If you live in the state of Colorado and dream of one day becoming a homeland security agent, then you should know that your dreams are incredibly possible. In fact, the fact that you live in the state of Colorado makes them even more possible, because you have many great resources right in your own state.

Before we discuss those resources, however, it is important for you to understand that homeland security agents do not all work in the same way. In fact, there are actually hundreds of different jobs within the homeland security category.

Obviously then, if you are going to set career goals and work toward them, you need to know about the different jobs that are available in the field.

While it would be impossible for us to list them all here, know that most will fall under one of these headings: citizenship and immigration services, customers and border protection, federal emergency management, federal law enforcement, immigration and customs enforcement, transportation security administration, United States Coast Guard, or United States Secret Service.

It is up to you to research the different jobs in each of these categories and to determine the one that is the best fit for you. As you make this important decision, however, make sure that you think realistically. Also, don’t just pay attention to the many benefits to having the job you research; also look at the qualifications and requirements you must meet.

Be truthful with yourself about what you are willing and able to do in order to obtain a certain job. This will help you to set goals that are truly attainable and to avoid disappointment or even wasted time and money later on down the road.

Just about any job, however, that you could want to have in the homeland security field will require you to have a college education. Most commonly, jobs in the field will only interview and hire applicants who possess at least a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, the bachelor’s degree is either in homeland security specifically or in a closely related area.

Because of this, some schools that tend to offer these types of programs are quite common among prospective homeland security professionals. Don’t ever feel, though, like you have to choose a school in your state. Many people go out of state for college or even take their classes online; the choice truly is yours.

If, however, you do decide that schooling in your current state is the best option for you, you will be glad to know that you have many varied and exciting choices. These start all the way down at the community college or trade or technical level.

These schools tend to offer associate’s degrees, which can be earned in as little as two years, and their programs are generally much more affordable than traditional colleges and universities.

While few jobs in the field will be open to those who only possess an associate’s degree, this is often a great springboard to further education, especially since associate’s degree credits are designed to be transferred to a bachelor’s degree program at a later date.

Some common “starter schools,” as they are called include Alms Community College in Greeley, which has associate’s degree programs in criminal justice; and Arapahoe Community College of Littleton with its online associates’ degree programs in criminal justice and its certification programs in crime analysis and law enforcement.

There’s also Colorado Northwestern Community College, in Rangely, which has an associate’s degree program in law enforcement, as well as in criminal justice and law enforcement.

Traditional colleges and universities to consider are Denver’s Argosy University, featuring online bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice, as well as a master’s degree program in law enforcement, homeland security, or forensic psychology; and Johnson and Wales University, also in Denver, which has a bachelor’s degree program in criminal justice.

There’s also Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Regis University in Denver, Remington College of Colorado Springs, and the University of Colorado at Denver, as well as many fine online choices. Make sure that any school you choose is accredited and legitimate, but be especially careful with online schools.