Homeland Security Degree

A career in homeland security is one of the most thrilling, mind challenging and rewarding law enforcement careers. Homeland security professionals are responsible for securing and protecting international borders, seaports, and airports; developing and implementing new security technologies; analyzing intelligence reports; thwarting terrorist assaults on our nation; and responding ot natural disasters.

There are numerous administration, law enforcement, analyst, legal and cybersecurity positions available withing the Department of Homeland Security. Those interested in working for this government agency should consider earning a reputable and relevant college degree. Earning a degree in law enforcement, disaster relief, emergency medical assistance, hazardous materials, national security, cybersecurity, law, computer science or criminal justice, among others, will prepare students to pursue entry-level career opportunities in homeland security.

Whichever degree path you choose, you'll want to earn a degree that supports your specific career goals. For example, if you're interested in a career in cybersecurity, you'll want to pursue a degree in computer science, networking, cybersecurity, or a closely related field of study. There are four featured mission areas of the Department of Homeland Security you'll want to become familiar with as you contemplate your education options. These include:

  • Cybersecurity
    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is actively seeking cybersecurity professionals will skills in cyber risk and strategic analysis, intelligence and investigation, networks and systems engineering, software assurance, cyber incident response, digital forensics, vulnerability detection and assessment, and forensics analysis.

  • Acquisitions
    Homeland security acquisition career opportunities include positions within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), customs and border protection, secret service, federal emergency management agency, U.S. Coast Guard, federal law enforcement training center, federal annuitants, transportaion security administration, and immigrations and customs enforcement.

  • Law
    Through the Office of the General Counsel aspiring law students and legal professionals can find career opportunities within the field of homeland security. The General Counsel is the legal advisor to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The General Counsel and his staff provide legal counsel to the DHS and make sure homeland security professionals comply with all legal requirements. They also help develop policies that relate to immigation, border security, counterterrorism, emergency response, and various other matters.

  • Law Enforcement - FPS
    Security and law enforcement within the realm of homeland security is a function of the Federal Protective Service (FPS) division. The primary mission of the FPS is provide a secure and safe environment for federal workers. The FPS provides security and law enforcement services in more than 9,000 federal facilities. Specifically the FPS conducts security assessments, develops protective countermeasures, installs security systems, monitors security systems for breach, provides uniformed police security, investigative services, hazardous materials preparedness and response, K9 explosive detection, logistical support for events, disaster response, and crime prevention education.

Entry-level positions with the Department of Homeland Security, and its various divisions, can be obtained with a bachelor's degree, but those with a master's degree will have far better career advancement opportunities and earning potential. Since technology, law enforcement, and international politics are constantly evolving, many people currently working in homeland security will obtain additional schooling and participate in continuing education programs to increase their knowledge and jobs skills. Many government agencies and police departments will pay tuition related fees and expenses for employees who desire to further their education.

Career Development at DHS
Once you've completed your degree and obtained a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) you can look forward to years of additional continuing education and advanced skills training. The department offers its employees and agents a large variety of training opportunities, including leadership development programs, professional development programs, technical skills training and academic programs. Academic programs through the department teach students strategic security analysis and decision-making skills as they relate to domestic and national security. DHS offers several fully accredited graduate degree programs through the Department of Defense Senior Service Schools and other government institutions.

In order to help employees enhance their knowledge and skills, DHS provides the Homeland Security Rotation Program. This program allows new recruits various developmental assignments in various areas of homeland security.

Another career development program for new recruits and recent graduates is the Pathways Programs. This program offers both high school and college student various federal interships designed to help them get their federal service career off on the right foot. The Pathways Program is composed of the Internship Program for current students, the Recent Graduates Program for graduates from qualifying educational institutions, and the Presidential Management Fellows Program for advanced degree candidates.

Learn more about DHS career development opportunities at http://www.dhs.gov/employee-career-development.

Bachelor's Degree in Homeland Security
Many private and public colleges and universities now offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Art (B.A.) degrees in Homeland Security. The bachelor's degree in homeland security is designed to help students develop the critical thinking, problem-solving and management skills they'll need to be successful in an evolving, high-demand career field. Earning a bachelor's degree in homeland security will qualify students for entry-level career positions with local, state and federal law enforcement agences, along with private sector corporations and security firms.

Course you can expect to take when completing a bachelor's degree in homeland security include:

  • Criminal justice
  • Emergency management
  • Risk analysis
  • Security response and recovery
  • Intelligence gathering
  • Counterterrorism
  • Cybersecurity

Bachelor's degrees in homeland security are offered on-campus or online. Online degree programs in homeland security are convenient and flexible - ideal for working adults and non-traditional students.

Master's Degree in Homeland Security
If you're serious about advancing your career in homeland security, or any other field of law enforcement, earning a graduate degree (master's or PhD) is advisable. Earning a master's degree will uniquely qualify you for supervisory, management and leadership positions. A master's degree (or higher) is also a prerequisite for certain homeland security positions such as lawyer, investigator, analyst, etc.

However, earning a master's degree specifically in homeland security, while beneficial, isn't always necessary. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employs skilled professional with diverse educational backgrounds and experience. Earning a master's degree in law, computer science, forensics, accounting, security, a foreign language, or other relevant discipline, can be be just as advantageous as earning a degree in homeland security.

Below you can explore our database of homeland security programs and degrees that will help prepare you for a career in homeland security. You can also find a list of homeland security programs at https://www.chds.us/?partners/institutions.

Homeland Security Degree Programs

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