Here is a list of the Best Online Security Degree Programs. If you are interested in this career follow along!
Earning an online degree in security will allow you to pursue a career in many fields that are similar to that of law enforcement. Many of these careers involve being able to investigate possible crimes or criminal activity, solving complicated network issues when working with the internet, and finding ways to increase security both physically and virtually. This type of career can find you working independently or as part of a team. Working independently gives you the opportunity to set your own hours and pay rates.
Making the choice to pursue your education online allows you to find work with a security agency in an entry-level position and begin to work. You will be able to start earning valuable experience right away. With online courses, you are not confined to a strict class schedule and you do not have to waste time driving to and from school. You are able to study when it is best for you. Some students are able to retain information better if they can study late at night. Others prefer learning online because there are fewer distractions.
How We Ranked the Best Online Security Programs
To rank the top online security degree programs in the US, Criminal Justice Degree Center editors cast a wide net to find reputable, accredited online and hybrid programs in a range of security-related specialties. Programs are ranked with current IPEDS and Niche data, using factors like student satisfaction, tuition cost, and average graduate salary.
1. University of Florida
The University of Florida offers two of Florida’s best online security degrees, with its Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Fire and Emergency Services (FES) and its Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology. These best security degrees online in fire and emergency from the University of Florida prepare graduates for careers in the federal government, emergency management, or medical service management, to name a few. Florida’s BA in criminology prepares graduates for rewarding careers in criminal justice, law enforcement, research, corrections, probation, or the court system, among others.
The University of Florida was founded under the Morrill Act in the mid-1850s. The university is also a sea=grant and space-grant school with a robust online and distance education platform that serves nearly 4,000, which is a little less than ten percent of the school’s total enrollment. The University of Florida’s student body ranks among the top three largest in the Sunshine State.
Programs: BA Criminology
2. Purdue University Global
Purdue University Global offers two of the marketplace’s best online security degrees with its Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Criminal Justice or Bachelor of Science degree program in Cybersecurity that each require 180 quarter credits to graduate – all online. Purdue’s best security degrees online both offer degree candidates an accelerated option to a Purdue University’s master’s level degree. These security degree programs from Purdue are offered with multiple start dates throughout the year for added flexibility.
Founded in 2018 upon the acquisition of Kaplan University, Purdue University Global performs as the online platform for Purdue, with more than 38,050 undergraduate & graduate degree students. Purdue Global also maintains support facilities in Florida and Indiana. Purdue University Global maintains an open admissions policy and offers college credit for life and military experience.
Programs: BS Criminal Justice
3. Florida State University
Florida State University Online offers two of Florida’s best online security degrees with its Bachelor of Science (BS) program in Public Safety & Security (PSS) or its Bachelor of Science (BS) program in Criminology. The BS in Public Safety and Security is offered by the College of Applied Science and is offered with three academic majors – law enforcement operations, crime scene investigations, or law enforcement intelligence. Florida State University’s online BS in Criminology is also one of the Sunshine State’s best security degrees online offered by the school’s world-renowned Criminology and Criminal Justice colleges.
Established in the early-1850s, Florida State University (FSU Distance) is recognized as a senior school member in the state’s university system. More than 41,350 students attend classes studying for the more than 350 programs offered by Florida State University. Florida State University offers its students a student-to-faculty ratio of 21 to 1.
Programs: Public Safety & Security, BS
4. John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) offers a BS in Security Management that is ranked among the northeast’s best online security degrees. Students enrolled in JJC’s best security degrees online are required to complete 120 semester credits, of which 39 credits must be from the security management curriculum. Degree candidates can opt for one of three concentrations within the degree – security/risk management, homeland security, and cybercrime. Additionally, students must complete a three-credit internship in a security management setting.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice is a senior member school of New York City’s university system, known as CUNY. JJC specializes in academic degrees in the areas of criminology, criminal justice, forensic science, and public affairs. Many of John Jay College’s programs are nationally ranked by education services.
Programs: BS Security Management
5. Bellevue University
Bellevue University offers a variety of baccalaureate degrees in the area of security management that is recognized among Nebraska’s best online security degrees. Among these best security degrees online from Bellevue are Bachelor of Science (BS) degree options in Security Management, Child Protection & Juvenile Justice, intelligence & Security Studies, Emergency Management, Criminal Justice, and Cybersecurity. Degree candidates can opt to join an accelerated cohort if they transfer into the program with at least 60 earned-credits (or an associate level degree) from an accredited school.
