What does it take to become a Homeland Security Officer?
The Department of Homeland Security coordinates the efforts of the departments and agencies that work to protect our nation. As a result, there is a lot expected of a homeland security officer. The department looks at your professional skills, your physical fitness, and your ability to handle pressure. The hiring process is rigorous and may take many months to complete.
In order to become a homeland security officer you might require complete a four-year degree program with a high GPA. Once you have accomplished this, some departments prefer that you go on to get a Master's degree or additional job experience before you apply to the department. The requirements vary slightly, and it is important to look up the specific requirements for the department that you wish to work for. Most of these jobs require that you maintain a high level of physical fitness. You should be committed to staying in shape and be prepared for a rigorous physical fitness test at the time of your exam.
Once you get through the initial application process, you will then be required to attend a training camp or academy for the specific department that you will be working for. Family is not allowed to come with you during this time, and your housing and food will be provided for you. The camps can last up to ten months.
Once you have completed this camp and passed the test, you will have the opportunity to begin working. Homeland security officers work long hours, and there are officers on duty around the clock. For this reason, you may work on a rotating schedule with different shift times that must be covered. Overtime is often required of homeland security officers, and it may be difficult initially to balance family time with work time.
While on duty, homeland security officers do a wide range of work. Active officers may patrol certain areas or work on following up on tips and fighting crimes. Each agency has its own pool of undercover officers who work to uncover big crime rings and to stop smuggling and drug activity. There are also officers that work mainly in the office to stop computer crimes and money laundering. Other officers work mainly on translating material that they receive and interpreting the information for other officers.
The Department of Homeland Security is looking for people with a strong allegiance to the country and with the abilities to think and act well under pressure. They are looking for people with a clean criminal history. Additionally, they look for people with a good academic record. If you are serious about becoming a homeland security officer you need to have a high level of commitment. They often recruit and hire veterans to work for them as well.
If you are interested in becoming a homeland security officer you may want to take advantage of the internships that they offer to college students. These internships vary depending on the department, but often focus on language immersion and development. This can be a great way to see if this field of work is the right one for you.
Schools OfferingHomeland Security Courses:
Continue your education with Strayer University.
- BSCJ: Homeland Security and Emergency Mgt
- BSCJ: Homeland Security Technology
Keiser University offers degrees in fields that are in demand and provides job placement assistance to all its students and alumni.
- Homeland Security, AA
- Homeland Security, AA (Online Only)
- Homeland Security, BA
- And more...
- Diploma - Criminal Justice - Private and Homeland Security
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.
- BS in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
- MS in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- Homeland Security (Bachelor's)
Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.
- Master of Science in Legal Studies: Homeland Security
- Homeland Security Specialist
- Criminal Justice with emphasis on Homeland Security - Bachelor Degree
- Master of Science: Homeland Security and Emergency Management
- BA in Criminal Justice (Criminal Justice Leadership Emphasis)