Homeland Security experts are law enforcement personnel tasked with keeping the nation secure from internal and external threats. Working from the field or in administrative positions, Homeland Security personnel work hard to ensure that terrorists do not succeed in attacking the country. With security becoming a priority for both the government and the private sector, the last few years have led to a boom in Homeland Security careers.

A Closer Look
Homeland Security encompasses a wide range of specialties and career paths. Most job opportunities lie with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a part of the Federal Government. Apart from this, local police departments and other Federal and State agencies are also popular destinations for trained personnel. With the private sector taking on a bigger role in security, new opportunities have come up for Homeland Security experts.

Field agents, doctors, accountants, computer programmers, administrators, lawyers, psychologists – almost anyone can build a career here. Your prior experience can really come in handy, and depending upon your background and choice, you can opt for a field- or desk-based position.

While a desk job should entail a 40-hour work-week, being comfortable with unpredictable work timings will be an asset. Excellent logical reason skills and being able to stay calm in the face of stress are other traits that a Homeland Security expert should possess. As the work involved can be highly sensitive and critical, you might also have to clear a stringent background check.

Study Options
Some of the subjects you’ll encounter in a Homeland Security course include:

  • Internal and External Terrorism
  • Threats posed by Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • International Relations and US Foreign Policy
  • Cyber-terrorism and security
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Policymaking
  • Public perception
  • Protecting critical infrastructure
  • Aviation security
  • Food and Agricultural safety
  • Border security
  • Public health issues
  • Working with local agencies such as police departments
  • Private sector role in Homeland Security
  • Surveillance, interrogation, and evidence gathering

Courses in this field are available at the Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s levels. Your prior work experience can also come in handy – Veterans will be welcomed with open arms, while those with prior security, law enforcement, accounting, or Information Technology experience should also be well-suited for a career in Homeland Security. There are also several Certificate programs that might suit those with experience in these fields

Career Paths
The most obvious destination for graduates in Homeland Security is the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS has several ‘featured mission areas’ and hires experts in a range of security specialties. Even those who have related degrees such as Criminal Justice or Forensics can apply to the DHS. The DHS also offers a range of fellowships and internships.

There are several other State and Federal agencies that hire experts in Homeland Security. Local police departments and administrative bodies such as city councils are also prospective destinations for you. Apart from this, with several security tasks being contracted out, the private sector has become a major employer.