Bellevue University was established in the mid-1960s as an affordable educational alternative to adult learners. More than 50 years later, Bellevue is home to more than 10,150 students studying online and on-campus. Bellevue University offers more than 75 programs and is organized in four colleges/schools – science & technology, professional/continuing education, business, or arts/sciences.
Programs: Security Management Degree – BS
Child Protection and Juvenile Justice – BS
Criminal Justice – BS
Cybersecurity – BS
Emergency Management – BS
Intelligence and Security Studies – BS
6. Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University offers two of North Carolina’s best online security degrees with its Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Criminal Justice or its Bachelor of Science (BS) program in Emergency Management. The requirements for each of Western Carolina University’s best security degrees online vary, but all required the university’s general education credits to graduate. The BS in Criminal Justice from Western Carolina University has been ranked by Get-Educated as a best buy degree. The BS in Emergency Management has been recognized as the number one online program by College Choice.
As a member of North Carolina’s university system, Western Carolina University serves about 12,100 students online and on-campus. Western Carolina University was established as an academy, which then became a teacher’s training school two decades later. Western Carolina University operates learning facilities in Cherokee and Asheville, plus outreach programs through various community colleges.
Programs: BS Criminal Justice
7. West Texas A&M University
West Texas A&M University’s Political Science & Criminal Justice Department offers a BAAS degree (Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences) in Emergency Management Administration (EMA) that is considered among the Lone Star State’s best online security degrees. WTAMU’s University’s best security degrees online include classes that include directed research, public administration, principles of emergency management, ethics, and the justice system, and statistics for the social sciences, to name a few. Students graduate from WTAMU’s baccalaureate degree in security prepares students for careers in policing, EMS, firefighting, or homeland security, to name a few.
Established as a state-funded teacher’s school in 1910, West Texas A&M University now serves about 10,100 students from its 300+ acre suburban campus in Canyon. West A&M’s most famous faculty member, is Georgia O’Keefe, who headed the art department for several years.
Programs: BS Criminal Justice
Emergency Management Administration (EMA) BAAS
8. Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University’s Professional Studies School offers a BS in Security and Strategic Intelligence that is considered one of Missouri’s best security degrees online. Saint Louis University offers students six start dates throughout the year for the best online security degrees available. Core classes for this baccalaureate degree in security from Saint Louis University include diplomacy and foreign policy, intelligence and its use in corporate/national security, and global security management, to name a few.
Founded as a Jesuit institution of higher learning in 1818, Saint Louis University now maintains two campuses in Saint Louis and another internationally in Madrid. The school serves more than 12,450 students online and on the school’s campuses. Saint Louis University holds the distinction of being the first university in Europe that was American-based to be recognized by Spain as a foreign higher learning institution.
9. George Mason University
George Mason University’s Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Cybersecurity is one of Virginia’s best online security degrees designed for those students who have previously completed a related associate of applied science degree. These best security degrees online are available to those students who have graduated from Northern Virginia Community College, Tidewater Community College, Germanna Community College, or Lor Fairfax Community College who have earned an AAS in information system with a cybersecurity studies certificate), cybersecurity. Graduates of GMU’s baccalaureate completion degree in security find rewarding careers in information security, cybersecurity, or computer systems.
Established originally as a branch of another university in the late-1940s, George Mason University became an independent school about two decades later. This sea-grant university is home to about 38,100 undergraduate and graduate degree students, the largest university in the state. George Mason University’s economics and law programs are world-renown.
10. University of Texas at El Paso
The University of Texas at El Paso offers a BA in Security Studies that is one of Texas’s best security degrees online that requires degree candidates to complete 120 semester credits to graduate. UTEP’s best online security degrees require the completion of 48 semester credits of classes from the security studies curriculum. These classes for UTEP’s baccalaureate degree in security studies include cyberspace and national security, homeland security, ethics and security, and cybersecurity, and transnational threats, plus a culminating capstone project.
Established as a research school in 1914, the University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso) now serves more than 25,000 students online and on its 250+ urban campus in El Paso. The University of Texas’s campus sits atop a hill that overlooks the Rio Grande River, that offers students a view of the Mexican-US border.
Programs: Bachelor of Arts in Security Studies
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
11. American Military University
The Security and Global Studies School at American Military University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Security Management that is among Virginia’s best online security degrees that is 100% online. American Military University offers a generous transfer credit policy for its best security degrees online of up to 90 eligible credits to be applied towards the required 120 semester units. Classes for AMU’s baccalaureate degree in security management include global terrorism, legal and ethical issues in security management, security administration, and evaluation of security programs, to name a few.
