The field of Homeland Security has exploded since 2001, when the U.S. government created the department of Homeland Security, and it's never been as easy to break into the field with the availability of accredited online homeland security degree programs.
Today the Department of Homeland Security is one of the country's largest federal agencies and employs nearly 185,000 workers, and jobs in the private sector have continued to grow as well. A bachelor's degree in Homeland Security, Emergency Management, or a related field is ideal for anyone who loves criminal justice but wants to specifically focus on issues of terrorism and disaster relief.
Since the turn of the 21st century, more and more universities have begun to offer such degrees, and many online colleges have even added the program to their repertoire. This is great news for working professionals or busy parents who need to be able to take classes on their own time. The other big benefit of choosing distance education is that many of these schools are less expensive than traditional universities, and in fact none of the schools on this list cost more than about $16,000 a year! You should also note that the numbers we have included are raw tuition rates – if you qualify for financial aid or scholarships, you could save even more money on your college education.
We also feel the need to stress that just because these programs are online does not mean that they lack quality. The schools appearing in this ranking are the least expensive of their kind, according to the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator database. These are all reputable, accredited schools that frequently make it on to national rankings by top publications, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Washington Monthly, and Businessweek. They are listed according to their tuition (most expensive first), and we placed public institutions based on the average of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
Cheap Online Homeland Security Degree Program Rankings
18. Strayer University
Online Bachelor of Science in Information Systems – Homeland Security Management
Students who are interested in exploring the relationship between computational science, criminal justice, and management will be uniquely suited for Strayer's online college program. Those enrolled in the Information Systems curriculum with an emphasis in Homeland Security Management will study cybercrime and cybersecurity, ISS policies and incident response teams, strategic security management issues, and disaster response, and will also be prepared to earn certification in CompTIA Network+ and ISC2. Strayer is an accredited and affordable online college that has received high ratings from students for offering flexible course schedules and meaningful classes, according to College Prowler.
17. Everest University
Online Homeland Security Bachelor's Degree Program
Everest University's online bachelor's degree in Homeland Security is grounded in a solid foundation of theories and practical principles related to civil and criminal justice, emergency planning, tactical communications, business ethics for security specialists, domestic and international terrorism, and emergency medical services. Graduates of Everest might become border patrol officers or homeland security specialists, law enforcement agents or corporate security professionals. As an online college, Everest is committed to helping you succeed, and will even let you demo an online course and take a quiz to find out of distance education is the right fit for you. This nationally recognized and accredited college is also a member of the Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC) Consortium and is dedicated to helping military members achieve their career goals.
16. University of Akron
Emergency Management and Homeland Security Bachelor of Science Online
The University of Akron has combined the study of Emergency Management and Homeland Security into a single degree program focused on environmental and technological hazards, emergency planning and preparedness, terrorism, and disaster relief. Students already pursuing a bachelor's degree outside this program can still earn a minor in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, or can pursue a certificate in the same field. Courses are available in a variety of formats and through both Akron and a number of nearby community colleges. Students can also join the International Association of Emergency Managers or pursue research at the Center for Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy Research. Akron is a highly ranked, top online college that has been recognized by U.S. News, Businessweek, and others, and was also named a "Carnegie Cluster Leader."
Tuition: $10,054/yr (In-state) $18,418/yr (Out-of-state)
15. Austin Peay State University
Online Criminal Justice Bachelor of Science (B.S.) – Homeland Security
Austin Peay State's Homeland Security concentration is meant to appeal to students interested in a wide range of criminal justice fields. All students are educated in topics related to politics, sociology, psychology, law, and public management, while those specializing in Homeland Security will also delve into such subjects as terrorism studies and federal law enforcement agencies. This online college is part of the Regents Online Degree Programs (RODP), a collaborative between nearly twenty community colleges and universities in Tennessee. The school is currently considered to be in the Top 30 best public schools in the nation and Top 65 regional universities in the South, according to U.S. News.
Tuition: $6,876/yr (In-state) $21,372/yr (Out-of-state)
14. Florida State University
FSU EMHS Program Online
Florida State's program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security is self-described as a "World-Class Education." It is one of the best online college options for students interested in homeland security because it combines theoretical discussion in areas such as public health and terrorism studies with practical application through internships and certificate programs. All classes are available online, including electives in Risk Communication, Ethics, and Terrorism, among other subjects. Fiske's Guide to Online Colleges recently included FSU on its "Budget Ivy List," and major publications like USA Today and Princeton Review agree that it is a truly affordable online college.
