Homeland Security Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks

A career in homeland security can span many different jobs, from border patrol agent to FBI agent to secret service agent. Homeland security employees work with governments, people within communities, and businesses to ensure the safety and security of our infrastructure to keep us safe. Homeland security professionals work to prevent terrorism, keep our borders safe, and plan for natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes. The Department of Homeland Security encompasses fields such as counter-terrorism, border security, customs, and cybersecurity, so daily activities will depend largely on the type of job you hold.

Degrees for Homeland Security

If you are looking to enter the field of Homeland Security, you can get started by pursuing one of these related degrees:
  • Homeland Security Degree
  • Cybersecurity Degree
  • Emergency Management Degree
  • Counter Terrorism Degree
  • Security Management Degree
  • Criminal Justice Administration Degree

Steps for Becoming a Homeland Security Professional

Formal education and training is recommended to prepare for the challenges of working in this rapidly changing and complex field. Many colleges and universities now offer homeland security degree programs that prepare students for careers in law enforcement, the investigation of international and domestic terrorism, the investigation of cybercrime, the management of hazardous materials, and industrial and commercial security. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field is recommended for most positions within the Department of Homeland Security, but a lesser degree or a high school diploma may be sufficient with adequate training and experience. Higher-level and supervisory positions may require a graduate degree or a suitable combination of education and experience. However, some positions, such as TSA screeners, have less stringent education requirements for entry-level hires. To be hired as a Homeland Security Professional, aside from being a US citizen, you should expect to follow steps similar to the following.
  1. Attend a degree program and/or gain the experience needed for the job.*
  2. Apply for an open position on the USAJobs website.
  3. Take and pass a medical exam.
  4. Take and pass a psychological examination.
  5. Take and pass a polygraph test.
  6. Undergo a background investigation.
  7. Take and pass a drug test.
  8. Be interviewed.
  9. Get hired as a Homeland Security professional.
  10. Get trained on the job once hired.