Homeland Security: Job Description, Salary, and Education
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the DHS was formed by combining 22 separate federal departments and transforming them into a cohesive unit.
Since the department covers such a wide variety of areas, careers in homeland security cover a variety of different fields and industries. The DHS is separated into department components like legislative affairs, intelligence & analysis and transportation security administration. Each department has its own set of career opportunities.
The pay range for homeland security jobs is contingent on the specific position, the hiring agency and the level of experience of the applicant. For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is one of the agencies within the Department of Homeland Security. One of the jobs with this agency is supervisory transportation security specialist; a position is responsible for ensuring TSA compliance.
According to usajobs.gov, a supervisory transportation security specialist makes between $126,657 and $172,550 a year. Pay rates for other positions vary based on the factors mentioned above.
Job Skills for Homeland Security
Similarly, the job skills necessary for a career in homeland security depends upon the specific position. A person working on cyber security for homeland security would need computer skills, hacking knowledge and the ability to protect our infrastructure. Someone working in emergency response would need the ability to act quickly and keep calm during distressing situations.
Despite the nuances in skillsets for different homeland security positions, there are also qualities that people working in this field share. Being able to take direction and lead a team are important skills for anyone working in homeland security, as these positions follow a specific chain of command.
Work Environment for Homeland Security
Working in homeland security can be done from a diverse group of work settings, each depending upon the particular position. Specializing in cyber security requires working long hours at a computer, typically in an office setting. Border agents, on the other hand, may spend their entire shift patrolling outdoors in any weather condition. Some homeland security positions require heavy travel while others might not travel at all.
Depending upon the duties of the specific position, some homeland security careers can be dangerous. Law enforcement, travel security and emergency response are examples of jobs that take place under potentially dangerous work conditions. Work hours also vary based on position. Since threats can happen at any time, working some nights, weekends, holidays or overtime is possible for many homeland security positions.
Education Requirements for Homeland Security
Many homeland security jobs have specific education criteria based around the position’s area of expertise. Some homeland security jobs allow for flexibility with educational backgrounds. For example, a job listing for a foreign affairs officer on usajobs.gov has five different options for education requirements.
Applicants for the foreign affairs officer position can have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a variety of subject areas including economics, international law or political science. However, applicants could also have a specific number of course hours completed in the desired subject areas or a combination of relevant education and experience.
Candidates looking to work in homeland security should first choose a particular subject area they would like to work in. This will help determine which educational path is right for the person’s specific career goals.