US Border Patrol: Job Description, Salary, and Education
United States border patrol agents are responsible for protecting the nation from threats outside of its borders. These agents are members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a section of the Department of Homeland Security.
Border patrol agents work to uphold immigration laws, prevent the trafficking of illegal material and uphold the safety of U.S. borders. After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, border patrol agents have been focusing on finding and apprehending terrorists.
According to a job listing on usajobs.gov, the salary range for a border patrol agent is between $38,619 and $63,259. There is a specific pay scale for this position based on the applicant’s credentials. Qualified applicants will be given a pay grade of GL-5, GL-7 or GL-9 based on which criteria they meet.
Job Skills for Border Patrol Agents
Speaking Spanish is not necessary to get hired as a border patrol agent. However, learning Spanish is necessary once an applicant has been hired. Students in the Border Patrol Academy must learn Spanish and pass Spanish tests even after graduating and beginning the job. People interested in working as border control agents should have a strong aptitude for learning.
Physical fitness is another important quality for border patrol agents. This position requires agents to be in good physical condition, as they may need to take offenders into custody or chase down potential criminals.
Work Environment for Border Patrol Agents
Border patrol agents are stationed in specific locations, so applicants must be willing to move to their designated area if hired. The job may require working outdoors through bad weather conditions, as agents are always on patrol regardless of the climate.
Working hours may vary, but border patrol agents usually work at least 40 hours a week. Border patrol agents work 24 hours a day throughout the entire year, so night shifts, weekends, holidays and overtime hours are highly likely.
Since the purpose of a border patrol agent is to keep the country safe, there is risk involved with this job. Agents can be put into dangerous or potentially life-threatening situations, so the position can be very stressful. Border patrol agents face a lot of pressure due to the heavy responsibilities involved in the job.
Education Requirements for Border Patrol Agents
Like pay, the education requirements vary based on the level of employment. The levels (GL-5, GL-7 and GL-9) each have a particular amount of experience required to earn that pay scale. However, higher education can be substituted for work experience, according to usajobs.gov.
A bachelor’s degree can be substituted for the work experience required for the GL-5 level of employment. To be classified as GL-7, one year of graduate education in criminal justice or a related field can be used to substitute the experience requirements. Applicants at that level could also substitute a bachelor’s degree from an accredited school with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, a class ranking in the top third of the class or be a member in a scholastic honor society at a national level.