After the September 11 attacks, the focus on national security has increased significantly. Stricter measures were applied in almost every aspect to ensure the safety of the United States, its citizens and its structures. To effectively channel resources and manpower as well as create policies addressing security concerns, the United States government created the Department of Homeland Security, which has now become a foremost agency in ensuring the safety of Americans and foreign visitors in the country.
Such significance of the department automatically reflects the importance of the homeland security officer profession. They are tasked to make sure that everyone and everywhere within the boundaries of the United States are safe and that all terrorist threats, foreign or domestic, are addressed and neutralized. They are security specialists who are trained in various functions such as communications and surveillance, law enforcement, criminal detection and investigation, among others.
While many people see homeland security officers as counter terrorism experts, they do more than just combat terrorists. Also included in their scope of responsibilities are dealing with natural disasters and responding to other massive emergencies.
Needless to say, the homeland security officer job has high demands for those who want to be part of the team. Dedication and commitment to national safety is required. If you have such devotion, then you are already half-qualified. You then need to meet the further requirements listed below (as outlined by the Department of Homeland Security) to become a member of this prestigious group.
All candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in criminal justice, criminal science, law enforcement, information technology, information management, and other fields that can be useful in the area of homeland security. There are over 100 colleges and universities that offer advanced courses in homeland security as approved by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. There is also a specific GPA requirement demanded by DHS, so you need to work on your grades as well.
The kind of education you have will help determine the position you will be assigned to. For example, successful candidates who have a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement are usually assigned to the urban security department. Those with degrees in communications and information technology are typically sent to work in surveillance and intelligence.
Candidates must be physically fit in order to qualify. You need to exhibit high levels of physical fitness through a series of physical tests and endurance exercises. This is important because you may well be assigned to cases which demand a high level of activity and physical fitness.
To be considered for a position with DHS, you must not be in any way involved in a criminal activity or connected to organizations that have serious criminal records. However, there are certain cases where the Government allows you to work even with a questionable past if you can demonstrate extraordinary skills or provide them with valuable information.
Becoming a Homeland Security officer is a huge honor and a privilege for patriotic Americans. The screening procedures are very stringent and even those who exceed expectations may not end up qualifying for the job. While it would seem that only the best attain a position with Homeland Security, if you think that you can excel in many of the fields listed above, then you may well want to seriously consider this career opportunity.