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Tips for Navigating Your Career Path in Emergency and Security

An emergency security professional

The Tulane School of Professional Advancement offers award-winning degrees through its Emergency and Security Studies program led by instructors with extensive industry experience. To help you break into these competitive fields, we’ve compiled a few key details from an interview with three industry professionals. The discussion is moderated by Emergency and Security Studies program director Michael Wallace and associate program director Rebecca Rouse.

Know the Importance of Communication Between Agencies

In his discussion of the 9/11 attacks and the resulting report, panelist Steve Recca, director of University and Agency Partnership for the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, highlighted the impact of the lack of communication between United States response and intelligence agencies and the current need for improvement. Emergency and security professionals are often tasked with translating politics to action. Clear communication, delegation skills, and crisis response are crucial skills to master to stand out to hiring managers and supervisors.

Find the Right Fit

While you may be eager to leverage your first interview as an opportunity to show a potential employer that you're eager to serve and offer a broad range of skills that will be valuable to the agency, prioritize determining whether or not the role, organization, or community is the right fit for you and your career goals. Research the organization's values to see where you may fit in, and compile a list of your own indicators that a particular position or team will help you grow professionally.

As Steven Kuhr, manager of emergency management for Colorado Springs Utilities, noted that while it's important to bring a specific skill set that will help your future employer solve problems, leaders may be interested in providing more intensive training for an individual who is the best fit according to their mission and values and will help you develop as you go.

Get the Most Value Out of Your Master's Program

At SoPA, your education will earn you more than just a grade or degree—there's a vast array of professional networking opportunities in and outside of our organization to help you pave the way to a lucrative career. Find internship and volunteer connections, work with career advisors, and create a roadmap for your job search while working with professionals who want to help you succeed. As Recca noted, "Every handshake is potential for understanding more about the field or getting a job."

Focus on Building New Skills

It's easy to get caught up in a job description: you want to meet—and exceed!—the organization's expectations, but the requirements in the listing can often be a deterrent if you feel like you're missing a few items on the checklist. Kaitlyn Wetzel, emergency preparedness manager for Secure Community Network, shared her experience developing skills as a strong facilitator and navigating conflict resolution on the job, which doesn't necessarily need to be backed by formal credentials. In her experience in the insurance industry, Wetzel was able to introduce a unique perspective to an issue and help her team understand the financial impact of a decision, proving prior experience, no matter the industry, can help you think outside of the box.

Tulane School of Professional Advancement graduates receive support far beyond the classroom. Our dedicated faculty and staff of industry professionals work to support our students throughout their careers and well after receiving their degrees. Learn more about Tulane SoPA's affordable and flexible emergency management and homeland security studies master's degrees by requesting more information about our programs today.

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