- Financial Aid
- Fieldwork Options
- Full Accreditation
- Required Classes and Electives
- Associations for Students
Students hoping to work in some government agencies should consider the hallmarks of an excellent Homeland Security degree program. The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for many different things. It’s the department that oversees the Coast Guard and the one that looks for signs of possible terrorist threats. The top programs will prepare graduates for working in any of the positions within this government agency.
5. Financial Aid
The top Homeland Security degree programs should offer students options in terms of financial aid. Those options should include all the federal aid that students can get when they complete the FAFSA. The FAFSA asks questions students about their homes and families. It requires that they use their parents’ tax records or their own records and that they use the code of the college or university they want to attend. Homeland Security majors can get student loans as well as grants.
4. Fieldwork Options
A good program should provide students with fieldwork options before they graduate. They can put those programs on their resumes to show the government that they have experience in the field. Some positions within this department may require two to three years of professional experience. Not only can students work for the department while in college, but they can also work for other government agencies. They can also earn course credit for the internships that they do in the middle of the school year or over the summer.
3. Full Accreditation
Accreditation is one of the most important things that students should consider when choosing a degree program today. They must make sure that the university has regional accreditation, especially if they need to transfer credits into that program. Regional accreditation comes from organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and gives schools the ability to accept and use federal funds. If the university does not have regional accreditation, the student may have issues getting the funds needed to pay for school and with finding a job once he or she graduates.
2. Required Classes and Electives
The hallmarks of an excellent Homeland Security degree program may relate to the classes that majors take. To complete a bachelor’s degree, students typically need to complete at least 120 credits of work, but those in a graduate program may only need to take 30 to 36 credits of courses. The classes that they take will include some required by the program itself and electives that allow them to study other disciplines. They will usually take an Introduction to Homeland Security class and courses designed to help them develop the skills needed to work in the department.
1. Associations for Students
Students looking at Homeland Security degree programs may want to find out which schools have associations with professional organizations and which are members of some of those organizations. According to U.S. News and World Report, those associations can include the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals and the National Emergency Management Association. The National Homeland Security Association also offers opportunities for majors in this field. Students can find internships through those associations and attend conferences to hear professionals speak. They may find scholarship opportunities available to members too.
Agents and employees working for the Department of Homeland Security keep an eye out for potential threats and work with other departments on special cases. Students who want to work for this department should look at the hallmarks of an excellent Homeland Security degree program, including financial aid options and professional associations.