Never before has the climate been so volatile and the world so uncertain regarding the safety structures of countries as a whole than the post-9/11 environment. The need for security specialists across every realm remains critical. As such, each division of the collective American government remains vigilant in its efforts to fill entry level security specialist jobs with dedicated, reliable, and focused candidates. From the nation's shipyards that design and build naval ships to the Department of Homeland Security, the priority is security.
In the past years, since the terror attacks and subsequent wars currently being fought, the nation's three largest shipyards, located in Bath, Maine, Pascagoula, Mississippi and Avondale, Louisiana have redefined their entire security structures. As such, entry level positions have more than tripled at each facility. Gone are the days that one could leisurely make it to any of the office buildings before being stopped.
Now, checkpoints are established outside the actual facilities to ensure no one makes it past property lines before being identified, documented and the reason for being onsite verified. It's no surprise then that budgets for security, from security guards to those who issue security clearances, haven't seen the cuts that other departments have. These efforts, though, are only the tip of the iceberg.
Many government security jobs are focused on a company's computer networks. Extraordinary efforts are made on a daily basis to ensure a company's confidential information is never compromised or at risk to a hacker who has intentions of breaching not only the security of a company, but to shut it down entirely on both virtual and physical levels. Because of this, certified computer specialists remain in demand. Each company has its own guidelines for hiring personnel to fill these roles, but most require a degree and candidates are often required to undergo an internal certification process.
Even entry level positions are now flagged for security clearances. Ordinarily, these clearances are standard operating procedure, but if you're attempting to garner a position that will allow you to start at the ground and work your way up, be advised many clearances require credit checks and/or criminal checks. These are just part of the ever-changing landscape companies make to protect themselves. And if these companies handle government contracts, the process could delve even deeper into your personal life, including interviewing family members, neighbors, friends, and even teachers from grade school.
Homeland Security jobs cover government arms such as Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Immigration and Customs, Federal Emergency Management Administration and many others. Only in the past several years have these divisions fallen under Homeland Security and are more evidence of how the American government restructured itself to better provide for the citizens of its country. With over three million government workers and over one hundred departments, bureaus and agencies, streamlining these efforts provide less room for error.
If you've decided to pursue a career with the federal government and believe you have the qualifications, there are a few things to keep in mind. Of course, your first task is to determine who's hiring and which entry level positions you qualify for. If you're a recent college graduate, Career America, the government's job entry program that has the information for security positions on an entry level, might be your best "foot in the door" option, since it was designed to attract talent that's fresh out of college. A word to the wise: if it's a federal position you're seeking, you'll be required to complete an SF 171, which is "Standard Form" and mandatory for every employee's personnel file. Further, you'll undergo extensive testing, both physically and mentally.
Expect to undergo psychological testing, including the MMPI and IQ testing, your reflexes, vision, hearing and sensory perceptions will be put under a microscope and your mental response times and reactions will be examined. Think of it as a modern ink blot test series. These tests and inquiries take time and are never begun until after an offer's made for employment and you've accepted. This means your hire date and your actual start date will be separated by the block of time it will take to ensure you've what it takes.
The outlook for these jobs is expected to be favorable over the next several years, but it's important to mention different arms of the government will require different qualifications. Nuclear power plants will have more restrictions and more formal training than other divisions. It's notable, too, that some positions, including those that require being armed with weapons, such as armored car guards, airport security officers, security positions within shipping ports and even security personnel for high ranking government officials, are considerably more dangerous and require a level of dedication many find overwhelming.
But what are the benefits? Unlike any other you could find within the private sector. From the medical and dental insurance plans to the plentiful federally recognized holidays, those who work for America's largest employer enjoy the perks that come with this privilege.
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