Homeland Security Degrees and Certification in New York City, New York

New York City is on the front line of homeland security’s fight to prevent the next terrorist attack. An icon of America and in itself, about one-quarter of the state’s hundred-plus terrorism convictions since the September 11th attacks have occurred in the city, that has also been the focus of at least 11 major terrorist plots since that time. Those diligently working in homeland security jobs in New York City understand that the threat of terrorism cannot be overemphasized. Critical to combating this threat is agency collaboration through exercises, joint homeland security training and teamwork when disaster does strike. The country’s oldest and largest Joint Terrorism Task Force is based in New York City, along with:

  • Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council
  • Lower Manhattan Security Initiative
  • Threat Reduction Infrastructure Protection Group
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Section
  • FBI’s New York City Field Intelligence Group
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement Field Intelligence Group
  • New York Police Department’s
    • Counterterrorism Bureau
    • Terrorism Threat Analysis Group
    • Intelligence Division

Terrorism Still a Real Threat in NYC

As New Yorkers will remember, there have been numerous terrorist plots and attacks in the Big Apple throughout its history, though the 9/11 attacks are clearly the most memorable for city residents if not the world. The urgency for homeland security careers in New York City is unfortunately demonstrated all too often as successive terrorist plots are uncovered, while at the same time the effectiveness and competency of those currently employed in homeland security jobs is also manifested as these plots are foiled. Agencies work any angle necessary to prevent the next attack, ranging from community outreach to intelligence gathering and undercover operations. Recent successes include:

  • A November 2012 arrest of two brothers on charges for planning to bomb popular city landmarks including various theaters, Wall Street, and Times Square
  • An October 2012 arrest of a man as he attempted to detonate what he thought was a bomb in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan, but was actually a dud supplied by an undercover agent
  • A November 2011 arrest of a man while he was busy assembling three bombs he planned to detonate around New York City
  • A May 2011 arrest of two men after one of them inadvertently alerted authorities to a planned terrorist attack on a New York City synagogue when he purchased three guns, ammunition, and a hand grenade from an undercover detective

Certification and Education for Homeland Security Personnel in New York City

Working in NYC’s homeland security field can be a challenging as well as rewarding experience. To begin, candidates should be able to meet some basic requirements including:

  • Being able to work well on a team, with proven experience preferred
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Ability to pass a thorough background investigation and gain a security clearance
  • Ability to pass a drug test and have no significant criminal record

Next a candidate should narrow down which type of homeland security position is of interest. Qualifying for many positions often entails having the right homeland security certification, which will be specified in job announcements. Certifications are offered through of variety of agencies and can be individual courses or programs:

  • The New York Police Department offers certification in:
    • Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear/Hazardous Material Operations Level
  • The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services offers certification in:
    • Professional Development
    • National Incident Management Systems
    • Emergency Operations Center Management
    • Community Mass Care Management

There are also a number of universities and colleges in the NYC area that offer Associate and Bachelor Degrees in Homeland Security. An associate degree gives the student a firm foundation in the field, while a bachelor degree provides for a further level of depth. Homeland security agencies also recruit specialists from a variety of strategic education backgrounds, including:

  • Information Technology
  • Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Political Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Linguistics

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