How to Become a Border Patrol Agent

When considering a criminal justice career, one should not ignore how to become a border patrol agent. The admission of foreign-born people to the US is subject to the particular laws and regulations which the United States Border Patrol is tasked to uphold. The agency is the primary federal law enforcement entity responsible for preventing illegal entry into the country. It is under the Department of Homeland Security specifically within the US Customs and Border Protection.

What is a Border Patrol Agent?

Border patrol agents are responsible for patrolling the Mexico and Canadian international land borders and the coastal waters which surround the Florida Peninsula as well as the Island of Puerto Rico. Most of the agents are specifically assigned to guard the Mexico-United States border for the purpose of controlling drug trafficking and the problem of illegal immigration.

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The earliest border patrol agents consisted of mounted watchmen who were either on horseback or operating automobiles, motorcycles, and boats. The focus of attention then was the flow of illegal Chinese immigration. However, their actions were largely sporadic depending on existing resources.

The current border patrol agents maintain the agency’s traditional mission of apprehending illegal immigrants and individuals who enter the country through other means aside from the designated ports of entry. The agents are responsible for manning and operating the 33 permanent interior checkpoints found within US borders. There are more than 20,000 agents currently employed by the agency.

The US Border Patrol is now using the advances of technology with the strategical placement of electronic sensors along the border. Unmanned aerial vehicles provide air surveillance. With this technological support, border patrol agents are left with the primary task of “line watching” or the detection, prevention, and apprehension of undocumented aliens, terrorists, and smugglers at or near the border.

Education and Training

Requirements for educational attainment will vary depending on the grade level applied for. A border patrol agent trainee (GL-5) requires a 4-year college degree in any field or commensurate work experience. Eligibility for a higher grade level can be attained through additional academic credits equivalent to 1-full year of graduate education in law or a field related to law enforcement such as police science or criminal justice.

Applicants who are accepted into the training program must undergo 11 weeks of intensive training at the Border Patrol Academy. An additional 8 weeks is required to gain fluency in Spanish for candidates who are not fluent in the language. Areas of study included in the training are criminal law, administrative immigration law, nationality law, police science, firearms training, self-defense and correct techniques, police vehicle driving, and other related courses.

Becoming a Border Patrol Agent

Applicants to the position of border patrol agent must follow the hiring process as provided by the US Border Patrol. The process begins with the online registering for the written test. Those who meet the basic qualifications based on the responses to the questions provided in the application are scheduled for the written test. Test passers will be placed in inventory and shall be contacted thru email when tentatively selected. Applicants will have to pass a series of tests, interviews, and medical examinations before being placed in a list for future positions. A firm offer of employment will be made as vacancies occur. That is how to become a border patrol agent.