What You Should Know About This Degree
Most homeland security positions require applicants to pass drug tests, background checks, and other screenings. A minor infraction might be overlooked, but major infractions often disqualify people from positions. If you have a felony conviction or other major infraction, you may want to pursue another career path.
You might qualify for a special program if you’re active-duty military or work for a federal, state, local, or tribal agency. Active military officers and employees of some agencies can enroll in the Naval Postgraduate School, and tuition is free for certain qualifying personnel.
Online programs can typically be completed remotely, but they may have a brief in-person requirement. For instance, programs might require that you attend an in-person orientation, seminar, or conference. Check for any such requirement, and make sure your schedule can accommodate it.
The homeland security field grew significantly when the Department of Homeland Security was founded in 2002. The field is still relatively young, and it has seen substantial changes in the past decades. Professionals who enter the field should prepare for a flexible career that may require them to adapt as the field continues to morph.
As you evaluate master’s in security programs, consider these questions:
- Am I eligible for this program? Some of these degree programs require a relevant undergraduate degree or experience in security, but other programs accept students with a simple bachelor’s degree in any field. Check a program’s specific eligibility requirements to see whether you qualify for that program.
- How long does it take to complete this online degree? Most of these programs require between 30 and 36 credits, which normally can be completed in two years or less if you study full-time. A few programs are longer and may require an additional year.
Also give thought to how you’ll pay for your degree. Check each program’s website, or contact the school directly to learn the required application materials and deadlines.
For help covering the cost of a program, inquire about financial aid and scholarship opportunities offered by schools. You can also check with your employer to find out whether it provides tuition reimbursement.