What You Should Know About This Degree
The homeland security field is relatively new, and as such, the skills needed and methods of teaching them are still evolving. In 2002, the United States created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a response to the 9/11/ terror attacks. Since then, the DHS has expanded to oversee cybersecurity, law enforcement, emergency response, immigration services, border patrol, and more. Individuals who are considering a degree and career in this field should be flexible and ready to adapt to new developments in curriculum and teaching strategies.
If you are currently an active U.S. military officer, or employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, tribal or territory agency, you may be eligible to earn a master’s in homeland security degree through the Naval Postgraduate School. Depending on the agency you work for, you may be able to attend the program tuition-free.
Most homeland security jobs require that job candidates pass background checks, drug tests, and other screenings. While incidents or infractions on your record may not preclude you from admission to a master’s program, they may impact your ability to find employment. If there are any situations on your record that may present an issue, speak to an advisor about what steps you can take to address them before enrolling in a program.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Security programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? As an advanced degree, some programs seek candidates who have an educational background or work experience in homeland security or a related field. It’s important to look at the eligibility requirements when selecting a program, to confirm that you meet the minimum qualifications for admission.
- Does this program offer the specialization I want? There are a number of specialization options available within the homeland security field, including counterterrorism, cybersecurity, public health preparedness, and more. If you want to prepare for a career in one of these specialized areas, it may be beneficial to seek out a program that will allow to focus on your area of interest.
Other steps you can take at this time include collecting your application materials, confirming application deadlines and procedures, and researching your options for financing your graduate degree. Most schools have admissions representatives and financial aid counselors who can help you with these steps. Funding options include scholarships, assistantships, student loans, and tuition assistance benefits from your employer, if you are currently employed.