Although the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the youngest United States cabinet department, it employs more than 240,000 people, making it one of the largest. The demand for this sizable workforce stems from the many natural and man-made events that threaten our nation such as terrorist attacks, cyberattacks, natural disasters, and other domestic emergencies.

If you have a passion for preventing or mitigating the impact of these threats, you may consider earning a master’s in homeland security to bolster your knowledge and expertise prior to entering the field. But you may be wondering, “what can you do with a master’s in homeland security?” Due to the wide-ranging nature of the threats facing our nation, there are a variety of homeland security careers available to individuals with backgrounds in law enforcement, public health, teaching, psychology, the military, and more.


Types of Homeland Security Jobs

As you may expect, the Department of Homeland Security is the largest employer of homeland security professionals. Choosing the right job will depend on your background and career interests, and the DHS lists four overarching job categories to help you get started:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Immigration and Travel Security
  • Prevention and Response
  • Mission Support

Law Enforcement

As opposed to traditional law enforcement, which is concerned with protecting the public and preventing crime, DHS law enforcement jobs primarily involve protecting elected officials and their families, securing the nation’s borders, and training law enforcement officers across a range of agencies. DHS law enforcement professionals often work for the U.S. Secret Service, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, or U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Immigration and Travel Security

Immigration and travel security professionals work to protect the nation’s borders and transportation systems and enforce legal immigration laws. They often work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Prevention and Response

Prevention and response professionals do just what the name suggests: work to prevent domestic emergencies and respond to them when they do occur. These individuals develop preparedness and mitigation strategies to reduce loss of life and property damage, and they typically work for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the U.S. Coast Guard.

Mission Support

Like the other DHS job categories, mission support careers span a range of fields including human resources, medical, intelligence, civil rights, and many more. These professionals may work in any of the DHS’s 14 Operational and Support Components.


Homeland Security Job Titles and Salary Information

Once you understand how the DHS categorizes its homeland security careers, you can begin to narrow down a list of job titles that match your skill set and career interests. However, it is important to note that many careers with a master’s in homeland security intersect multiple job categories. Medical professionals, for instance, are needed in both mission support and prevention and response, while human resources professionals can be found in all operational and support components.

Because many master’s in homeland security curricula include essential courses in strategic planning, budgeting, critical infrastructure protection, public health, and human rights, these degrees can prepare you for success in a range of positions. The following list of job titles will help you decide which homeland security career may be right for you based on your background, passions, and salary target. However, it is important to note that these titles represent a small percentage of the many DHS job opportunities.

DHS Law Enforcement Job Titles and Salary Information

Job Title Salary Information
U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division (Ranks from Officer to Chief) Salaries from $60,424 to $164,200 depending on rank
Special Agent (U.S. Secret Service) Average salary: $81,142
Criminal Investigator (U.S. Secret Service) Starting salary: $46,879
Administrative Officer (U.S. Secret Service) Starting salary: $56,233
Law Enforcement Specialist (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) Starting salary: $73,375

DHS Immigration and Travel Security Job Titles and Salary Information

Job Title Salary Information
Strategic Communications Specialist (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Starting salary: $114,590
Program Manager (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Starting salary: $114,590
Administrative Officer (TSA) Starting salary: $96,552
Training Specialist (TSA) Starting salary: $70,554
Transportation Security Officer (TSA) Salaries from $29,000 to $45,000 depending on location

DHS Prevention and Response Job Titles and Salary Information

Job Title Salary Information
Emergency Management Specialist (FEMA) Salaries from $66,000 to $105,000 depending on specialty
Emergency Manager (FEMA) Average salary: $97,000
Deputy Superintendent (FEMA) Starting salary: $121,280
Program Analyst (U.S. Coast Guard) Starting salary: $114,590
Investigative Analyst (U.S. Coast Guard) Starting salary: $56,233

DHS Mission Support Job Titles and Salary Information

Job Title Salary Information
Mission Support Assistant (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) Salaries from $38,000 to $47,000 depending on location
Mission Support Specialist (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) Salaries from $47,000 to $93,000 depending on location and level of experience
Mission Support Specialist (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Salaries from $50,000 to $63,000 depending on location
Supervisory Mission Support Specialist (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) Starting salary: $87,252
Technical Security Investigator (U.S. Secret Service) Starting salary: $52,101

Although these jobs are among the most common and familiar homeland security careers, many professionals prefer to be more behind-the-scenes of disaster prevention and response. These individuals may utilize their business or technical backgrounds—combined with the knowledge and skills provided by a master’s homeland security—to pursue national security careers in cybersecurity, computer science, law and legal services, information technology, intelligence collection, and more. These jobs may be available through the DHS or through private companies that partner with the government to better secure our nation.


Pace University’s Master’s in Homeland Security

Pace University’s master’s in homeland security builds a foundation of knowledge in essential areas for all homeland security professionals. This is accomplished through a core curriculum that gives students an understanding of all hazards emergency management strategies with an additional seven elective courses.

These classes not only allow students to find their niche in protecting the homeland security, but with opportunities to explore special topics and an optional thesis and research capstone, they bring graduates up to date with emerging issues facing professionals in their area.


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