Online homeland security degrees are designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of the threats our nation faces from foreign and domestic terrorist attacks. Students will gain skills in emergency management, intelligence gathering and counterintelligence efforts, and shaping homeland security policy.
While homeland security is sometimes offered as a concentration in a broader criminal justice degree, it differs from criminal justice in its emphasis on counterterrorism strategy, national security, and intelligence. Criminal justice is a much broader area of study that tends to explore criminal law, policing, the courts, and corrections. Also, while homeland security degrees share some similarities with emergency management degrees, homeland security is a broader field that incorporates counterterrorism as well as critical incident management.
Course work in a homeland security degree program will include: special topics in homeland security, weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological threats, domestic and international terrorism, and terrorism prevention. Students will explore the roles of federal, state, and local agencies in counterterrorism, the ethical issues involved in homeland security, effective strategies for responding to natural and human-made disasters, and critical infrastructure protection.
While educational requirements can vary greatly for homeland security jobs, careers are available with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI, CIA, the U.S. Border Patrol, and with state and local law enforcement. Graduates of online homeland security programs may also qualify for careers in emergency management, with job titles including emergency management director, emergency management specialist, or field coordinator. Career opportunities are available within government, and even with nonprofits, such as the Red Cross, which hires people to coordinate disaster response efforts in the U.S. and abroad.