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How to Become a Homeland Security Agent

by Clayton Browne, studioD

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was established after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It was created with the passage of the Homeland Security Act in November 2002, and the DHS officially began operations on March 1, 2003. DHS hires thousands of employees in many capacities, ranging from computer security specialists to transportation security agents. The two main law enforcement branches of DHS are Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Protective Service. Both ICE and FPS employ law enforcement security officers and criminal investigators, as well as a wide range of management personnel, to fulfill their mission of providing law enforcement services at U.S. borders and federal government facilities.

Decide what type and grade level of Homeland Security law enforcement you plan to apply for and make certain you meet the minimum requirements. Although the requirements are less for some FPS entry-level law enforcement security officer positions, Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent positions generally require a bachelor's degree and two to five years of law enforcement experience, with additional experience optionally substituting for some of the educational requirements.

Check out the available DHS jobs at dhs.usajobs.gov. Read the job posting for any job you are interested in carefully. Make sure you meet the qualifications and are willing to relocate as necessary.

Apply for any DHS law-enforcement related job you qualify for. You will have to set up a USAJOBS account in order to apply for a job, but once you have set up your account, you can apply for as many jobs as you want.

Submit all required documentation for your application, including transcripts, certifications and references. Failing to submit the necessary supporting documents is one of the most common reasons for delays in processing applications.

Enroll in and complete the mandatory 22-week law enforcement training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia after you have been accepted for a Homeland Security agent position.


  • Note any military experience you have had in your application. Recent active duty vets are especially highly regarded by law enforcement recruiters, but even college ROTC or National Guard experience is definitely worth mentioning.

About the Author

Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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