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Careers in homeland security exist at every level of government—local, state, and federal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operates Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, Counterterrorism, and U.S. Immigration. Careers in any one of the sub-organizations within DHS are plentiful. Whether you are interested in federal law enforcement or emergency management, our homeland security studies will provide you with the education you need to compete in the job market.
Careers in homeland security exist at every level of government—local, state, and federal. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operates twenty two different agencies including Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Transportation and Safety Administration, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and carries out counterterrorism activities.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) divides its career fields into four major functions. These are Mission Support (i.e. the headquarters elements), Law Enforcement, Immigration and Travel Security, and Prevention and Response.
Although not required for all positions, obtaining a security clearance is important when trying to enter the field of homeland security. While not all positions require applicants to already have one in place, most do require that applicants be able to obtain a clearance. It is important to understand what is required to obtain a clearance, the limitations, and how one is obtained before beginning the job search. One key piece of information to keep in mind: never trust a company offering preapproval for a clearance, no matter how small the fee they are charging.
The Homeland Security field offers various types of opportunities, for which O*Net, a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, has position descriptions. Related job titles include Emergency Management Directors, Security Managers, Regulatory Affairs Managers, Loss Prevention Managers, Compliance Managers, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives, and Investment Fund Managers.
Sample occupations found within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security provided by Bureau of Labor and Statistics include, but are not limited to:
Breaking into a new field can be difficult, and often ‘entry-level’ positions require some previous experience in the field. The best way to gain experience is through an internship. There are several different forms of an internship, such as a fellowship, volunteer, co-op, and the federal government's pathways program.
To search for government agencies, visit the Internships and Fellowships link on the career services website. The ‘Federal Agency Listing' and the ‘Interest-Based Internships’ links can help you determine what types of internships have been available in the past, as well as what is currently available.
Additional information about how internships can assist students in obtaining security clearances, as well as jobs can be found on the clearance jobs website.
Volunteering in a homeland security-related position is a great way to gain experience. Examples of organizations that provide volunteer opportunities include the following organizations. Also see individual state agency websites for possible volunteer or other experiential opportunities as well as the student volunteer page on USAJobs.gov.
Examples of internships offered by DHS, and constituent agencies include:
There are several government agencies and organizations that seek candidates with a foundation in counter terrorism, along with advanced degrees, experience, and other qualifications. The list below provides examples of such places.
A Homeland Security ‘think tank’, also known as a policy institute, is an organization whose primary responsibility is to conduct research and engage in advocacy in various public policy areas. Several examples of these organizations, whose focuses are related to Homeland Security, are listed below.
If you are a veteran or have experience with a State Vocational Rehabilitation Office, contact a Homeland Security Selective Placement Coordinator. You may be specially qualified for Department of Homeland Security positions, and they may also have additional resources available for you.
Professional organizations provide job seekers with an excellent opportunity to network with fellow practitioners in their field of study, and can assist in staying-up-to date on the new technology, tools, and best practices in the homeland security field. Below are a few professional organizations you may be interested in within the homeland security field.
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