As a Vermont resident with an interest in the homeland security field, you are probably curious about how to go about getting started toward the career of your dreams. As with most respectable jobs, becoming a homeland security professional will require you to have a formal education of some sort.
While the vast majority of professionals in the state will have at least a bachelor’s degree, some jobs can be earned with only an associate’s degree. No matter what level degree you are thinking of getting, you are likely confused about what, exactly, to get your degree in, due to all of the many choices out there.
Most homeland security professionals will either earn their degrees in homeland security specifically or in some related area, such as criminal justice. The two fields are surprisingly quite similar in terms of necessary skills and knowledge. However, some positions will require more specific educational backgrounds than others, but even then, you can always supplement your education with additional coursework or even with a certification program.
Of course, if you know exactly what you want to do before you start your education, you won’t have to worry about supplementing it in the first place; you can instead tailor your studies to meet your end goals.
The easiest way to get your career goals set down securely is to do some research. You can do this online or by visiting the local library. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the field in general and with the wide variety of different positions available in it. When you find a position that you like or are interested in, learn about the various requirements for securing that position.
You should also, whenever possible, try to connect and speak with those already working in your desired capacity. Job shadowing or just asking simple questions can greatly help you to choose a career that is right for you. Once you have done that, you are ready to begin planning your educational path.
When you do finish your degree, the next step to getting started in the field is to work on building up your resume and on gaining some real world experience outside of school. The easiest way to do this is by taking on an internship. You can learn about internship opportunities, which may be completed while you are still in school or after you have graduated, from your college’s career center or its equivalent.
You can also seek these positions out yourself by searching online or by directly contacting agencies that you might possibly be interested in working for. Your internship may be paid, unpaid, or in some cases, taken for school credit. In any case, you will want to treat it as seriously as you would a real job and concentrate on learning as much as possible and on building important connections in the homeland security field.
It is only after you have done all of this that you should get out there and start looking for and applying for various jobs in the field. Make sure you always play up your education and internship experiences. Looking for a job is the time to brag about your accomplishments.
After all, you want potential employers to notice and remember you, and the best way to get them to do that is by impressing them. Be honest, however, about your abilities and about your own strengths and weaknesses, as exaggerating can lead to embarrassing trouble later on down the road. A good employer will always appreciate your candidness an give you a real shot at the job you have always wanted.