How To Get A Job As A Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agents play a vital role in the security of the United States.  As part of the Department of Homeland Security, they guard the border against potential terrorist attack, work to prevent the smuggling of drugs, arms and aliens and take an active part in apprehending those who violate immigration laws.

Border Patrol Agents must be U.S. citizens or U.S. residents. They must be disciplined, dedicated individuals, physically fit, mentally stable, have a valid drivers license, and  pass a rigorous medical exam, background check, and drug test.  They must be prepared to carry and use a firearm.  They must speak, read, and write English fluently and also speak Spanish or demonstrate the ability to learn Spanish.  They may or may not be required to pass a polygraph.

Those who apply to become Border Patrol Agents may be disqualified because of any Class A misdemeanors or felonies, and any Class Be misdemeanors in the past ten years, debts or financial issues, and alcohol or drug abuse.  Random drug tests will be given during employment.  Candidates must be under forty years of age.

Border Patrol Agents patrol borders on foot, by horseback, by vehicle, and by helicopter.  They use a variety of equipment during surveillance, including electronic sensors, infrared scopes, aircraft, and low-light television systems.  In addition to the duties mentioned above, Border Patrol Agents check farms and ranches, follow tracks, observe and check traffic and take a major part in anti-smuggling activities.  They also help individuals lost, injured or in distress in the rugged terrain they patrol.  Agents work a forty hour week with overtime and shift work required often.  Border Patrol Agents often work in arduous and dangerous conditions.


Border Patrol Agents need either a Bachelor’s or a Master’s Degree.  The preferred degrees would be in either Criminal Justice or Homeland Security.  One of these degrees plus a period of relevant experience is desirable.  Exceptions may be made to the educational requirements if a candidate has sufficient relevant experience to demonstrate the ability to handle stressful situations and exercise sound judgment in the use of firearms.

Those candidates who possess sufficient education and experience, are then required to take a Basic Training course at a United States Border Patrol Academy. This training involves marksmanship, specialized driving,  immigration, and national law, Spanish, and physical fitness.

As employees of the Federal Government, Border Patrol Agents receive paid vacations, pensions, health, long-term care, and life insurance, as well as other benefits.

Opportunities for employment in this field are excellent, especially along the southern border.  Salaries depend on education and experience.  Advancement to Senior Management Positions is available carrying with it a significant increase in salary.

A career as a Border Patrol Agent is a dangerous one, suitable only for those with a passion for protecting the United States, and its citizens.