Want to serve in homeland security? 5 career options to look into


As a response to the 9/11 terrorist attack, the United States established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002. The primary objective of DHS is to keep a safe nation from any threat.

Do you love your homeland? Is your ultimate life mission helping and protecting peoples residing in your land? If the answer is affirmative, pursuing a career in homeland security is what you need.

Irrespective of the different job roles, every professional in this homeland security career has one main goal: to keep their homeland safe from inside and outside threats.

Therefore, people wishing to pursue a career in homeland security need to have excellent judgment and communication skills.

Moreover, regardless of the different job roles, each homeland security professional needs to stay calm since most roles involve a stressful work environment.

However, you need to have US citizenship if you want to make a career in homeland security. So let’s take a closer look at what career options you can opt for with a homeland security degree:

1. Emergency management director

A branch under the DHS, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), offers the citizens defense and responds to any emergency.

IF you have a knack for helping people in dire situations, you can consider becoming an emergency management director. Good problem-solving, critical thinking, flexibility, and communications skills are necessary to excel in this career path. Your day-to-day job duties can include:

  • Planning and coordinating emergency response programs
  • Offering emergency resources or shelters to staff and community
  • Following the incident, assessing the damage and preparing a plan accordingly
  • Leading the team before and after the emergency

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), emergency management directors earn a median wage of $76,250 per year as of May 2020. And the job outlook for this job role will grow by 6% from 2020 to 2030.

2. Intelligence security analyst

Among various careers in homeland security, an intelligence security analyst is one of the most prominent. Since the world is becoming more digitalized, intelligence security professionals have become crucial.

Professionals in this field are primarily responsible for collecting and evaluating data to keep the nation safe from organized criminal activities. I

n addition, these analysts must have in-depth knowledge of firewalls, antiviruses, computer network penetration tools, and techniques. Typical job responsibilities can include:

  • Designing and analyzing security structures
  • Conducting internal and external security audits
  • Identifying threats and preparing intelligence reports for superiors
  • Installing security software to keep sensitive data secure

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an intelligence analyst at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is $102,462 per year.

3. immigration officer

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency protects the nation from illegal immigrants. Simply put, immigration officers are responsible for those who enter the country based on immigration laws and regulations.

Therefore, professionals in this role need to have fair and impartial judgment and excellent communication and interpersonal skills. In addition, since immigrants don’t sleep even in the dark, you might need to work around the clock.

The day-to-day job duties of an immigrant officer can include:

  • Research and analyze applications
  • Conducting interviews for applicants to determine credibility
  • Based on the investigation, granting or denying petitions
  • Working together with other services to change or extend immigrants’ status

The average salary of a typical US Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) immigration officer is $85,921 per year, as per Glassdoor.

4. Secret service agent

Do you wish to protect the national leaders and visiting leaders? In that case, look no other than secret service agent.

You might have witnessed that wherever the US President goes in the country, the men in suits and solemn faces watch and guard every move. Those are special secret service agents.

Sometimes, you might need to blend with the crowd to protect your leader. To be successful in your job role, you need to have a good sense of judgment and physical stamina to catch the criminal.

It is to note that secret service agents need to undergo training even after getting hired. Moreover, to be eligible for this role, you need to undergo a comprehensive background check, including an interview and polygraph test. The daily job duties of a secret service agent include:

  • Conducting widespread surveillance
  • Planning and implementing security designs for national events
  • Conducting an extensive criminal investigation

Glassdoor reports the average secret service agent is $154,020 per year.

5 Border patrol agent

Border patrol agents protect the country’s border from illegal drug trafficking and the entrance of undocumented aliens.

Professionals in this field have various career advancement opportunities, including horse or bike patrol, K-9 unit, mobile response team, off-road vehicle unit, etc.

Since you will be on your toes for long hours, you need strong physical endurance. Additionally, you must have exceptional observation skills to detect any possible threats.

The job duties can include:

  • Watching, detecting, and preventing smugglers and illegal aliens
  • Deploying surveillance equipment and responding to electronic sensor alarms
  • Following smugglers or border crossers and making an arrest

The median wage of border patrol agents is $87,556 per year.


According to the official report, there are currently 240,000 professionals in the homeland security department. A career in homeland security is both noble and fulfilling. American citizens depend on homeland security professionals to keep officials safe, protect the border, investigate, and prevent acts of domestic terrorism.

However, not every patriot is cut out to be a homeland security professional. Yet, having passion and commitment can help you succeed in your career. It requires courage, bravery, and a wide range of skills and education to perform best in your role.




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