How to Become a Border Patrol Agent in 2020 | Requirements

Are you wondering how to become a Border Patrol agent? Few jobs in law enforcement offer the pay levels, benefits, opportunities for advancement and job stability of this profession. 

Get started on an exciting career with a solid future.

How to Become a Border Patrol Agent

Are you ready to pursue this career? Before you apply for Border Patrol positions, learn more about what the job involves and what the border patrol job requirements are.

What Is a Border Patrol Agent?

Border Patrol agents are the on front lines of our northern and southern borders. 

They are officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Border Patrol agents:

  • Defend the border against all illegal activity.
  • Rescue people trapped in the border areas.
  • Provide aid to victims of crime.
  • Monitor all activity along the border.
  • Interdict dugs and other illegal shipments at border crossings.
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Basic Requirements to Become a Border Patrol Agent

What does it take to become a Border Patrol agent? Prepare yourself for this career by getting the right education and training.

When you see the steps showing you how to become a Border Patrol agent, you'll see that the process is long and rigorous. The agency wants to make sure that only the most qualified applicants get in.

The Border Patrol job requirements are tough. Make sure you're fully prepared.

General Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be 40 or younger.
  • You must have a valid driver's license.
  • You must be in good physical health.
  • You should speak Spanish.
  • You must pass a criminal background check.
  • Some requirements can be waived for people with a background in law enforcement or the military.

The following will disqualify you:

  • Any criminal history.
  • Record of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Failure to pass all three of the Border Patrol's physical fitness tests.

Preparing to Become a Border Patrol Officer

If your heart is set on this career, you should make sure you're fully prepared when it comes to your health, your background, your education and your paperwork.

Get or Stay In Good Shape

Like most law enforcement agencies, the Border Patrol has tough physical fitness requirements. You need to pass three tests of your physical fitness. 

You'll be tested on your cardiovascular strength, sit-ups, push-ups and the ability to run 1.5 miles in 13 minutes or less.

Bottom Line: if you're not involved in a regular fitness plan, start one now. Keep in mind that your work is likely to take place in hot, desert climates that will test your physical endurance.

Get the Right Education

The Border Patrol lists a college degree as one of the requirements to become a Border Patrol agent. 

There is no specific type of degree you should get, but many agents et a degree in criminal justice. 

Bottom Line: if you have at least one year of experience in law enforcement or military police work, you can substitute that for the education requirement.

Learn Spanish

Before you decide to apply to border patrol, you should be fluent in Spanish. 

If you are not fluent, the Border Patrol will make you complete 40 hours of additional language training once you're hired.

Make Sure You Have a Clean Record and Gather Your Documents

You'll have to undergo a background check when you apply. 

This means you must have documentation showing your birth certificate or passport, your past addresses, and contact information for your past employers. 

Get everything organized now so you don't get any nasty surprises later.

How to Apply for Border Patrol Jobs

Now that you're prepared, you want to know exactly how to become a border patrol agent. 

Follow these detailed steps to ensure a smooth application process.

Initial Application

The application involves a nine-step process:

  1. Fill out the government application on the USAJobs website.
  2. Take the entrance examination. This is a two-part aptitude examination.
  3. The agency reviews your application.
  4. The government conducts a background investigation.
  5. You complete a full medical assessment.
  6. You take the fitness tests.
  7. You interview with the agency.
  8. You take a polygraph as part of your background check.
  9. The final step is a drug test.

Training at the Border Patrol Academy

Once you have passed the screening and been accepted into the Border Patrol ranks, you will attend a 940-hour, 117-day paid training program at the Border Patrol Academy in Glyncoe, Georgia.

The program focuses on legal knowledge, report writing and physical conditioning. 

You will learn how to become a Border Patrol agent who's fully trained and ready to work.

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Learn About the Border Patrol Salary and Benefits

Border Patrol agents use the same salary scale as other government employees. As an agent, you will begin at either a GS-5 or GS-9 grade level. As an agent, you will receive regularly yearly promotions up to the G-12 level.

Here's what each level represents:

  • G-5 is $55,863 per year.
  • G-7 is $64,000 per year.
  • G-9 is $72,619 per year.
  • G-11 is $85,526 per year.
  • G-12 is $101,000 per year.

In addition to your base Border Patrol salary, you qualify for:

  • Overtime pay of 25% whenever you work more than 40 hours in a week.
  • Locality pay if you are assigned to an area with a high cost of living.
  • Awards and bonuses.
  • Premium pay for working on holidays.

Get Started on a New Law Enforcement Career

If you want a career in law enforcement, you can find one at U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

The agency has had difficulty finding qualified candidates, and opportunities for Border Patrol agents are wide open.

 If you meet the requirements, start your application now.

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