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Legal & Law Programs ►Homeland Security Specialist Certification & Externship Program

Program includes National Certification & an Externship Opportunity

The Homeland Security Specialist

With the onset of terrorism and heightened threats both at home and abroad, Homeland Security is a growing, increasingly complex field within the Criminal Justice field. Homeland security professionals address key functions of threat prevention, crisis response, and operations recovery. Given that homeland security is a responsibility shared by a number of different government agencies, professionals in this field require cooperation from all sides including the private sector and individual citizens. Ideal for anyone entering law enforcement, private security or public administration, this course provides students with an overview of homeland security issues, threats and emergency management to ensure they understand the context within which their roles and responsibilities contribute to the overall effort to deter and mitigate against the effects of these new threats.

The Homeland Security Specialist Program

This program is designed to prepare successful students to work in various Homeland Security agencies at a local, state or federal level. Specifically for those students whose career-focus is in counter-terrorism, counter-intelligence, national security or government security, this program is a great way to examine new and different subject areas within this growing field. The program provides an overview of the elements involved in the homeland security function, as well as the challenges critical infrastructure managers in government and industry can/will face while maintaining mission operations and staff accountability in the midst of multiple overlapping roles and responsibilities in our rapidly changing world.

Program Objectives

At the conclusion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Pre- / post-9/11 and the formation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Describe the purpose and organization of the DHS, critical infrastructure and resources
  • Explain the concept of terrorism, the use and analysis of intelligence
  • Examine how transportation systems are at risk and protected from terrorist threats
  • Examine the effects of terrorism on public health or cyber terrorism
  • Describe the purpose and structure of the National Response Framework (NRF)
  • Describe the U.S. approach to emergency management
  • Describe the Incident Command System (ICS) and incident response situations
  • Write a response plan to an emergency situation
  • Describe communication and ethical considerations involved in homeland security
  • Describe the use of communication technologies in emergency situations
  • Examine the role of various fields in preparing for and responding to emergencies
  • Describe the role of higher learning institutions in preparing graduates for understanding their role in homeland security
  • Use Microsoft Office


  • Describe how national security policy was viewed and reported prior to 9/11
  • Compare approaches to national security before and after the 9/11 attacks
  • Examine the circumstances leading to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  • Describe the Patriot Act and its impact on national security policy
  • List the six critical mission areas of the National Strategy for Homeland Security (NSHS)
  • State the mission of the DHS
  • Describe how the DHS relates to the three branches of government
  • List the agencies brought under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security
  • Identify the five directorates and their responsibilities
  • Identify the relationship between homeland security and national security functions


  • Describe common definitions of terrorism
  • Describe the historical perspective of terrorism
  • Identify common components associated with terrorism
  • List the types and tactics of terrorism
  • Describe the difference between antiterrorism efforts and counterterrorism tactics


  • Differentiate between intelligence and information
  • Differentiate between strategic, operational, and tactical intelligence
  • Compare how the law enforcement community and the intelligence community define and use intelligence
  • Describe the purpose and steps of the intelligence cycle
  • Describe the types and phases of intelligence briefings
  • Analyze intelligence for reporting in an intelligence brief


  • Define the terms critical infrastructure and key resources
  • Explain the relationship between the public and private sectors in the context of homeland security
  • Describe behavioral profiling
  • Describe the applications of proactive terror threat assessment
  • Describe critical infrastructure and key resources from a U.S. historical perspective
  • Describe the rationale for post-incident investigations


  • Describe ways in which cyber terrorists use technology
  • Discuss the negative consequences of cyber terrorism
  • Identify the tools used by cyber terrorists
  • Describe the difference between cyber crime and cyber terrorism
  • Examine measures to identify and remedy cyber vulnerabilities


  • Identify the principle federal agencies involved in providing security for transportation systems
  • Describe the principle hazards and vulnerabilities faced by the various modes of transportation
  • Identify the local, national, and international interconnections among various modes of mass transportation
  • Research the initiatives being implemented to improve security for transportation systems in the United States


  • Define the term pandemic
  • Identify historical examples of flu pandemics
  • Describe the role of vaccines during a pandemic
  • Examine the use of biological agents as weapons
  • Differentiate among the categories of biological priority agents
  • Examine the role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Describe future goals for federal public health preparedness


  • Describe the difference among catastrophic events, emergencies, and disasters
  • Identify how catastrophic events are measured
  • Describe how human encroachment upon the natural environment has affected human exposure to natural hazards
  • Describe the difference between technological disasters and natural disasters
  • Describe the impact terrorism has had on the types of threats that emergency managers must confront
  • Explain the factors that have contributed to an increasing salience of emergency management in American society


  • Describe the history of the federal emergency management organizations in the United States
  • Identify pre-impact conditions and various physical and social vulnerabilities
  • Define the elements of a response protocol


  • Define Incident Command System (ICS)
  • Explain the rationale for the ICS and the benefits it provides
  • Describe the purpose of the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)
  • Identify the role of the Incident Commander (IC)
  • Describe the importance of comprehensive resource management


  • Identify the role of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) in disaster management
  • Identify areas in which the NYPD's response to the 9/11 attacks indicated good prior planning or showed the need for more thorough planning
  • Describe the purpose and function of the National Incident Management System (NIMS)
  • Describe the all-hazards approach to emergency management
  • Describe how multiple responding agencies are coordinated


  • Identify the organizational structure for an Incident Command System (ICS) disaster response
  • Identify the purpose of an Incident Action Plan (IAP)
  • Describe the difference between the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the ICS
  • Write an emergency plan and response


  • Describe the philosophical perspective on ethics
  • Discuss the practice of torture by proxy
  • Identify the leadership selection process in the war on terror
  • Explain norms in relation to ethical considerations
  • Describe the issue of looting after a disaster


  • Identify the common and alternative systems and technologies used in emergencies
  • Discuss the lessons learned from past communications mistakes
  • Describe the evolution of communications technology in the context of incident response
  • Describe how technology can be used for emergency planning, participation, and response
  • Write a response plan to a hypothetical emergency situation


  • Examine security protection and incident response for medical facilities
  • Examine security protection and incident response for businesses
  • Examine security protection and incident response for public utility workers
  • Examine security protection and incident response for emergency responders
  • Examine security protection and incident response for social service providers
  • Describe the role of education in homeland security

Note: This program can be completed in 6 months. However, students will have online access to this program for a 24-month period.

Education and National Certifications

  • Students should have or be pursuing a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are no state approval and/or state requirements associated with this program.
  • There is a National Certification exam available to students who successfully complete this program:
    • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification Exam

National Certification

Upon successful completion of this program, students would be eligible to sit for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam. Although there are no state approval, state registration or other state requirements for this program, students who complete this program  will be prepared and are eligible to sit for this national certification exam. Students who complete this program are encouraged to complete the externship option with their program. Students who complete this program can and do sit for the MOS national certification exams and are qualified, eligible and prepared to do so.  works with each student to complete the exam application and register the student to take their national certification exam.

Externship / Hands on Training / Practicum

Although not a requirement, once students complete the program, they have the ability to participate in an externship and/or hands on practicum so as to practice the skills necessary to perform the job requirements of a professional in this field. Students will be assisted with completing a resume and/or other requirements necessary to work in this field. All students who complete this program are eligible to participate in an externship and will be placed with a participating organization near their location. works with national organizations and has the ability to place students in externship opportunities nationwide.

Note: No refunds can be issued after the start date published in your Financial Award document.