Gaining a job with the United States of America’s Secret Service may seem exciting, but it is far from straightforward with the selection procedure being extremely competitive.  All applicants need to have either a college degree or a combination of college with law enforcement work experience including a background in criminal investigation. The applicant must also be in good physical condition and able to pass criminal background checks.

What Do Secret Service Agents Do?

The US Secret Service was formed in 1865 to investigate financial fraud and counterfeiting cases.  While this branch of law enforcement is most well-known for its role in providing security for figures of authority, its primary objective is to investigate and prevent cases of counterfeiting and financial fraud. The secret service plays a vital role in fighting counterfeiting among a variety of other financial crimes. If you are successful in being hired by the Secret Service, you will more than likely be assigned to investigate financially-based crimes.  It is, however, possible that you will be assigned to investigate threats against individuals with Secret Service protection or provide direct protection to specific authority figures.  

What Are The Minimum Requirements For A Secret Service Job?

The first step to become an agent with the Secret Service is to gain top marks in school and avoid any problems with the law.  As many people want to enter the Secret Service, and because of the sensitive nature of the work, any criminal activity in your background will immediately disqualify you as an applicant for this branch of law enforcement.

To be an applicant for the Secret Service, you need to be an American citizen between the ages of 21 and 37 years of age.  Your must have high quality eyesight with uncorrected eyesight being no less than 20/60. If your eyesight is not 20/20, then it must be corrected to reach a 20/20 level.  You must also hold a current driving license.

What Are The Pay Grade Requirements?

Agents at the Secret Service are employed at one of two separate pay grades.  To qualify for the GL-7 pay grade, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree with an average grade-point of a minimum of 3.0 or 3.5 for junior and senior years.  You could also be a member of a collegiate honor society or have graduated within the top third of the college class. Alternatively, you can be eligible for the GL-7 pay grade if you have completed a minimum of 18 semester hours in graduate school or have a minimum of one year work experience in law enforcement.

To be eligible for the GL-9 pay grade, you must hold a master’s degree or have equivalent education experience.  If you do not have this experience, you could qualify with a minimum of one year experience in criminal investigative work similar to the GL-7 pay grade agent.

What About Additional Requirements?

When applying for a career in the Secret Service, you need to pass a Treasury Enforcement Agent Examination with additional tests.  Preference is provided to those with educational qualifications in pre-law or criminal justice; however, this is not an official requirement.  All applicants need to pass physical fitness tests, interviews, and an investigative examination. If there are any factors in your history that may prevent you from receiving security clearance, you will not be employed as an agent for the Secret Service.  As Secret Service positions are competitive, it is recommended that you begin preparation of your application from the beginning of college if you want to be a strong contender.

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