White House

What Does it Take to Become a Secret Service Special Agent?

As one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies, the United States Secret Service is one of the most elite law enforcement agencies in the world. The dual mission of investigations and protection is what distinguishes the U.S. Secret Service from all other law enforcement organizations.

Qualifications: To be considered for a position as a special agent you must meet the following requirements. You must be a U.S. citizen and be between 21 and 37 years old at the time of appointment. You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, have three years of work experience in the criminal investigative or law enforcement fields, or have an equivalent combination of education and related experience. You must be in excellent health and physical condition and pass the background investigation, drug screening, medical examination and polygraph examination. You must also pass the Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) written examination.

Duties and Responsibilities: The dual mission of investigation and protection has specific duties. The protective mission includes protection for the President and Vice President of the United States, major presidential and vice presidential candidates, visiting foreign heads of state, former presidents, and events designated as National Special Security Events. The investigative mission includes investigations of violations of laws relating to counterfeiting, financial institution fraud, false identification documents, credit card fraud, computer-based attacks on the nation’s financial, banking and telecommunications infrastructures and more.

ComputerTraining: Secret Service special agents go through a lot of intensive training. During the first year, newly appointed special agents attend intensive training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Here they are instructed in a variety of disciplines from criminal investigations to firearms training. After the successful completion of FLETC, special agents will then attend the James J. Rowley Training Center where they will receive training in all aspects of the protective and investigative missions.

Salary and Work Conditions: Based on whether you enter as a G-7 or G-9, the salary can vary based on the assigned geographical area; view current salary details. Special agents of the U.S. Secret Service have certain job requirements. Special agents work long hours and sometimes in undesirable conditions, or on short notice. Traveling may be required for periods up to 30 days and sometimes longer. A special agent has to carry a firearm while performing duties and maintain firearms proficiency. Agents may also be requested to work an undercover assignment. To learn more about working for the Secret Service, go to their website.

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