Border Patrol Employment: Qualifications and Benefits
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Working for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is exciting and physically demanding. Since this is a
Federal law enforcement position, prospective candidates must meet the qualifications set forth by the
agency before being offered border patrol employment.
The basic requirements for border patrol employment are U.S. citizenship, must have resided in the
US for at least three years and must have a driver's license at the time of appointment. Applicant must
also not have a conviction of domestic violence and should not be 40 years old or over at the time of
selection. There are exceptions to the age requirement, however, such as those who are serving or
have previously served in a federal civilian law enforcement (non-military) position or for those who
can provide veterans preference after being tentatively selected for the position. Those still on active
service may provide a statement of active service dates and list of medals and awards in place of their
DD-214. Applicants must also pass a medical exam, drug testing, two physical fitness tests, background
investigation and a polygraph test. Successful applicants may appointed under GL-5, GL-7 or GL-9
depending on their qualifications.
After receiving an offer of border patrol employment, all interns will be trained academically and
physically at the Border Patrol Academy. They must pass each of the subjects at the academy with a 70
percent rating on each or else be terminated. During the 55-day training, border patrol agents must also
pass the Spanish language test since most of whom they come in contact with only speak this language.
If they don't, they are required to attend 8 more weeks of Spanish language training. There will also be a
series of Spanish tests that border patrol agents must pass while they are on duty so they can continue
to serve with the CBP. Post Academy training continues while the agent is on duty. On their 6 ｽ and 10
months of service, they will be given exams in law and the Spanish language which they must pass with
a 70 percent rating in order to continue working for the CBP.
The pay and benefits package for border patrol employment starts at GL-5, GL-7 or GL-9 levels with
a base starting salary of $38,619 for GL-5, $43,964 for GL-7 and $49,029 for GL-9. The chances for
promotion and advancement within the CBP are good for those with drive and ambition, so it's possible
to make around $70,000 annually if you get promoted to the journeyman grade level of GS-11.
Aside from the base pay, border patrol agents will also receive a locality pay depending on the duty
location where they are assigned and a uniform allowance of $1,500. By the way, regular pay will
already be given to agent interns while at the Border Patrol Academy plus a little daily allowance for
incidental expenses. Overtime pay, night deferential pay, Sunday pay and Holiday pay are also part and
parcel of the benefits of a border patrol agent.
The benefits of border patrol employment are excellent. Like most employees of the Federal
government, border patrol agents can expect life insurance, health insurance, liberal retirement benefits
and leave benefits as well as a thrift savings plan.