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There are several online associate's degree programs in homeland security, criminal justice or business administration that offer training in public safety and security management. These programs can be completed entirely online. Students can access lessons and course materials through the Internet and interact with classmates and instructors via e-mail, message boards and online chat functions.
These programs require about two years of full-time study. Required general education courses may include mathematics, humanities and English composition. Students get an overview of emergency management, hazardous materials, the psychology of terrorism and first aid. Other courses may cover explosive devices and chemical agents.
Students in these programs develop skills related to national security including border security, espionage, cyber-security, terrorism, public safety and infrastructure protection. Graduates are awarded an associate's degree in criminal justice or business administration, with a specialty in public safety and security management or in homeland security.
An associate's degree in this field may qualify graduates for an entry-level position in security management or public safety. Many students go on to pursue bachelor's degrees, transferring the credits from their master's programs. Graduates may also be eligible to apply for certification from professional organizations.
The following are some common courses offered through these online programs in national security.
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
This introductory course provides an overview of challenges in homeland security and emergency planning. Topics include risk and hazard reduction, monitoring devices and strategies, data and information management, threats, decontamination, vulnerabilities and terrorism.
Security Challenges and Management
This class explores principles in loss prevention, security operations, information security and security applications. Students also study specific transportation, information, cargo, industrial threats and responses to them.
Terrorism and Investigation Techniques
Principles and methods used in criminal and civil investigations, as well as terrorism, are the concentration of this class. Participants also use case studies to study the ethical issues, legal issues, interviewing techniques and terrorist motivations associated with investigations.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that emergency management directors earned a median annual wage of $67,330 in May 2015. Local government had the highest level of employment, and from 2014 to 2024, these professionals can expect to see employment growth of 6% (www.bls.gov).
For continuing education, both bachelor's and master's degree programs are available online in public safety and security. In addition, the International Association of Emergency Managers offers the credentials of certified emergency manager or associate emergency manager. Both designations require a fee to apply and strong test scores.
In addition to completing general education requirements, students in associate's degree programs in national security are introduced to a range of natural and human-based threats to the country, as well as the prevention and management strategies for addressing threats. Course content is provided entirely online, so students can expect to access course content and participate in class discussions within a virtual classroom environment.