If you live in New Jersey and are interested in having a career in the homeland security field, then you should know that having a degree in homeland security or a related are is absolutely vital to your success.

In fact, there really are no positions in this field that you can earn without possessing some kind of degree. Don’t think, however, that you can just go out, zip through schooling in some random area, and then qualify for a job in the field.

It doesn’t work that way in the slightest. If you want to be successful in the homeland security industry, then it is going to take some serious planning on your part.

Before you can start planning your education or even your career, however, you have to be very familiar with the homeland security field in general.

Even if you already think that you are, spending a little time researching the field and the many different career opportunities that exist in it can’t hurt. Explore hundreds of different career options, always staying on the lookout for the one that is right for you. Any time that you think you’ve found that “right” job, take the time to research its necessary qualifications and requirements.

Make sure that, before you set a career goal, you have honestly assessed how capable you are of making that goal a reality.

Setting a realistic goal is so important because, in the end, that will be what you will need to base your education and any other training you pursue around. If you get a degree not knowing what you want to do and then later decide, there is no guarantee that your degree will be suited to that particular career.

This could mean a useless degree and a lot of wasted time and money—not to mention energy—for you, or it could mean being stuck in a career that you hate. It’s hard to say which one of those things is a worse fate than the other.

So, make sure that a lot of careful thought and honesty goes into the goal setting and education planning process.

The good news for you, as a New Jersey resident, is that, no matter what career in the field you choose, there is more than likely an in-state educational option for you.

New Jersey is home to many wonderful accredited colleges and universities offering excellent programs in homeland security specifically and in popular related areas.

It won’t be a matter of whether or not you can find a school and program to meet your needs; it will simply be a matter of choosing just one, a feat that can seem next to impossible when faced with so many awesome choices.

One of the top educational choices for prospective homeland security professionals in the state is Atlantic Cape Community College, in Mays Landing.

This school, which is known for being incredibly affordable, offers associate’s degree programs in criminal justice with a focus on corrections, and in general criminal justice, both of which are popular with homeland security professionals. Similarly, there’s also Bergen Community College, in Paramus, which has a wide variety of acceptable programs to choose from.

These include associate’s degree programs in correctional studies, law enforcement studies, and general criminal justice. There are also certification programs in homeland security and emergency management. Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft, is another excellent choice, with its associate’s degree programs in both corrections and in general criminal justice.

There’s also Burlington County College, in Pemberton, offering its own associate’s degree program in criminal justice.