Border Patrol – A Misunderstood Job

One of the hottest debates in the country right now is the debate about illegal immigration. This topic is especially volatile in the US border states of California and Arizona, where controversial enforcement laws have been making their way through state legislatures and through the public protest medium. There are strong feelings on both sides of the fence, and these strong feelings have made the post of US Border Patrol Officer one of the fastest growing in the nation. This is one of the fields open to those holding and/or seeking a degree in Criminal Justice.

The United States Border Patrol is a federal agency housed under the CBP (US Customs and Border Protection), which in turn is housed under the Department of Homeland Security. The CBP is the Department’s largest and fastest growing field with a “priority mission of keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. It also has a responsibility for securing and facilitating trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. regulations, including immigration and drug laws.”

This field attracts people who feel strongly that our nation’s borders should be protected against those who would enter our country for nefarious reasons. In fact the top priority of border patrol agents “is to keep terrorists and undocumented aliens from entering the United States, and to apprehend those who have illegally entered the US. The US Border Patrol has become the first-line agency for detecting and preventing the illegal smuggling of drugs across US borders. And in the aftermath of 9/11, border patrol agents play a larger role in detecting and preventing terrorists from entering the US and harming US citizens.”

Caught in Transit: The Rochester Border Patrol Station from NewsHouse on Vimeo.

There is a currently a need for US Border Patrol Agents, and continued job growth is expected.

If you are the type of American who:

  • Is deeply patriotic
  • Feels that our borders should be guarded against terrorists and their instruments of terror
  • Believes the laws of immigration should be enforced such that our nation’s economic security will not be compromised
  • Believes that vigilance is how we ensure the safety of all Americans and the safety of our nation as a whole
  • Is dedicated defending and upholding the Constitution of the United States
  • Has integrity and is guided by the highest ethical and moral principles in such a way as to bring honor to ourselves, the agency and the country . . .

then you should consider becoming a US Border Patrol Agent.

Border Patrol Agent Requirements and Education

There are several requirements which must be met in order to apply for this much sought after job:

    • You must be a US Citizen with a valid driver’s license.
    • You must be willing to take, and you must pass, a drug test.
    • You must not have been convicted of a felony or other violent crime.
    • You must pass the CBP Border Patrol entrance exam.
    • You must pass a medical physical examination.
    • To qualify to become level GL-5 (border patrol agent trainee) you must have experience, either paid or voluntary, that demonstrates an ability to make decisions and maintain composure in potentially dangerous situations. You must also be able to learn both on the job and through formal instruction.
    • If you do not have the required background experience, a four-year college degree is a valid substitute.

There is no requirement that the degree be in any particular field, but a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice is best.

  • To qualify for the GL-7 level you must have at least one year of law enforcement experience comparable in difficulty and responsibility level to GL-5.
  • If you do not have at least one year of experience, then a full year of graduated education in law or a law enforcement related field (such as criminal justice) will qualify you to meet GL-7 standards. This would include a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Please contact the CBP for a complete list of border patrol requirements as requirements and applications processes update and change regularly.

Border Patrol Agent Entrance Exam

One of the first Border Patrol Agent requirements is to pass the Customs and Border Protection entrance exam. The test is made up of three sections with study guides and test prep manuals available on the CBP website.

  • Section 1: Logical Reasoning
  • Section 2: Spanish Language Proficiency
  • Section 3: Artificial Language Test (tests your ability to learn new languages).

Salary Forecast

According to the US Department of Labor, “Criminal Justice salary forecasts are high. Police and other patrol officers received median annual earnings of $42,270. Median annual earnings were $47,090 in state government, $42,020 in local government, and $41,600 in Federal Government. Median annual earnings for police and detective supervisors were $61,010. Median annual earnings were $78,230 in Federal Government, $64,410 in State government, and $59,830 in local government. Median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $51,410. Median annual earnings were $66,500 in Federal Government, $47,700 in local government, and $46,600 in State government.” Note that, “Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents and inspectors receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP) – equal to 25 percent of the agent’s grade and step – awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work.”

Keep your country safe by becoming a border patrol officer. Learn about a criminal justice degree and get started today!

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