In the United States, the term “homeland security” refers to members of the country’s armed forces who defend its citizens and prevent outside attacks. Earning a homeland security degree or certificate requires much physical and intellectual training, no matter what field you plan to enter. This article elaborates on what schools offer homeland security programs as well as what sorts of jobs you can do with a degree in homeland security.
The United States Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security’s official website explains that there are five main missions of the department. This section provides a brief description of each mission to help you gain a better understanding of what the department is all about.
Terrorism Prevention and Security Enhancement
This mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to protect citizens of the United States against terrorist attacks. People who work towards enforcing this mission may have responsibilities regarding the prevention of individuals and groups from obtaining, transporting, or using specific chemicals and/or radiological, biological, and nuclear materials illegally. Many also work closely to prevent any terrorist action towards the country, and some aim to strengthen critical infrastructures in efforts to prevent attacks.
Border Security and Management
This mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to prevent any illegal or threatening activity from outside forces against the country by securing the sea, land, and air borders of the United States. People who are involved in this particular mission keep a close watch on trade transactions between the United States and foreign countries. They also ensure travel safety, as well.
Enforcement and Administration of Immigration Laws
This mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to enforce immigration laws in order to ensure the safety of American citizens, making certain that any outsiders entering the United States are legally permitted to do so. People involved with the mission of enforcing immigration laws also focus on those in the country illegally who are taking advantage of illegal employment opportunities. They also address issues with companies hiring illegal immigrants.
Cyberspace Security and Safeguarding
This mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to prevent potential invasion of United States computer information systems so that government information remains secure. People who are involved with this particular mission may issue warnings to threats posed against the country’s networks and information systems. They also work to reduce the vulnerability of information systems and networks.
This mission of the Department of Homeland Security is to ensure swift and effective responses to events like terrorist attacks and natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. People who are involved in these sorts of responses are from all levels of government, including federal, state, and local respondents, to make sure citizens of the United States receive prompt and genuine care in the event of a disaster. They also provide grants for community organizations to help restore housing destroyed by disasters.
Homeland Security Degree Programs
Many colleges and universities across the United States offer degree programs related to homeland security. Once you’ve decided that earning a degree in homeland security is the right path for you, the next most difficult decision is what school you should attend at which you will earn your homeland security degree. Here are just three schools that offer noteworthy homeland security programs to help you land the job of your dreams–protecting your country.
Eastern Kentucky University offers a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security for undergraduate students. This program provides students with the opportunity to learn everything from how to handle natural and man-made disasters to addressing and handling terrorist threats. Professors at Eastern Kentucky University are dedicated to helping their students learn what it takes to succeed in the world of national security, whether students are interested in exploring careers in security for private businesses, airports, or other companies in need of strong security, not to mention the United States Department of Homeland Security itself. The school also offers certificates and minors in areas related to homeland security, as well. Options also exist for both on-campus and online learning.
Located in San Angelo, Texas, Angelo State University’s Department of Security Studies and Criminal Justice offers bachelor degrees in various areas of security. The school has a Bachelor of Security Studies in Border and Homeland Security; Bachelor of Security Studies in Culture and Security Studies; and Bachelor of Security Studies in Intelligence, Security Studies, and Analysis. What each degree program covers is rather self-explanatory–each program focuses on a more specific sector, or mission, of homeland security. If planned properly, students can complete these bachelors degree programs in four years. Most are offered online to help you learn at your own pace, which is particularly handy if your schedule does not allow for travel time and to sit in classrooms all day.
Herzing University, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to earn various degrees related to homeland security, including an Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety or a Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Public Safety. The school also offers a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Homeland Security. The Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety focuses on subjects like criminalistics, emergency management, and forensics. The Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security and Public Safety focuses on educating students on how to identify and address terrorist threats and maintain safety of the public. The Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a Concentration in Homeland Security focuses not only on criminal justice and homeland security but also criminal psychology, criminal investigation, narcotics, and more.
Careers in Homeland Security: What Can You Do with a Homeland Security Degree?
While you are earning your degree in homeland security, it is important to keep in mind the different career paths that will become available to you after you graduate and what can you do with a homeland security degree. Choosing a certain career path to follow while you are still earning your degree will allow you to better shape your educational experience with classes more specifically related to that career. This section provides a handful of examples of careers you may qualify for once you earn your homeland security degree.
Physical Security Specialist
A physical security specialist performs basic duties including but not limited to keeping records of a business’s visitors for security purposes as well as monitoring and protecting areas in need of high security. Physical security specialists are often in charge of building keys for these reasons, also. Some companies do not require physical security specialists to have education further than a high school diploma, so possessing a higher degree, such as an associates or bachelors degree in homeland security, will be particularly impressive to employers. The Federal Protection Service also hires physical security specialists who have received higher education.
Physical security specialists may earn around $23,000 annually, based on education and experience levels. Those with higher education can earn over $55,000 annually.
Transportation Security Officer
A transportation security officer may work in one of a variety of settings, including but not limited to bus stations, airports, and may even become part of border patrol. Transportation security officers are professionally trained to inspect everything from cargo to people as they come and go in various settings in order to ensure the safety of others, confirming no illegal substance transportation or that no illegal actions are taking place. No further education past high school is usually required; however, background knowledge in homeland security is extremely beneficial, especially when applying for a position at the Transportation Security Administration of the US Department of Homeland Security.
Transportation security officers can earn around $40,000 annually, depending on training, knowledge, and experience levels.
Hazardous Materials Specialist
A hazardous materials specialist is involved with addressing and tending to spills and other threatening situations involving hazardous waste materials. He or she can be found doing everything from taking on-site samples to filling out and filing necessary paperwork on each incident. Hazardous materials specialists typically possess background knowledge in chemistry, biology, and geology and can accurately operate lab equipment necessary to perform their duties. A bachelors degree or an associates degree in homeland security with background knowledge or a specialization in hazardous materials may be helpful in obtaining a job as a hazardous materials specialist.
Hazardous materials specialists may earn around $48,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Information Systems Security Manager
An information systems security manager is often responsible for training new and/or promoted employees in information systems security within a company. He or she also assists in the establishment and enforcement of security procedures and standards for information systems used by a company in addition to ensuring the constant strength of firewall and antivirus protection programs. Information systems security managers typically possess a bachelors or masters degree in a field related to information systems and over five years of experience in working with information systems. Earning a degree in homeland security with a focus on information systems will prepare you for a government-level job related to information systems security.
Information systems security managers may earn anywhere from $83,000 to over $100,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.
Jobs with a Homeland Security Degree
Jobs for people who have earned degrees in homeland security or who have completed the necessary training for a specific spot within the department can be found on the official website for the Department of Homeland Security. It is also possible for people with homeland security degrees to find jobs working for airports, security firms, the field of emergency management, and more to help benefit citizens in nearly any field on a daily basis.
If you feel your calling in life is to protect others, you should consider earning a homeland security degree. Job possibilities for someone with a degree in homeland security are nearly endless, and you’re bound to make a difference in people’s lives every day.