Jobs Outlook for Homeland Security

Fastest growing job area in the Federal government

Of all employment opportunities in the Federal Government, Homeland Security is expected to be the biggest growth area over the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, increased need for homeland security services and worker retirement will be the reasons behind most openings.

The best opportunities will be for experienced professionals in border and transportation security, emergency preparedness, public health and information analysis.

Most new hires will be in security, enforcement and compliance:

  • Inspectors
  • Investigators
  • Police officers
  • Airport screeners

Competition will be keen as jobs related to homeland security typically attract more qualified applicants than openings. Competition will increase during economic lows, when workers are seeking the relative stability that employment with the federal government offers.

Homeland security worker wages

There are several different pay systems used to compensate employees in the Department of Homeland Security. The systems involve pay "bands" that give employees raises based on job performance instead of the usual raises based on length of service.

Average pay by occupation

Employees often receive premium pay for working overtime, holidays or weekends and nighttime shifts, which can make their take-home pay even higher than what's listed.

  • Criminal investigating - $79,100
  • Border Patrol agent - $56,297
  • Customs and border protection - $53,297

Aside from earning desirable salaries, these employees also often earn incentive awards - one-time compensation for special acts of service, important suggestions or excellent long-term job performance. The awards can range from as little as $25 to as much as $10,000.

Benefits

Federal government employees are often provided with high quality health plans and life insurance or are enrolled in the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), a three-tiered plan that includes Social Security, a pension plan and an optional Thrift Savings Plan. Thrift plan contributions are tax deferred and some of the money employees put away is matched by the government.

Add to that the possibility for early retirement in some occupations and generous vacation time and sick leave and homeland security is a very wise career choice.

Statistics courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2004