The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) protects the nation from the many threats that the country faces every year. Since its creation in 2002 to create a more secure America by focusing on areas such as preparedness, coordination, response, and recovery, the Department of Homeland Security has become the backbone of national security in the United States.
Many people likely have a perception that the job of homeland security employees is to fight terrorism. It’s bigger than that. In fact, the stated mission of the DHS is: “to secure the nation from the many threats we face.”
That simple mission encompasses a lot. There are any number of threats that need to be addressed, and each one requires skilled professionals with the knowledge and a willingness to accomplish much to be involved. Take a look at the mission of homeland security and its various functions to get some insight into potential career paths. Learn the answer to the question, ‘Is homeland security a good career?’
Homeland Security Secrets? Or Myths?
There is a myth that homeland security focuses only on thwarting terrorist threats to the United States. The mission, of course, requires more than that. Understanding the overall mission, guiding principles, and complex nature of the responsibilities of employees that work at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will help us all to understand its role and unravel what, to some, are the underlying mysteries and secrets of the department.
Homeland Security and Collaboration Across Agencies
Though not necessarily a secret, most people are unaware that homeland security employees work with more than just other federal agencies and their employees. Officials from all states continually work with the department to bolster homeland security efforts within their states. In fact, according to the DHS, when disasters occur, local governments are the ones that triage the event or situation to initially stabilize the situation. After the situation is stabilized, local communities often rely on their state and federal partners. As a federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security actively and continuously promotes community initiatives and works to strengthen local networks.
Homeland Security and Proactive Defense
Here’s another relative mystery, and it involves the idea that homeland security acts as a shield to safeguard people. It’s actually more complicated than that. The DHS is more than a static shield. It’s dynamic, always in action to the cause of protecting our homeland, something that is, perhaps, better understood through the lens of these five guiding principles. The DHS …
- Champions relentless resilience against all threats and hazards
- Reduces the country’s risk to homeland security dangers
- Upholds privacy, transparency, civil rights, and civil liberties
- Promotes citizen engagement, and strengthening and expanding our trusted partnerships
- Ensures mission-driven management and integration
How do homeland security officials accomplish these guiding principles? There is much more to the responsibilities of a homeland security official than fighting terrorism. Homeland security is responsible for interacting with federal, state, and local officials; subject matter experts; and other specialists to carry out their required duties.
Homeland Security Responsibilities
First, the DHS does, in fact, work hard to thwart terrorist actions within the US and its territories. But even though DHS employees—around the country and around the globe—work to keep the country and people safe from a wide variety of threats, there’s simply more to it.
Homeland Security and National Security
Homeland security experts often work to integrate and implement policies that affect national security. And they collaborate with officials and individuals in the normal course of their duties to get the job done. They’re often tasked with a number of duties: identify capability needs, conduct analysis, conduct research, collaborate and coordinate wherever needed, provide expert advice, and more—all to proactively secure our nation.
Homeland Security and Disaster Relief
Some homeland security professionals make the purchases and coordinate the delivery and ongoing supply of goods and services that provide aid for disaster relief. They need to be able to exhibit preparedness and appropriately respond to national disasters, protect national defense assets, and safeguard critical infrastructure. Homeland security employees also work at the highest levels of government to protect national leaders and national interests.
Homeland Security and Economic Protection
Something else that isn’t well-known? Homeland security is also focused on preserving and upholding the prosperity and economic security of the country. Protection comes in all shapes and sizes. Protect people. Protect our things. And protect our ability to make a living now and in the future. To that end, the DHS is very concerned with ensuring the “uninterrupted flow of goods and services, people and capital, and information and technology across our borders.”
Homeland Security and the Border
Securing the borders of and approaches to the United States is another responsibility held by DHS. It’s critical to our national defense and our shared identity. For some, it’s the ideal career track—securing our borders to prevent and intercept any foreign threats before reaching U.S. soil. Skills to do this type of work can often be found in a high-quality degree program focusing on customs and border security or homeland security.
Is a Homeland Security Degree Worth It?
Homeland security experts have responsibilities for everything from strategic planning to securing cyberspace. Which can make you wonder about different career fields within the DHS. For example, is homeland security a good career for someone with an information security analyst degree?
Homeland Security and IT Careers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the job outlook for information security analysts through 2028 shows a projected 32 percent job growth rate. This is considered ‘much faster than average’ rate of job growth, especially compared with the 5 percent average of all career paths total. The 2019 annual median salary for an information security analyst was $99,730 per year or an estimated $47.95 per hour. The BLS projects 35,500 jobs will be added in this area, many which could be added to the DHS.
Homeland Security and Non-IT Careers
Of course, the DHS looks for professionals outside the realm of information security and cybersecurity. Managers are needed. Financial experts are needed. Agents are needed. And each of them requires a unique set of skills and, often, educational qualifications.
The job outlook for other areas where homeland security employees work, including high-level employees, is expected to grow as the needs and responsibilities of the department continue to evolve and expand. The median annual salary and job outlook for other positions within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is potentially higher than the salary and job outlook for the information security analyst.
One factor that likely affects the career potential and job growth, along with the earnings, is education. The higher the educational level that a person achieves, the greater the likelihood of securing a dream job in a preferred area or specific location.
What Can You Do with a Homeland Security Degree?
What can you do with a homeland security degree that helps you along your career path and opens doors to greater responsibilities and a higher salary? Most entry-level positions with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security require a degree. At minimum, you need a bachelor’s degree to start a career in the DHS, whether you spend most of your day working a desk or you’re out in the field somewhere.
Homeland Security and a Graduate Education
When looking to expand their career opportunities or wanting to transfer to an agency with additional responsibilities, there is a greater likelihood that a higher degree is required for the position. This is also true for those who want to earn a better salary, whether the individual is a first-level homeland security department employee or one of the highest-ranking officials within the agency.
Earning a graduate degree has the potential to help a DHS employee move up to the highest supervisory positions or to the highest level of security clearance. A master’s degree, post-graduate certificate program or doctoral degree program can open up some of the best opportunities for working with the Department of Homeland Security and enjoying a rewarding career.
Why? Because a graduate degree narrows the career path and provides a tighter focus. From positions that protect designated officials to those that safeguard the public or the environment, some of the most fulfilling jobs in homeland security are available only to those who complete a graduate degree program.
Homeland Security and You
If protecting assets and protecting people and the security interests of the U. S. across the globe meets with your personal aspirations, you could be an excellent candidate for a homeland security career. Unraveling the secrets and mysteries of homeland security requires a high level of trust, honesty and talent. Earn a degree that provides the skills and knowledge required for a career in homeland security, and you potentially meet the initial qualifications for starting a new career.
If you’re looking for a place to start, Post University offers a bachelor’s degree program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Use it to start down the road to gaining the knowledge and skills to collaborate with interagency law enforcement. Meet the everyday demands and the unique challenges that are required for securing borders, waterways, and airports. Learn to respond to both natural and man-made disasters and to critical emergencies. Learn the underlying mysteries and secrets regarding how the department of homeland security coordinates a federal response and recovery effort. And discover how homeland security provides the critical resources that allow for full operational capabilities that helps protect communities.
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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post University program. To learn more about Post University’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.