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Border Patrol Agent

Career Overview

The United States Border Patrol is the enforcement arm of the Customs and Border Protection agency. Border Patrol Agents protect 6,000 miles of international border with Canada and Mexico. They also patrol 2,000 miles of coastal waters around Florida and Puerto Rico.

An agent's principal job is stopping the flow if illegal immigrants and contraband coming into the country. The job involves a lot of surveillance and follow-up on aerial surveillance, farm checks, ranch checks, transportation observation and anti-smuggling activity.

Education

A bachelors degree is not a requirement, but some combination of experience and education beyond high school will be necessary. You must be capable of handling a fairly rigorous academic program at the Border Patrol Academy.

Education and experience will also dictate your starting pay rate. You must either speak Spanish when applying or learn Spanish while undergoing the training program after acceptance.

Current Employment

There are currently about 18,000 Border Patrol Agents actively employed. There is also a substantial support staff working for the Border Patrol that handles administrative duties and special investigative roles.

Job Outlook

As of early 2009 the agency is actively recruiting. The Border Patrol has undergone unprecedented growth since 2001 and will continue to grow as immigration law becomes more detailed. Applicants must be under 37 years of age.

Salary

Most agents start with a GS5 rating.    $36,658
Entry or early advancement rating can be GS7  $41,729.
Entry or 2 years experience can pay at GS9   $46,542

There is also excellent opportunity for overtime pay, up to 25% of base pay.

Source: U.S. Border Patrol

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