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Secret Service Special Agent Job Description, Career as a Secret Service Special Agent, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Bachelor’s degree and specialized training

Average Salary $57,000 per year

Job Outlook Very good

Basic Job Description

The job of a secret service special agent is to protect the president, vice president and their families. Some are also required to protect past presidents and governmental figures who are still in the industry and widely known throughout the world. They are also required to perform investigations on crimes that directly affect the government, financial and computer technology related fraud, money laundering, and computer based attacks designed to hack into government systems.

Education and Training Requirements

To become a secret service special agent, candidates must have completed at least one year of graduate study education in their preferred field of study. Ideal fields for special agents include law enforcement, political science and other political or protective related fields.

Candidates will also have to pass an in-depth interview, physical fitness examination, and be registered with the Selective Service System. They must also pass a Treasury Enforcement Agent examination and a written skills examination.

Trainees must also complete a 10 week training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s Basic Criminal Investigator Training center in Glynco, Georgia. They must also complete a 17 week Special Agent Basic Training program at the James J. Rowley Training Center just outside Washington, DC. Both programs must be passed on the first attempt, otherwise candidates will be disqualified from consideration as part of the secret service. There are also several firearms proficiency exams that will have to be completed in order to be considered.

Getting the Job

According to the secret service website, requirements to be considered for secret service special agents are as follows:

- Be a US Citizen
- Be between the ages of 21 and 37
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Possess vision of no worse than 20/60 or be willing to receive lasik eye surgery
- Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with superior academic achievement marks.
- Be in the upper third of the graduating class.
- Possess a grade point average of 3.0 or higher
- Be a member of a national scholastic honor society.

Aside from the basic requirements to even be considered, candidates must possess excellent physical fitness, a professional attitude and serious outlook and concern for the well being of political figures and their families. Candidates should also understand all aspects of the United States political system and how each branch works and is associated with one another.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Jobs in the field of secret service special agents provide for plenty of room for advancement. Agents may start off assigned to one specific political figure to protect and guard them and their family, and may gradually advance to special agent activities to perform investigations. Depending on the individual skills and strong points of an agent, they may be moved around frequently until they find a position that best suits them and their abilities.
Employment outlook for careers in the secret service is on the rise as more political figures are in need of protection. Technological advancements also require the need for more agents to work on new policies and develop new ways to track criminals or computer hackers who are attempting to get into the federal government files.

Working Conditions and Environment

Most secret service special agents are working on the field and following political figures around as personal security. They must keep their eyes out at all times and be prepared to act quickly in the case of any unusual behavior.

When secret service special agents are not guarding their assigned political figure, they are working on investigations involving the federal government. Most of this is done through computer technology or interviewing and performing polygraph examinations on suspects.

Secret service special agents must be prepared to work in all environments and with many different types of people. They will have to maintain their professional security demeanor at all times and remain in uniform as well as character the entire time. Any agent working directly for the government must maintain this disposition in order to keep the reputation and integrity of the US government.

Most agents do not work a standard work week. It is not uncommon for an agent to work long or unusual hours in order to complete an investigation or provide security for a political figure at an event or public appearance. Many agents work 24 hours at a time and rotate shifts with other agents.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary of a secret service special agent is about $57,000 per year. Most agents receive annual raises as a result of a positive annual review, and raises and new benefits also come with promotions. Agents working on specific federal investigations have the potential to receive added bonuses as a result of their work.

Since agents work for the government, they receive excellent bonuses and benefits packages. Agents receive a full health insurance plan, vacation time and sick leave as well as individual bonuses if they succeed in a big investigation or milestone in their career. Secret service special agents understand that at times, the safety of the entire country is in their hands, so they take their jobs very seriously and in return, receive rewarding benefits.

Where to Go for More Information

United States Secret Service
245 Murray Drive, Building 410
Washington, DC 20223
(202) 406-5830

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw and Public Service