Border Patrol Officer

Border patrol officers who are sometimes called "border agents" are federal law enforcement officials that guard U.S. borders and all ports of entry. In this important but potentially dangerous role they prevent illegal aliens and goods from entering the country and they deter smuggling or other illegal activities.

Not only do they check vehicles entering the country but many do surveillance along the border using electronic sensors infrared scopes or aircraft and they must be skilled at using firearms. This job can involve working on holidays and weekends and much of the work is outdoors regardless of the weather.

There are rigorous requirements for entry into this profession. First applicants must be under the age of 40 and have a valid driver's license. Also they must have a college degree although the website says that two years of college plus job experience that requires making decisions under pressure can be acceptable. Prospective border patrol officers must pass a background check as well as medical and psychological exams and a drug screening test after which they take the U.S. Border Patrol entrance exam. This exam tests logical reasoning knowledge of Spanish (which they must know or be willing to learn) and asks questions about past professional experience.

Those meeting all qualifications for the job travel to the Southwestern United States for training after which they are assigned to a location on either a temporary or long-term basis. They can be reassigned to new locations on short notice.

According to the website earnings for border patrol officers vary depending on education and experience but the average annual salary is approximately $55000 as well as sick and vacation pay health insurance and pension benefits.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $55000
High Salary: $65000
Low Salary: $45000
Tasks: Conducts traffic and transportation checks at ports of entry.
Checks the identification papers of people entering the United States from a foreign country.
Documents non-residents who are entering the United States.
Helps prevent illegal immigration.
Also Called: Border Patrol Agent
Federal Law Enforcement Officer
Covert Surveillance Officer
United States Customs Agent
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