at BCCC).


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5

Eastern Kentucky University

Value Score 5.87
Average Tuition $8,150
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $9,253
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 74%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 50%
Number of Online Programs 3

Based in Richmond, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University offers learners a number of fully-online programs, including the school's EKU’s homeland security associate degree. Established in 1906, EKU holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

This 64 credit degree provides prospective entry-level distance learners and professionals the opportunity to obtain an affordable associate degree in homeland security via a concentration within general studies.The school allows students to greatly personalize their degree and only requirements learners to complete four lower-division courses towards the concentration and three electives, along with general education courses. Ideal for learners with an interest in the field unsure of which direction to pursue, program courses cover essential knowledge in infrastructure, intelligence, and emergency response. EKU also provides students with the opportunity to complete credit through independent study with a professor. Learners must complete a minimum of 15 credits through EKU.


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6

University of Maine at Fort Kent

Value Score 5.85
Average Tuition $6,600
Students Receiving Financial Aid 92%
Net Price $9,444
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 70%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 61%
Number of Online Programs 3

Established in 1878, the University of Maine at Fort Kent offers learners fully-online degrees, including its online homeland security associate degree. UMFK is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

This 60 credit, fully-online degree provides distance learners with an affordable grounding in the many facets of public safety, emergency management, and homeland security across the nation. Students develop critical thinking, research, and communication skills both through the major and via general education requirements. The concentration's curriculum includes topics such as national incident management systems, and public administration and emergency management. Graduates enter the field well-prepared for a number of entry-level careers in public safety and criminal justice. UMFK requires transfer students to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 as a prerequisite for consideration.


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7

Georgia Military College

Value Score 5.53
Average Tuition $5,400
Students Receiving Financial Aid 96%
Net Price $7,630
Graduation Rate 25%
Student to Faculty Ratio 25:1
Retention Rate 56%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 32%
Number of Online Programs 21

Established in 1879 in Milledgeville, Georgia Military College offers 20 fully online degrees catering to the busy timetable of working professionals. Among these degree options is a highly affordable associate degree in homeland security. GMC holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school's 65 credit associate of arts and 69 credit associate of science degree are both compatible with the school's homeland security/emergency management concentration. GMC requires students to complete 25 additional credits for the concentration. Courses in the concentration cover topics such as terrorism and international crime, as provide an overview of emergency management and the history of homeland security. Distance learners prepare for further education and work in a variety of public and private sectors. Students leave the program with strengthened writing skills, and experience in composing a literature review. Students must receive a minimum 2.0 GPA for all credits they wish to transfer.


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8

Campbell University

Value Score 5.42
Average Tuition $27,800
Students Receiving Financial Aid 100%
Net Price $25,451
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 16:1
Retention Rate 74%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 16%
Number of Online Programs 7

Based in Buies Creek, North Carolina, Campbell University makes available numerous distance learning programs. Established in 1887, today the school offers a homeland security degree online at the associate level, a concentration for an associate of science degree. CU holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The school offers this 62 credit degree in an eight-week accelerated format. The school tailors the program especially for distance learners looking for a wide overview of the field of homeland security. Required topics for the concentration include interagency operations, intelligence, and critical infrastructure protection. The curriculum features coursework in the social sciences. General education courses include requirements in fine arts, literature, and an introduction to Christianity course. Students must finish at least 15.5 credits through CU and maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA. CU offers tuition assistance to service members and veterans.


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9

White Mountains Community College

Value Score 5.37
Average Tuition $6,400
Students Receiving Financial Aid 97%
Net Price $13,307
Graduation Rate 48%
Student to Faculty Ratio 8:1
Retention Rate 66%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 24%

White Mountains Community College is based in Berlin, New Hampshire and administers a separate campus in Littleton. Alongside numerous distance learning programs, the school offers a highly affordable homeland security degree online at the associate level as an associate of science degree concentration paired with criminal justice. WMCC holds accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

This fully-online, 60 credit degree provides both entry-level learners and working professionals a wide perspective on homeland security’s place in the criminal justice system. Coursework includes topics like psychology and juvenile justice in addition to public administration and terrorism. Flexibly offered at both a full and part-time pace, the curriculum culminates with either a senior project overseen by a supervisor or criminal justice-related internship.


