The Role of Homeland Security Agent in Criminal Justice and Law
Homeland Security is an integral part in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed and declared in November 2002. Homeland Security Agents investigate into the criminal acts that directly or indirectly harm the national security like terrorist threat, illegal immigration, smuggling of terrorists’ weapons and drugs. Their job requires them to develop programs that can act as a panacea in emergencies like terrorist attacks, disasters or spillage of hazardous materials. In case of any such emergency, the protection of the infrastructure of local, state and federal bodies also comes under the responsibilities of Homeland security.
The homeland Security Agents are the first responders to any emergency. They are the ones who direct the officers of other agencies in handling the emergency properly and even in planning it beforehand.
The homeland Security agents also represent the national security on international level. They even implement training programs for other security agencies like fire, medical or police departments. The Homeland Security agents perform intensive research, data collection, maintaining the records of found evidences and writing reports while investigating any crime.
The Homeland Security Agents work as emergency management directors, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or firefighters. The pay scale for these careers may vary and they share different job responsibilities.
Emergency management directors develop plans and procedures to be used as response to emergencies. The firefighters not only fight fire but also conduct rescue operations and provide fire education to various departments. On the other hand, the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) provide the first aid at the scene of emergency.
The individuals who aspire to join as the Homeland Security Agents must prepare themselves to handle stressful situations at work. Their job requires them to be good at using firearms as they might get to encounter armed criminals. This field is prone to changes so the agents must be able to adapt to changing work conditions.
Educational Requirements to Become a Homeland Security Agent
Though a degree is not mandatory for being a homeland Security Agent, having one is definitely an advantage. The aspiring security agents may obtain a bachelor’s degree in homeland security, forensics, criminal justice, criminology, or psychology for better job prospects. The degree provides internship opportunities to the candidates in law enforcement, which is a step ladder to grab a homeland security job. The ambitious aspirants must obtain master’s degree to enjoy a rewarding career.
Preparation for a Career as a Homeland Security Agent
The aspiring homeland Security agent must hold experience in crime investigation or similar field like as correction officers, police officer, military personnel or officer in any law enforcement department. A prior experience in handling investigations, evidence and data analyzation gives the aspirants an edge over the inexperienced ones.
The homeland Security agents are required to be trouble-shooters and must possess strong critical thinking ability to succeed in their career. Investigation is not a one-man show. So the Homeland agents should be team players. The applicants must know to speak Spanish as their job requires them to monitor the U.S. border.
The appointed Homeland Security Agents undergo theoretical, practical and on-the-job-training. The trainers are the most polished and experienced lot of agents who have years of experience to impart the knowledge of important principles, methodology and practical guidance. The training trains the appointed agents on crisis management, Disaster handling and recovery management, risk analyzation and planning, counter-terrorism and hazardous material.
How to Apply for a Position as a Homeland Security Agent
All the federal job opportunities are posted on a central database, USAJOBS. The applicants must be U.S. citizens to be qualified to apply for homeland security Agent’s job. The age of applicants must be less than 40 years at the time of applying for the job. If you fulfill the condition, create a USAJOBS account and fill up the application form for the desired post very carefully. Read the instructions very minutely to avoid rejection of the application.
Submit all the documents mentioned with the application otherwise the applicants are declared to be ineligible for the job. The resume must be minimum of two pages so don’t cut down on important details. In fact the applicants must write every possible details to highlight the key skills, relevant experience and educational qualification.
The selection process is lengthy which takes some months to complete the hiring. The applicants need to qualify a written examination first and then pass comprehensive background check, drug test, finger print and polygraph test before being hired. Physical fitness test is also mandatory to be passed. The best qualified candidates then appear for the final interview. The questions of the interview are to judge the candidate’s interpersonal skills, communication skills, decision- making, leadership skills, team building and some technical skills. The applicants must also have proficiency in firearms.
Additional Information Related to a Career as a Homeland Security Agent
Homeland Security Agency operates in six divisions i.e. International affairs, Domestic operations, intelligence, National security investigations, National intellectual property rights and Mission support.
Average Salary of a Homeland Security Agent
As stated by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management the homeland security Agents earn annually between $33,979 -$93,175. However as per the reports of The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agents earn between $55,010 – $88,870. The exact remuneration depends upon the experience, grade and location of the appointed agent.
In addition to a handsome salary package, the Homeland Security agents enjoy great job benefits like paid vacations, sick leaves, health and other insurance, paid trainings and a retirement plan.
The job requirement for Homeland security Agents will not faint as the BLS has predicted that the job opportunities for various positions in homeland Security will increase by 6% – 24% (depending upon the positions) by 2024.
Homeland Security Agency covers more than 200 cities in the United States of America with over 6,700 employed Homeland Security agents.