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Whether you want to improve your skills, boost your resume or prepare for a new job opportunity, training and certification programs and resources can help you achieve your goals. With the right program and resource, you will be more productive and this will help you climb the career ladder.

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LeVar A. Newsom  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 5:27:51 AM(UTC)
psilentchild

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I would like to work for FEMA one day or something dealing with terrorist. I have 14 years of experience as a firefighter. I am having second thoughts about my decision to pursue my masters. The program is costing me 10k per semester. I'm looking at owing about 40k when I'm done.That's a lot of money to pay back, especially if it does nothing to get me a job. What do some of you all think?
Baron Samedi  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 5:47:08 AM(UTC)
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I'm going to be blunt in my opinion and say don't fall for the marketing BS.

A "Masters in Homeland Security" is an expensive joke. You'll be out 40k and be worse off than before. Your resume will be laughed at by selecting officials, whom themselves have bachelors or masters in traditional fields.

Go for Public Administration or other degree in a field that interest you. A state school where you qualify for in-state tuition may be a good route.

I'm sure some poor sap that spent a fortune on one of these crap degrees will disagree with me, but I don't particularly care.
FedGuy4Life  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 5:48:31 AM(UTC)

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With 14 years in I would recommend retiring as a firefighter.

A masters in Homeland Security may help once you retire.

With 20+ years as firefighter, and masters in homeland security I would think that you would have a good background in public safety.

I would think that an Emergency Management position would be in your sights.
LeVar A. Newsom  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 5:59:59 AM(UTC)
psilentchild

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I should have explained it better, but 2 of those years are volunteer. I have 12 years in towards a 25 year retirement. The school I am going to is a reputable school. It's not some strictly online degree program whose main office is inside some mall. I have seriously been thinking about finishing up my career and retiring. Some times I feel I have too many years in the fire service to start over. I will be 48 at the time of retirement.
Pat M  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 6:25:56 AM(UTC)
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psilentchild wrote:
I should have explained it better, but 2 of those years are volunteer. I have 12 years in towards a 25 year retirement. The school I am going to is a reputable school. It's not some strictly online degree program whose main office is inside some mall. I have seriously been thinking about finishing up my career and retiring. Some times I feel I have too many years in the fire service to start over. I will be 48 at the time of retirement.
Better to finish as a firefighter and qualify for that pension, then look for another career. A Master's in Homeland Security might also help you get a job with DOD or DHS. But I would not spend $40K on it, that is way too much. I don't think it is worth that kind of money.
Tryno  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 12:08:35 PM(UTC)

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I agree with the others, $40K for a Homeland Security masters..... and your stated desire to deal with terrorist, I don't it will work. I don't work with Homeland Security but I'd guess that very few of their jobs actually deal with terrorism. Another factor is, if you are talking about something along the line of Law Enforcement job. Some of those have age limitations, you can look those up.

Anyone know someone who got a Fed job because of a Homeland Security degree? I don't but personally I only know a couple of people with a Homeland Security degree.
frankgonzalez  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:30:16 PM(UTC)
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psilentchild wrote:
I should have explained it better, but 2 of those years are volunteer. I have 12 years in towards a 25 year retirement. The school I am going to is a reputable school. It's not some strictly online degree program whose main office is inside some mall. I have seriously been thinking about finishing up my career and retiring. Some times I feel I have too many years in the fire service to start over. I will be 48 at the time of retirement.
Most of us military retirees were in our 40s when we retired and then began our new career.

I'd recommend finishingout the current career to retirement (unless you hate the job), work on a degree that you enjoy (but find a cheaper school), and parley your experience and education into the second career (be it with the fed or not).

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
Joe Cardwell  
#8 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 1:41:48 AM(UTC)
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I think the first question is how far along are you in the program? You said it is costing you 10K per semester, and you are already working on it, so it may be pointless to stop now if you are almost done. I think having any Master's in the federal government is just checking a box. The government doesn't care if your master's is an MPA or MBA so long as you have 24 semester hours in business, law, etc. for the Program Management and Contracting jobs. FEMA has both these career fields.

In terms of terrorism response jobs, I honestly don't know that the Homeland Security masters may help, but it may be cutting edge. I know there are degrees on UAVs now, and it is cutting edge. Will it help you get a job working with UAVs one day - nobody knows because they are pilot programs (no pun intended).

