How Do I Become a DHS Agent?

If you’ve ever felt the desire to be involved with the safeguarding and protection of the country, you might find a role as a DHS agent appealing. There are a great many exciting jobs and career types that you can pursue as a DHS agent, which are divided into four categories; law enforcement, prevention and response, mission support, and immigration and travel security. As you can probably imagine, becoming a DHS agent has many strict requirements that you must pass in order to be considered for a job at the Department of Homeland Security. The following will take an in-depth look at how to become a DHS agent.


Skills and Education Required to Become a DHS Agent

Anyone interested in becoming a DHS agent will need to first undergo certain educational requirements, while also possessing a number of important skills to ensure that you are the right person for the job. While you might think that becoming a DHS agent is extremely difficult, there are actually a number of simple steps you can take that will better your chances of starting a career in this area. First of all, there are a few skills that you are going to want to possess if you want to make a career as a DHS agent. These skills include everything from critical thinking and problem-solving skills to having the ability to work well with other DHS agents.

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The reason for this is because investigations that are conducted by Homeland Security are done so with the usage of a full team. These skills will help you in research, gathering evidence, collecting data, and conducting investigations on crimes that fall under the prevue of Homeland Security. Though an agent might be out in the field on a regular basis, you will still need to have the skills necessary to complete a large amount of paperwork on a timely basis. Though that may sound tedious and unfun, agents will also use firearms and must be able to properly handle any high-stress situations that they find themselves in. Any job type that you enroll in at the Department of Homeland Security falls under the category of criminal justice, which basically involves upholding social control and stopping crime as much as possible.

As for the educational requirements of obtaining a job as a DHS agent, a degree is actually not necessary, though it will provide you with a much higher possibility of obtaining the job you want and winning out against other candidates that apply for the same job. There are a few degree types that prospective students can choose to pursue, including degrees in criminology, homeland security, psychology, forensics, and criminal justice. A criminal justice degree is definitely the most versatile of these and can provide you with everything you need in order to receive a job as a criminal justice professional. Try to select a degree that provides students with an internship position at a local law enforcement agency. A criminal justice degree takes an in-depth approach to studies based on the theory, policies, and laws of the criminal justice system and what role law enforcement agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, have within this system.

Before starting the process of becoming a DHS agent, it’s important to understand that, in order to become a criminal justice professional at Homeland Security, you will first need to have some experience within the field of a criminal investigation. This can include everything from a corrections officer to a standard police officer. You will be more qualified for a role in Homeland Security if you have a large amount of experience in such areas as analyzing data, handling evidence, and conducting investigations. To get a job as a DHS agent, you will also need to be 21 years or older. In order to be able to apply for this job, you can’t have any type of felony or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, as all DHS agents must be able to carry a firearm. Lastly, the better the degree you have, such as an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s, the better your chances are of obtaining a job at the Department of Homeland Security.


Training Requirements and Application process

There are a number of training requirements associated with becoming a DHS agent. For one, you will need to complete basic training once your application for a job has been selected. The training is paid for but takes place over a lengthy 22 weeks. You will also need to pass the firearms portion of the Criminal Investigation Training Program. Those that apply to this job should also understand that the Department of Homeland Security will specifically choose the location at which you are stationed when working as an agent, which means that you will need to be mentally prepared for taking a job anywhere and staying there for a period of at least three years.

However, all of this training takes place after you’ve been accepted for the job. The application process is particularly grueling and can take a few months to complete. This hiring process includes a number of interviews, background checks, and evaluations that will assess your skills and knowledge of the job you’re applying for. The salary of a DHS agent can range anywhere from $34,000 to over $100,000 per year.

What Being a DHS Agent Entails

Once you’ve taken a job as a DHS agent, you will find that the job duties you are presented with are largely different from any law enforcement position you’ve held before. DHS agents will investigate smuggling, cyber crimes, national security threats, and immigration crime. These jobs can take you all over the world, depending on the depth of the investigation, which may be appealing to some. The smuggling aspect can involve drugs, weapons, or even human trafficking. If all of the aforementioned interests you, then it’s time to start the process of becoming a DHS agent.