Providing security is about more than wearing a uniform and being aware of your surroundings. It requires specialized skills and training that match the type of security service offered. Since there isn’t a single college degree in security, a student should choose a field of interest to major in that that complements the type of security in which he wishes to specialize.
National Security and Emergency Management
When a disaster strikes or there is suspicion of a threat, professionals in the country’s security and emergency management agencies respond. Such agencies include the Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, emergency management officials and those that provide security on the state, county and city levels. The professionals within these agencies make security and disaster plans to help protect residents from danger and recover if there's an incident.
Federal and State Law Enforcement Agencies
Working as an agent in a federal agency like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency or Department of Homeland Security requires at least a bachelor’s degree. The type of degree required varies by security role. For example, an individual may need a degree in psychology to work as an agent who specializes in criminal profiling. Some non-federal law enforcement agencies also require certain employees to have a bachelor’s degree. A detective or police chief, for instance, may have a degree in criminal justice or a related field.
As long as computers are connected to the Internet or some type of network, they are vulnerable to attacks. Professionals who are experts in issues related to computer and network security have a degree in computer science or information assurance analysis. They work for businesses and government agencies to prevent internal attacks, as well as attacks that originate overseas. In addition to securing and monitoring a network, computer security professionals try to penetrate their own systems in an attempt to find and remedy flaws.
The government and private organizations sometimes use contractors to fulfill their security needs. The type of degree to work with such a security service depends on the scope of the work and the expertise needed. If an individual wants to join a company that offers reconnaissance-type services, he may need a degree in geographic information systems, or GIS. Alternatively, an individual may hold a degree that supports a security operation, like a translator who has a degree in a foreign language.
- Department of Homeland Security: Job Opportunities for Recent Graduates
- National Security Agency: Opportunities for You, Professionals
- Central Intelligence Agency: FAQs
- Federal Emergency Management Agency: Internships: Students and Recent Graduates Employment
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Computer and Information Systems Managers
Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.