How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Homeland Security

The field of homeland security is relatively new, but critical for safety today. Prior to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, this field was pretty much nonexistent. However, now, with increased crime and other dangerous situations, homeland security has grown at a rapid pace. Homeland security officers are working hard to keep our country and borders safe from attacks.

If staying up all night scoping out an apartment and keeping it safe from people of threats excites you, then earning an associate’s degree in homeland security may be the perfect way to start a new career in the field.

An associate’s degree in homeland security generally takes around two years to complete. It can be obtained at most accredited community colleges, but if you have other important responsibilities in life and require a flexible schedule for school, a distance learning program from an accredited college is a promising option to consider.

Online learning is a great alternative to traditional classroom learning because it can allow students to complete classes quicker, while taking advantage of many of the same resources as traditional classes, like tutoring or faculty assistance when needed. It does, however, requires potential students to be dedicated independent learners needing little to no hand-holding; after all, the material will be taught entirely online. With that said, you would be expected to keep track of class schedule and complete assignments on your own time. An advantage to studying online is that you can work comfortably in your pajamas, at whatever time and place is most convenient for you. Online learners must have reliable internet access, but from there, there’s plenty of freedom and flexibility. Earning an online degree can be a productive way to balance school with other obligations, such as employment.

Common Associate’s in Homeland Security Curriculum

The curriculum for the associate’s degree program in homeland security can be really exciting for the right person. You won’t really ever have to worry about being bored, because there are so many fascinating things to learn! Classes will vary depending on the school, but students will learn about:

  • History of terrorism
  • Science behind weapons of mass destruction
  • Electronic surveillance
  • Decontamination techniques
  • Disaster response
  • How to gather intelligence
  • Psychology of terrorists
  • International law
  • Forensics
  • Criminal justice
  • Emergency planning
  • Terrorism response operations
  • Introduction to terrorism
  • American homeland security

The list goes on, but as you can see, there is a lot to learn in this field. With that said, after graduation, the job options are also pretty vast. The associate’s degree is designed to give students a good foundation on homeland security, but of course, students are always encouraged to seek higher education after graduating if they decide that this is the right field for them. Having a bachelor’s degree or higher in a related field will help one to stay competitive in  the job market at all times.

In addition to homeland security-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes are usually not directly homeland security related. They are designed to give students the opportunity to explore other fields while getting a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in helping them understand real-life situations and succeed in whatever career they choose to be in. For example, students may have an introductory course in math, science, history, language, and fine arts, to name a few.

Associate’s in Homeland Security Careers

After graduating with an associate’s degree in homeland security, you can apply for an entry-level position at a variety of places. Some include the FBI, the Secret Service, U.S. Customs, the Center for Disease and Control, U.S. Border Patrol, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration. If you prefer to work in a more residential community, you can try for apartment security positions as well. State and local governments, police agencies, private security firms, and large corporations are also always on the lookout for reliable homeland security professionals.

Homeland security professionals can work for citizenship and immigration services, or choose to become a contract specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard. There are plenty of job opportunities in the fields of information analysis, cyber crime investigation, computer security, and infrastructure protection. You can also apply to become a border patrol agent if you want to help prevent illegal entry into the country. Border patrol agents often work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation by verifying criminal history through its database.

The annual salary for homeland security professionals will vary greatly depending on what you’re doing, where you’re working, and your education and experience levels. With an associate’s degree, you can earn an average of $28,000 a year. If you end up deciding to continue with your bachelor’s degree, you may be able to increase your salary and job opportunities. There are so many avenues to consider in this field, and it’s up to you to find one that is rewarding both work and salary-wise.

If you are dedicated to making this world a better and safer place, and saving lives, then getting an associate’s degree in homeland security will bring you one step closer to achieving your goal.