Border Patrol Agent Requirements Complete Career Guide
Keep the Borders Safe as a Border Patrol Agent
Keeping the borders safe from smugglers, illegal aliens, and potential terrorist threats are the essential responsibility of a border patrol agent. They must obtain a bachelor’s degree to be admitted to border patrol training, but they can then feel satisfied with a lucrative and essential career.
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U.S. Border Patrol Job Duties
Homeland Security department is in charge of the US customs and border protection branch, which is responsible for all border agents. Working in this field comes with a high level of responsibility because keeping America’s borders safe means guarding about 8000 miles of land and water boundaries.
Their primary objective is to prevent anyone from smuggling in illegal materials or items, and of course, to keep anyone from sneaking into the country as an illegal immigrant. Beyond that, though, a border patrol agent has additional duties to watch out for suspicious characters, potential terrorists, or the detection of weapons or drugs.
Their daily role could involve simply checking cars that cross the border to undercover surveillance detail. They use advanced surveillance technology, including infrared scopes, electronic sensors, and low light tv units. For this reason, they are nicknamed “line watch” since they are the US’s first line of defence against any criminal activity entering the country.
Necessary Degrees and Training
To work in this federal agency, there are strict conditions for education. It is essential to possess at least a 4 year bachelor’s criminal justice degree. However, an additional 2 years leading up to a master’s degree is preferred to get in and beat the competition. These degrees can focus on criminal justice or be a degree in homeland security since those are the two most appropriate majors. They both can be obtained online through a variety of accredited institutions. Liberty University Online, Capella University, and Everest University Online are recommended colleges, although there are many to choose from.
If, however, you do not have the right amount of education, at least 3-4 years of relevant law enforcement experience may be considered instead, although the ideal credentials are at least a bachelor’s degree on top of additional work experience. On top of that, you will need to ensure to meet the following conditions:
- Be under 40 years old
- Be a US citizen
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Have never committed a class A felony or misdemeanour or a class B misdemeanour in the last 10 years
If being a border patrol agent is your goal, be sure your record is clean and find the best places to pursue your education or get appropriate work experience. With a bit of research and preparation, you can soon get involved in protecting your country’s borders.
Border Petrol Agent Salary
There are different types of law enforcement positions that you can look into if your goal is to help keep the streets safe, and one prevalent federal job is as a border patrol agent. US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an average rate of growth in the field without many new opportunities, with an average salary at about $49,000- $124000, not including LEAP, or the law enforcement availability pay that federal workers receive on top of their salaries to compensate for all their overtime and equalling about 25% of their annual salary, training to be a border patrol agent is still a wise career choice among careers in criminal justice.
- Start as a BPA in June 2020 as a GL-7 and make $49,016 – $77,484 per year
- Be promoted in June 2021 to GL-9 and make $54,668 – $88,176 per year
- Be promoted in June 2022 to GS-11 and make $64,009 – $104,012 per year
- Be promoted in June 2023 to GS-12 and make $76,721 – $124,676 per year
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Benefits For The Border Patrol Agents
Apart from the financial benefits, numerous other benefits are also offered to the border patrol agents. If the salary package weren’t attractive enough for you, these perks offered to the border patrol agents would compel you to choose a patrol agent’s career path in the United States of America. So, without any further due, let jump to the topic so that you may get hands on the perks being offered to the border patrol agents.
Paid time off
The US customs and border protection offers special training to its recruits, and they are also offered paid off time so that they can enjoy these days with their family members. The perks offered to the border patrol agents are enlisted below.
- 13 to 26 days of annual leave. The variation depends on the number of years spent in federal services, the higher the number of years, the higher are the Annual leaves.
- 15 days of military reserved leaves.
- 13 days of annual sick leave.
- Opportunities for paid training programs.
Career progression is something that we all want, and the good news is that there are ample opportunities for career progression for border patrol agents. For the border patrol agents, career progression is a ladder in which the border patrol agent will climb once hired in the agency. The scales for border patrol agents are GL-7, GL-9, GS-11, and GS-12. A border patrol agent will automatically be promoted to the next grade after spending the due time duration on a particular scale.