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10

Hillsborough Community College

Value Score 5.30
Average Tuition $1,931
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $5,820
Graduation Rate 29%
Student to Faculty Ratio 22:1
Retention Rate 61%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 28%
Number of Online Programs 2

Established in 1968, Hillsborough Community College is located in Hillsborough, County, Florida. The school offers a wide range of fully-online programs, including a homeland security associate degree (which it offers as an associate of science degree in criminal justice technology track). The school holds accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

This 60 credit degree track provides learners with a detailed picture of the field of homeland security in the context of criminal justice. HCC designed its associate program for busy distance learners looking to complete coursework for transferrable credits in furthering their education. The school offers innovative elective coursework focused on topics such as cyber-terrorism, and terrorist weapons and tactics. (Note that not all courses from the homeland security track may be offered online). HCC permits students to choose their elective coursework from either a list of homeland security relevant topics or less specific criminal justice electives.


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11

Peninsula College

Value Score 5.22
Average Tuition $4,000
Students Receiving Financial Aid 68%
Net Price $4,915
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 15:1
Retention Rate 64%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 53%

Established in 1961, Peninsula College stands among the hills and shores of scenic Port Angeles, Washington. Among a variety of degrees that the school administers online is its homeland security/emergency management associate degree. PC holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

This affordable, 98 credit degree focuses on a focused analysis on the foundations of crisis management at the local and national level and its intersection with homeland security. The program prepares learners for further training and entry level employment in a variety of environments. Additionally, students develop critical thinking, verbal and written communication, and professional leadership skills crucial for success in high-stress environments. The concentration allows learners opportunities to work with emergency management technology and earn five credits in work-based learning. Topics in the innovative curriculum include developing and managing volunteer resources, environmental science, and cybersecurity and cybercrime. Students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.


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12

Palm Beach State College

Value Score 5.08
Average Tuition $2,424
Students Receiving Financial Aid 67%
Net Price $1,393
Graduation Rate 23%
Student to Faculty Ratio 27:1
Retention Rate 64%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 25%
Number of Online Programs 7

Palm Beach State College, founded in 1933 in Palm Beach County, Florida, offers a number of online programs catering to busy distance learners. Among them is an online-only associate degree in homeland security. PBSC maintains accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

This 60 credit degree gives distance learners at all levels a solid foundation in emergency management theory and practice, with a concentration in homeland security. The program comes at an affordable price tag and learners leave with the essential knowledge for furthering their education in the field of predicting, understanding, and organizing against man-made and environmental disasters in both the private and public sectors. Topics in required coursework include transportation and border security, basic emergency planning concepts, and transportation and border security. This degree includes a number of certifications from FEMA.


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13

Ocean County College

Value Score 5.05
Average Tuition $4,050
Students Receiving Financial Aid 57%
Net Price $7,443
Graduation Rate 30%
Student to Faculty Ratio 25:1
Retention Rate 69%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 25%
Number of Online Programs 10

Founded in 1969 and based in New Jersey, Ocean County College offers a number of fully and partly-online programs, including a fully-online homeland security associate degree. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

This 64 credit degree provides distance learners at all levels with a wide perspective on issues faced by workers in emergency management and homeland security. The curriculum includes topics such risk management and analysis, international relations, and domestic and international terrorism. The program follows the same timetable as in-person courses, via an innovative software platform, and stands out due to its student-focused approach (for example, OCC offers a 24-hour academic helpline via phone, chat, and email for all students). Fully-online coursework combines synchronous and asynchronous assessment. Students must complete a minimum of six credits in a foreign language before graduation.


