Criminal justice careers can be incredibly rewarding. When those careers involve protecting the United States, you are not only making your local community safer, but you serve a valuable role for the nation as a whole. If this sounds like something you are called to do, here are seven of the best homeland security jobs available today.
1. Border Patrol Agent
As the title suggests, working in this homeland security position involves protecting our country's borders, both land- and water-based. This generally requires assessing people at a port of entry to ensure that they're not involved in any illegal acts, such as transporting weapons or drugs, or to determine whether their goal in entering the country is rooted in terroristic behaviors.
2. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Watch Officer
CBP Watch Officers serve as liaisons between headquarters and the field offices. These individuals are tasked with making sure every level within the Customs and Border Patrol chain is aware of major incidents that have occurred. This increases their awareness of the most current threats while also giving them the opportunity to create a plan that allows for a swift, efficient response should that same threat appear elsewhere (or again).
3. Transportation Security Officer (TSO)
If you live near an airport, you can also work in a homeland security job there. A TSO is responsible for screening passengers and their baggage to make sure they aren't trying to take any illegal contraband or dangerous objects on the plane. TSOs can also be assigned to screen incoming or outgoing cargo for the same reasons.
This title covers a wide variety of criminal justice careers because, as a specialist, you can work in many different roles. A few options that exist within this category—and the functions they provide—include:
- Security specialist – provide security functions at the White House, in Washington D.C., or at other areas nationwide
- Contract specialist – evaluate contracts between the government and other organizations to ensure that both parties are in compliance
- Community outreach specialist – serve as the connection between the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CISOMB) and other agencies and stakeholders
- Import specialist – assess items entering the country to determine whether they are legally marked and appropriately classified
- Human resources specialist – develop and implement human resource strategies, and provide guidance related to recruitment, placement, benefits, and more
- Information technology specialist – utilize computers, computer systems, and Internet-based technologies to identify threats or crimes against the U.S., as well as to develop a response
5. Investigator or Criminal Investigator
There are also several homeland security jobs that revolve around investigations. In this type of position, you are responsible for conducting a thorough investigation of potential crimes or threats against the U.S. This could require looking into a financial crime against a governmental agency or could involve doing in-depth research to ensure that a foreign leader will be adequately protected during their visit.
If you have an inquiring mind, you may find that analyst-based criminal justice careers are the most satisfying. These types of roles involve assessing a specific function or area to determine whether it is as effective and efficient as it can be. It also involves providing guidance as to which improvements and processes can bring about positive change. Some of the analyst titles held within homeland security jobs are:
- Budget analyst
- Investigative analyst
- Operations research analyst
- Management and program analyst
7. Program Support Assistant
Not every homeland security job involves working in the field and a Program Support Assistant is one. In this position, you are generally required to maintain an organized system for filing and classifying incoming information, respond to or forward incoming correspondence, and handle other administrative issues. Essentially, you serve as the front line for all communications coming into your assigned homeland security department.
Start Preparing for Your Homeland Security Job Today
If one of these criminal justice careers has caught your eye, you can start preparing today. Saint Leo University offers a variety of degree options, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your situation and circumstances. They are:
- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Homeland Security, on campus
- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a Specialization in Homeland Security, online
- Doctorate in Criminal Justice (DCJ) with a Specialization in Homeland Security, online
We also offer a few homeland security courses in our master's in criminal justice programs. This is helpful for students who may not want to specialize in homeland security but would like to learn more about this sector and the services it offers.
Contact our Admissions team today! Our professional and knowledgeable staff can answer your questions to help you explore your options and, ultimately, choose the best program for you.