When the towers came down on 9/11, the nation was reminded of the need for tighter security, top-notch emergency management and everyday heroes. From shaking up a terrorist plot to helping victims of a hurricane, Homeland Security and emergency management are the front lines of defense. Earning a degree in Homeland Security can allow you to protect and serve your neighbors.
Associate degrees in Homeland Security
Degree programs in Homeland Security place a strong emphasis on leadership skills. Typical courses include disaster response and recovery, emergency planning and preparedness, intelligence analysis, legal issues, public policy, terrorism response, psychology, government and politics, crisis management and more. Introductory courses focus on identifying risks and steps to take to lessen the impact of a disaster. Expect courses that teach you the history of Homeland Security, how to work with government officials and how to communicate with the public in a time of emergency.
Career options, outlook and salary
Associate degrees in Homeland Security can lead to several career paths. Jobs can be found in the federal government, as well as the state and local level. A few of the several possibilities include:
- Customs and Border Protection
- Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Transportation and Security Administration
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- U.S. Coast Guard
The federal government is the top employer of those in Homeland Security. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10 percent growth in all federal jobs over the 2008-2018 decade. Growth for those in cybersecurity and law enforcement should be especially good. The following is a sampling of median annual wages in 2010:
- Correctional officers and jailers: $39,044
- Emergency management directors: $55,360
- Immigration and custom inspectors: $68,820
Going beyond the associate degree
Degree programs in Homeland Security usually culminate in an associate or bachelor's degree. Great emphasis is placed on experience and on-the-job training; though some positions require a bachelor's degree or higher, most take experience into account when promotion time rolls around. Those who want to make the most of their education and experience can continue to work in a Homeland Security job while gaining further education credits through online schools.