At the GS-13, the border patrol agents are promoted purely based on merit.
The positions of GL-7 to GS-12 are non-competitive while the positions after GS-12 are purely granted based on merit.
|Entry-level||The new entrants are offered a position at GL-7 and GS-9 after completing their training duration in the academy|
|Journeyman||As a border patrol agent progresses to the position of a journeyman, more responsibilities are put on their shoulders. Since the positions till GS-12 are non-competitive, you can get promoted every year with the supervisory approval.|
|Supervisory Role||As you progress more, you are awarded the supervisory role where you can expect to have more responsibilities and lead a team. The supervisory role can be challenging as well as rewarding.|
|Executive||Beyond the GS-15, the roles are executive where the management has to oversight the undergoing operations within the agency.|
Health Insurance Programs
The health of agents is of utmost importance for the agency. Therefore, numerous health benefits are also being offered to border patrol agents. Some of the prominent health insurance programs are enlisted below.
- Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program
- Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)
- Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS)
- Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)
In some instances, the border patrol agents can apply for the health insurance programs even after their retirements. The benefit of such insurance is that you will be able to avail the same health benefits as you used to do whenever you were serving in the agency as an employee.
Life is the most precious gift of God to humanity, and we all work for the betterment of our lives. Life insurance is that one thing that ensures that your family would be financially stable even after your death. The Customs and border patrol offers different life insurance plans to the border patrol agents. These insurance plans are safe bonds for your family to be financially stable even after your death.
The notable insurance plans offered to the border patrol agents are enlisted below:
- Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)
- Basic Employee Death Benefit (BEDB) for FERS Employees
- Special Agents Mutual Benefit Association (SAMBA) Employee Benevolent Fund
We have discussed the salary and other financial perks being offered to the border patrol agents, now let’s discuss the steps that will lead you to become a border patrol agent and enjoy these financial perks.
Steps to become a border patrol agent
In total, there nine different steps that you can follow to become a border patrol agent and if you do all of them correctly, your chances of becoming a border patrol agent are high. So, without any further due, let us jump to the nine border patrol requirements.
Apply –Keep looking for the positions announced and apply for them. For application, you would need to attach your transcript, resume, and other documents to verify your age.
Take the Entrance exam –Before you become a border patrol agent, you need to take an entrance exam, the location for the entrance exam is your choice and you can choose the one that suits you most. The test will be based on two parts. The first part will be based on your experience record for which you will have an hour. The second part of the exam will be based on logical reasoning for which you will have two hours.
Qualification Review –For this step, you do not have to do much; you only need to ensure that the documents you submit during the application process are well arranged. The agency’s human resource department will review your records and ensure that you are meet the minimum qualification required.
Background check –If you perform well during the entrance exam and qualify on merit for the announced position, you will have to go through a background check in which your previous criminal record will be tested. You must have a clean record to qualify for the position of a border patrol agent.
Medical exam –The duties of border patrol agents require one to be physically sound. Therefore, before hiring them, the agency conducts a medical examination in which the candidates are generally examined. If you do not have a significant disability, you are well qualified for a border patrol agent position.
Fitness tests –In this test, the candidates have to participate in physical activity which generally includes sit ups, push-ups, and a few miles are running.
Interview –During the interview, your competencies and skills will be tested to ensure that you are well equipped with emotional and mental capability.
Polygraph Exam –According to the regulations, the candidates for border patrol agents also have to undergo polygraph examination during which general questions related to national security and related matters are asked.
Drug test –The border patrol agents are directly involved in curbing illegal drugs. Therefore, the agency needs to ensure that the hiring candidates are not addicts of illicit drugs. For this purpose, a drug test is a conduct which every candidate must pass before entering any law enforcement agency.
Border Patrol Agents Training
Once the candidates are hired, they are sent to the training academy located in Artesia, New Mexico. The candidates have to undergo a training of 19 weeks during which they are trained on different subjects. The training academy cadets will have to live these nine weeks in the training academy and pass a test before passing out from the academy.
The training is divided into two aspects. The first one is the educational aspect, while the second one is physical training. The main areas on which the cadets are trained are enlisted below:
- Nationality law
- Immigration law
- Use of firearms
- And physical training
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