The “Land of Lincoln” is a state with a diverse landscape. Illinois spreads from an urban Chicago metropolis south to rolling farm fields of corn and grain. The mighty Mississippi River flows along its western border and its eastern border is shared with a small portion of Lake Michigan and the state of Indiana.
Security Jobs Outlook
At one time two of Illinois’ airports held the top spot as the nation’s busiest airport. Chicago Midway is still in the top 25. O’Hare lost out to Atlanta in 2005 but is set to regain its title with the opening of a new runway in October 2013.
The Chicago “L” train is the second largest and third busiest rapid transit system in the United States. The Metra rail system is the second busiest commuter rail system serviced by four stations: Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, LaSalle Street Station and Millennium Station. The Union Station is also the hub for Amtrak train traffic.
Added to its busy airports and train stations, the major coastlines on Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, along with 71 public marinas, make Illinois a marine transportation mecca with many opportunities for security employment.
For its categories of Security Guards and Transportation Security Screeners, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued an expected 18% increase by 2020 in its May 2012 report. The report also lists Illinois as the state with the fifth largest number of employed security guards and for transportation security screeners in the nation. Likewise, the Chicago metropolitan area is the third largest area for employment in both those categories.
Police and Sheriff Patrol Officers is a third category of the BLS pertinent to security. Illinois and the Chicago metropolitan area hold the same distinguishing honors as the state with the fifth highest employment level in this occupation and third for metropolitan area.
Education for Jobs in Security
A high school diploma, GED or equivalent is necessary for entry level positions as a security guard or transportation security screener. Post-secondary education may be required to become a police or sheriff officer, depending on the jurisdiction. Advancement in any position will most likely require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The Department of Homeland Security offers 10-week internships for students in security programs. For students enrolled in criminal justice programs, the American Criminal Justice Association (ACJA) funds annual scholarships. Federal and state loan and scholarships are available to help pay for higher education.