Homeland Response Management: Associate, Bachelor & Online Degree Info

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What will you learn in a homeland response management program? Read about degree requirements, the pros and cons of an associate and bachelor's and potential careers.
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Associate and Bachelor's Degrees in Homeland Response Management at a Glance

A degree program in homeland response management prepares students to take part in the protection of the United States. While terrorism attacks and their aftermath is one of the critical situations for which students are prepared, these programs also cover other emergencies, such as natural disasters.

Several different career paths can benefit from a homeland response management degree, including law enforcement, first response and emergency management. For the years 2010-2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), positions for law enforcement were expected to grow at 8%, which is below the average for all industries. Jobs for first responders, such as emergency medical technicians, were predicted to grow at 36%, well above average, during that same decade. Growth for emergency management directors was expected to be 13%, about as fast as average, in the same years.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals interested in a career in the public sector assessing risk and mplementing plans for crisis situations Same as associate degree, with prospects in leadership postions
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary unless marked otherwise) - Emergency management specialist ($35,000-$91,000 - 10th -90th percentile range)**
- Police officer ($54,000 - requires academy training)*
- Emergency medical technician ($31,000 - requires EMT-Basic certification)*
- Law enforcement supervisor ($78,000)*
- Emergency management director ($57,000)*
Time to Completion Two years full time Four years full time, or two years after associate
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 18 courses - Roughly 32 courses, or 18 courses after the associate
- Possible capstone project or internship
Prerequisites High school diploma High school diploma, or associate degree for '2+2' programs
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Payscale.com (October 2012).

Associate in Homeland Response Management

An associate degree program in homeland response management may be of interest to those who are already working in the security field as a way to develop educational credentials required for seeking promotion. Students looking to enter the emergency management or security fields may also find that these programs suit their educational needs. These programs cover the skills necessary for homeland response careers, and may also offer opportunities to develop leadership skills.

Pros and Cons


  • Associate programs in homeland response management prepare you for a career in public service
  • Internships can develop direct work experience, and capstone projects can assist students in developing expertise in a specific area of homeland response
  • Programs not only help develop skills, but can provide an opportunity for career networking


  • Positions with the federal government often require completion of at least a bachelor's degree program
  • Graduates seeking government jobs will have to pass background checks and possibly fulfill other requirements
  • Degree completion alone does not qualify all applicants for homeland response management positions

Courses and Requirements

The curricula of homeland response management programs are selected and designed to prepare you to take part in emergency response activities. Students develop both an understanding of response planning and the skills needed to make decisions quickly and effectively in the event of both man-made and natural disasters. Courses cover such topics as:

  • Terrorism:
  • Contingency planning for homeland security
  • Disaster management and recovery
  • Intelligence operations in homeland security
  • Managing casualties and mass fatalities
  • Managing emergency communications
  • National security, the military and the law

Online Degree Options

Programs in homeland response management are available through online delivery. These programs are commonly delivered asynchronously at a distance, which can be of value to students looking to begin their educational careers while being part of the work force and without the added disruption of having to relocate to attend a program.

Stand Out with This Degree

If you are looking to stand out with an associate degree in homeland response management, you may want to seek out opportunities to develop technical expertise with computer and information systems. These skills can assist both in data analysis and communications, increasing your efficiency by leveraging new technologies in achieving your objectives. Additionally, you may want to develop close professional relationships with mentors in the program. You may also want to intern with appropriate agencies, taking these early opportunities to develop hands-on experience and career networking.

Bachelor's in Homeland Response Management

Homeland response management bachelor's degree programs may be designed as either 4-year programs or as 2-year programs meant to follow an associate degree. The 2-year programs are often professional development programs for working professionals who have completed an associate degree as a career entry requirement, such as police, firefighters or emergency medical technicians. Full bachelor's programs may be pursued by students applying for competitive positions. Some programs may offer both options.

Pros and Cons


  • A bachelor's degree is necessary to apply for some federal positions, and may be a requirement for promotion in others, such as police work
  • While associate degrees often focus on skills necessary for a job, bachelor's degrees provide a deeper understanding of context and theory that assist in decision making
  • Some programs may be designed to provide students with skills for administration positions


  • Completing a 4-year degree may not be necessary for all working professionals
  • Committing the time needed to finish a bachelor's degree program while working in a homeland response role may be difficult for some students
  • The number of homeland response management roles may be limited by available public funds, and not solely determined by need

Courses and Requirements

Homeland response management programs address a variety of social and political topics of interest to those working in the field. These programs cover the planning, response and recovery phases of emergency scenarios. As such they may draw on courses from across multiple disciplines. Course topics likely to be covered are:

  • Critical approaches to problem analysis
  • Disaster preparedness and emergency response
  • Emergency management practices
  • Homeland security ethical and legal issues
  • Intelligence gathering and analysis
  • Protecting critical infrastructure
  • Risk assessment

Online Degree Options

Fully online programs are available to fulfill the educational needs of working professionals. These distance-learning programs are often delivered asynchronously, which can be convenient for some students. Not all bachelor's degree programs are designed to cover all four years of school. Some are specifically tailored for those who have already earned an associate degree.

Stand Out with This Degree

As with the associate degree, you may want to take advantage of your time in the program to develop your professional network and hands-on experience as ways to strengthen your resume when seeking positions after graduation. If you connect with the mentors you meet in the program, they will be better able to provide recommendations or references when it comes time for the job search. Further, well-managed internships can provide both references and connections. If you're a working professional who is completing a bachelor's degree, some employers may have funds available to assist you in career development activities. Applying for these grants and fellowships not only can reduce your out-of-pocket costs, but also strengthen your resume.

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