What Do I Need to Work in Homeland Security?


work homeland security

Now more than ever, America needs Homeland Security experts who are well-prepared and eager to help keep our country stay safe from threats both at home and abroad. Professionals with a variety of education, skills, and training can work across Homeland Security specialties. These might include emergency management after natural disasters, U.S. Customs and Immigration, and the Coast Guard, which are agencies under the Department of Homeland Security. Other agencies in the government also provide Homeland Security services such as the FBI the CIA. Whether you want to be at the forefront of the action or work behind the scenes, your career options in Homeland Security abound.

Skills You Will Need to Work in Homeland Security

If you want to build a career in Homeland Security, you’ll need to possess six core skills:

  • Detail Oriented: To work in Homeland Security, you will need to have superb attention to detail and a methodical approach to cases and circumstances. You will need to be well-organized, able to conduct meticulous research and maintain records with extreme accuracy.
  • Analytical: Data and evidence analysis from a variety of different sources will be among your daily tasks. You will need to analyze, assess, and synthesize the knowledge you attain to help prevent acts of violence, or meet crises like pandemics and environmental disasters.
  • Decisive: When a crisis hits, there will be little time to think about what to do next. You will need to make a decision and then spring into action!
  • Problem Solving: You must be able to collect, evaluate, and process large amounts of information to draw conclusions and then develop viable action plans. Thinking outside the box helps you find creative solutions to even entrenched problems.
  • Tech Savvy: Technology is at the heart of Homeland Security. When you collect data, analyze trends, and look for clues, you’ll likely be doing it all on a computer.
  • Culturally Sensitive: There is no room in Homeland Security for those who are intolerant of different religions, nationalities, races, or sexual orientation.

Train to Work in Homeland Security

Many jobs in Homeland Security will have their own training programs, but you will have a greater chance to enter into one as a new hire if you have a certificate or college degree in Homeland Security. Here are some of the skills you will learn in a college-level or certificate program:

  • Understand extremist and terrorist groups and how they operate
  • Learn how to implement contingency planning and proactive security measures
  • Conduct and present basic research in terrorism and counterterrorism
  • Understand the history of political, social, economic, religious, and criminal extremism
  • Analyze and evaluate sources, assets, events, and systems for potential risks
  • Express ideas and recommendations clearly through oral and written communication
  • Learn a foreign language such as Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese or other languages
  • Be able to plan for and respond to emergencies
  • Learn how to maintain cybersecurity

Jobs in Homeland Security

Homeland Security work is available in the air, on land, at sea, and now, online. There are jobs in every state, as well as in foreign countries. Here are just a few of specialties within Homeland Security, all with the mission of keeping Americans safe:

  • U.S. Coast Guard officer
  • Border Patrol agent
  • Immigration officer
  • Counterterrorism analyst
  • Cybersecurity analyst
  • Security officer in private industry
  • Air marshal
  • Emergency Management specialist
  • Biosecurity specialist
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Operations specialist
  • IT specialist for information security
  • Criminal investigator
  • Transportation security screener
  • Infrastructure protection specialist

A career in Homeland Security can take you in many different directions. When you have the right education, skills, and training, you amplify your opportunities to advance your career.


At National American University, we offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in Terrorism and Counterterrorism, as well as four levels of certificates, that will help prepare you for a career in Homeland Security. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor or fill out the form to request more information.


Online programs for maximum flexibility
NAU students receiving transfer or experiential learning credit
Relevant degree and certificate programs
Years of online educational excellence