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Q&A - Homeland Security Associates Degrees

Can I work while studying for my associates degree in homeland security?

It is entirely possible to work while earning a homeland security associates degree. Working while you are in school can give you plenty of opportunities to gain valuable job experience. In addition, many employers offer tuition assistance programs if your education is related to the job.

You might find it difficult to balance your job with your schooling while enrolled in a traditional homeland security college, and you might be restricted to working nights and weekends. The flexibility of an online degree program should allow you to increase your work availability. Since you will not be required to attend classes in person, the time you would have spent on campus can be devoted to work. Regardless, working while in school can lessen the burden of student loans and educational fees.

Security jobs with private companies like Allied Barton can provide you with important security training as well as position you for potential advancement in the company. You can also check with organizations like the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to see what types of positions they have open near you. These organizations would provide you with great emergency management information and training.

What are common assumptions about students who choose to get an associates degree in homeland security?

A common misperception about students pursuing an associates in homeland security is that they are doing so only to transfer to a 4-year institution. While an associates degree can be a great stepping stone to more advanced homeland security programs, there are many job opportunities for professionals holding an associates degree. Furthermore, an associate degree in homeland security can help you get into the workforce faster while still providing you with similar benefits of higher degrees like upper-level jobs and larger salaries.

Another assumption about students enrolled in homeland security associates degree programs is that they are not as academically inclined as students who are pursuing advanced degrees. In reality, students seeking an associates degree are held to similar standards as students at 4-year institutions and must maintain a minimum GPA in order to remain enrolled. Many students choose to pursue an associates degree instead of a bachelors because it is a less expensive option.

Finally, some believe that students pursuing an associates degree are receiving an inferior education. Most associates degrees are awarded by community colleges, and some may think that these institutions are not as good as 4-year schools. While community colleges may be less prestigious, the quality of education is relatively the same. Associates degrees usually consist of foundational courses that can be found at all institutions with homeland security programs.

What is the hardest part of the application to an on-campus or online homeland security associates program?

Most schools with an associates in homeland security will have a standard admission process. This includes a general application, transcripts from your last school and a small fee. Depending on the school you apply to, you might be required to write an admission essay and provide letters of recommendation from past teachers or employers.

Perhaps the most difficult part of the application process is acquiring letters of recommendation. You want the letter writers’ credentials to look impressive and also be relevant to your degree. Since you will likely approach former teachers, it is important to request your recommendation early so they can still devote time to their other obligations. Schools often require 2 or 3 recommendations, so coordinating with multiple people early on is advisable.

Writing your admission essay can also be difficult. Some schools want you to explain why you are interested in that school while others want to hear how you will make your studies work for you. It is important to check each school’s requirements and cater your letter to them. The reasons for applying to college for an associates degree in homeland security probably seem like common sense, so explaining them in a professional, creative way can present a challenge.

Are there any brick-and-mortar colleges that offer an online homeland security associates degree program?

There are a few brick-and-mortar institutions that offer an online associates degree in homeland security. For instance, ICDC College in California offers an associates degree that can be completed entirely online. The program focuses on the main homeland security topics, including emergency response management, criminal justice and terrorism. What makes this program especially unique is that online students are provided with a laptop, the cost of which is included in the tuition.

ICDC College is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, which demonstrates the school’s dedication to professional development and academic excellence. An online associates degree in homeland security from an accredited school will help your resume stand out to potential employers, who may be wary of online degrees.

Other schools offer hybrid programs that allow students to take some classes online while others must be completed on campus. The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) offers a hybrid associate degree in homeland security program. General education courses including biology, math and others can be taken online, but most homeland security courses must be completed on campus. CSM’s program provides a strong foundation in homeland security, emphasizing a balance between national security and individual rights. CSM is a large, well-known college, and like ICDC College, it is institutionally accredited.