Is an Online Homeland Security Degree Worth It?

An online homeland security degree is predominantly valuable when it is added onto previous education and combined with relevant work experience. Keep reading to learn how to make an online homeland security degree worth your time, money and energy.

Homeland Security Positions

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is always on the lookout for talented and dedicated professionals.

DHS has four main job experience levels: graduates, experienced professionals, retirees and veterans. Experienced professionals can apply for different recruitment programs. For instance, the Loaned Executive Program recruits qualified executives from the private sector. The Senior Executive Service (SES) is a citizen-centered program that strives to transform government systems.

Recent graduates will only be able to apply to entry-level positions. Keep in mind that DHS, like all government agencies, will require an accredited degree and relevant experience for open positions.

The Value of an Online Degree

As mentioned before, students who only have an online degree in homeland security will not have a competitive edge against students who have a traditional degree in law, public administration, law enforcement, criminal justice or emergency management. Ideally, students will major in one of these academic fields and minor or specialize in homeland security. Therefore, an online degree in homeland security should be considered an extracurricular academic choice. Additionally, students can start their career by obtaining an entry-level government job, regardless of the agency or department. Once they have their foot in the door, they students can advance their education and directly apply to DHS.

Sample Curriculum

Accredited homeland security degree programs will combine academics with scholarship and applied real-world situations. Most of the faculty will have past or current professional experience in law enforcement and homeland security. The best programs will partner with non-profits, private companies and government agencies to provide support and internships. In fact, some also offer international study abroad options. Sample courses include law and society, emergency response and preparedness and homeland security science and technology. To illustrate, this last class will train students how to effectively evaluate and utilize science and technology solutions and strategies before, during and after emergencies or natural disasters. Other courses will cover cyber-warfare security intelligence, crisis management and conflict resolution. For example, cyber-warfare will explore information warfare and security within national and global frameworks.

Alternative Programs

Instead of just obtaining an online degree in homeland security, students should consider applying to DHS’ various recruitment programs for recent graduates.

First, the Secretary’s Honors Program offers professional training opportunities for talented graduates who wish to pursue a career in IT, law, policy, cyber-security and information technology. This program is divided into different fellowships, such as the Cyber Honors, Policy Fellows, Honors Attorneys and Information Technology Fellows programs.

Second, the Acquisition Professional Career Program was created to develop future leaders in six career fields. These include logistician, program manager, contract specialist and systems and industrial engineer.

Third, the Presidential Management Fellows is exclusively for graduate-level students who wish to pursue a career in public management and leadership. This two-year program works with many federal agencies through the Office of Personnel Management.

As homeland security becomes more important, so does the demand for competent professionals to fill open positions. An online homeland security degree will make a great addition to existing work or education experience.

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