Surveillance Specialist Careers

Surveillance specialists are called upon to support foreign counterintelligence or counterterrorism investigations and gather information of interest for the safety and security of the nation’s people, infrastructure, and interests. These professionals, who may work for either the federal government, through the Department of Homeland Security or for private companies, use a variety of equipment and communications during surveillance operations.

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The Homeland Security Act of 2002 included mobilizing and organizing forces as to protect the nation’s transportation and infrastructure from terrorist attacks. Through local, state and federal agencies, professionals such as surveillance specialists are tasked with implementing and maintaining systems, practices and methods as to protect against these threats.

Surveillance specialists are called upon to use the skills of Special Forces and law enforcement professionals and utilize a number of technologies and methods for gathering information and intelligence to be used for the identification of terrorist threats and for the prevention of terrorist activities. Surveillance specialists also analyze and disseminate the intelligence that is gathered during surveillance operations.

Surveillance specialists may use a number of technologies to perform their jobs, including:

  • Video surveillance
  • Video analytics
  • Digital video management systems
  • Access control
  • Intrusion detection and reporting
  • Intrusion analytics
  • Wireless communications
  • Digital microwave systems
  • Covert video equipment, including transmitters and receivers


How to Become a Surveillance Specialist in Homeland Security

Surveillance specialists must be able to gather and analyze information and data from a variety of sources. As such, most of these homeland security professionals possess degrees in information security and network infrastructure security. Some of the areas of specialization for these professionals includes: security system design; telecommunications; cryptography; programming; and computer architecture, among others.

Many surveillance specialists are former law enforcement personnel with degrees in such areas as criminal justice, security law enforcement, homeland security, or a related field.

Salary Statistics for Surveillance Specialists in Homeland Security

Although there are no readily available salary statistics for surveillance specialists in Homeland Security, similar occupations (and their median annual salaries) include:

  • Private detectives and investigators: $42,870
  • Detectives and criminal investigators: $68,820
  • Computer and information systems managers: $115,780
  • Network and computer systems administrators: $69,160
  • Computer support specialists: $46,260
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians: $56,040

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