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Take Your Public Health Career to New Heights

As a public health professional, you stand on the front lines, helping to protect the health of your community and defend against systemic health challenges and crises. 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 Homeland Security for Public Health Professionals

Whether your goal is to advance to a leadership role in public health 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 a public safety director with the skills to set smart policy that contributes to the protection and improvement of human life, or leverage your existing skills to protect the public in a new field, such as emergency management or federal law enforcement.

Public Safety Director

A director of public safety oversees the safety services for citizens in a city or county. These professionals work closely with police and fire chiefs to develop plans, policies and procedures to protect their communities. Daily activities include creating emergency response plans, developing training programs and ensuring the effective implementation of plans during emergencies.

Beyond local government, public safety directors may work for any organization that hosts a large number of public citizens. Public safety directors may find employment with universities, convention centers, hotel resorts and more.

Job Growth

Job Growth

4% from 2019 to 2029* (as fast as average)

Average Annual Salary

Average Annual Salary

$64,369**

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

Policy Adviser

Policy advisers research, review and recommend the guidelines, regulations and laws that shape policies and programs. Daily activities include collecting and analyzing information and statistical data, evaluating the outcomes of existing and potential new policies, recommending new courses of action, and sharing information with public and government officials.

Policy advisers may work at federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, within state and local governments, at private companies, and at other businesses and organizations.

Job Growth

Job Growth

8% or more from 2019 to 2029* (much faster than average)

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$84,810*

Source: *O*NET OnLine

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management directors lead the planning and response to natural disasters and other emergencies. These professionals often coordinate with public safety officials, elected officials, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to minimize damage and disruptions during an emergency. Daily activities include preparing disaster plans and procedures; overseeing the training and disaster exercises for staff, volunteers and local agencies; communicating warnings; and managing resources and equipment across agencies and communities.

Most emergency management directors work for local or state governments. Others work for organizations such as hospitals, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofits.

Job Growth

Job Growth

4% from 2019 to 2029*

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$74,590*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Emergency Management Coordinator

Emergency management coordinators work to protect their communities by planning and coordinating the responses to natural disasters and other emergencies. Daily activities include planning and facilitating emergency drills and programs, communicating and coordinating resources with community officers and agencies, and helping to develop and oversee training.

Many emergency management coordinators work for federal, state or local governments. Others work for organizations such as hospitals, colleges and universities, private companies, and nonprofit organizations.

Job Growth

Job Growth

4% from 2019 to 2029*

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$60,222**

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

Business Continuity Manager

Business continuity managers lead the creation of plans, procedures and programs to ensure that a business can continue to operate during and after emergencies such as natural and human-made disasters. Daily activities include preparing disaster recovery plans, overseeing the training and disaster exercises for staff, and managing resources and equipment across departments. During an emergency, business continuity managers are responsible for overseeing the implementation of their plans.

Most business continuity managers work for private companies, nonprofits and other organizations, such as hospitals, colleges and universities.

Job Growth

Job Growth

4% from 2019 to 2029*

Median Annual Salary

Median Annual Salary

$74,590*

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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