Managers typically study for their Ph.D. to establish themselves as authorities in their fields, but the field of homeland security studies is so diverse and new that doctorates in the field are rare and anything but uniform. Depending on your specialization at the bachelor's or master’s level and your experience and interests, a Ph.D. in homeland security might qualify you for advanced positions in many areas of intelligence and technical fields, management or education.
What’s Out There
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, established in 2002, integrated 22 federal departments, offices and agencies that administered emergency, terrorism and disaster preparedness programs into one organization. The Center for Homeland Defense and Security, a joint project of the Naval Postgraduate School and U.S. Department of Homeland Security, lists a few schools that offer doctoral programs in homeland security. But many schools that offer certifications in the wide variety of fields -- emergency medical and crisis response, threat assessment and even chaplaincy -- are branches of homeland security.
The Right Fit
With so many highly technical specialties, homeland security experts with a Ph.D. fill leadership positions in both government and private business. Artificial intelligence, nuclear and biomedical research, cyber security and energy infrastructure all require highly educated department heads and advanced researchers. You might also fill positions as officers in the U.S. Coast Guard, Secret Service and Immigration and Customs. Corporations that produce security software and technology might employ a Ph.D. in research and development departments. Utilities and power transmission suppliers might also use planners and designers with homeland security credentials.
Homeland Security Management
Schools that offer Masters of Public Administration typically offer specializations in emergency management and policy under the heading of Homeland Security. Managers with a Ph.D. might operate not only in the Department of Homeland Security, but also in analysis sections of the CIA, FBI and Department of Defense. Large city and state emergency management departments might employ Ph.D. directors. They might also manage private industry security or protective services in communications, energy, transportation or companies whose employees travel widely abroad.
With a homeland security Ph.D., you have a line for your resume that few else can claim, mainly because the discipline is newer than many traditional forms of management. Private consultants might work as experts with a variety of clients, from city government to companies with overseas holdings. Defense contractors and others that perform outsourced intelligence and systems analysis also need consultants for specific projects.
By the time you’ve earned a Ph.D., you’ve spent considerable time in the postsecondary world, perhaps as a teacher assistant, researcher or author in your field. Professors not only get to work with students who are adults actively engaged in law enforcement, emergency management, military and civilian intelligence, but also they enjoy the opportunity of being able to shape a new academic discipline, from certifications through postsecondary degrees. Educators might also work as consultants, designing educational programs for police departments and other groups that need to be prepared in case of trouble but don’t have a need for full-time personnel.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Careers in Homeland Security
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Types Of Jobs
- Federal Emergency Management Administration: The College Homeland Security Program
- Center for Homeland Defense and Security: Colleges and Universities Offering Homeland Security Programs (Doctoral Programs)
- American Board for Certification in Homeland Securtity: Certification from ABCHS
- Department of Homeland Security: Who Joined DHS
- National Security Agency: Career Fields
- Colorado Technical University: Doctor of Management -- Homeland Security (See Learner Outcomes)
- Homeland Security Degree: Q&A - PhD Programs in Homeland Security
- MSA Security: About MSA Security
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