Careers in the field of security include employment as a security guard, armored car guard or gaming surveillance officer. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers opportunities in such areas as cybersecurity, transportation security, border security and economic security. Knowing the minimum requirements and preferences of these jobs can increase your chances of securing employment in this industry.
DHS: Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
The Department of Homeland Security has unique requirements, known as knowledge, skill and abilities, or KSAs, that they look for in candidates. An applicant’s ability to match the position’s KSAs determines how seriously a person would be considered for a particular job. For example, border patrol agents need a bachelor’s degree, one year of qualifying experience or a combination of both. A person who took two years of Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in high school would meet this requirement. Border patrol agents also need to speak Spanish or be willing to learn the language.
Other Security Agencies: Education
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unarmed security guards need either a high school diploma or GED, although some employers prefer college coursework in criminal justice. Employers also prefer armed guards who have a criminal justice or police science degree. Gaming surveillance officers -- who work in casinos -- are usually certified through classroom training that simulates a casino setting equipped with surveillance cameras. The BLS reports that employers prefer applicants with casino or investigation experience.
DHS: Other Considerations
All Department of Homeland Security applicants must be U.S. citizens. In addition, they must undergo rigorous background checks, drug tests and panel interviews. Applicants who have been convicted of a felony or involved in physical or domestic abuse will be disqualified. In addition, applicants should be able to work well in a fast-paced environment, and they must be able to remain calm in stressful situations.
Other Security Agencies: Other Considerations
The BLS reports that security guards and gaming surveillance officers need good communication skills since they must speak with the public, suspects and law enforcement officers. Also, they need observation and decision-making skills to be aware of their surroundings and quickly determine the best course of action in dangerous situations. In addition, they should be honest since they must protect confidential information or expensive equipment, and they need physical strength to deal with offenders and handle emergencies.
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