Tuition: $6,507/yr (In-state) $21,673/yr (Out-of-state)
13. Excelsior College
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (Homeland Security Concentration)
Many of Excelsior's programs are designed for working adults who want to attend college online in order to finish or augment their current degree. The school's Criminal Justice program is no exception, and students in the Homeland Security department benefit from maximum transfer credit for previous academic work, credit for military service or professional experience, and affordable online college tuition. Courses focus on developing job-ready skills in topics such as international terrorism, incident response and management, security planning, counterterrorism, and other areas of essential interest to homeland security personnel. Self-administered surveys reveal that 99% of graduates consider Excelsior's education to be relevant to their career.
12. American InterContinental University
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (BSCJ) – Specialization in Homeland Security and Crisis Management
Students who choose to attend American InterContinental University's online college will benefit from a Homeland Security Program that has been recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the Emergency Management Higher Education Program. The affordable online homeland security bachelor's degree program is 180 credits, with 45 "specialization" credits, and can be completed in as little as 36 months of full-time study. Experienced professors instruct students on how to apply industry relevant knowledge to their future careers. This includes the study of terrorism, counterterrorism, natural disasters, crisis management, public policy, national security, and so many other areas that you're practically guaranteed never to be bored!
11. Capella University
Online Bachelor of Science in Public Safety: Homeland Security Specialization
Capella's School of Undergraduate Studies offers a degree in Public Safety that you can customize by adding a specialization in Homeland Security. This unique combination of degree emphases allows students to give equal focus to public security, federal resources, terrorism, diplomacy, multijurisdictional coordination, and technological and intelligence approaches to both domestic and international security threats. Students can transfer up to 75% of their credits from a previous school and can take affordable online college classes at Capella in either a 5- or 10-week format. Graduates of the program report very high satisfaction rates, and in fact 90% say they would recommend the school to a friend or family member.
10. National University
Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Online
National University's Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management infuses classes with both theoretical and practical exploration of the politics and cultures of terrorism, management aspects of disasters, security issues, pending emergencies, and more. Graduates frequently go on to work in disaster management in the public sector, nonprofit organizations, and security. Some students also enroll in the transition program, which is available to those with at least a 3.0 GPA and allows them move seamlessly from undergraduate work to classes that will earn them a Master's in Public Administration. NU is the second largest, private, non-profit postsecondary institution in California and is considered a top online college for granting degrees to women and minorities.
9. Florida Tech Online
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Homeland Security Online
Florida Tech Online is the online college division of the Florida Institute of Technology, a well known school offering dozens of degree programs to students. One such degree is the B.A. in Criminal Justice Homeland Security, a career-focused program that combines liberal arts learning with the development of industry-specific skills. You'll learn about parole, law enforcement, corrections, and probation, while also studying the specifics of public safety, natural disasters, terrorism, disaster relief, and threats to national security. This online homeland security degree could be a good fit for you regardless of whether or not you have no criminal justice experience or are a professional looking to grow your career. PayScale rates this top online college #2 in Return on Investment in the state of Florida, while the Times Higher Education has ranked it one of the best 200 universities in the world.
8. Herzing University
Homeland Security Online
Herzing University created its online college program in Homeland Security in response to the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2001. The degree is formulated to give students a top online college experience, and is characterized by the study of security threats, intelligence analysis, organizational safety, terrorism risk, investigations, and the management of critical incidents. Herzing is an accredited online college that targets its program toward people who have great respect for authority, can work well alone and in groups, respond well under stress, and can pay attention to details. For more than one year, this university has been listed as a "Military Friendly School" by G.I. Jobs.
7. Franklin University
Online Emergency Management and Homeland Security Major
Franklin University is not only one of the most affordable online colleges, it is also one of the best schools for veterans, as recognized by Military Advanced Education Magazine for several years running. Military members and veterans in particular might be attracted to the school's Emergency Management and Homeland Security program, especially if they are considered going to college online. The online homeland security degree curriculum covers crisis response and disaster management, threat assessment, safety and security operations, labor relations, fiscal administration, risk management, and of course homeland security. As a graduate of Franklin, you could end up in a satisfying career anywhere from the FBI to a casino in Las Vegas.