One thing to consider is the Income Based Loan Repayment program. A lot of lawyers (myself included) took jobs with the government in contracting and nonlegal fields to take advantage of the program. 40K may not be enough loans to help you take full advantage of the program, but something to consider
LeVar A. Newsom  
#9 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 3:05:34 AM(UTC)
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I am in my 1st semester of the program. I decide to get my masters for 2 reasons. Most of the jobs I looked at wanted some experience or have a masters degree. My 2nd reason is I would love to start my own emergency management consulting firm. I figured get my master, get a job with fema, and then start my own consulting firm.
D  
#10 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 3:23:53 AM(UTC)
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I'd have to definitely advise against it. FEMA hiring is very competitive, and a masters in homeland security doesn't really add much. It's a very generic degree, and FEMA isn't really interested in them. Personally, since you are a firefighter, I'd look into FEMA's independent study courses, as well as their Emergency Management Institute. A high level ICS course is always handy, and if you've been in charge of an incident before, that experience will definitely be useful. Keep in mind though, FEMA hires are rare, so it might be a good idea to look into state and county positions as well. Best of luck
thanks 1 user thanked LEOSA17 for this useful post.
GWPDA on 6/12/2015(UTC)
LeVar A. Newsom  
#11 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 3:35:45 AM(UTC)
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Thanks, I have a bunch of the FEMA ICS courses. I have thought about attending their EMI academy.
Tryno  
#12 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 7:36:15 AM(UTC)

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So your firefighter experience is in the navy, correct? You have 12 years in towards a retirement- Right? If that's all correct, then I'd say stay and finish the retirement, then do something else.

Question about FLETC academy

I was thinking about becoming an IEA. I was looking at the time frame it takes at the academy and it's 20 weeks. That's a long time to be away from my kids. They are young and a lot can happen in 5 months. I was wondering will I be allowed to fly home on the weekends or will my family be able to come visit on some weekend?

Master's from Naval Postgraduate school

was thinking about getting my master's in homeland defense and security from the Naval Postgraduate school. Has anybody received a degree from this school?
TotallyRetired  
#13 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 8:09:37 AM(UTC)

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psilentchild wrote:
...My 2nd reason is I would love to start my own emergency management consulting firm. I figured get my master, get a job with fema, and then start my own consulting firm.


Unless you are independently wealthy, I see this as purely a business decision.

I would try to do an estimate on how long it would take me to recover the $40,000 spent on getting this degree. For example, if your consulting firm could add $10,000 per year to your current annual income, then it would only take four years to recover the cost of the degree. The degree would seem to be a good business decision.

The unknown (for me) is the probability that your small business would be successful & turn a profit within the amount of time your savings will hold out. If your plan is to get a small business loan & mortgage your home for start-up money, you are embracing a big risk.

LeVar A. Newsom  
#14 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 8:21:34 AM(UTC)
psilentchild

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No, I am not in the navy. The naval postgraduate school allows anybody that's a police officer, firefighter, EMS etc to take their free masters program. I work for a state fire department.
Tryno  
#15 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 11:42:18 AM(UTC)

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I guess I'm missing something here, how is a free program costing you $10,000 per semester
LeVar A. Newsom  
#16 Posted : Thursday, March 6, 2014 11:50:33 AM(UTC)
psilentchild

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I never said I was attending the naval postgraduate school. I only asked about the program. You are assuming that sense I was asking about the naval postgraduate school that I decided to attend that school. I talked to several former students and they all said they often wonder what did they get themselves into. The program was super hard. The program is designed as a everybody start and finish at the same time. I decided on a program where I can decide the order of courses I want to take. If I wanted to take 1 class per semester I could.psilentchild2014-03-06 20:02:07
Pat M  
#17 Posted : Friday, March 7, 2014 1:27:09 AM(UTC)
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Tryno wrote:
Master's from Naval Postgraduate school

was thinking about getting my master's in homeland defense and security from the Naval Postgraduate school. Has anybody received a degree from this school?
My boss (GS) and several co-workers have Master's Degrees from the NPS. They are current active duty officers or retired officers. An NPS degree looks good to DOD, that much I can tell you. So if you want to pursue a Civilian career in DOD, that would work well. FYI, the NPS is not a cakewalk.
makana777  
#18 Posted : Friday, March 7, 2014 2:06:51 AM(UTC)

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Just my 2 cents here. It seems like a good program but challenging. There are some pretty good programs out there from state colleges with an online learning format.
Tryno  
#19 Posted : Friday, March 7, 2014 3:22:25 AM(UTC)

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psilentchild, thanks for clearing that up, I knew I had to be missing something. I wish you the best. I think you'll find that most of the people being hired for the terrorist type work will be have either military or law enforcement backgrounds. Now if you were looking to be involved by say following the money by review financial/banking/purchase/sales transactions you might have a better chance but that's probably going to require a accounting/finance/business degree to get started.

I do wish you the best and admire anyone who is willing to tackle any portion of the terrorist situation.
LeVar A. Newsom  
#20 Posted : Friday, March 7, 2014 10:55:38 AM(UTC)
psilentchild

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No problem and thanks. I often think I should have joined the military or become a cop. Before I became an firefighter I had 3 options that I wanted to do: join the coast guard, became a sheirrff, or firefighter. I went with who ever called 1st. Well the sheriff office and fire department had till I think Nov to call me or I was joining the coast guard. The fire department called me that July. Seems like some of the things I would like to do require notary or law enforcement experience.
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