Career Profile: Border Patrol

Career Profile: Border Patrol

There are many varied and important ways to serve your nation and protect its borders. One way is to work for the Department of Homeland Security; another is to act as a border patrol agent.

What does a border patrol agent do?

As a border patrol agent for the American government, your job will put you on the front lines of national border enforcement. Tasked with securing and safeguarding our nation's borders, a patrol agent helps to protect Americans from illegal trafficking of people, drugs, and weapons. Because border patrol agents are trying to monitor and protect borders, they often encounter people engaged in criminal activities. The job can sometimes be dangerous, especially when agents are engaged in stopping armed drug traffickers or weapons traffickers. Like any law enforcement officer, a border patrol agent is responsible for conducting arrests and detaining prisoners caught engaging in any such illegal activity.

What education do I need to work in border patrol?

To work as a federal agent in the Department of Homeland Security you'll need a bachelor degree. However, not all border patrol agents require a degree. Increasingly though, increased competition for limited jobs means that having a degree is a good way to stand out from the crowd.

As you'd probably guess, people who speak foreign languages are very valuable to the border patrol. The border patrol can be a great career opportunity for people who have a degree in a foreign language and an interest in criminal justice. Since many non-English speakers attempt to illegally enter the United States each year, a bi-lingual or tri-lingual agent can help calm people and communicate important information during a border incident.

What are the work conditions?

Some border patrol agents may relocate to various border posts throughout their career. Border agents also sometimes work at night and in rugged environments. Weather varies, and sometimes agents work in very inclement conditions. It's important for border patrol agents to be comfortable working long hours in hot, cold and sometimes wet conditions.

Please see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for more FAQs on border patrol.

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