Keeping Us Safe - Careers in Homeland Security
After the devastating events of September 11, 2001, many of us were stirred to action. Some folks joined the armed forces. Other individuals became police officers and firemen after watching the heroic acts of that day. Not long after the towers fell, the government decided we needed to do even more to protect our shores and established the Department of Homeland Security.
Those that are looking to serve our nation but are not interested in joining the military should consider working in homeland security. People who work in this criminal justice field anticipate and respond to all 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 rife with opportunity.
Customs, Secret Service, the FDA: Homeland Security Offers Career Diversity
Careers in homeland security run the gamut from science to immigration to state park police. For someone with a criminal justice background, such as an associates or bachelors degree in the field, there are literally thousands of positions available. Here is a short list of the various 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. Positions in 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 jobs require only a high school diploma, the difference that a criminal justice degree can make literally adds up to thousands of dollars a year. Many career colleges are now offering associates programs specifically in homeland security, and other criminal justice degree programs-most only two years-fill the bill as well. A four-year bachelors degree can mean the difference between and entry level and a management position, with the title, prestige and salary to boot.
Where to Find Jobs
Because of the wide range of organizations that are part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), not all 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 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? Explore the options with a criminal justice degree today.