Explore the Many Ways to Make the USA a Safer Place: A Career in Homeland Security

Homeland security careers

After the events of September 11, 2001, many were stirred to action. Some joined the armed forces. Others became police officers and firemen after watching the heroic acts of that day. Not long after the towers fell, the U.S. government decided to do even more to protect our shores and established the Department of Homeland Security.

Those who are looking to serve the nation but are not interested in joining the military should consider a job in homeland security. Those who work in this field anticipate and respond to events that affect the nation— from pandemics to hurricanes to terrorism. With multiple offices in Washington, DC, and hundreds of offices throughout the country, homeland security is a diverse and dynamic field that’s rife with opportunity.  Earning a degree in criminal justice is an excellent step in preparing for a homeland security career.

Customs, Secret Service, the FDA: Homeland Security Offers Career Diversity

Jobs in homeland security run the gamut from science to immigration to state park police. For individuals with a criminal justice background, such as an associates or bachelors degree in the field, there are literally thousands of positions available, including government homeland security jobs. Here is a short list of departments that now fall under the homeland security umbrella.

  • Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Customs and Border Protection
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Pentagon Force Protection Agency
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • U.S. Capitol Police
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol)
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • United States Coast Guard Civilian Jobs
  • United States Park Police
  • United States Secret Service

Public Vs. Private Sector

Homeland security is no longer just a government issue. Jobs in homeland security through all sectors of business and industry have become available, particularly those in computer security and other infrastructure protective positions. The Department of Homeland Security also uses consultants and contractors for some jobs, so you can find homeland security work in the private sector as well.

Education, Job Outlook, and Salary

In 2006, the Department of Homeland Security employed 183,000 people. It is anticipated that hiring will be stronger than average in many sectors of the DHS, particularly technical positions such as computer security and other investigative positions.

While many entry-level homeland security jobs require only a high school diploma, a criminal justice degree can translate to thousands of dollars in additional salary each year. Many career colleges are now offering associates programs in homeland security, and other criminal justice degree programs—most only two years—align to this career as well. A four-year bachelors degree can mean the difference between and entry level and a management position, with the attending title, prestige and salary, offering you the best in homeland security careers.

Where to Find Jobs

Because of the wide range of organizations that are part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), not all homeland security jobs listed will say “position in homeland security.” The DHS website lists many job openings, and your college’s career placement office should also be able to provide direction and guidance.

There is no doubt that homeland security is a growing field. On July 9, 2007, the International Herald Tribune published an article claiming that nearly one quarter of the available jobs in homeland security were vacant. Why not take this chance to both serve your country and assure yourself of a solid and stable career? Begin your quest by enrolling in a criminal justice degree program today.