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Career Information for a Degree in Security

Learn about the education and preparation needed for a career in security. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about the different degree options and careers available.

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A college degree, whether it's in physical or online security, can be beneficial for those seeking a job as security officer, manager, or consultant. The required amount of education varies by the employer and specific industry, ranging from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

Security-related degrees prepare students for positions ranging from security guard to information security consultant. While postsecondary degrees aren't always required to enter security professions, they can greatly increase a job candidate's marketability and prospects for advancement.

Career Security Supervisors and Managers Security Consultants Computer Security Specialists
Education Requirements Varies by employer; high school diploma at minimum; certificate or bachelor's degree in a security-related field for some jobs Varies by employers; high school diploma at minimum; certificate or bachelor's degree in a security-related field for some jobs Bachelor's degree in a computer-intensive field
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% for all security guards 7% for all business operations specialists 18% for all information security analysts
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $46,900 for first-line supervisors of protective services workers, all other $68,170 for business operations specialists, all other $90,120 for all information security analysts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Security Degree Information

Security-related degrees vary by degree level as well as specialization. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in criminal justice, security management or homeland security prepare students for careers as security officers, managers and consultants. Degree programs in information security prepare computer security specialists and information security analysts for jobs in information technology and network administration. Some bachelor's and master's degree programs are available online for students interested in distance-learning opportunities.

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Career Options

Earning a degree related to the field of security tends to lead to positions in management, consulting and analysis. Check out three common job options below.

Security Supervisors and Managers

Security supervisors and managers oversee security operations in various settings, including businesses, casinos, schools and hospitals. A supervisor oversees a team of security guards and may develop and implement security procedures. The level of education for this occupation is dependent on the employer and could range from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that employment opportunities for security guards between 2014 and 2024 would increase 5%, due to an increase in societal concerns about security issues and turnover in the profession. However, the BLS also noted that there may be some competition for higher-ranking positions that require more education. According to the BLS, the median salary for first-line supervisors of protective service workers, including security supervisors and managers, was $46,900 as of May 2015.

Security Consultants

Security consultants advise businesses, organizations and individuals on security-related issues. Some consultants specialize in specific areas of security, such as advising office managers and human resources staff on maintaining a safe workplace and dismissing potentially volatile employees. Other areas of specialization include building security, campus security and security issues in residential properties, such as apartment buildings and condominium developments. Education needed for a career as a security consultant varies based on the employer and could range from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

The BLS noted that the demand for business operations specialists including security consultants, was projected to increase about 7% between 2014 and 2024, which is about average. In 2015, the median annual salary was $68,170.

Computer Security Specialists

Computer security specialists, also known as information security analysts, work to protect computer network systems from threats like hackers, identity thieves and technical malfunctions. Depending on the type of organization in which they work, these specialists may be required to select and install protective software, detect and address security breaches and educate workers on computer security issues. According to the BLS, computer security specialists need a bachelor's degree in a computer-intensive field.

As of May 2015, the BLS reports the median annual wage for information security analysts was $90,120. The BLS also states that job opportunities for information security analysts were expected to grow 18% between 2014 and 2024, mainly due to the rapidly increasing demand for cyber security services.

Security manager, security consultant, and computer security specialist—three job types for individuals majoring in a security-related field. Those with a college degree can achieve higher positions and may have better chances of employment.

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