The Homeland Security Emergency Management (HSEM) associate degree program is designed to prepare the next generation of emergency management and policy leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to improve outcomes in disasters of all types. This online degree program includes instruction in policy as well as planning and operational components of emergency management and homeland security, including opportunities to gain practical experience and work with current incident management technologies. The curriculum provides policy foundations and advances students through core competencies in hazard identification; risk and vulnerability assessment; planning; terrorism; mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery; and planning for diverse populations. This degree will prepare students with the competencies to work in an all-hazards preparedness environment, including an understanding of socioeconomic and cultural diversity issues. Students are required to have access to computer, internet, and browser. This degree can be completed online.
Visit the HSEM website at pencol.edu/program/homeland-security-emergency-management.
Students must earn a minimum of a 2.0 in each HSEM course.
Prospective Homeland Security and Emergency Management students should be aware that Homeland Security and Emergency Management employment candidates are subject to extensive background checks.
Program Length: 6 Quarters
Program Code: CRMHSAPT
Career Opportunities and Earnings
The Federal Department of Labor identifies homeland security as a “high-demand field,” one that requires a large number of trained professionals across a number of industry sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 22% increase in emergency management specialist positions by 2014. Graduates may find positions with a variety of organizations in the public and private sectors.
For current employment and wage estimates, please visit and search for the relevant occupational term: bls.gov/oes.
When this program is completed, the student will be able to:
- Apply effective interpersonal communication, critical thinking and decision-making skills commensurate with a defined level of responsibility
- Develop agency/organization specific tools to evaluate specific domestic security challenges for the 21st century that face the United States and other industrialized nations
- Design and modify plans and programs at federal, state, and/or local levels to reflect the evolving strategic policy issues associated with a statutory and presidential direction for homeland security
- Interpret ethical and legal issues that impact emergency management and homeland security
- Recognize how to access and disseminate information through multiple agencies in order to forecast the risks, types, and orders of magnitude of terrorist threats most likely to confront the nation/state
- Define the interdisciplinary nature of Homeland Security/Emergency Management functions and be able to assess and integrate various functional areas
- Develop policies, procedures and protocols to allow seamless agency integration from prevention to incident response scenarios
- Apply a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to assume leadership roles in emergency management, homeland security, and/or public policy
- Participate in employer-directed training for performance enhancement and career advancement
On the job training is critical to giving students the insight and information they need to succeed once their education is complete. The Homeland Security Emergency Management program includes five credits of work-based experience for students completing the associate’s degree option. This work-based training provides opportunities to directly connect with potential employers. Graduates of this program can continue their academic studies at Peninsula College in the Bachelor of Applied Management degree (BAS). Please contact the BAS advisor for additional prerequisite requirements at BAS@pencol.edu.
- The program encourages students to question, search for answers and meaning, and develop ideas that lead to action
- The program provides up to date curriculum that adapts to the rapidly changing field of Homeland Security Emergency Management
- The Peninsula College Homeland Security Emergency Management program is significantly more cost effective than most private and public schools
Students entering this program should have good familiarity with computer software and hardware in the Windows or MAC environment. College-level skills in English and math (eligibility for courses numbered 100 or higher) are required before registering for the English, math, or applied math courses in this program.
Approximate Additional Costs
- Books, supplies and miscellaneous fees (per quarter): $200 - $250
This sample schedule is provided as a guide for a full-time student starting in fall quarter whose goal is to earn an AAS. The typical student schedule is based on entering the program during the fall quarter, however some programs allow students to enter in the winter or spring as well. Since not all do, please confirm with an advisor whether this program must be started during a specific quarter or not.
First Quarter (Fall)
Traces historical development of courts, corrections, and law enforcement to understand structure and process of the criminal justice system. Examine roles, responsibilities, and perspectives of its participants. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Elective)
Provides groundwork on which emergency services can build a strong foundation for disaster and emergency management for homeland security in the 21st century. Addresses issues, policies, questions, best practices, and lessons learned through recent years; requirements of NFPA® 1600, Standard on Emergency Management and exposure to new and developing theories, practices, and technology in emergency management. This class may include students from multiple sections.
This course introduces the Incident Command System (ICS) and provides the foundation for higher-level ICS training. This course describes the history, features, and principles and organization structure of the Incident Command System. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Course will meet ICS 100/200/700/800 requirements. This class may include students from multiple sections.
This course is designed to introduce students to developing an effective emergency planning system. This course offers training in the fundamentals of the emergency planning process, including the rationale behind planning. Emphasis will be placed on hazard/ risk analysis and planning team development. Other topics, such as Continuity of Operations (COOP), Emergency Support Functions, National Response Plan, Washington State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and contingency planning for areas such as Special Needs (Vulnerable Populations) or Animal Sheltering are included. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Second Quarter (Winter)
Geodesy and mapping; introduction to atmospheric science, weather, climate, the oceans, hydrology, and the earth’s heat budget. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Natural Sciences, Elective)
This class provides a detailed overview of the technology used and applied in the field of emergency management. Students will learn how to utilize technology in emergency planning, response, recovery and mitigation efforts and they will identify key elements that must be in place for technology to enhance the emergency management process. Course overviews include using technology and data for hazard identification, analysis, and modeling. Types of warning systems such as reverse notification systems; direct and remote sensing systems, and geospatial technology. This class may include students from multiple sections.
