How To Become a Secret Service Agent

If you feel a calling to serve your country and protect its leaders and financial stability, you might wonder how to become a secret service agent. The Secret Service is part of the United States federal government. Specifically, the Secret service is responsible for protecting the President and Vice President of the United States. An important but lesser-known job duty of the Secret Service is to investigate financial crimes and protect the economy.

The Secret Service defends public officials, most notably the President. Secret Service agents guard the current President and Vice President and their immediate families. In the months leading up to an election, they protect top candidates for both positions as well as their spouses. Secret Service agents guard former Presidents and Vice Presidents for a set amount of time as determined by law upon leaving office. When particular foreign officials, rulers, ambassadors or other guests travel to the United States, Secret Service may be assigned to protect them, as well. Secret Service agents collaborate with law enforcement agencies throughout the country to ensure that these important public officials are safe wherever they travel. If someone threatens one of these protected individuals, the Secret Service leads the investigation.

Secret service personnel have the authority to act on arrest warrants or, when necessary, make arrests without warrants. They make such arrests only in the cases of crimes committed against the country or other serious violations that constitute felonies. Secret Service agents are the primary investigators in financial crimes involving counterfeiting, forgery and fraud.

The Secret Service is a single law enforcement agency with a limited number of positions. Because work in this agency is so highly sought-after, the competition for Secret Service agent jobs is fierce. To begin preparing for their careers, prospective agents should earn a bachelor’s degree. While the Secret Service does not specify majors that candidates should pursue, it advises them to take coursework in computer science, law, mathematics, communication and foreign languages. Aspiring Secret Service agents may choose to pursue a graduate-level degree or gain experience in state or local law enforcement agencies as sworn police officers in order to gain a competitive advantage in their job search. Once hired, agents spend 27 weeks training for their new jobs, first learning police techniques such as firearms usage and law and then studying methods to recognize counterfeit materials and the skills necessary for protecting public officials. Physical fitness is an essential requirement for success in this position. Agents must be United States citizens, be between the ages of 21 and37 at the time of hiring and must possess excellent eyesight. Past criminal behavior may disqualify applicants, so maintaining a clean record is important.

Starting salaries for new Secret Service agents typically fall between $43,964 and $74,891 per year. If you have a desire to protect your country’s leaders and financial security, knowing how to become a secret service agent could be the start of a meaningful new career.

Featured Degree Programs