What Jobs Can You Get in Threat Assessment and Management?
Threat assessment and management refers to a set of skills used to identify and prevent potential threats. Utilizing a variety of techniques, a trained individual can prevent a situation from ever reaching the point of violence or danger.
Threat assessment and management are therefore useful skills in many fields—which ones, exactly?
From specialists who assess risks on campus to social workers who analyze the safety of a child’s current home, there are many potential areas of application. We’ll jump into a few of the more common career options that utilize this skill set, though new jobs and opportunities are constantly created within this evolving field.
#1 Law Enforcement
Threat management consultants can help law enforcement and public safety agencies with their training and protocols, but any effective law officer may benefit from utilizing these skills every day on the job.
Whether or not each officer is acutely aware of it, they are likely performing a three-step process when interacting with potential threats:1
- Identify – Cursing, aggression, and loitering may all be signs of potentially threatening behavior, as well as sudden changes in demeanor or actions. Through experience and intuition, police officers can often identify such behaviors, though formalized training modules are increasingly important in accurate, unbiased threat detection.
- Assess – While identification can be made by an untrained observer, assessment typically requires professional training. By compiling and analyzing a larger scope of relevant information, law enforcement and others are better able to calculate the likelihood of actual harm. To do this, they’ll look at two types of factors:
- Static factors – These are unchanging or uniformly changing elements of an individual such as gender and age, which are more useful in predicting the risk of violence over time.
- Dynamic factors – These are variable factors that can change constantly and without notice, like an individual’s drug or alcohol use, interpersonal relationships, and general attitude or beliefs. These may be used to predict the risk of specific threats of violence.
- Manage – Once an assessment has been made, the threat must be managed—meaning interrupted or mitigated. Through both immediate and long-term interventions, the underlying issue causing the behavior can be addressed, and the threat can therefore be neutralized.
Law enforcement is a widely understood example of threat assessment and management but there are many possible career paths available.
#2 Customs and Border Protection
Similar to law enforcement officers, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents conduct daily risk, threat, and vulnerability assessments. These apply to international supply chains and shipments that pass through U.S. jurisdiction, as well as people traveling by land, air, and sea.
In assessing the many complex elements of the global supply chain, CBP agents might be identifying and assessing threats in relation to a company’s:2
- Physical, on-premise security
- Access controls and devices
- Trustworthiness of personnel
- Quality of IT systems and data back-ups
- Product handlers, including manufacturers, brokers, importers, and exporters
#3 Education Administration
Safety in schools is one of the top concerns of threat assessment and management. Administrators will often work with law enforcement, security personnel, and mental health professionals to keep schools as safe as possible.
Beyond physical violence risk assessment, education administrators may also be seeking to identify other possible threats, such as:
- Risk of suicide or self-harm
- Inappropriate faculty behavior
- Student delinquency
#4 Mental Health and Social Services
Being able to assess threats and intervene appropriately helps these professionals with violence prevention and keeps their community safe and best care for troubled individuals.
Specific careers that rely on acute threat assessment and management skills include:
- Caseworkers or Family Service specialists, who assess a child’s safety level before removing them from or placing them into a new home. This can be a great career path for students enrolled in MFT programs.
- Psychologists or psychiatrists, who perform psychiatric evaluations for involuntary holds and mental health assessments for patients to quantify threat level
- Substance abuse specialists, who assess a patient’s likelihood of relapse vs. sustained recovery
- In-school counselors, who help education administrators identify potentially dangerous or harmful behaviors or home environments.This is a study or practice of organizational development psychology and identifing how organizations, communities, and schools behave.
#5 Information Technology
One of the fastest-growing career paths for people with threat assessment training is in the digital realm—after all, security includes cybersecurity, too.
While these jobs require additional technical skills, they also use many of the same violence risk assessment and management techniques to identify and mitigate potential cyber threats. Professionals in this field will likely assess the risk of various attacks and the organization’s ability to successfully withstand them. This assessment may be paired with actionable improvements to better safeguard against malware, phishing, ransomware, and more.
Threat Assessment and Management at Alliant International University
At Alliant International University’s California School of Forensic Studies, we offer an Advanced Practice Certificate in threat assessment and management. This online certification program will allow you to work and study with some of the field’s top professionals.
Whether you’re starting over or looking to expand on your current skill set, this course could be the first step in building your dream career—as a police officer, principal, social worker, cybersecurity specialist, and more. Learn more at Alliant and start your career today.
- “C-TPAT’s Five Step Risk Assessment.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, August 2014. https://www.cbp.gov/sites/default/files/documents/C-TPAT's%20Five%20Ste….
- “Threat Assessment and Management Teams.” Department of Homeland Security. Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention. https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/threat_assessment_…. Accessed: December 30, 2021.