For those unfamiliar with the concept of homeland security, it basically represents an umbrella term integrating the agencies that have the role of protecting the safety of the country and its citizens. The homeland security degree can allow aspirants to obtain a position within the government agencies that have the responsibility of averting or thwarting terrorist attacks, stop the illegal immigrants from crossing the borders, respond to crisis situations, and etc.
Because the job description entails that the homeland security officer is fully prepared to conduct an immediate and appropriate response, HS degrees are mandatory.
Homeland Security Degree Programs
The degree programs can be found within colleges across the country and the aspiring HS officer can opt for an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctor degree. The subjects that are approached in these educational programs comprise of political sciences and various branches of psychology, as well as emergency readiness and engineering.
Furthermore, the emphasis of Homeland Security programs is often placed on counter-terrorism and on security at a national or local level. The students will learn the precise details required in determining the threat level of a certain situation, dealing with the individuals responsible, using the correct approach, predicting the potential outcomes, and etc.
It is necessary to point out that over the course of the last 4 years, several agencies of the US have developed newer and more effective security protocols. At the same time, the pre-existing HS security departments have been updated to meet the new standards in safeguarding the territory of the US and its citizens.
Therefore, the HS programs can help students aim for a higher position within the ranks of these agencies and organizations.
Specialization Programs Under The Homeland Security Degree
Homeland security has a broad scope and students can choose to specialize in a particular field that includes the following:
- Emergency Management
- Infrastructure Security
- Digital and Network Security
- Terrorism Management
Online Homeland Security Degree
The training for the degree can also be acquired via online programs, but in order to work for the HS department, you will need to make sure the program has the required accreditation status. Typical coursework is similar to standard offline Homeland Security programs, but certain courses (firearms training, chemical/hazmat response, etc.) will be completed via hands-on practice.
The online learning institution that provides the program will generally act as an intermediary between the students and the local institutions that can offer the hands on practice. Other coursework (intelligence analysis, cyber security, crime prevention techniques, etc.) can be followed exclusively online.
Masters Degree in Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security, working in conjunction with FEMA and NPS, have developed several Master’s degree programs that address individuals who want to extend their knowledge of the field in order to come up with effective crisis prevention and response solutions.
Because the Master’s degree program is designed for individuals that already have positions in the US forces, they generally require the presence of the students for 2 weeks each quarter of the year.
The duration of the Master’s HS degree program is generally twelve weeks, but it does require that the student has completed a college level education before applying. Most of the coursework is offered online, for the convenience of the students.
Some Colleges and Universities that offer Homeland Security Degrees
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Capella University
- Strayer University
- Keiser University Graduate School
- DeVry University
- Lewis University
- Saint Joseph’s University
Jobs with Homeland Security Degree
There are numerous job opportunities for people with a HS degree, due to the elevated importance of protecting the country and its residence. For example, the state border security department manages the immigration, verifies the visiting permission, checks for illegal substances and weapons and handles deportation.
The counter-terrorism division of the Homeland Security Department is tasked with the protection of the infrastructure, preventing frauds and counterfeiting, regulating chemical substances, addressing nuclear threats and verifying identifications.
In addition, a HS degree could allow one to be part of disaster recovery and response teams, which are the first line of defense at national and local levels. In other words, due to the numerous conflicts and elevated terrorism rates, the job opportunities for a dedicated, skilled and certified person within the HS are virtually endless.
From data analysts to field operatives, from crime investigators to cyber-security experts, the doors of the Homeland Security Department are always open for capable individuals.
The starting point of the career is based on the level of education (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and etc.) and following through with additional learning programs can help in advancing through the hierarchy of the institution. As mentioned, Master’s degree is an excellent way to land a position in the planning departments of the HS.