6. Colorado Technical University
Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Colorado Technical University is a top online college with a HSEM program a cut above the rest; this B.S. in Criminal Justice was developed in conjunction with the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School. This means that students enrolled at CTU benefit from a curriculum developed by true experts in the field. The 182 credit program allows people to specialize in one of five areas, and students who want to branch out from Homeland Security might also consider Forensic Investigation, Cybercrime and Security, Human Services, or a General concentration. Alumni speak overwhelmingly positively about their time at this affordable online college, including nearly 90% reporting satisfaction with their education.
5. University of Alaska Fairbanks
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program Online
If the programs at the University of Alaska appeal to you, there's good news: you won't have to brave the snowy tundra in order to capitalize on the school's excellent selection of degrees. UA Fairbanks offers 100% online college classes for virtual learners, and has structured the HSEM program in particular to be delivered entirely through distance education. As a division of the school of management, the online homeland security degree program covers a range of topics related to Homeland Security, all grounded in the study of real-world experiences and practical scenarios. UA Fairbanks, including its top online school, has been recognized for its quality by such reputable publications as Forbes and Washington Monthly.
Tuition: $4,984/yr (In-state) $15,560/yr (Out-of-state)
4. Northcentral University
Online Bachelor of Business Administration – Homeland Security Specialization
Northcentral University is an accredited online college that has uniquely chosen to structure its Homeland Security program around a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. Students can take advantage of all the resources offered by the School of Business and Technology while also immersing themselves in the study of air and ground transportation security, public health management, biological terrorism, intelligence management, cyber protection, and more. Northcentral has positioned itself as a best online college by certifying that 100% of its professors have PhDs and emulating the one-to-one teaching method proposed by the Oxford Learning Model.
3. Vincennes University
Homeland Security Program Online
Vincennes University, labeled as "Indiana's First College," offers a number of distance education courses, including a program in Homeland Security delivered entirely online. The online college administrators created the program with a focus on excellence and innovation in education, and as a result have collaborated with highly experienced homeland security professionals and professors of superior caliber. This bachelor's degree will prepare you for careers with the DEA, FBI, and other federal agencies that require four-year degrees. The school also hosts conferences known as the "Homeland Security and Public Safety Community Academies," has a club just for aspiring HS professionals, and provides resources for students who want to pursue an internship. College Prowler reports that the vast majority of students consider this online college "worth the money" and full of "knowledgeable professors."
Tuition: $5,019/yr (In-state) $11,867/yr (Out-of-state)
2. Thomas Edison State College
BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Online
TESC is an accredited online college designed exclusively for adults. It is also one of the best online colleges available to distance education learners, and has been regularly recognized by Forbes, The New York Times, GetEducated.com, the National University Technology Network, and others since the 1990s for its commitment to online education. Students in the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program must complete 120 credits to graduate, and take classes such as "Counterterrorism: Constitutional and Legislative Issues," "Protecting the Homeland, Response and Recovery," and "Social Impact of Disasters in the Community." TESC students must also complete a Capstone course and select a number of electives to round out their online homeland security degree.
Tuition: $5,700/yr (In-state) $8,395/yr (Out-of-state)
1. American Military University
Online Bachelor of Arts in Homeland Security
American Military University is a division of the American Public University System and is inarguably a cheap online college. At just $250 per credit, AMU offers an affordable online college education to just about anyone – and that's before you consider financial aid or credit from previous universities! The major requirements for the Homeland Security program at AMU focus on law enforcement, intelligence, chemical and biological hazards, weapons of mass destruction, immigration law and policy, and other topics that often attract military members, veterans, and other professionals interested in political science. The curriculum also gives students the opportunity to explore topics of particular relevance in the digital age, such as cyberlaw and cybercrime. This accredited online college is the #1 provider of education to the U.S. military, and an incredible 95% of seniors say they would choose AMU again. Because of the affordable and reputation of this great school, it's the logical choice for earning an online homeland security degree.
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About the Author:
Iris Stone got her start in writing when she began working as a freelance writer and researcher in 2011. Her freelance business soon took off and she now owns and operates a writing and editing firm that works with clients all across the country. Despite the time it takes to run a business she still does much of the writing herself, and her work has included a variety of content related to education policy, colleges and universities, academic programs, and graduates' careers. Check out her Google+ Profile.