If you are a Louisiana resident who is hoping to enter into an exciting career in homeland security, then you should know that possessing the right education is absolutely vital to your success. In fact, the vast majority of positions in the field require all applicants to possess at least a bachelor’s degree to even be considered.

Some jobs will even require or, at the very least, strongly prefer a master’s level degree. It is important for you to have a career goal in mind, to know its necessary qualifications and requirements, and then to plan your education to meet your goals.

The first factor of planning your education is deciding what level degree you wish to pursue. If you have no former educational training, your first step can either be to pursue an associate’s level degree or a bachelor’s degree.

Associate’s degrees won’t be much use to you on their own, but they are an excellent way to get your education started, since the credits earned are designed to be transferable to a bachelor’s degree program.

Furthermore, since associate’s degrees are most commonly obtained from community colleges or from trade or technical schools, they tend to be more affordable to earn than traditional degrees.

Bachelor’s level degrees are also a good first step, especially if you want to get your education all in one fell swoop, without worrying about transferring credits or finding more than one school. These degrees take around four years on average to complete, or two years if you already have an associate’s degree.

They can be earned from any traditional college or university, as long as it is accredited, and these days, they may even be earned from online schools.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree, know that you can pursue a master’s degree in the field, even if your bachelor’s degree is completely unrelated. That’s because many higher level programs are more than willing to accept students from diverse educational backgrounds, because they appreciate the unique perspectives and skills they bring to the program.

This is a great option for those coming to the field later in life who do not wish to start their educations over from scratch. Plus, anyone who already has a related bachelor’s degree can increase their value in the field by earning a master’s level degree.

Beyond the master’s degree, there are also doctorate level degrees, ideal for those who want to reach the highest level of attainment in the field.

You still have work to do after you choose your degree level, however. You also have to determine what your major or your area of study is going to be. Contrary to popular belief, you have more choices than just pursuing a general degree in homeland security.

While this degree can certainly be helpful, you can also choose other degrees related to the field. It is an especially good idea to choose majors that are directly related to the homeland security job that you would ultimately like to have in the field.

When you have a degree level and a major already in mind, your next step is to find the right school. Your school can be online or traditional, as long as it is accredited. Do take the time to research the school, the program you are interested in, and its general reputation in the community thoroughly.

Pay attention to what past graduates of your prospective program have gone on to do. Also ask questions about the learning style employed in classes and compare it to what works for you. If a program is heavily lecture-based, for example, and you prefer hands-on, experiential learning, it might not be the best choice for you.

You will also want to look for a school that offers you lots of employment assistance after graduation and that can keep you informed about internship opportunities, which are a major factor in having long term success in the field.

The good news for you is that, no matter what degree level or major you are seeking, Louisiana will likely have a school that is just perfect for you and for what you ultimately want to do.