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14

Guilford Technical Community College

Value Score 5.00
Average Tuition $2,016
Students Receiving Financial Aid 79%
Net Price $11,863
Graduation Rate 12%
Student to Faculty Ratio 20:1
Retention Rate 52%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 42%
Number of Online Programs 13

Located in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina, Guilford Technical Community College was founded in 1958. The school offers a wide range of fully-online programs, including a homeland security associate degree, which it offers as a track in its associate of science degree in criminal justice technology program. GTCC holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

This highly affordable 64 credit degree is tailored for learners seeking employment in less-specialized areas concerning national security. The school administers its curriculum to provide a wide perspective on criminal justice systems and services, and how these subjects intersect with homeland security. Learners develop analytical, written, and verbal communication, and organizational skills. They also gain essential knowledge on how criminal justice law and homeland security collaborate to respond to threats, protect borders, and collect intelligence. The school offers this track in an accelerated format.


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15

Pierce College-Puyallup

Value Score 4.96
Average Tuition $3,388
Students Receiving Financial Aid 61%
Net Price $7,455
Graduation Rate 30%
Student to Faculty Ratio 14:1
Retention Rate 52%
Percentage of Students in Online Programs 4%

Pierce College was established in 1967 and is based in Pierce County, Washington. The school offers numerous fully-online programs, among them an associate degree in homeland security, paired with emergency management. Pierce College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Available both nationally and internationally, this 98 credit degree comes at a cheap price tag and typically takes about two years to finish. Learners gain a solid grounding of the ins and outs of handling both natural and manmade disasters. The practically-minded curriculum integrates five credits of work-based coursework, allowing readers to gain hands-on knowledge necessary for planning and implementing solutions at the local and national level. Additionally, learners are specially prepared for the unique cultural issues that may arise in their work. The school provides tuition assistance to unemployed workers and working parents within a defined income bracket.


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What Can I Do With a Associate in Homeland Security Degree?

Graduates with an associate in homeland security work for federal agencies, such as the DHS or FBI, serve state or local governments, and pursue positions in the nonprofit sector. With a wide variety of available career paths, some homeland security professionals work traditional hours, while others hold covert roles.

Career Paths

Police Officer

$61,600 Avg Annual Salary
High school diploma or college degree Degree Required

Depending on the type of officer, this position may require a high school diploma or a college degree. Officers enforce laws and respond to calls. An associate degree in homeland security qualifies students for entry-level roles.

Projected Growth Rate 4%

Detective

$48,190 Avg Annual Salary
High school diploma or college degree Degree Required

Depending on the type of officer, this position may require a high school diploma or a college degree. Officers enforce laws and respond to calls. An associate degree in homeland security qualifies students for entry-level roles.

Projected Growth Rate 5%

Correctional Officer/Bailiff

$42,820 Avg Annual Salary
High school diploma or associate degree Degree Required

Depending on the type of officer, this position may require a high school diploma or a college degree. Officers enforce laws and respond to calls. An associate degree in homeland security qualifies students for entry-level roles.

Projected Growth Rate 4%

Transferring to a Four-Year Homeland Security Program

As a growing number of employers require four-year degrees, community colleges, technical schools, and other two-year institutions are emerging as cost-effective options for attaining a foundational education. According to data from College Board, students can attend a regional community college for one-third of the cost of attending a public four-year institution.

Some students worry whether credits earned at a community college will transfer to a four-year school. Before enrolling in any online associate degree in homeland security, prospective students should find out if the school has matriculation or transfer agreements with four-year institutions. They should also check with their prospective four-year school to ensure the associate program’s classes meet transfer requirements.

Professionals with four-year degrees enjoy many benefits over those with associate degrees, including higher pay. A study by Payscale found the national median pay for those with bachelor’s degrees to be $8,100 more than salaries of those with an associate degree.

What Will I Learn in My Associate in Homeland Security Program?

