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Take Your Cybersecurity Career to New Heights

As a cybersecurity professional, you stand on the front lines, helping your organization protect and defend its valuable information from threats both natural and manufactured. Now, take your skills — and your career — to new heights with the Online Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (HSEP) from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School.

Launched as the nation’s first homeland security and emergency preparedness program in 2005, this online master’s program is a true reflection of the Wilder School’s mission to be the premier resource for public policy expertise and social justice in public safety, governance, and economic and community development. The Wilder School is ranked in the top 15% of graduate schools of public affairs (2022 U.S. News & World Report).

Career Paths in Cybersecurity

Whether your goal is to advance to a leadership role in cybersecurity or effect change in an entirely different field, the Online Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness can help you get there.

Move up the ranks as an information security director with the skills to protect critical infrastructure and ensure effective operations during catastrophic events, or leverage your existing skills to protect the public in a new field, such as federal law enforcement, intelligence, emergency management or counterterrorism.

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agent

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a stand-alone federal agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was established in 2018 to protect the information systems, networks and critical infrastructure Americans rely on. Working collaboratively with state and local government, private industry, law enforcement, and top-tier researchers, CISA employs a wide range of professionals, from cybersecurity advisers and information technology specialists to management analysts and mission coordinators.

Job Growth

Job Growth

31% from 2019 to 2029* (much faster than average)

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$107,778**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

Information Security Analyst

Information security analysts manage the design, implementation and communication of disaster recovery plans to ensure the security of company data, databases, information systems and technology. Daily activities include managing disaster recovery staff, monitoring and testing plans and backup systems, developing and deploying training and documentation of disaster recovery procedures across departments, and contracting and coordinating with vendors for off-site resources.

Information security analysts may work for state and local governments, private companies, consulting firms, and other organizations.

Job Growth

Job Growth

31% from 2019 to 2029* (much faster than average)

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$99,730*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Chief Security Officer

A chief security officer (CSO) is the highest-level executive directly responsible for all of an organization’s security needs. An evolution of the title chief information security officer (CISO), the title of CSO increasingly encompasses not only digital and information technology security but also the physical security and safety of an organization’s employees, facilities and assets. Responsibilities include managing the development and implementation of security policies, standards and procedures; overseeing security staff and vendors; and leading operational risk-management activities to ensure effectiveness.

Chief security officers may work for private companies, nonprofits, and government agencies at the local, state and federal levels.

Job Growth

Job Growth

31% from 2019 to 2029* (much faster than average)

Average Annual Salary

Average Annual Salary

$174,286**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

Criminal Intelligence Analyst

Criminal intelligence analysts gather, analyze and evaluate information from sources such as law enforcement databases and surveillance or intelligence networks to anticipate and prevent criminal and terrorist threats. Daily activities include analyzing data and images, maintaining intelligence databases, investigating potential threats, and coordinating with authorities.

Criminal intelligence analysts may work for government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, government contractors, and other businesses or organizations.

Job Growth

Job Growth

1–2% from 2019 to 2029*

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$83,170**

Source: *O*NET OnLine

Criminal Investigator or Special Agent

Criminal investigators, called special agents in many government agencies, gather facts and collect evidence related to criminal cases. They conduct interviews, examine records, monitor suspects, and participate in raids and arrests. Daily activities include gathering statements from complainants, witnesses and accused persons; recording progress of investigations; maintaining informational files on suspects; and submitting reports to commanding officers.

Criminal investigators work for nearly every department of the federal government, including the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Marshals Service and many more. They work in every branch of the military, as well as for state governments, private companies, and other businesses and organizations.

Job Growth

Job Growth

5% from 2019 to 2029* (faster than average)

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$86,030*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Skills and Abilities

  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Decision-making
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Coordination and collaboration

Technology-heavy roles in areas such as information security and criminal intelligence require knowledge of computer hardware and software, including skills such as programming and data analysis.

Learn more about the Online Master of Arts in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

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