Earning a Master’s in Homeland Security Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Homeland Security Online?

The demand for qualified professionals in every aspect of homeland security continues to grow in the United States. Earning a master's in homeland security online prepares graduates for careers as information security analysts and government program managers.

A career in the homeland security field suits detail-oriented students with strong problem-solving skills and analytical thinking. As a broad discipline with diverse applications, a student may pursue an online master's in homeland security program to become a border patrol agent, CIA agent, FBI agent, or government program manager.

Many graduates of homeland security degrees online aspire to work in the IT sector as information security officers or analysts. For these students, distance programs offer additional convenience and savings over campus learning and enable them to hone practical digital skills while earning their degrees.

Homeland security programs help students develop a core set of skills in the theory and practice of research, intelligence gathering, and risk assessment. Beyond the minimum education requirement of a bachelor's degree, graduates of a master's in homeland security program qualify for advanced careers in the field if they hold U.S. citizenship and can pass a drug screening and extensive background check.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Homeland Security Graduates

Master's in Homeland Security Salary

The salary potential for graduates of a master's in homeland security depends on the location and experience of each job candidate. As shown below, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that cybersecurity experts employed as information security analysts enjoy relatively high employment and salaries nationwide; however, some states favor professionals in this occupation more than others. Compared to the national averages, the District of Columbia employs few analysts but pays the highest wage, while California possesses the largest information security analyst population but pays a lower annual wage. As in any occupation, senior-level security analysts with more than 20 years of experience can earn roughly $30,000 more than their peers in entry-level positions.

Top Paying States for Information Security Analysts

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 850 $123,850
New York 5,170 $115,690
New Jersey 2,180 $113,990
California 7,990 $108,780
New Mexico 670 $107,900
United States 96,870 $96,040

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Security Analysts

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $61,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $79,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $88,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $80,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Homeland Security Careers

A master's in homeland security affords students the luxury of choosing their ideal career. With a core curriculum that emphasizes intelligence and research, advanced degrees in homeland security prepare students for a variety of IT and management careers, such as information security analyst, geographic information systems analyst, and government program manager.

Below, we highlight three common occupations for graduates of a master's in homeland security online program.

Information Security Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $95,510

Projected Growth Rate: 28%

Information security analysts create and implement security plans to protect computer systems and networks. While entry-level positions typically require only a bachelor's degree, many employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in business administration and a concentration in security information systems or IT security.

Geographic Information Systems Analyst

Annual Median Salary: $52,787

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

These professionals analyze and process big data used for maps, plotting systems, and GPS technology. Typically, candidates require only a bachelor's degree to enter the field; however, management and high-level government positions may require applicants who hold a master's degree in a specialized field such as homeland security.

Government Program Manager

Annual Median Salary: $88,886

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

Government program managers specializing in homeland security may oversee multiple aspects of security initiatives and/or intelligence-gathering missions involving local, state, and federal governments. While some jobs require only a bachelor's degree, most employers prefer applicants with an advanced degree.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statstics / PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Homeland Security Program?

While program details for an online master's degree in homeland security vary from one school to the next, most programs emphasize the same core skills for all students. An accredited online master's in homeland security should provide a foundation in topics like homeland security and defense, intelligence, and civil liberties and privacy concerns.

The following information provides a list of courses commonly found in an online homeland security master's degree.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Homeland Security

Homeland Security and Defense

This course provides a foundation in the basic structure of American homeland security. Coursework explores the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and examines the subsequent evolution of standard policies and operations.

Privacy and Civil Liberties

Students in this course explore ways to uphold American civil liberties while keeping the U.S. secure. Ideal for IT and business students with an interest in this specialty, coursework invites in-depth examination of all aspects of homeland security. The course also emphasizes technology, intelligence-gathering methods, and critical infrastructure protection techniques.

Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups

Focusing on terrorism within the U.S. borders, this course examines the development of homeland security as a response to domestic terrorism and extremist groups. Students explore the ramifications of domestic terrorism in terms of the law, politics, and national security.

Intelligence and Homeland Security

This course provides an overview of the most common threats to homeland security from both domestic and international sources and examines how the intelligence community responds to such threats. Topics include illegal immigration, drug smuggling, money laundering, and organized crime, making this course ideal for aspiring intelligence community workers.

Research Methods

Students in this course explore various methods of performing research, including conducting case studies to help formulate effective responses to homeland security threats. Coursework covers various research techniques like planning, data collection, and qualitative data analysis.

Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Homeland Security Prepares For

  • Certified Homeland Protection Professional: Awarded by the Global Center for Public Safety, the CHPP certification designates a candidate as an expert in prevention, protection, and preparedness in homeland security. Candidates must complete specific coursework, hold an associate or bachelor's degree, and demonstrate four years of volunteer or professional experience in the field. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens and pass a rigorous background check.
  • Certified Homeland Protection Associate: The CHPA designation encompasses four levels of experience and credentialing. This certification is ideal for homeland security professionals looking to advance their careers. Requirements vary by level; candidates beginning with level I must hold a high school diploma and current enrollment in a college program. Candidates in level IV require at least four years of experience and an undergraduate degree. In addition, applicants must be at least 21 years of age, pass an extensive background check, and hold U.S. citizenship.