American Military University is one of two member schools that make up the for-profit American Public University System that was founded in 1991. Both member schools serve more than 45,150 students and offer a 1 to 21 faculty to student ratio. The American Public University System offers more than 190 programs from its six colleges/schools.
12. University of Central Missouri
The University of Central Missouri offers some of Missouri’s best online security degrees with its a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Corrections, or a Bachelor of Science in Crisis & Disaster Management, or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Criminal Justice. These best security degrees online from the University of Central Missouri rank among the best security programs in terms of flexibility, affordability, and internship availability. Degree candidates have the opportunity to study abroad with faculty in a place like South Korea, Japan, France, Italy, or Belize.
Founded as a state school in 1871 to train teachers, the University of Central Missouri now serves more than 11,100 students from its 1,500+ acre campus in Warrensburg. The University of Central Missouri offers students more than 140 study programs, which include more than 35 master’s level programs. UCM is accredited by HLC and offers an impressive student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1.
Programs: BS Corrections
BS Criminal Justice
13. Western Governors University
Western Governors University offers a BS in Cybersecurity Information Assurance that is among the best security degrees online in the marketplace. Western Governors University’s best online security degrees require the completion of 34 classes unless an incoming student has previously earned college credit or an associate level degree. Additionally, WGU’s security baccalaureate degree program offers students the option to pursue 14 related certificates. Classes for WGU’s bachelor’s degree in security include data management, network and security applications, and project management, plus a capstone project.
Founded in 1997 as a joint effort of 19 state governors, Western Governors University now serves nearly 120,000 students through its distance learning platform. The school offers online competency-based learning models and has an academic faculty of nearly 4,000 individuals. WGU offers more than 50 academic and certificate programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels.
14. Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers a variety of Florida’s best online security degrees with five options from which to choose. Four Bachelor of Arts degree options (BA) in Criminal Justice (with two specialties in homeland security and criminalistics, or Emergency Management, or a Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity. These best security degrees online from Saint Leo University are available to international students offering flexible programs that provide convenience to students with limited time. Classes for these degrees include legal issues in counter-terrorism, introduction to homeland defense, and Modern Middle East, to name a few.
Founded in 1889 as an abbey and monastery, Saint Leo University became an independent college in 1959. About ¾ of the school’s student enrollment of 11,650 students attend classes offered online through the school’s distance learning platform. US News ranks SLI among the best value schools in the southern portion of the United States.
Programs: BA Criminal Justice
BA Criminal Justice – Criminalistics
BA Criminal Justice – Homeland Security
BA Emergency Management
15. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide offers a variety of Sunshine State’s best online security degrees with four Bachelor of Science degree options in – Safety Management, Emergency Services, Interdisciplinary Services/Studies, and Homeland Security. Each of these best security degrees online offered by Embry-Riddle is available entirely online. The Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program in Emergency Services is one of only a few schools that offer the FESHE – the Fire Emergency Services Higher Education Certificate of Recognition. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide is recognized by US News among the best bachelor’s degrees offered online for veterans.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide (Embry Riddle) was founded in 1926 and now operates as a space-grant institution of higher education that serves about 33,450 students on dual campuses in Arizona and Florida. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University began in Cincinnati and a local airport as a school of aviation.
Programs: BS Emergency Services
BS Homeland Security
BS Interdisciplinary Services
BS Safety Management
16. Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University a wide variety of best online security degrees in Kentucky that offers students many paths to a security career. Among these bachelor’s degrees that are provided by Eastern Kentucky University are criminal justice, corrections, and homeland security. Additionally, EKU offers the commonwealth’s best security degrees online with regard to fire security as follows – fire protection administration, fire protection, and safety engineering technology, or fire arson and explosion investigation. Many graduates of EKU’s baccalaureate degrees in security pursue graduate level degrees in similar areas of study.
Eastern Kentucky University is a multi-campus, space-grant university with facilities in Lancaster, Manchester, Richmond, Corbin, and Hazard. Additionally, Eastern Kentucky University offers students more than three dozen undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the university’s distance learning extension. US News & World Report recognizes EKU among the best southern regional schools and a best college for veterans.
Programs: Fire Protection Administration
Safety Engineering Technology
Fire Arson and Explosion Investigation
17. Northern Michigan University
Northern Michigan University offers a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Behavior or a Bachelors degree in Loss Prevention Management that are ranked as two of Michigan’s best online security degrees. The loss prevention and criminal justice behavior baccalaureate degrees require degree candidates to complete a minimum of 120 semester units. The loss prevention’s core classes include principles of asset protection, retail accounting/inventory control, and loss prevention data analysis, among others. Students enrolled in NMU’s best security degrees online must take classes in introduction to criminal courts, policing and corrections, legal issues in corrections, and criminology, to name a few.