  • The war on terrorism Students learn about various types of terrorism, known terrorist groups, and the historical context of terrorism. They study trends, counterterrorist strategies, and counterterrorism agencies.
  • Homeland security This introductory course covers political, national, and international resources used to implement homeland security tactics. Students learn how to work within teams to appropriately respond to and prevent homeland security incidents.
  • Weapons of mass destruction Coursework introduces students to topics related to weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Students explore the historical context surrounding the development of these weapons during WWI and WWII.
  • Cybersecurity This course focuses on the counterattack strategies and the computer systems and networked infrastructures in place to negate cyberterrorism attempts by domestic and international terrorists.
  • Border control and immigration Students review the political and operational factors governing these two controversial topics, along with the historical implications of immigration in America. Students analyze current legislation and presidential directives.

Employment Outlook for Associate in Homeland Security Graduates

Associate in Homeland Security Salary

Professional experience levels significantly impact the annual earnings of employees in the field of homeland security. The table below features data regarding median salaries of officers, detectives, and police agents at different career stages.

Median Salary by Experience
Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Border Patrol Officer $53,071 $41,000 $71,000 $93,000
Information Security Analyst $70,260 $63,000 $82,000 $91,000
Detective $60,239 $56,000 $55,000 $75,000
FBI Agent $64,580 $61,000 $65,000 $97,000
Police Dispatcher $40,295 $34,000 $40,000 $52,000

Accreditation for Online Associate in Homeland Security Degrees

No field-specific accrediting agencies for associate degrees in homeland security currently exist; however, online degree seekers should look for national or regional accreditation.

Regional accreditation is the most well-regarded designation. For a community college or vocational school to receive regional accreditation, the institution must regularly meet a rigorous set of standards. The requirements to attain and maintain nationally accredited status, on the other hand, are more relaxed. Credits earned from nationally accredited schools typically do not transfer to regionally accredited programs or four-year institutions. Degrees from nationally accredited schools are not always recognized by employers.

Financing Your Online Associate in Homeland Security Program

An associate degree in homeland security opens professional opportunities, but financing the degree can present complications. Every student should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine their eligibility for federal funding such as grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study positions. The scholarships listed below are reserved specifically for homeland security students.

Scholarships for Online Homeland Security Associate Degrees

Homeland Security Scholarships

Lint Center for National Security Studies Scholarships $500–1,500

A number of scholarships are offered to students pursuing degrees in homeland security and related areas.

Scholarship Deadline: Varies

Eligibility Requirements: The student must write a 600- to 800-word essay explaining their thoughts, ideas, or feelings about counterintelligence, national security, alliance-building, or national defense.

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WIFLE Annual Scholarship Program $2,500

Women in Federal Law Enforcement offers this scholarship for a female student enrolled in a community college homeland security program who plans to transfer into a four-year program.

Scholarship Deadline: February 1

Eligibility Requirements: The student must maintain a 3.0 GPA, write a 500-word essay, and demonstrate commitment to being a community leader.

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Thurgood Marshall Scholarship $2,000

The National Association for Blacks in Criminal Justice offers this scholarship to students pursuing a degree in criminal justice, or a related subject, at an accredited institution.

Scholarship Deadline: Varies

Eligibility Requirements: The student must write a 1,000-word essay, show evidence of active community service, and be an African American student.

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American Best Locksmith Scholarship $500

This scholarship is offered to students who have been admitted to an accredited postsecondary school and who plan to pursue a security-related degree.

Scholarship Deadline: May 30

Eligibility Requirements: The student must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher and must write an essay of at least 300 words describing why they want to become a security professional.

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Caterpillar Homeland Security Scholarship $1,000

This scholarship is available to homeland security students who have completed at least 45 credits.

Scholarship Deadline: Spring

Eligibility Requirements: The student must have a GPA of 2.4 or higher and must have completed at least one course related to homeland security.

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