How Do I Become a Secret Service Officer?

For anyone interested in the criminal justice field, it would be a dream come true to become a Secret Service officer. While most people immediately think of men in suits protecting the President, this is actually just one mission held by the U.S. Secret Service since 1865. In reality, many Secret Service agents are involved in investigations to enforce crimes related to money laundering, counterfeiting, and financial fraud. Since the life of a Secret Service officer on protective detail includes guarding the President and Vice President, their family members, major presidential candidates, or visiting world dignitaries, it is no surprise that this position is extremely competitive. Whether you are interested in the protective or investigative side, the following is an overview of the requirements needed to pass the selection process for becoming a Secret Service officer.

Minimum Qualifications to Become a Secret Service Officer

Before you consider filling out any job applications, you need to ensure that you have met the minimum qualifications to be hired by the federal government for the Secret Service. At a minimum, you must have U.S. citizenship, have a current valid driver’s license, be between the age of 21 to 37 years old, and have at least 20/60 uncorrected vision or 20/20 eyesight with correction lenses. Due to the sensitive nature of the job’s responsibilities, any criminal activity on a background check will immediately disqualify you from being considered for joining the Secret Service.

Job Requirements Based on Federal Pay Grade

New Secret Service officers are hired at two different federal pay grades, which are referred to as the GL-7 and GL-9 grades. In order to qualify for the lower GL-7 pay grade, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution, have graduated in the top third of your class, and achieved a minimum GPA of 3.5. In addition, officers can be hired at GL-7 from successfully completing at least 18 credits in graduate school or having one year of full-time work experience in any law enforcement position. For those seeking the higher GL-9 pay grade, you will need to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice or pre-law, or obtain a minimum of one year of criminal investigate experience.

Other Mandatory Conditions for Secret Service Officers

Since Secret Service agents must be in good physical shape to meet the demands of the position, all new applicants will be required to pass a physical fitness test with an authorized government physician. After passing a series of in-depth interviews, candidates will need to receive a high score on the Treasury Enforcement Agent examination as well as a report writing test. Applicants need to also pass a pre-employment polygraph exam, drug screening, and extensive background check to receive Top Secret clearance. Special agent trainees must then complete the 10-week Basic Criminal Investigator Training Program to carry a firearm.

As the premier protective services agency in the United States, building a career in the Secret Service will provide an excellent salary, great federal benefits, exhilarating investigations, and fascinating work to ensure the integrity of our nation’s financial infrastructure. While meeting these strict requirements and enduring the lengthy hiring process to become a Secret Service Officer may be grueling, the rewards are well worth it to put your skills to use in providing protection or investigating financial crimes anywhere on the globe.