A career with Federal law enforcement can be very rewarding and fulfilling. There are many agencies to choose from and within each agency there are different divisions. If you are considering a career in Federal law enforcement, do your due diligence and look into every opportunity. Here are six of the most recognizable federal law enforcement agencies and a little information about their employment requirements.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was established in 1908. Their mission is to investigate federal law violations. They defend the country against foreign terrorist attacks, foreign espionage, cyber-crimes, public corruption, civil rights abuses, organized crimes and support state and local authorities. Their headquarters are in Washington DC and they have offices located all around the world.
To become an FBI agent, you must be older than 23 and younger than 37 at the time you begin your career. There are many requirements to meet before you can get into the training to become an agent. College is one of them. Drug testing and complete background check and security clearance is among a long list of steps to take before you can become a trainee. Once you are accepted training takes place at a training facility in Quantico, VA for 20 weeks.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF)
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was established to protect our communities from illegal use of firearms, explosives, and illegal use of alcohol and tobacco products. They are responsible to investigate possible arsons and bombings. They also investigate and try to prevent smuggling of firearms, alcohol & tobacco and keep the money out of the hands of the terrorist organizations that are behind it. They are headquartered in Washington DC with field offices throughout the United States.
To become an agent with the ATF you must be at least 21 years old and younger than 36 at the time of your hiring. You must pass physical exam, background check and receive security clearance. There is also a written exam, polygraph and drug testing.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
The Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947. Central Intelligence agents are responsible to investigate security threats to our country from foreign threats. They are responsible for collecting foreign intelligence related to our national security.
To become a CIA agent, an applicant must be at least 18 years old and a college graduate with a 3.0 GPA. You must be an American citizen and pass a background check, drug test, polygraph and other extensive inquiries into your past. You will need to receive national security clearance as well. Their headquarters is located in Washington DC with many field offices in other countries and you must be willing to travel overseas.
Because of the security risk to our country you will be unable to share with friends and family members what it is that you do for work and where you are working. It can be very dangerous work, but also very rewarding.
Secret Service (USSS)
The United States Secret Service was founded in 1865 originally to prevent counterfeiting of our currency. Following the assassination of the President in 1901 the Secret Service was assigned the responsibility of protecting the President of The United States, the Vice President, former U.S. Presidents, foreign dignitaries and other visiting heads of foreign states. The President can issue an executive order for protection of other individuals. In addition to the officials, the Secret Service is also charged with protecting their families. They are also responsible for investigating crimes against our financial institutions and conduct counterfeiting investigations.
To become a Secret Service agent, you must go through training at Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA. The training is 12 weeks long. Once completing the initial training, they receive training at the Secret Service training academy, outside of Washington, D.C for 18 weeks.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Federal Air Marshals
After the tragic events of September 11th, the federal government created the Transportation Security Administration to protect our transportation systems from terrorist threats. Airport security has taken center stage since September 11th with the introduction of Federal air marshals. Air marshals are specially trained agents who fly on flights undercover as passengers to protect airplanes and passengers from terrorist activities. There are also specially trained agents who are trained to protect the flight deck.
Additionally, the TSA is responsible for screening passengers and creating and monitoring the ‘do not fly list’ that helps keep suspected terrorist off of our aircrafts.
In addition to airport security, the Transportation Security Administration guards our rail system, subway systems and all other public modes of transportation. They teach crew members of the transportation systems self-defense through courses they offer.
To become a TSA agent you must pass a full background screening, drug and alcohol screening, aptitude test and a physical exam.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
The Drug Enforcement Administration was established in 1973. DEA agents are responsible to fight the war on drugs for our country. Their primary mission is to fight drug trafficking and uphold drug laws. Agents work undercover gathering intelligence on drug production and trafficking. One of their main goals is to keep the drugs from entering our country and out of the hands of our children.
The hiring process to become a DEA agent can sometimes take up to a year to complete. There are medical & psychological evaluations, written assessment and interviews, drug and polygraph tests and full background checks before you are considered for training.
The benefits for becoming a federal law enforcement agent are numerous. Public service is always a rewarding government job and knowing that you are protecting our country and the citizens is well worth it. Federal employee benefits are outstanding and include life and health insurance, retirement plans and other Federal savings plans, and Federal employee discounts just to name a few.