How to Launch a Career at the Department of Homeland Security

This agency plays a lead role in fighting organized crime, responding to national disasters and protecting cyberspace. And its hiring demands include some of the fastest growing fields in government.

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Image courtesy the National Academy of Sciences

This agency plays a lead role in fighting organized crime, responding to national disasters and protecting cyberspace. And its hiring demands include some of the fastest growing fields in government.

The Department of Homeland Security, formed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, does more than protect our borders and search your packages at the airport. As home of the national cyber security division it’s also looking to fill hundreds of IT positions in the coming years. Salary ranges are as diverse as the missions. Security screeners can expect to make an average of $39,598 per year, criminal investigators earn $88,172 on average.

Positions at DHS are located across the country, but the bulk of IT and program management positions are location in the nation’s capital region.

What skills do you need to snag a job at DHS?

First, you’ll need to be a U.S. citizen and be able to obtain a federal security clearance.

Second, don’t let lack of experience stop you – DHS has one of the most robust internship programs in government, and a number of entry level positions. If you’re looking to break-into the national security space, DHS may be the agency for you.

Third, apply early, and consider contracting. The federal hiring process can be slow – three to six months or more slow. Be sure to apply months in advance, and also consider positions with the many defense contractors who support the DHS mission.

Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves cybersecurity, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email editor@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.