U.S. Border Patrol

How to Become a U.S. Border Patrol Agent

A border Patrol agent is an honorable member of the U.S. military responsible for securing the borders of the U.S. with international lands, ports, water, and air. If you are interested in serving your country and maintaining its borders, a U.S. Border Patrol agent career may be a perfect fit for you.

However, the eligibility for being a part of the team is stringent. You need to consider the following mentioned in this article if you wish to stand a chance of becoming a border patrol agent.

Meet the eligibility requirements

Like any other profession, the job of a border patrol agent also has specifications and requirements, which is the first step of the process. You must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Should be of age between 18 to 40
  • Candidate should have a valid driver’s license
  • Should not have a criminal record
  • Should be physically and mentally fit and pass the fitness exam
  • Should clear the writing test, background investigation, and polygraph examination

Gain relevant experience

Although this is not mandatory, having relevant experience serving the country could work in your favor when you’re looking for a position as a border patrol agent. The relevant experience can be in law enforcement, border security, or the military. Additionally, having experience in a bilingual environment is a plus since many border agents interact with Spanish-speaking individuals.

Education requirements

The U.S. Border Patrol requires a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent to become a Border Patrol agent. However, having a college degree, especially in a relevant field like criminal justice, can give you an edge over other candidates.

U.S. Border Patrol

Applying for the position

Once you have met the eligibility criteria and passed the required exams, you can apply for the position. You can apply for the position through the U.S. CBP website. The application process involves submitting your resume, answering questions about your qualifications and experience, and completing an online assessment.

Tests and exams

Once your application is submitted, you have to take the following tests:

  • Written exam to access your knowledge in arithmetic, logical reasoning, and writing skill
  • Medical exam to ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to perform the duties of a Border Patrol Agent
  • Drug test
  • Physical test that includes push-ups, sit-ups, and running

Attend the BPA

If you pass all the above mentioned exams and assessments, you will be invited to a 117-day training program in Artesia, New Mexico. During this program, you will get exposure to various topics like firearms training, driving techniques, immigration law, and much more.

After graduating from the academy, you will be one of the 20 Border Patrol agents and be allotted an assignment. The assignments will generally be located in strategic areas along the borders of Canada and Mexico.

U.S. Border Patrol

What are the duties of the U.S. Border Patrol, and how to be a part of it?

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It is sworn to protect the nation’s borders while facilitating legitimate international travel and trade, including preventing terrorists from entering the country illegally or bringing dangerous pests into the country. The agency employs over 20,000 agents working in 328 ports of entry along the border and other locations.

In addition to their sworn duties, CBP agents also conduct inspections at the ports of entry to detect and detain illegal immigrants. They also carry out city patrol and traffic checks along major highways to prevent unauthorized travel.

Patrol agents must complete extensive training before they are sworn in, and they often receive their first field experience on the Mexico-United States border. Depending on the sector they are assigned to, they spend anywhere from 12 to 16 weeks in field training before returning to their duty stations for further classroom-based training.

Other duties of a Border Patrol agent include conducting line watch operations at international boundaries and coastlines, as well as sign cutting, traffic checks, and smuggling investigations. They may also be called to assist other federal and local agencies, such as police departments, with investigations of crimes in their areas.

Physical Requirements for Border Patrol Agents

For most jobs in the United States, federal agencies require candidates to pass a pre-employment fitness test, or PFT, to determine their physical condition and ability to perform their job tasks. The examination is designed to determine whether candidates are physically fit and healthy and to identify any medical conditions that may be a risk to their job performance or the safety of others.

Applicants who cannot pass the PFT will be disqualified, and those who have failed the pre-employment drug test or polygraph exam are subject to additional investigations. These background investigations include reviewing police and public records, credit checks, and interviews with former employers.

U.S. Border Patrol Officer

Qualifications for a U.S. Border Patrol Officer

To become a Border Patrol agent, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field from an accredited college or university and a minimum of six months of previous law enforcement experience. They must also complete the Border Patrol Academy, which consists of several classroom-based training sessions.

The Border Patrol Academy prepares trainees to become Border Patrol agents by educating them about the agency and its mission. Its curriculum covers basic and advanced subjects. The curriculum also includes a study of Spanish and other foreign languages.

Aside from the academy, training for a U.S. Border Patrol agent includes several other components. The first is the initial field training program, which is led by a Field Training Officer and takes place over six to eight weeks at the agents’ duty station. The academy is followed by the Post-Academy Training Program, where Trainees complete additional classroom-based training over nine months at their duty station.