There is no greater honor than getting a chance to serve your nation. If you are all about protecting and serving, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is for you.
Homeland security is a broad sector centered around protecting citizens from threats. The DHS has approximately 200,000 employees working in different positions.
Some of these areas involve working behind the computer, while others require patrolling the border. But, before you can apply for a lucrative profession, know what your options are.
This will help you make an informed choice and allow you to refine your resume for the work you wish to do. To make America great again, here are career options you should consider:
- Customs and Immigration
The US immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helps stop people and goods from crossing the border illegally.
As an ICE officer, you will enforce federal immigration and customs laws. This includes detaining undocumented immigrants, apprehending runaway criminals, and deporting immigrants with expired visas.
You may even have to work high-profile cases and prevent a million dollars worth of narcotics from entering your country.
To start your career, you need to earn a homeland security bachelor’s degree and learn the basics of law enforcement and criminal justice.
Right after your bachelor’s, you can choose to intern at ICE, which will give you a more insightful experience on what your job expects from you.
However, doing this internship is not mandatory. Still, it looks good on your applicant profile, so consider doing it to stand out.
Once you complete your bachelor’s, you need to apply for an ICE position through an online application. During this process, you will have to go through an intense evaluation followed by background checks before you hear from the department.
You better brace yourself since the hiring process is quite daunting and may take up to four months before results are in.
After your selection comes to a grueling sixty-three-day training program, you’re ready to start your new job upon successful completion.
- Intelligence Analyst
Suppose you enjoy working with large data clusters to identify security threats, generate field reports, present statistical data and work on different databases. In that case, an intelligence analyst is the job for you.
This research-intensive field requires more brains than brawn to create effective action plans. You will spend a significant portion of your time reading the information provided by special agents such as those in the FBI and contacting government agencies to verify details.
Despite being a desk job, an intelligence analyst plays a vital role in international relations and national security.
Through your skills and expertise, you can make traveling safe, prevent cyberattacks, and keep an eye on immigrants coming into the country.
To become an intelligence analyst and a bachelor’s, you need to get a master’s degree, preferably in international relations.
This will help you understand the various socioeconomic, diplomacy, and cultural issues essential for your profession. In addition to your degree, make sure you intern in government agencies, for instance, at the CIA.
- Surveillance Agent
Surveillance agents serve as secret agents for homeland security. But while the profession may sound appealing, it’s physically demanding.
As a surveillance agent, your working hours may be odd, and you may have to show up at late night hours.
Your job is to primarily collect information, monitor criminal movements, and determine what possible threats your country may be facing.
Since you need to keep an eye on enemy frontlines, traveling is also a significant part of the job. As a surveillance agent, you may get relocated to any part of the country.
This profession demands soft skills and physical endurance over a degree. So, having a bachelor’s is enough to get you started, but you need to keep up with an intense training program that may go over nine weeks.
The FBI academy arranges most of these sessions, so you will go through defensive training, work with technology, and have random drug screenings to ensure you’re fit for this job.
- The Secret Service
The Secret service sounds like something you would hear in the movies. But, this profession is very much accurate and highly high-profile.
A secret service agent plays a very prestigious role in homeland security. Once you decide to become a secret service agent, you have to choose one of two divisions as your career.
The investigative division is responsible for investigating fraud, counterfeit, identify theft, and performing undercover work.
In contrast, the protective division is responsible for maintaining high government officials like the President or Vice President’s security.
The latter of the two is far more demanding. Therefore, you will need to go through a high-caliber training program with a bachelor’s degree.
The first training course is a Criminal Investigator Training Program which runs about ten weeks and will fly you out to Glynco.
The session covers many topics necessary to transform you into an agent, including firearm training, interrogation methods, and arrest laws.
After this course, you will start another special training course at James J Rowley training center in Washington DC, about 17 weeks. Here, you’ll learn about identifying fraud and pick up on personal physical protection.
- Cybersecurity Specialist
Technology has become sophisticated, and so have the types of threats your country may face. So, if you’re good with computers and have the relevant skills to manipulate technology and counter cyberattacks, you can have a spot in homeland security.
As a cybersecurity specialist, you will need to draft a cyber incident response, carry out vulnerability assessments on the database and check digital forensics for evidence of a cyberattack.
In addition, you may need to be well-versed in security tools. Nessus, Qualys, burp Suite.
Therefore, your educational qualification should be a master’s, preferably computer science. You will also require substantial experience working as a cybersecurity specialist in different firms before you get shortlisted for homeland security.
Your country needs your help protecting it, and there are many ways you can provide security. These professions are very distinct in their purpose but share a mutual goal of keeping your nation safe. As the US custom protection, you ensure no undocumented immigrant passes the border.
While as an intelligence analyst, you work tirelessly behind the desk to collect data and protect internal threats from occurring.
Other options included working as a surveillance agent to monitor all criminal movements or becoming a cybersecurity specialist to prevent cyberattacks from stealing confidential information and plans.
You may also work in the most prestigious side of homeland security and try your hand as a secret service agent. With these career choices in mind, find your place in homeland security.