Do you know how to become a secret service agent? You should if you want a career that not only seeks to protect current and former national leaders but is also into preventive and investigative missions against currency and securities counterfeiting. The United States Secret Service (USSS) is a federal law enforcement agency under the umbrella of the US Department of Homeland Security
What is a Secret Service Agent?
Secret service agents are tasked to protect national leaders specifically the President, the Vice President, or the officer next in succession to the President should the position be vacant, the President Elect, and the Vice-President Elect, including the immediate families of these people. Also benefitting from the protection of secret service agents are former presidents and their spouses provided the spouse does not remarry, widow or widower of a former president who dies in office or within a year from leaving the office but only up to a year from the death of the said president, children of former presidents 16 years old and below but only up to 10 years after the presidency, former vice presidents as well as their spouses and children under 16 years but only up to 6 months from leaving the office, visiting heads of government and their spouses as well as other distinguished visitors to the US.
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The privilege can also be extended to other people when warranted such as major presidential and vice presidential candidates and their spouses up to 120 days of election. Any form of threat to the president is investigated by the secret service. Though the list of people to be protected is rather long, only a small percentage of agents are focused on this job. Majority of secret service agents focus on tracking counterfeit money.
Education and Training
Prospective secret service agents must have completed a bachelor’s degree preferably in criminal justice, pre-law, police science, law enforcement, or criminology. Upon acceptance into the program, candidates will have to undergo rigorous training consisting of basic police training for 11 weeks as well as fraud detection and personal protection for 16 more weeks. Three years of related work experience for criminal investigation or law enforcement can substitute for the degree.
Application to the program can be done through the nearest US Secret Service Office. Applicants will have to pass a written exam, polygraph and drug screening test to be considered for the program. Upon submission of application, interested persons will have to be prepared for a thorough background investigation. Initial training is provided by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia. Special agent courses and tests including firearms training are conducted in Washington DC.
Becoming a Secret Service Agent
Not all applicants will be accepted into the program nor will all program participants be able to successfully graduate because the job of a secret service agent is not for everybody. It is a dangerous job that requires excellent defense skills. Candidates will have to prepare academically, physically, and psychologically.
Assignments of secret service agents directly come from the US Service Office. There will be a signed agreement between the agency and the applicant regarding the willingness of the latter to be relocated in any part of the world when necessary. Agents must be US citizens and between 21 to 37 years old. Only eligible US veterans are exempted from the maximum entry age. There are several exams to be taken such as the Treasury Enforcement Agent Exam. By knowing how to become a secret service agent, criminal justice degree holders can weigh all their career options.