Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

An Education in Homeland Security



Pay attention to the news, and you’ll see that the world is a scary place, so we’ll need smart, passionate, dedicated and qualified people to help keep it safe. Tuxedo-clad British spies and superheroes with red capes can only do so much, so it will be up to those with a Homeland Security degree to help maintain order.

Students who are interested in the security and protection industry have a wide array of educational options to choose from. Depending on the school, students can earn a six month Certificate, Fast-Track Diploma, Associate Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or even a Master’s Degree. Based on the student’s anticipated career path, graduating from one or more of these programs might be a requirement for a federal or state agency, as well as the private sector.

Coursework for Homeland Security programs vary from college to college, and even from program to program, but a typical sample of topics may include:

·        Ethics and strategies
·        Laws and their limits
·        Science and technology
·        Weapons and arms
·        Military procedure
·        Emergency management procedures
·        Cyber/biological terrorism
·        Border and port security
·        Psychology and medicine
·        Geography and history
·        Writing reports
·        Communications/English

Additionally, programs may include training for firearms, batons, Tasers® and handcuffs. Those who wish to enter the Homeland Security field may have to provide proof to potential employers that they have the proper certifications or licenses to use these tools in the field. Some schools might provide the necessary training, but it is ultimately up to the student to ensure that they have all the requirements for their career path.

After getting a Homeland Security degree, students have a wide variety of career paths available to them. Should they decide to enter the public sector, they may qualify to work directly for the Department of Homeland Security, which is one of the largest federal agencies in the U.S., which as of 2006, employed over 183,000 workers[1]. Employment opportunities in this department may include entering the air marshals program, the Coast Guard or even working as a program analyst. Those with an education in security may even qualify to join the Central Intelligence Agency and help prevent major threats. The U.S. Dept. of Labor may even deploy Homeland Security experts to fire departments to ensure that their gear is adequate and being used properly. Depending on an applicant’s level of education and goals, they may qualify for Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation and Security Administration, the U.S. Secret Service and more.

If a graduate wishes to enter the private sector, they could be hired by corporations to help prevent potential threats against employees, customers, property and equipment. Employees in this sector may also be asked to create security and contingency plans, and possibly even liaise with public agencies to ensure safety procedures are followed. Nonprofit groups and educational institutions may even have an interest in hiring Homeland Security professionals.


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Careers in homeland security. http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2006/summer/art01.pdf (Date accessed: 3/20/2014)

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