If you live in the state of Iowa and are considering a career as a homeland security agent, you undoubtedly have quite a few questions about the field in general and about the nature of the work. Overwhelmingly, however, what people most want to know is the salary they can expect to earn once they start working.

Unfortunately, there is no one, simple answer to that question. Contrary to popular belief, homeland security agents don’t all work in the same way. In fact, there are actually hundreds of different jobs within the field, and each one has its own unique requirements and its own unique pay scale.

Plus, the job that you do is not the only thing that affects salary; many other factors play into what you will earn as a professional in the field.

The average salary, however, for a homeland security professional in the state of Iowa can be determined. Currently, that figure is approximately $54,000 per year.

However, when you break it down further and look at the salaries for various professionals in the field, you can begin to see the huge diversity among salaries.

Transportation security officers, for example, make quite a bit less than the average salary, usually around $30,000 per year. USAR unit administrators make a little more, with an average salary of $35,000 per year, followed closely by mission support specialists, who earn around $48,000 per year on average.

Of course, there are also professionals who tend to make well above the average salary. Information technology specialists, for example, make an average salary of $65,000 annually, while border patrol agents make around $64,000.

Border patrol agents and program analysts are also in this pay range, as are management and program analysts. Other higher paying careers include contract specialists, and human resources specialists.

As mentioned above, however, salary is not fully dependent upon the job title that one has. Many other factors go into the amount that ends up on one’s paycheck. One of the things that has a great affect on a person’s salary is his or her educational level. Most professionals working in the field will have at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in homeland security or a closely related area.

Professionals at this educational level, though, can increase their earnings by choosing to increase their education. Going from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree is an excellent way to see a leap in salary.

Those with doctorate level degrees make even more, and everyone can benefit financially and professionally from continuing education opportunities, whether they result in a degree or not.

No matter what your current educational level, consider taking it up a notch to see a bigger paycheck.

You also have to consider the amount of experience a person has. Just as more education equals more money, more years of experience equals larger paychecks. The only way to get experience, of course, is to continue working in the field and staying with each job for as long as possible.

If you haven’t yet started working, you can increase your future starting salary by taking on an internship or some other kind of experiential learning opportunity. This will help to boost your resume and will most likely result in you getting paid more from the get-go.

Think too about where you live and work. Homeland security professionals working in huge cities, where they are more necessary and in higher demand, will almost always make more than those in more rural areas.

It makes sense, due to both the higher cost of living in larger cities and to the fact that professionals will be called upon more often in larger areas where there are more people.

In the end, while all of these things can have an impact on salary, the most important thing is really how hard you work and how valuable you make yourself to your employer.

If you do your job well, no matter what it is, and give it your all, you will likely be promoted quickly, thus obtaining better positions and higher pay. Those who slack off and just barely do their work, however, likely won’t be getting raises anytime soon.