What major should you choose if you want to become a special agent?
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The United States (US) Secret Service is a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Most famously, the Secret Service is tasked with protecting the President of the United States, although that is but one of its responsibilities. In addition to serving as the President's personal bodyguards, Secret Service agents provide protection for other important political figures, including visiting leaders. Additionally, Secret Service agents deal with law enforcement pertaining to the US Treasury Department. This includes but is not limited to investigating major instances of fraud, counterfeiting, and tax evasion.
It is no small task to become a Secret Service agent. To even be considered for the job, you must meet a laundry list of minimum requirements. You must be a US citizen, be between the ages of 21 and 37, possess a valid driver’s license, and have at least 20/60 uncorrected vision, correctable to perfect 20/20. In addition, male applicants must be registered with the Selective Service. You’ll also have to be in good health, as determined by an authorized government physician, and be able to pass a rigorous physical fitness examination to become an agent.
If you meet the minimum requirements, you’ll also need a great deal of education and work experience to become a Secret Service agent. Depending on experience, you’ll become an agent at the GL-7 or GL-9 levels. To work at the GL-7 level, a prospective special agent must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Furthermore, you’ll need to have earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher for all courses taken, a 3.5 or higher for major-related courses only, or membership in a recognized national honor society.
Alternatively, you could show proof of 18 credit hours at the graduate level or one year of work experience at the GL-5 level in a law enforcement-related field. This can help you to become a Secret Service agent at the GL-7 level. To work at the GL-9 level you’ll need a master’s degree or a year’s work experience at the GL-7 level in a law enforcement-related field.
To become a Secret Service agent, you will need to have taken the Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) test. The TEA test consists of logic problems, advanced mathematical word problems, and fictional crime scene analysis. Specialized study guides exist for the sole purpose of TEA test preparation, much like guides designed for college and graduate-level examinations.
With all the minimum requirements, education requirements, and TEA testing out of the way, you can get an application to become a Secret Service agent from the agency’s official website. The application process includes an extensive background check to ensure you are qualified for top-level security clearance. This involves a series of interviews, polygraph screening, drug testing, and interviews with a number of personal references. You will also need to demonstrate firearm proficiency to become a Secret Service agent. Even if you meet all the requirements, pass all the tests, and gain top security clearance, know that there is no guarantee that you will become a Secret Service agent since it is a highly sought after job in a highly competitive field.
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