Founded as a public school in 1899, Northern Michigan University is now the upper peninsula of Michigan’s largest higher learning institution. The university’s small-city campus in Marquette is home to approximately 6,550 students. Northern Michigan University now offers more than 175 academic and certificate programs from Northern Michigan University’s five schools/colleges.
Programs: Criminal Justice Bachelor’s
Loss Prevention Management Bachelor’s
18. Anderson University (SC)
Anderson University offers a BS in Homeland Security and Emergency Services that can be completed 100% online. Anderson University’s best online security degrees offer foundational education in the fields of emergency management, homeland security, or emergency services and require degree candidates to complete at least 122 credit hours. Classes required to earn one of Anderson University’s best security degrees online include vulnerability and risk assessment, ethics in criminal justice, the social dimension of a disaster, and intelligence fusions operations, to name a few.
Anderson University was established in 1911 by the SC Convention as a private institution of higher education as a successor to Johnson University. From 2006, over the next decade, Anderson University more than doubled its student enrollment which now exceeds 3,650 students. The athletes at Anderson University play Division II in the NCAA as Trojans.
19. Maryville University
Maryville University offers two of Missouri’s best security degrees online with its Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Criminal Justice or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Cybersecurity that are both available entirely online. Maryville University’s criminal justice best online security degrees offer two tracks – a police academy track or a nonpolicy academy track. Maryville’s cyber security baccalaureate degree offers three tracks – offensive cybersecurity, defensive cybersecurity or cybersecurity, and the opportunity to finish the academic degree in as little as thirty months.
Founded in 1872 by the Sacred Heart Society as an all-female school, Maryville University of Saint Louis (its official name) now operates coeducationally and enrolls students from every state and international locations. Maryville University is organized into six colleges/schools in the areas of arts/sciences, nursing, health, education, business, and adult education. Students enrolled in Maryville University enjoy an impressive 1 to 14 faculty to student ratio.
Programs: Criminal Justice BS
20. Drexel University
Drexel University offers two of Philadelphia’s best online security degrees with its Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Justice Studies and its Bachelor of Science degree in Computing and Security Technology that offer students flexibility and convenience in scheduling. Each of Drexel University’s best security degrees online is taken at the student’s pace, on a part-time basis. Drexel University’s programs are designed for those who currently work in IT or those students who have already completed an associate degree in a related field from an accredited higher learning institution.
Drexel University was established as a research institute in the City of Brotherly Love in 1891. The school’s urban campus in Philadelphia is home to approximately 23,950 students. Drexel University was established to offers education options in practical sciences and arts.
Programs: BS in Criminology and Justice Studies
BS in Computing and Security Technology
21. University of Maryland Global Campus
The University of Maryland Global Campus offers several of the online marketplace’s best security degrees online with its Bachelor of Science degree in Cybersecurity Management and Policy, its Bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration degree, its Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice, or its Bachelor’s in Homeland Security. These best online security degrees from the Global campus of the University of Maryland are recognized among the top online schools with regard to Return on Investment of tuition.
Founded as the University College in 1947 at the University of Maryland (Maryland Online), UM Global Campus is an outgrowth of UC that was founded in 2019. The Global Campus offers mostly distance education but has a few satellite facilities in the BWI metro area. UMGC is recognized as one of the largest online providers of higher education.
Programs: Cybersecurity Management and Policy BS
Public Safety Administration
22. Colorado Technical University
Colorado Technical University offers many of Colorado’s best online security degrees with its Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, its Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity, or its Bachelor of Science in IT Security. Each of these best security degrees online offers a generous transfer credit policy to incoming students with previous college credits, if eligible, and available options of dual degree programs. CTU’s online programs also offer a fast-track option with a series of mini modules and possible military education benefits.
Colorado Technical University (Colorado Technical) was established in the mid-1960s as a for-profit school with a student enrollment that exceeds 25,650 students. Colorado Technical University is recognized among the best school for vets in the online/nontraditional education category. Colorado Technical University began as a school dedicated to educating former military personnel in the practical arts and other vocational subjects.
Programs: IT Security BS
23. Southwestern College – Kansas
Southwestern College – Kansas offers two of the best online security degrees in the state of Kansas with its bachelor’s degree in Security Management or its bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Each of these best security degrees online from Southwestern College in Kansas requires degree candidates to complete at least 124 semester credits, with up to 94 credits eligible to be transferred, upon approval by SC. Core classes include cybercrime, contemporary issues in criminal justice, plus a culminating capstone project.
