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Border Patrol Agents Needed by Homeland Security's Customs and Border Agency

The Border Patrol has begun preparing its registry for the written exam. Many vacancies must be filled.

Most jobs located in Southwestern U.S.--Texas, Arizona, California. Applicants can pre-test themselves before registering for the exam.

The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency which is responsible for securing U.S. borders from all threats, will be accepting applications nationwide for CBP officer positions at air, land and sea ports across the country. As a result of funding provided in the fiscal year 2014 budget, CBP will hire 2,000 additional officers by the end of fiscal year 2015 in order to enhance security, help reduce wait times and facilitate the growing volumes of legitimate goods and travelers that are critical to the health of our Nation’s economy.

The Customs and Border Protection Agency is especially seeking to hire Border Patrol Agents. It is looking for candidates interested in preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States; detecting and preventing the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented aliens into the United States; and apprehending those people found to be in violation of the immigration laws.

A Public Service
A past BPA Vacancy Announcement asks, “Do you desire to protect American Interests and secure our Nation while building a meaningful and rewarding career? If so, the Department of Homeland Security is calling. DHS..(works) to prevent terrorism, secure borders, enforce and administer immigration laws, safeguard cyberspace and ensure resilience to disasters.

Age Limit
The age limit for virtually all law enforcement positions in Federal service is 37.

Salary and Benefits
A major reason for the Agency’s recruitment difficulties is that other law enforcement Agencies (Federal, State and local) are also seeking applicants from the small pool of qualified candidates. To be competitive, BPA now starts its Agents at $38,619 - $63,259 per year. This is the highest salary yet offered.

Agents qualify for two pension systems, the regular Federal system and the Federal Law Enforcement system Both require 20 years of service. Retirees are also eligible for Social Security benefits. Agents receive personal leave days for vacation, illness and family care; a wide range of health insurance programs, life insurance; long term care insurance; flexible spending accounts for out-of-pocket medical expenses or the dependent care costs of a child or parent; and a fully portable retirement program that includes a Thrift Savings Plan (401k).

Stringent Standards
The environment in which Border Patrol Agents work is a particularly corrosive one, because of drug and human trafficking. Frequent attempts are made to bribe Agents. As a result the Agency’s hiring standards are very high. Among them are a clean criminal record and a good credit rating. Personal references and past employers will be interviewed.

Hi-Tech Surveillance
Line-watch is one of the most important activities of a Border Patrol Agent. This involves the detection, prevention, and apprehension of undocumented aliens and smugglers of aliens at or near the land border by maintaining surveillance from a covert position, following up leads, responding to electronic sensor alarms, infrared scopes during night operations, low light level television systems, aircraft sightings, and interpreting and following tracks, marks, and other physical evidence.

Qualifications and Requirements
Border Patrol Agents positions start at GS-5/7. Candidates must meet all pre-employment requirements--medical exam, fitness exam, drug screening, background investigation and structured oral interview. One year of general experience or a Bachelor’s degree in any major qualifies the candidate at GS-5.

Applicants must also meet the following requirements:
• be under age 37 unless you are a qualified Veterans’ Preference eligible candidate or have previous Federal law enforcement experience
• be a U.S. citizen/U.S. resident
• be fluent in Spanish or be able to learn the Spanish language
• possess a valid state driver’s license
• pass a pre-employment fitness test-1 (pft1), medical examination, thorough background investigation, pre-employment fitness test-2 (pft2), and a drug test

Qualifying Experience
Qualifying experience is experience that has demonstrated the ability to do all three of the following:

1) Take charge, make sound decisions, and maintain composure in stressful situations;
2) Learn law enforcement regulations, methods and techniques through classroom training and/or on-the-job instruction;
3) Gather factual information through questioning, observation, and examination of documents and records.

This experience may have been gained as an interviewer in the public or private sector who deals with benefit requests, claims adjustment, or community action. Other occupations providing general experience are building or prison guard, institutional police officer or customer relations representative.

Candidates who have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor crime or domestic violence are ineligible. BPA applicants must be physically able to perform strenuous duties such as running long distances, climbing, jumping, etc., withstanding exposure to extreme weather conditions for extended periods; and standing/stooping for long periods of time.

Specialized Experience Requirements
Specialized experience which qualifies a candidate at GS-7 is defined as;
That which demonstrated the ability to do all four of the following:

1) Make arrests and exercise sound judgment in the use of firearms;
2) Deal effectively with individuals or groups of persons in a courteous, tactful manner in connection with law enforcement matters;
3) Analyze information rapidly and make prompt decisions or take prompt and appropriate law enforcement action in light of applicable laws, court decisions and sound law enforcement matters;
4) Develop and maintain contact with a network of informants.

This specialized experience may have been gained in occupations such as inspection officer, correctional officer, rehabilitation for criminal offenders, police officer, criminal investigator, or military police officer.

Superior Academic Achievement also qualifies the candidate at GS-7. In this case the candidate must have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited 4 year college/university and: a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0.

Language Requirements
Border Patrol Agents are required to speak and read Spanish, as well as English. Applicants must successfully complete a language test. Candidates who do not speak Spanish undergo an artificial language test (ALT) designed to test their ability to learn Spanish. Language tests are administered on a pass/fail basis.

Fitness Requirements
Border Patrol Agent candidates are required to take and pass two Pre-employment Fitness Tests prior to entry on duty.

Pre-Offer Fitness Battery of tests (3 – minutes between tests)
• Push-up Test – 20 push up in 60 seconds
• Sit-Up Test - 25 in 60 seconds
• Cardiovascular Endurance Test - 14” step- 30 steps in 5 minutes

Pre-Employment Fitness Test:
• a one and a half mile run within thirteen minutes,
• a two hundred twenty yard dash within forty six seconds,
• and a confidence (hazard) course within two and a half minutes.

How To Apply
The Hiring Process includes the following 5 steps.

Step 1 – Apply by Internet
Step 2 – Take the Written Test
Step 3 – Selection Process
Step 4 – Structured Interview
Step 5 – Pre-employment Process

For more information about the job and the hiring process, applicants may visit CBP Careers or interested candidates may view a short video on-line .

Apply By Internet
Applicants register for the exam online. During the registration applicants are asked to respond to questions relating to their background and past employment experience. Answers to these questions are used to determine, whether the applicant meets the Border Patrol basic qualifications for Border Patrol Agents. In this way candidates who are unqualified from the outset are spared the need to take the written test.

If the internet applicant does meet the basic qualifications, he/she will be sent the date, time, and place of the Border Patrol written exam in their local area, plus sample test questions.

Written Test
In addition to their ability to speak Spanish applicants are tested on reasoning, aptitude and other factors intended to measure their likelihood for success on the job. The Guide includes sample questions. A study guide for the written test is available to view on-line .

Fast Track
Applicants who score well on the Border Patrol Exam, who can speak Spanish, and who have specialized experience are the most likely to be selected for the final hurdle on the road to appointment to the Border Patrol Academy which is the background check. Background checks can take up to 6 months. Upon successful completion of the test and background check candidates are appointed to attend the Border Patrol Academy. Apply by internet .  •