What does a border patrol agent do?
Border patrol agents are federal law enforcement officers who work directly for the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS, in turn, cooperates with both local law enforcement and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.
The main responsibility of border patrol agents is to stop undocumented aliens from entering the U.S. and apprehend anyone who has illegally crossed the border. Agents are also charged with both detecting and halting the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and other illegal items into the country.
In addition to taking on these aspects of criminal activity, border patrol agents are instrumental in the detection of terrorists and weapons of terror, deterring both from entering the country. Click here to learn how to become a border patrol agent.
What kind of training does a border patrol agent need?
All prospective border patrol agents must have at least a Bachelor degree in Law or Criminal Justice. In addition, candidates must be no older than age 40 in order to apply for a first job.
All agents must pass an extensive background check before entering the U.S. Border Patrol Academy, which is considered the most rigorous of all federal law enforcement training programs. The 19-week program includes classes in physical conditioning, firearms training, specialized driving lessons, integrated law, and conversational Spanish. (1) Click here to get a list of programs to get your degree in criminal justice online.
What are the prospects for a career as a border patrol agent?
There are strong employment prospects for border patrol agent jobs as well as other federal detectives and criminal investigator jobs. Employment rates are expected to grow by over 13.3% (over 5,200 jobs), between 2006 and 2016. (2) Mandatory retirement at age 57 and a growing emphasis on border security are key factors in this growth.
Most border patrol agent positions are currently along the southern border. Future growth is expected to remain focused in this area, as well. Click here for a list of online law enforcement degree programs.
How much do border patrol agents make?
New agents are hired at 3 levels: GL-5, GL-7 and GL-9, depending on education and experience. GL-5 border patrol agent salary starts at $36,658, with GL-9 agents starting at $46,542. (1) Advancement in this career to senior management positions, potential border patrol agent salaries increase significantly.
The border patrol agent career is guaranteed to be fast-paced, intense and diverse. The ability to travel and interact with other cultures, as well as the satisfaction of knowing you are making the country safer, make this job unique and exciting. Click here to find your path to a career as a border patrol agent.