For those who enter a career in Homeland Security, Halloween is not the scariest time of the year.

That would be any day, all year.

More than ever, Homeland Security has become of critical importance to the nation’s safety.  Especially because no one knows when or where the next threat will materialize.

Threats against the United States happen year round and involve not only armed terrorists, but also cyber security. This area is a growing concern that increases with each passing year as terrorists become more computer savvy.

A Career in Homeland Security

Because of escalating threats from around the world, Homeland Security has remained a hot field for the past decade.

Online degree programs in Homeland Security offer students more flexibility in scheduling classes around busy work and family schedules. Some programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in Homeland Security from Concordia University Portland, offer degree completion programs that students can finish in as little as 16 months.

Students learn about risk management, cyber security, public health and intelligence. They also learn many facts about the need for skilled professionals. They include the following frightening realities.

1. Threats Come In Many Ways

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States Department of Homeland Security has worked with other agencies and private contractors to make communities more aware of terrorist threats as well as help them recover faster in the wake of disasters.

However, the types of threats continue to multiple. Anyone who keeps up with current events knows about the terrorist attacks that have happened in the United States involving guns, bombs and even knives. However, other threats include biological weapons, nuclear arms and cyber-attacks. The latter already has wreaked havoc on everything from government agencies and private retailers to political parties.

2. The Influence of Terrorists is Spreading

In testimony this past summer in front of Congress, Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said that “we have moved from a world of terrorist-directed attacks, to a world that includes the threat of terrorist-inspired attacks.” He mentioned the shootings in Orlando and San Bernardino, Calif., as examples of how terrorist propaganda on the Internet has inspired people unaffiliated with terrorist networks to launch their own attacks.

3. The Cost of Homeland Security

According to a study by the National Priorities Project, the United States has spent more than $630 billion on Homeland Security since 2001.

4. The Number of Lives Lost

Those entering this field know the toll terrorism has taken in the United States since 9-11. On that day, 2,996 people died. Since then, 94 people have died in jihadist terrorist attacks in the U.S., according to a report from USA Today.

5. Cyber Threats Multiplying

Of all the latest threats, perhaps none has evolved more rapidly than cyber threats. A report from Symantec found that the number of zero day vulnerabilities – holes in software that hackers can exploit – went from 24 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, and the number is expected to grow.

Frightening? Yes, but that is why the country needs skilled, smart Homeland Security professionals to handle these issues and other threats that face the nation. For those who want a career where you make a difference and better the lives of others, Homeland Security might prove a good fit.