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New Homeland Security and Emergency Management Degree Prepares Disaster Response Experts to Work in Wide Array of Fields

March 17, 2022

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When disaster strikes, emergency managers and response teams mobilize. When threats to national security present themselves, homeland security officials go to work to protect communities from all types of danger.

Training for individuals qualified to serve in both of these highly specialized areas is now available at Idaho State University.

Idaho State University began offering a bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) in summer 2020. Now, ISU is expanding to offer a master’s degree program as well for students that are in different stages of their career. This program provides more advanced education for homeland security and emergency management experts who already have a bachelor’s degree.

“Students gain the leadership, critical thinking and ethical decision-making skills required for today’s complex problems,” explained Laurie Holien, HSEM program director and associate professor. “Graduates from our HSEM program will be well-positioned to explore diverse career paths ranging from intelligence analysts, to pandemic preparedness specialists, to logistics planners and wildfire resource coordinators.”

Michael Mikitish, Emergency Services Department chair at ISU said there are a vast array of jobs available, some that cross over and some that remain distinctly separate.

“In the public sector there are county emergency managers, state emergency managers, FEMA officials, FBI, CIA, intelligence, border security, any type of security job. In the private sector many companies employ an emergency manager, business continuity officer, or a risk manager," he said. "In the health arena, you have the public health preparedness officials who work in health departments, health districts, and hospitals. And then in the non-profit sector there are many planning and preparedness officials who work for organizations such as the Red Cross, Disaster Relief Agency, and others.”

The HSEM master’s degree now offered by Idaho State University comes at a timely juncture. Public health and emergency management officials remain in unprecedented demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has spread across the United States.

“This is a crucial time for people in the emergency management field that have experience in managing disasters. It’s also a  time for people who want to become experts in homeland security, emergencies, and crisis and disaster management to consider a degree,” Mikitish said. “The people that are managing the disasters and conflicts happening right now are homeland security and emergency managers across the world in partnership with public health officials.”  



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