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Online Associate Degree in Homeland Security: A Student's Guide

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 5/1/2010

Have you considered a career in homeland security? If so, read on to learn more about obtaining an online associate's degree in homeland security.

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    Homeland Security Associate's Degree

    Homeland security is a government agency that works to protect the United States against possible external and internal threats. The responsibilities of homeland security are shared by several different government agencies including the United States Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Management Agency, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Secret Service, the Civil Air Patrol, the United States National Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. An online associate's degree in homeland security prepares students for entry-level positions in homeland security.

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    Required Courses

    Students will have to take all general education courses in addition to several core courses specific to this degree. Some of the core course subjects include civil and criminal justice, business ethics for security specialists, emergency planning and security measures, domestic and international terrorism, emergency medical services and fire operations, tactical communications, and principles, planning and procedures of safety.

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    Average Completion Time

    online Associate's degree in homeland security clock An online associate's degree in homeland security will take about two years to complete. This average is for students going full-time. Those who are going part-time will need more time. Part-time students can expect to take about three years to complete this degree.

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    Top Online Schools

    Everest University charges $367.00 per credit. Additional fees may also be charged such as $729.00 during the second year of school for a criminal investigation kit, as well as required textbooks (each textbook varies in price). Those with military scholarships can have up to fifteen percent of their tuition covered if they are still active duty. Students will also need a high school diploma or GED, to complete an interview with an Everest University admissions officer, and to take a quiz on distance learning to ensure they are ready to take online classes. Each student will have to pay a $25.00 application fee along with their application for admission and the admission deadline is on a rolling basis.

    Students who are eligible can apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA. The federal loans students may qualify for include direct PLUS loans, direct subsidized Stafford loans, FFEL PLUS loans, direct unsubsidized Stafford loans, FFEL unsubsidized Stafford loans, and FFEL subsidized Stafford loans. The need based grants and scholarships that students may qualify for include SEOG and federal Pell grants.

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    Possible Careers

    online Associate's degree in homeland security Those with an associate's degree can choose from several different career paths. At the local and state level, they can choose to work in emergency response, public buildings and utilities, detention facilities, and emergency management agencies. At the federal level, they can choose to work for the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, United States Customs and Boarder Protection, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. At the private level, they can choose to work in facility security, industrial security, safety patrol, and cyber security.

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    Career Outlook and Salary

    The amount of career opportunities in the field of homeland security are high. The salary is also respectable. Those who work for the United States Department of Homeland Security can earn between $29,726.00 and $133,209.00 per year depending on which department they choose to work for. Those who work in the private sector can earn between $18,450.00 and $80,010.00 per year depending on their job title and employer.

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    Why Is It Better to Obtain This Degree Online?

    First and foremost, there is a major time convenience when obtaining this degree online. Students can attend class at any time of the day and work around their work, family, and social obligations. Students can also attend class anywhere they wish. They can grab their laptop and head outside, relax on the couch, or head to the park to watch the lectures, take notes, and complete assignments. As long as students are meeting all imposed deadlines, they are pretty much free to complete their classes where they want, whenever they want.

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    • United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2006). Careers in Homeland Security. Retrieved on April 20, 2010 from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:
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    Image Credits

    • Statue of Liberty: tomlara –
    • Clock: modeh30000 –