Protect And Serve With A Career In Homeland Security

by Kelli Smith - Date: 2008-09-11 - Word Count: 446 Share This!

"I'd say there's not an industry or business out there today that's not impacted by homeland security," Rich Cooper, business liaison director at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, told Occupational Outlook Quarterly. Whether you want to work on the front lines of the war on terror or in the background infrastructure, careers in homeland security offer you the challenge you seek.

Average Federal Homeland Security Salaries
Government jobs within the Department of Homeland Security vary, from Coast Guard engineers to customs agents, law enforcement specialists to immigration officers. Here are a few average annual salaries for full-time workers in Federal government homeland security positions:

Border patrol agent: $63,550
Air traffic controller: $72,049
Criminal investigating: $88,174
Customs agent: $59,248

In addition to base pay, Federal employees may receive cash awards up to $25,000 for sustained high job performance or a special act of service. No career training program can guarantee a particular career or salary, of course, but hiring managers for competitive Federal jobs may prefer or require the formal training provided by a degree in homeland security.

Homeland Security Careers Outside the Federal Government
Private companies often partner with the government to provide goods and services under the heading of homeland security. Training in the field may qualify you for jobs in the private sector, which encompasses non-profit and for-profit groups. Here are just a few popular careers for trained homeland security professionals:

Security consultants
Private security
Emergency management professionals

Training for Homeland Security Careers
Since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was created in 2001, training programs have evolved to meet the specialized needs of workers in the field. Required training varies widely by career--border patrol agents, for example, typically need a bachelor's degree, one year of qualifying experience, or a combination of education and experience.

More technical careers may require a bachelor's degree, while careers focusing more on physical security duties may only require coursework or an associate degree level of training. Typical coursework in a homeland security training program may include the following topics:

Disaster response
Psychology & crisis negotiation
Conflict resolution
Hazardous materials & weaponry

Research individual careers in the field to learn more about suggested training and coursework. Many degree programs cover a broad spectrum of homeland security issues, but some careers may require specific technical training.

Benefits of a Career in Homeland Security
Careers in homeland security may be hazardous, stressful, and difficult, and workers often take note of the unpredictable schedule, though many appreciate the variety. "It's the diversity of each day that's the best part of the job," says State Emergency Management Director and Homeland Security Director Art Cleaves.

If you can rise to the challenge presented by a homeland security career, you'll derive real job satisfaction from the knowledge that your actions make the nation safer every day.

Related Tags: careers, degrees, homeland security

Kelli Smith is the senior editor for lists colleges and career institutes that offer training and programs in Homeland Security. Schools listed offer free information packages or academic consultation.

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