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Department of Homeland Security

Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents and inspectors receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP)—equal to 25 percent of the agent’s grade and step—awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work. For example, in 2005, FBI agents entered Federal service as GS-10 employees on the pay scale at a base salary of $42,548, yet they earned about $53,185 a year with availability pay. They could advance to the GS-13 grade level in field non-supervisory assignments at a base salary of $64,478, which was worth $80,597 with availability pay. FBI supervisory, management, and executive positions in grades GS-14 and GS-15 paid a base salary of about $76,193 and $89,625 a year, respectively, which amounted to $95,241 or $112,031 per year including availability pay.

Facts at a glance

  • The office of Homeland Security develops and coordinates a thorough national strategy that protects against terrorists threats.
  • More than $18 billion dollars have been awarded to state and local governments for homeland.
  • Since September 11th, more than a half-million first responders across America have been trained.

Summary of what this career entails

The Department of Homeland Security employs numerous law enforcement officers under several different agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Secret Service. U.S. Border Patrol agents protect more than 8,000 miles of international land and water boundaries. Their missions are to detect and prevent the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented foreign nationals into the United States; to apprehend those persons violating the immigration laws; and to interdict contraband, such as narcotics.

Degrees that lead to this career

The minimal level of education you can receive is a certificate. Some of the degrees individuals can attain include:

  • Certificate in Terrorism and National Security Management
  • A.S. Criminal Justice,
  • B.A. in Homeland Security
  • B.S. in Homeland Security an Public Safety
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice -  Homeland Security
  • M.A. in Homeland Security

Specific Career openings in this field

Some of the positions available for individuals that want a career in homeland security include border patrol, diplomatic security, centers for disease control and prevention, customs service, department of defense, department of energy, and the department of health and services.         


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Police and Detectives, on the Internet at