This course provides an overview in the structure and issues of public service. Course participants will examine the context of public administration: the political system, the role of federalism, bureaucratic politics and power, and the various theories of administration that guide public managers today. Course components include public administration, personnel, budgeting, decision-making, organizational behavior, leadership, and policy implementation. Lessons will be drawn from the most current applications of public administration today, such as COVID Pandemic efforts and Homeland Security. This class may include students from multiple sections.
The purpose of this course is to enable students to understand and think critically about disaster recovery operations in the profession of emergency management. Students will utilize problem-based learning by analyzing actual disaster events and applying the theories, principals, and practice of disaster recovery. In addition, students will learn about the issues faced by the whole community and how to address access and functional needs in disaster recovery. This class may include students from multiple sections.
This course is designed to give the student an overview of various statutes, regulations, constitutional law, and common law associated with Homeland Security Emergency Management. This course examines federal, state, and local government powers, FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, civil rights, National Security Strategies, Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Patriot Act, the National Incident Management System, and the National Response Framework. Students will be introduced to the legalities and ethics relevant to organizing for counterterrorism, investigating terrorism and other national security threats, and crisis and consequence management. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Third Quarter (Spring)
Explores classic and modern elements of persuasion and applies that understanding to assemble, deliver, and evaluate extemporaneous speeches. Eligibility for or concurrent enrollment in ENGL& 101 is recommended. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Humanities, Elective)
This course will prepare students to support emergency management public information operations, including integration with a Joint Information System, use of a Joint Information Center, coordination with on-scene public information officers, use of alert and warning systems, emergency and routine information distribution (including media and social media), and ensuring appropriate messaging for the whole community. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Provides current and relevant information about terrorism, terrorist behavior, homeland security policies and dilemmas, and how to deal effectively with threats and the consequences of attacks. Student will gain insight into the key players involved in emergency management, local and state issues, particularly as they need to interact and work with FEMA and other federal agencies. Course components include identifying terrorism, causes of terrorism, preventing terrorist attacks, responding to terrorism attacks and avoidance in communication and leadership collapse. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Introduction to methods and applications of elementary descriptive and inferential statistics; summarizing data graphically and numerically, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, correlation and linear regression. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Quantitative Skills, Natural Sciences, Elective)
Fourth Quarter (Fall)
Substantive criminal law applied to crime prevention and control activities in criminal justice. Examines definitions, classifications, grades, prohibitions, and punishments ascribed to criminal law through statutes and case law. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Elective)
Active reading, effective writing, and critical thinking, using subjective and objective approaches. Introduction to research techniques. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Communication Skills)
This course provides the student with skills and knowledge to manage an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), acquire and control resources, and interface with on scene responders within Incident Management Systems. Topics include EOC design, preparing, staffing and operating, jurisdictional setting, and the critical link between Incident Management Systems and emergency management operations. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Fifth Quarter (Winter)
Scientific approach to understanding nature and scope of contemporary problems in our environment. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Natural Sciences, Elective)
This special topics train-the-trainer program is designed to prepare students to deliver community preparedness awareness information classes on emergencies and disasters. This class may include students from multiple sections.
This course provides participants with the knowledge and skills to develop, conduct, evaluate and report effective exercises that test a community's operations plan and operational response capability. Throughout the course, participants will learn about topics including exercise program management, design and development, evaluation, and improvement planning. It also builds a foundation for subsequent exercise courses, which provide the specifics of the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) and the National Standard Exercise Curriculum (NSEC). This class may include students from multiple sections.
Introduction to science of behavior. Emphasis on biological foundations of behavior, cognition, learning, intelligence, motivation, memory, personality, and psychological disorders. This class may include students from multiple sections. (Social Sciences, Elective)
Sixth Quarter (Spring)
Provides an introduction to the field of Cyber Security through the analysis of technology and concepts in the field of cyber security and cybercrime. This course provides a complete introduction to the protection of business information and systems that support business process. The objective is to identify common threats and attacks, analyze the role of security techniques and architectures, explain the role of cryptography, and analyze issues related to managing security. This class may include students from multiple sections.
This course will focus on methods and procedures for involving volunteers in emergency management programs, with the goal of maximizing the effectiveness of volunteer resources by implementing a people-oriented system that addresses defining volunteer roles, designing a plan of action, recruiting volunteers, training individuals who volunteer, and motivation and maintenance of a successful program. The role of spontaneous and/or unaffiliated volunteers in the disaster response process will also be addressed. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Provides students "real world experiences" in homeland security and emergency management. Students learn to work within time constraints and are exposed to appropriate workplace behaviors. Students will have opportunities to refine the core skills they have learned from the courses or curriculum. This class may include students from multiple sections.
Your personal educational plan will vary based on many factors including: