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Earning a homeland security degree can prepare students for a variety of careers; however, the process of selecting the right school can seem daunting. This guide explores sample curriculum, content delivery options, and potential careers in the field. Read on to learn about what to expect from a homeland security degree online and how to choose the right program to match your goals.
What is Homeland Security?
Earning an online homeland security degree can lead to a rewarding career. A bachelor's degree in homeland security provides the right combination of academic and professional training to become a manager or specialist in several sectors, including IT, emergency management, and healthcare. Created in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security employs more than 240,000 personnel in fields spanning aviation, border patrol, and cybersecurity.
Students enrolled in an online homeland security degree learn skills with broad practical applications across several professional sectors. A bachelor's degree in homeland security provides a foundation for aspiring emergency management workers, detectives specializing in national security, and intelligence community professionals at the federal level. An increasingly popular major because of its customization options, many homeland security online degrees offer concentrations tailored to students' specific career interests, including IT, healthcare, and emergency management services sectors.
What Can I Do with an Online Homeland Security Bachelor's Degree?
Graduates of a homeland security degree program have a competitive edge in their job search. The best bachelor degree homeland security programs provide universal soft skills in communication, problem-solving, and analytics. Though career prospects depend on factors including location and qualifications, the information below can help graduates maximize their job opportunities.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
Established in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security hires professionals with a thorough understanding of U.S. intelligence and detail-oriented sensibilities. Equipped with soft skills in communications, ingenuity, and problem-solving, aspiring homeland security workers can enter their choice of occupations not only throughout the federal government, but also in emergency management, healthcare, academia, or social science. Generally, employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in homeland security, though requirements vary.
In addition to earning an online degree in homeland security, students aspiring to advanced positions should pursue field experience in their area of expertise. Many homeland security colleges offer specializations that allow students to tailor their degree programs to their needs. If possible, students should pursue internships while in school.
While a bachelor's degree fulfills the minimum education requirement for most entry-level homeland security jobs, students with field experience may qualify for advanced positions. For example, emergency management directors need at least a bachelor's degree and several years of work experience in fire safety, the military, or law enforcement to qualify for the job. Likewise, police and detectives must complete a field training program to gain experience on the job.
Careers and Salary Potential
Graduates of a bachelor's in homeland security can secure top positions in sectors including the federal government, hospitals, professional services, and higher education. As a field of critical importance to domestic and international safety in the U.S., homeland security professionals equipped with a bachelor's degree can find lucrative, fulfilling work in their area of expertise, including the following:
- Government: Homeland security professionals work primarily for federal, state, and local government agencies. Outside of working for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, graduates of an online homeland security degree can pursue careers as program analysts or CIA agents, for example, either as full-time or contracted employees.
- Hospitals: Healthcare workers, such as EMTs and paramedics, sometimes occupy positions requiring homeland security experience and expertise. Students interested in this field might consider an online degree in homeland security with a specialization in emergency or crisis management.
- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: Some graduates of a homeland security bachelor's degree offer technical consulting services in the field, or turn to the study of medical science to analyze and assess biological and epidemic threats to homeland security. Majors suited to these occupations include information systems security and security studies.
- Colleges and Universities: Generally, professors and instructors need a terminal degree in the field they plan to teach. While graduates of an online bachelor's degree may pursue vocational teaching or training positions, most instructors at the college level must have a doctorate in homeland security, or management, with a homeland security emphasis.
Emergency Management Directors
Annual Median Salary : $72,760
Emergency management directors organize plans to keep people and property safe while responding to natural disasters and mass crises. They may devise plans for emergency management, assess the risks of potential emergencies, and/or manage personnel, volunteers, victims and facilities in a crisis.
Police and Detectives
Annual Median Salary : $62,960
Police officers and detectives protect people and property by responding to calls, patrolling assigned areas, and investigating criminal and civil cases. Professionals in this field include sheriffs, transit and railway police, criminal investigators, and fish and game wardens.
Emergency Management Specialist
Annual Median Salary : $57,515
Emergency management specialists use a multi-faceted approach to disasters and emergency situations, through prevention, organized response, and post-emergency management. These professionals typically specialize in an area of emergency management, such as fires or other natural disasters, or medical or police emergencies.
Operations Officer (CIA)
Annual Median Salary : $73,279
Operations officers at the CIA help maintain the integrity of national security and foreign intelligence. These professionals are responsible for building relationships with potential intelligence allies, and maintaining long-term intelligence missions within the CIA.
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