Careers in Homeland Security

Master of Public Administration – Homeland Security Specialization

Devote Yourself to Protecting Others

Specialized knowledge of homeland security yields a wide variety of career opportunities for men and women who wish to keep the U.S. and its citizens safe. Those who work in homeland security are able to anticipate, prepare for and prevent a variety of disasters, which is why homeland security experts are employed with local, state and federal government agencies as well as private security companies and nonprofit organizations.

Anna Maria College’s Homeland Security MPA online curriculum provides students with the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to open up a variety of homeland security employment opportunities. In addition to a real-world curriculum that will make you a highly desirable candidate for jobs with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other government agencies or private organizations, our renowned faculty brings decades of combined field experience and can offer you insights and advice that will help you land a career in homeland security or advance your current position.

Public Administration Career Requirements for Homeland Security

Applicants for homeland security roles must partake in extensive security clearances or background checks depending on the position and the agency applicants are applying to. Most homeland security jobs also require U.S. citizenship and successful completion of a drug screening and/or physical examination.

Appointments within the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies are made according to the government’s General Schedule (GS), which classifies jobs in order of pay scale and is generally related to education and/or experience. A master’s degree in homeland security or a related field can help applicants with little or no experience qualify for jobs in the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.

Where Do Homeland Security Officers Work, and What Do Homeland Security Officers Do?

Most homeland security officers work in the public sector for the government, typically in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In 2006, the DHS employed approximately 183,000 workers, making it one of the largest federal agencies.* However, careers in homeland security and emergency management are also available in nonprofit organizations and private corporations. The three largest industries that employ homeland security experts are:

  • Government Homeland Security Officers
    Government homeland security officers usually work directly within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They work at the federal, state and local levels to design and implement public safety procedures and national security and defense policies. Some examples of government homeland security officers include: Coast Guard officers, intelligence analysts, federal special agents, Immigration and Travel Security and border patrol officers.
  • Emergency Responders
    Emergency responders help victims of natural or manmade disasters to recover. Emergency responders try to help the affected communities by making sure that critical business functions are still available to people in the event of a disaster. Individuals with graduate-level degrees in administration and leadership are needed for emergency management specialist positions to develop, implement and oversee emergency response efforts.
  • Private Industry Workers
    Homeland security workers are also needed in the private industry, such as in fields of law enforcement, academia, tourism and travel, and information technology. Jobs are also available for those who can plan, build and manage roads and buildings. There are also homeland security employment opportunities within the nonprofit sector.

Jobs within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Discover just some of the occupations found within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).* The list is not all-inclusive; there are many other occupations available:

Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • Asylum officer
  • Immigration officer

Customs and Border Protection

  • Border Patrol agent
  • Import specialist

Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • Federal coordinating officer
  • Program specialist (fire; national security; response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation)

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

  • Law enforcement specialist (instruction)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

  • Detention and deportation officer
  • Police officer
  • Immigration enforcement agent
  • Security specialist

Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate

  • Protective security adviser
  • Intelligence operations specialist
  • IT specialist (information security)
  • Security specialist
  • Telecommunications specialist

Office of the Inspector General

  • Auditor

Transportation and Security Administration

  • Criminal investigator
  • Intelligence operations specialist
  • Program and management analyst
  • Transportation security screener

U.S. Coast Guard

  • Contract specialist
  • Engineer

U.S. Secret Service

  • Criminal investigator

To see a full list of all the department components of the DHS, click here.

DHS Career Outlook

Although the Department of Homeland Security was only created in 2002, it employs more than 240,000 individuals and is one of the country’s largest federal agencies.* Because homeland security includes so many different fields, here is a look at the salary of a few key professions you can pursue with a Homeland Security MPA online from Anna Maria College:

Homeland Security Position

Average Salary**

Border Patrol Agent


Customs Specialist


Immigration Officer


Coast Guard (Enlisted)


Security Specialist


IT Specialist


Coast Guard (Officer)


Program Analyst


Intelligence Officer


US Air Marshal


Policy Analyst


Cyber Security Specialist


Learn More

Want to know how to get a job in homeland security? Contact Anna Maria College and take the first step towards your dream career. We’ll tell you more about the program and what you can do with a degree in homeland security administration to achieve your personal and professional goals. Click here to learn more about the Homeland Security specialization of Anna Maria College’s online Master of Public Administration or call 877-265-3201.

** Salary Source Data: