There are many that feel a calling to protect and serve their country. If a career in the military isn’t right for you, but you want to serve in a way that defends the American way of life, a degree in Homeland Security might offer the kind of rewarding job opportunities you are looking for.
What is Homeland Security?
The umbrella term “Homeland Security” covers the organized national effort to keep the US safe. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), their mission is “to secure the nation from the many threats we face” and they hire over 240,000 people to do it. These jobs will range from emergency response to chemical facility inspectors. The wide range of opportunities in the DHS offers a number of exciting careers with rewarding responsibilities.
Trained professionals who choose a Homeland Security career path are vital to keeping the nation protected in every way possible. From threats outside trying to get in, to negligence of corporations that could threaten the American public, there are many reasons the Department of Homeland Security is needed.
What Can You Do with a Homeland Security Degree?
Different homeland security jobs require different degree levels, whether you would like to work with local governments or on the federal level. While some of these positions may only require a bachelor's degree, earning a master's degree in Homeland Security will provide a broader number of career opportunities to choose from. A strong program should equip you to understand laws, ethical issues and regulations that will apply to your job. Here are a few of the top positions in public safety, disaster relief, and criminal justice you might consider after achieving your degree in Homeland Security.
Customs and Immigration
There are more than 400 federal statutes designed to relegate immigration while preventing terrorism. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helps stop the illegal movement of people and goods moving into the country. From enforcing expired visas to stopping illegal border crossings, the jobs within ICE range widely based on location and position. The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office is a department that helps families impacted by crimes committed by those who aren’t in the country legally. Other professionals in customs and immigration have important jobs to stop human trafficking and opioid transport.
Emergency Management Specialist
If you are good at organizing plans and collecting data, a job as an emergency management specialist may be a good career. You will need to be calm in the face of disaster and good at making changes on the fly. Since you will be in charge of a number of professionals and departments in the case of an emergency, you will have to be highly skilled at communicating and organizing others to follow a plan. You will need to be able to write and convey detailed plans that take into account a number of moving parts. An emergency management specialist will be in charge of training key parties in preparation for all sorts of potential disasters. You would need to know the legal and ethical expectations, as well as hold a good grasp of the best disaster responses for all kinds of crisis management situations. Many professionals in this field work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), though there may be some opportunities in the private sector.
With threats ever-looming against the United States, a qualified group of individuals are tasked with monitoring specific concerns. These analysts identify and review reports that may lead to national security threats and terrorist attacks. If you tend to be more of a tech-savvy office type, you might like the career of an intelligence analyst. You will learn to identify and interpret information to catch subtle cues that suggest potential threats. Between in-depth analytics and information gathering, you will be able to help out other government agencies as they track rumors and cases throughout the country. This career often requires a degree in computer science and multilingual capabilities on top of your Homeland Security degree.
Probably more along the lines of what you are picturing with a Homeland Security degree, a surveillance agent is more of the “secret agent” type. If you always thought a career as a special agent sounded like a cool gig, then becoming a surveillance agent for a department, like the FBI, could be just the kind of action you are looking for in a career. They are often expected to work odd hours and constantly stay in connection with their bosses. If you became an FBI Surveillance Agent, you might be relocated to anywhere in the country. Intensive training and background checks are required. The job puts you right into the action—looking into cases and assessing threats in a face-to-face way. Agents have to be skilled at reading people and organized in how they approach issues. Most of the work for surveillance agents is done in the field and not in the office.
Law Enforcement Training Instructor
If you have a strong desire to uphold law and order as well as justice, then working with law enforcement might be your calling. A law enforcement training instructor will help teach various tactics for self-defense, weapons use, first aid, de-escalation techniques and more local law enforcement and federal agencies. Most law enforcement careers offer a high average salary and good benefits, so you will be well compensated for your desire to help people. You will have the rewarding opportunity to help keep your community and police officers safer by offering the tactics and training needed for the high intensity of the job. You will be able to help set the tone for officer conduct and instill the ethical principles vital to safeguarding people’s rights while defending the peace.
US Customs Agent
Within customs and immigration, you can pinpoint a career in border protection that works to stop illegal crossings. From immigrants trying to avoid the immigration process to those working to smuggle in contraband, your job will be stopping the issues at the gates. A background in law enforcement or criminal investigation is helpful for this career. You will be physically working with detainees and criminals on a regular basis. In order to provide fair treatment and support to any degree possible, agents have to be able to communicate well with people from diverse backgrounds. Being fluent in another language (especially the language of the immigrants you are most likely to work with) will go a long way in helping you be successful as a US Customs Agent.
Earn Your Homeland Security Degree
If you’re interested in a career in Homeland Security, earn your MPA - Homeland Security degree online from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].