Border Patrol Agents Jobs

A Career with the US Border Patrol

A job with the US Border Patrol can offer the qualified candidate a chance to perform an important service while experiencing something other than a typical nine-to-five job. Set mostly in an outdaoor environment, US Border Patrol jobs require good physical health, the ability to speak or learn the Spanish language, and the ability to pass a thorough background check. It is a career for those who are passionate about protecting the borders of the United States.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) falls under the department of Homeland Security. When first established in the 1920’s, the main function of CBP was to prevent the flow of illegal aliens into the United States. CBP also worked toward stopping alien smuggling, a process by which groups of aliens are brought across the border by a paid smuggler, which often resulted in harm for the aliens being brought into the country.

While still performing these functions, the events of September 11th, 2001 significantly changed the focus of the Border Patrol. Now CBP agents are also engaged to detect terrorists and terrorist weapons, and prevent them from entering the US. The Border Patrol is responsible (while working in conjunctions with other agencies) for assisting in good border relations by allowing legal immigration and trade to occur, while preventing the illegal.

Border Patrol agents may work on either land or water, patrolling the US borders at Mexico and Canada (approximately 6,000 miles of land), as well as the coast surrounding Florida and Puerto Rico (approximately 2, 000 miles of coastal waters). Many opportunities for land patrol involve the use of horses, so those who are familiar with riding may have an advantage. With the current emphasis on finding terrorist weapons, the use of dogs is often employed. Those with prior dog handling/training experience may choose to apply for dog handler jobs within the CBP. While it is not necessary to speak fluent Spanish when hired, it is a requirement of the job that the language be learned. Those who know or have an aptitude for speaking Spanish will also have an advantage towards a Border Patrol career.

Border Patrol can be a dangerous and demanding occupation. Work shifts run each of the seven days of the week, and coverage is needed twenty-four hours a day. Agents routinely work on weekends and holidays. Overtime is often required, as well as the ability to accept temporary assignments at different locations when needed.

When applying for a Border Patrol job, a candidate must pass a drug screening, medical exam, background check, and physical fitness tests. Upon being hired, physical training continues for approximately two months. This training, called Basic Academy, takes place in New Mexico. Training in the varieties of immigration laws, as well as marksmanship training (all agents are required to carry firearms), also takes place at Basic Academy. An additional forty days of training is required for those who need to learn to speak Spanish. One of the entrance tests for CBP jobs measures aptitude for learning languages, so that only candidates who are capable of learning are selected. Other abilities that are assessed during entrance exams include the candidate’s interpersonal skills, ability to problem solve, ability to make decisions, sensitivity and emotional maturity.

Some of the situations that may disqualify a candidate for a Border Patrol career include: prior arrests and convictions, drug or alcohol issues, problems with finances, and previous dismissals from other jobs. All candidates must be US citizens and possess a valid state-issued driver’s license. Candidates must be under the age of forty. Current or past members of any branch of the armed forces or the National Guard are encouraged to apply.

For those with a passion for defending the US borders, good physical fitness, excellent people skills, and a desire for a non-traditional, outdoor career, a position with the US Border Patrol may be just what you are looking for.

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