Security Administration Degree and Certificate Program Overviews

Oct 20, 2019

Courses in a security administration program cover criminology, security policy, homeland security and terrorism in the United States and abroad. Programs in this field of study or a related area are offered at the bachelor's and master's degree levels as well as through a graduate certificate program.

Essential Information

Undergraduate students in security administration or management programs get a broad overview of the security industry through the examination of security policies, plans and organizations. Graduate certificate programs often focus on terrorism and homeland security. Master's degree programs prepare students for leadership roles through courses including safety codes, loss prevention and interviewing techniques. Graduates go on to careers in law enforcement, government, private security and more.

To qualify for undergraduate admission, students should already possess their high school diploma or equivalent. For the master's program and graduate certificate, students should have their bachelor's degrees, letters of reference and a personal statement.

Bachelor of Science in Security Management

The curriculum includes studies in private security laws, organizations, policies and awareness. Coursework in security management examines the roles of security managers or administrators and training and education initiatives that can improve upon current security policies and programs. Other areas of focus include surveillance systems, civil disturbances, public safety and communications. Students attend seminars and develop a comprehensive security plan towards the close of the program. Coursework covers studies in accounting, criminology and corporate crime. Topics of discussion in coursework include:

  • Crime prevention
  • Criminal behavior
  • Criminal investigations
  • Risk analysis
  • Civil law

Graduate Certificate in Security Studies

An interdisciplinary program that combines coursework in political science, criminal justice and emergency planning, the curriculum consists of coursework in criminal justice intelligence, homeland security and risk management. Other areas of focus are environmental health, terrorism, infrastructure and organizational behavior. Studies in emergency management include a survey of emergency planning and disaster response and a course in crime financing examines the prevention, investigation and detection of economic crimes. These certificate programs typically take one year to come complete and may be offered online. Topics of discussion include the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, policy development and privacy issues in the implementation of security systems. Other course topics include:

  • Terrorist groups
  • Crime patterns
  • Law enforcement
  • Information sharing
  • Risk technologies

Master of Science in Security Administration

The curriculum includes a survey of security systems, methods of planning security programs and issues in crime control and prevention. The program is typically comprised of 36 credit hours. Studies in leadership prepare students to take on supervisory and managerial roles in the field of security and include coursework in recruiting, hiring and training employees. A course in loss prevention includes a discussion of financial losses experienced in retail and industry and methods for reducing loss. Other areas of focus are interviewing techniques, safety codes and liability. Topics in coursework include:

  • Community policing
  • Espionage
  • Disaster recovery
  • Workplace safety
  • Intelligence operations

Popular Career Options

Graduates with a bachelor's degree go on to careers in a variety of settings, including law enforcement, emergency management, private security and more. Popular career options for graduates include:

  • Security manager
  • Risk manager
  • Loss prevention manager

Graduates from a graduate certificate program go on to careers with government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and more. Job titles of recent graduates include:

  • Homeland security officer
  • Emergency manager
  • Public safety manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that emergency management directors held 9,550 jobs in the U.S. in May 2018 ( Most emergency management positions are held in local government and, according to the BLS, directors made a median annual salary of $74,420 in May 2018.

The field of security administration is comprised of careers including security manager, risk manager, and homeland security officers, among others. Pursuing a degree in the industry, at the bachelor's or graduate level, will prepare students through courses focused on topics like terrorist groups, community policing, and espionage.

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