What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Homeland Security Program?

Online programs offer the same academic quality as on-campus programs in a much more flexible format. By eliminating the need to commute to campus, online programs provide more time for work, family, and any other responsibilities you may have outside of school. Just keep in mind that no two online master’s in homeland security programs are exactly alike, so you’ll need to carefully review each of your options to find the best match for your personal needs and professional goals.

Available concentrations

If you’re interested in a particular aspect of homeland security, you should look for a program that allows you to focus your studies on this specialty. Some of the most common concentration options for a master’s in homeland security include:

  • Cybersecurity: Provides the in-depth knowledge and advanced skills needed to defend computer systems from cyberattacks and develop secure software programs.
  • Emergency Management: Covers how to develop and execute contingency plans for large-scale emergencies, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters, and budget for disaster relief.

Common degree curriculum

Master’s in homeland security programs often culminate in a capstone project, and an internship may also be required. While the exact curriculum varies by school, there are some topics covered in just about every program, including:

  • Research and Evaluation in National Security Affairs: Explores the principles of research design, critical thinking, and fundamental methods of data collection and analysis.
  • U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security: Examines the history of U.S. foreign policy, emphasizing national security issues.
  • Emergency Management and Crisis Communication: Covers the overall management of emergency operations and the role of communications during a crisis.
  • Critical Infrastructure: Reviews how to detect vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and develop risk-reduction and protection measures.
  • Terrorism: Reviews how to detect and monitor foreign and domestic threats, including the identification of major terrorist groups and the role homeland security plays in diminishing these threats of terrorism.
  • Ethical Issues in National Security: Introduces students to the moral issues that often arise in national security.

Certification and license preparation

In addition to earning your master’s degree, you should consider further bolstering your resume through professional certification programs. Some of the most valuable certifications for this profession include:

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional: Earning your online master’s in homeland security helps prepare you to become a Certified Information Systems Security Professional. The International Information System Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) offers this credential, which is ideal for homeland security majors with a concentration in cybersecurity.
  • Certified Emergency Manager: While you only need a bachelor’s degree to become a Certified Emergency Manager, a master’s may better prepare you for the required exam. This highly respected certification is offered through the International Association of Emergency Managers.

Program accreditation

Only apply to schools approved by a DOE-recognized regional accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. These organizations evaluate the faculty and curriculum of postsecondary education institutions to ensure they offer students a high-quality academic experience. If your school doesn’t have regional accreditation, you may be unable to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution if needed.

Program completion timeframe

Most online master’s in homeland security programs require you to complete 30 to 40 credit hours of coursework, which takes about two years for most full-time students. Part-time students may need several additional years to earn their degree. Also, some schools offer accelerated programs, which may allow you to graduate in as little as 16 months.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Homeland  Security Graduates

Only a bachelor’s degree is required for most jobs in this field, but a higher level of education will help you stand out from your peers, get hired, and earn promotions.

There are many high-paying opportunities for those with a master’s in homeland security. The top 10% of emergency management directors earn more than $147,870 annually, and the top 10% of information security analysts earn more than $174,540.

Your salary will likely depend on where you work. Areas with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher pay. For example, emergency management directors earn an average salary of $122,390 in California but just $50,170 in Kentucky.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate (2022 – 2032)
Emergency Management Director Emergency management directors prepare and execute plans and procedures for responding to natural disasters and other large-scale emergencies. They coordinate with other officials, nonprofits, and government agencies and lead disaster response and relief programs. $79,180 3%
Information Security Analyst Information security analysts protect computer networks and systems from unauthorized access and cyberattacks. The role and number of information security analysts continue to grow due to the ever-increasing cybersecurity issues. They may also deal with equipment malfunctions and develop new security procedures to replace inadequate ones. $112,000 32%

Professional organizations

Professional organizations can be crucial to your success, whether you’re new to homeland security or an old pro. These organizations allow you to make valuable connections with experts in the field, earn highly respected certifications, and continue your education as future demands in homeland security evolve and grow. Listed below are some of the most prominent organizations for homeland security professionals.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Homeland Security Degree

While online programs tend to be more affordable than on-campus programs, you still may need help paying for your master’s in homeland security. Always start your search for assistance by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for federally funded grants and loans. Many schools also utilize this form to determine your eligibility for financial aid offered through the institution. Private sources of financial aid may be available through companies, professional associations, and non-profit organizations as well.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

There are so many options available for financing your education, each with its own eligibility requirements and application deadlines, that it can be challenging to determine what you should do after submitting your FAFSA. The resources listed below will help you sort through all this information and save as much money as possible.

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Interested in a degree?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.