Founded as a private school in the mid-1880s, Southwestern College (Southwestern) remains affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The college’s rural campus in Winfield serves about 2,000 students from a laptop learning community. The school operates six academic facilities across three separate states. Highlight -Southwestern College began offering doctoral programs in 2012’s summer session.
Programs: Security Management
24. Campbell University
Campbell University’s Online and Adult Education Division (CU) offers a variety of North Carolina’s best online security degrees with its Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Criminal Justice and four Bachelor of Science degrees in these topics – Cybersecurity, Homeland Security, Information Technology Security, and IT Security with a Managerial concentration. Campbell University’s BS in homeland security is the only baccalaureate degree to be offered entirely online in the state of North Carolina. Graduates of Campbell University’s best security degrees online find rewarding careers in internet security, system analysis, antiterrorism, and computer crime investigation, to name a few.
Established in the late 1880s, Campbell University remains affiliated with the Baptist Convention of NC. Campbell’s rural campus covers more than 1,400-acre campus and serves more than 7,050 students. Campbell is organized into six colleges/schools in the areas of arts/sciences, health, divinity, education, business, and engineering.
Programs: Criminal Justice, BA
Homeland Security, BS
Information Technology Security, BS
Information Technology Security – Management, BS
25. Champlain College
Champlain College offers two of Vermont’s best online security degrees by providing a Bachelor of Science degree program in Cybersecurity, its Bachelor of Science in Computer Forensics & Digital Investigations, or its Bachelor of Science degree in Economic Crime Investigation. Degree candidates enrolled in any one of the Champlain College’s best security degrees online must finish 120 semester units to graduate; however, the school offers a generous transfer credit policy that allows for up to 90 potential credits to be transferred, if eligible. Most security degrees offered by Champlain College require students to commit to 10 to 17 hours per week to manage the course load of the baccalaureate degree programs.
Founded in the late 1870s, Champlain College (Champlain) now operates with nearly 3,000 students vying for academic degrees and certificates in more than 75 subject areas. Students enrolled in Champlain College Hail from nearly all US states and about 15 international locations.
Programs: Economic Crime Investigation BS
Computer Forensics & Digital Investigations
What Kinds of Degrees are in the Security Field?
The security field is very diverse. It is much more than just securing homes and businesses from potential threats. It also includes preventing breaches in internet databases, protecting our country’s borders, and ensuring our children are safe in their schools. A few of the most popular degrees within the security services field include criminology, justice, homeland security, cybersecurity, and home/business security. Security companies that specialize in the development of home and business security systems are always looking for recent graduates who have new ideas and are willing to put those ideas into action.
When it comes to homeland security, there are many employment opportunities on the state and federal levels that will allow a graduate with a degree in the security services field to enter the workforce and create a career that will allow them to advance themselves up through the ranks. The Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation are always looking to hire individuals who have taken the initiative to advance their careers through education. In fact, both organizations encourage their current employees to consider returning to school so they can be ready for new opportunities as they appear.
The cybersecurity field is one with many challenges and even more rewards. Graduates who earn an online degree in the security services field can start working with cybersecurity projects while still in school. This type of degree teaches how hackers work and what can be done to protect your confidential information. Students will also learn how to prevent data breaches by securing firewalls and using such steps as two-factor authentication.
In today’s ever-changing world earning an online degree in security will help you stay ahead of the game. By learning online you are able to always use the latest technology available and will be able to apply what you are learning in your current job. The security field is very diverse and always developing. This means that you will be able to move forward in any direction you choose as you continue to make your way through your course. Explore the specializations that are available and choose one that suits you.
How Much Can I Make with an Online Security Degree?
The amount of money you can make with an online security degree will depend on what type of position you take and how much experience you have in the field. With this type of employment, experience is an extremely valuable commodity. The more you have in your chosen career field, the more money you can make. Add a degree to your resume and you will have a winning combination. The next step is choosing if you want to work as part of a team or an independent contractor. Independent contractors can set their own rates and make their own hours.
Individuals who earn an online security degree can make anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on their area of expertise. Homeland security specialists and those who deal with investigations and various criminal activities will average about $90,000 per year if they have a few years of experience. Individuals who enter the home/commercial security business will also make around $90,000 to $100,000 per year if they have enough experience to rely on.
Working in the field of cybersecurity is a different story. Because it is continually evolving, individuals who choose this career path can make as much as $15,000 more per year, in addition to what they may expect as a security specialist. This makes their earning potential-jump from $105,000 to $120,000 and above, depending on where they choose to work. There are a large number of jobs in both the public and private sectors to choose from.