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How Do I Get Certified in Homeland Security?


The Department of Homeland Security plays a vital role in the protection and security of the United States against terroristic efforts. In order to prevent future disasters or terrorist attacks, this national effort looks to recruit the most professional candidates for work. The field is still growing enormously, offering unprecedented opportunity for employment. Those who seek a career in homeland security must go through a rigorous process to prove qualification. So what is homeland security certification like and is it the right career path for you?

Homeland Security Job Market

Homeland security jobs cover a broad range of fields, including border protection, immigrant enforcement, cybersecurity, secret services, US customs, asylum support, transportation security (TSA), and federal emergency management (FEMA). Your homeland security job description will largely depend on the type of job you pursue, whether it be as a border patrol agent, deportation agent, detention officer, asylum officer, or mission support.

A typical homeland security certificate salary can average anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 a year. Most homeland security certification jobs earn around $75,827 a year.

How to Get Homeland Security Certification Online

There are different ways to pursue an education in this field; for example, it’s possible to attain homeland security certification online by finding a virtual program that offers an online homeland security certificate. The American Board for Certification in Homeland Security used to be the standard for job seekers in this field, but the board has closed down in recent years. Now the two main programs for certification are NSA/GSHNSP Certified Homeland Protection Associate, level I-IV (CHPA) and a Certified Homeland Protection Professional (CHPP) Certification.

Candidates must pass certain requirements in order to become certified. For example, the CHPP requires the student to be an American citizen, at least 21 years of age, and with no disciplinary action records, felony convictions, or dishonorable discharges from the U.S. military. The CHPP seeker must also gain four years of experience as a responder, emergency manager, security officer, or something similar. A degree in one of these fields is highly recommended. Coursework from an online professional course may require a minimum score of 80% to get accepted.

Those seeking a CHPA Level IV certification face similar requirements for program entry. However, CHPA seekers will receive different training and examination. CHPP seekers train for organizational prevention, preparation, protection, and recovery in the face of disaster. This program is focused on giving students the basic knowledge and skills needed in this field. In CHPA, there are four different levels to signify to employers what kind of level the job seeker is at.

Other Avenues for Homeland Security Certification

Homeland security certification isn’t the only route for students and career seekers. You can choose to study in specialized areas of interest, like FEMA certification or emergency management certification. The kind of homeland security job you pursue should depend on your personal interest and skillset.

A Career in Homeland Security

Now that you know the gist of how to gain certification, you may be wondering whether a career in this field is right for you. Do you live a healthy lifestyle? Are you able to become physically fit? Are you willing to work long, unstructured shifts? Are you able to stay calm under pressure? If you answered yes to these questions, then you would make a great candidate for this line of work. The homeland security field is extremely competitive and it often only employs the most academically excellent students who are able to pass the difficult training process. As a department, homeland security requires the utmost professionalism due to the nature of the work. At its core, this field is about helping and protecting Americans from security threats, natural disasters, and other emergencies.

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