If you already know that you wish to work in the homeland security field, then you are probably anxious to get started. You might even be looking for a shortcut so that you can start your new career as soon as possible.

The truth is, however, that achieving a career in this prestigious and lucrative career field is something that takes a great deal of time and effort. With that said, though, there are a few things you can do to shave some of the time off of the process.

First and foremost, don’t reinvent the wheel in terms of your education. If you, for example, already possess a bachelor’s degree, even if it is in an unrelated field, apply instead for a master’s degree in the field.

Master’s degrees can typically be earned more quickly than bachelor’s degrees, and many programs are willing to accept those from diverse academic backgrounds. Likewise, if you have an associate’s degree already under your belt, even if it is unrelated, you can usually transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in the field. In simpler terms, don’t redo any education just because it isn’t focus on homeland security specifically.

In some cases, you may even be able to supplement an irrelevant education just by completing a simple certification or diploma course. Make sure you know the educational requirements for your specific intended career, however.

Secondly, you might want to consider online schooling instead of traditional schooling. Often times, attending school online will afford you the opportunity to work at your own pace, rather than at a pace set by the institution.

Plus, online schooling also tends to be more affordable and such institutions usually will not charge you for taking credit hours above a “normal” course load.

For those who are seeking bachelor’s degrees, attending a community college first and earning an associate’s degree can often be a shortcut in itself. Many associate’s degree programs out there are flexible in terms of how many classes you can take at a time and about the pace at which you may work. Never just assume that your particular program is like this however; always ask for clarification.

Even if your school does allow you to work at your own pace, though, keep in mind that you will still need to transfer any credits earned to an approved bachelor’s degree program to earn your degree.

Those who are pursuing traditional schooling should know that, with most schools, they do actually have the option of taking on more than the “maximum” number of credit hours per semester. In some cases, special permission may be needed from the school’s administrator to do so, though this is usually just a formality as long as one’s current grades are acceptable.

In most cases, however, additional credit hours can be taken just by paying an additional “excess fee.” Do be aware that balancing more than the standard number of credit hours can be challenging, particularly if you have other demands on your time or responsibilities, but it is not impossible.

Finally, though it may be tempting, do not try and rush your education unnecessarily. Remember, that the point of schooling is to learn all that you can in order to eventually be a better professional and an all around better person.

True learning will take time, and requires more devotion and study than just cramming in and barely passing a bunch of classes at once. You should only take “shortcuts” when absolutely necessary, not just to start making money and working in the field more quickly.