Criminal Justice Degree Career Options – Anti-Terrorism Officer


What can you do with a criminal justice degree? How about a career as an Anti-Terrorism Officer. Since 9/11, the role of anti-terrorism units has grown substantially. If you’re interested in working in both a local and national scale by actively protecting civilians and identifying potential terrorism threats, then this may be the career option for you. While there are various avenues an aspiring anti-terrorism professional may take, one of the most highly sought after degree paths for these positions is a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice that’s highlighted by anti-terrorism electives. Officially known as Anti-Terrorism Officers, or ATOs, these professionals actively work with local and national law enforcement officers and various government agencies to safeguard the land and people we love.

Anti-Terrorism Officer Job Description

There are very few law enforcement officers equipped with the necessary training and experience to deal with high-security threats that are commonly associated with terrorism or large organized terrorist groups. Modern terrorism is unique in the methods that are used in their quest to destroy the calm of a civilization. Therefore, the job functions of an anti-terrorism officer are unique and highly advanced.

Before delving into the educational requirements for this profession, it’s essential to understand what’s expected of an anti-terrorism officer. While specific job functions will vary based upon the employer and your specific function within this arm of the government, the most common job functions include:

  • Actively protect seaports and airports from land, air and sea threats.
  • Secure and protect utility services, such as water treatment facilities and power plants.
  • Work with sea law enforcement officers to safeguard ships and other vessels that carry hazardous cargo as well as protecting the chemical plants from invasion.
  • Add an advanced-level of security during public events and festivals.
  • Provide supplementary levels of security for government agencies and facilities, such as U.S. military bases and U.S. embassies.

Anti-Terrorism Officer Educational Requirements

Most of the anti-terrorism officers are required to not only hold a strong understanding of criminal justice, which is gained by completing either a certificate or degree program. Along with this foundational level of education, the majority of these positions requires a specialized certification program. Generally, this certificate program consists of 52-hours of classroom and hand-on training. In order to qualify for a position within this career field, candidates must pass both written and hands-on field examinations. Along with passing the aforementioned, all aspiring anti-terrorism officers must pass various weapon safety courses, which include passing requirements for handguns, rifle and shotguns.