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Your Security Career: Internships

Welcome to our first installment of “Your Security Career” in 2024! This month we look at a great way to start your security career: internships.

An internship is a great on-ramp for someone considering a career in security.

Starting your career with an internship is one of the hottest employment trends of 2024. Lots of organizations are looking for interns and apprentices in this really tight job market.

While there are a wide variety of ways to get started in the security profession, many security practitioners began their corporate career following a successful career with government or law enforcement agencies. There were not many higher education programs geared toward security, and prior experience was often the main way in.

Fortunately, there are now a lot more higher education curricula that prepare people for a career in security. Graduates have the chance to enter the field armed with both practical experience and a university degree.

An internship is valuable on-the-job experience for newcomers to the security profession, both in the private and public sector. Corporations and government agencies work closely with universities to recruit students who are studying a diverse assortment of security-focused curricula.

January is prime time for internship job listings, and companies are looking for you right now!

There are a wide variety of internships in the security profession.

Opportunities for interns are as varied as the security profession itself. Someone interested in the public sector can expect to see openings with agencies such as the FBI, US Department of State, US Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency and similar.

Interested in working in a corporation? Then consider these opportunities advertised over the past 30 days. They are with major corporations across a wide variety of industries:

  • Public Safety Officer Intern – entertainment
  • Safety and Loss Prevention Intern – senior living management
  • Information Security Intern – financial
  • Cybersecurity Intern – software products
  • Corporate Security Intern – automotive
  • Security Awareness Intern – gaming
  • Security Analysis Intern – healthcare
  • Security Engineering Intern – energy
  • Risk Analyst Intern – technology
  • Governance, Risk and Compliance Intern – information technology
  • Security Operations Center Intern – manufacturing
  • Industrial Security Intern – government contractor
  • Legal and Global Security Intern – property management
  • Security Service Intern – electrical manufacturing
  • Investigative Intern – retail
  • Digital Forensics Intern – university
  • Global Security Intern – pharmaceutical
  • Security Governance Intern – government contractor

What do you need to know to be competitive for an internship position?

Students who engage with their college or university’s career center services are more than twice as likely to secure a paid internship. Opportunities are available for students at both undergraduate and graduate level:

  • Technical security internships value studies in computer science, cyber security, information security and systems, risk analysis, business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Degree programs highly sought after for non-technical slots are in the fields of security management, emergency management, national security, legal studies, and criminal justice.
  • Also helpful are more broad areas of study such as business administration, psychology, political science, international relations, and communications.
  • Internships with government contractors may require you to already have a clearance in place. Certifications in relevant industries are also a big plus.
  • Hiring organizations typically recruit interns in the fall of the year prior to employment or in the spring preceding the summer of employment. Assignments can last for a limited period, typically across the summer, or can run as long as a year if the program is structured more like an apprenticeship.
  • Most organizations prefer students who are enrolled at accredited universities. You should be actively pursing a BA/BS, MS, or PhD degree, or in law school. Grade point averages typically start no lower than 3.0.
  • Equally valuable to education or certification achievements are your skills and competencies that will enable you to gain the most from your internship experience. An outgoing personality, excellent active listening and critical thinking skills and a demonstrated passion for learning will give you an edge over the competition.
  • While each have varying experience and education requirements, they all likely require a deep understanding of governing laws, regulations, and other unique challenges including cross-border implications.

What are the salaries like for security internships?

Hiring organizations typically recruit interns in the fall of the year prior to employment or in the spring preceding the summer of employment. Assignments can last for a limited period, typically across the summer, or can run as long as a year if the program is structured more like an apprenticeship.

Salaries are often stated as an hourly wage for short-term internships. Apprenticeship programs or longer internships are often listed with an annual salary range. Most internship programs offer benefits like those you could expect as a full-time employee.

Hourly rates can be as low as minimum wage. Internships that require more skill sets can run into the hundreds of dollars per hour. Typically, the larger the corporation, the better the hourly rate. Annual salaries are competitive with skilled entry-level positions in the organization.

Internships are a great way to get started on your career!

Interns are often invited back year after year, with organizations viewing them as high-potential permanent employees. Get your foot in the door early and accelerate your security career!

About Your Security Career

Every month SJN takes a deep dive into one of the functional areas that comprise the security profession. Each has a wide range of challenges that offer career growth, and our goal with this series is to broaden your horizon within each of these niche functions.

If you’re not already an active SJN member, subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on LinkedIn to get notified when a new installment is published!

Interested in finding a new position that supports your vision for your security career? Members have unlimited access to our listings. Join today to find the role that is the perfect fit for you!

Did you hear? Our parent company, SMR Group, is the leading security industry search firm chosen as “the most trusted recruitment partner” in their niche market. While you are here, register with them so they can reach out to you when they have new recruitment projects.

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