U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Careers – Protecting America’s Borders
From hundreds of border stations and ports of entry located along thousands of miles of international border and coastline, the dedicated men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) serve as the ultimate line of defense against terrorists, foreign criminal networks and illegal aliens attempting to breach America’s borders.
CBP currently employs some 45,000 men and women in U.S. customs and border patrol jobs, including a national team of Border Patrol Agents more than 20,000 strong. Border Patrol Agents serve as the boots on the ground in America’s fight to defend her borders, and represent the single largest Federal law enforcement task force in existence.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seen unprecedented growth in resources and staffing, and in the past ten years has doubled the number of agents in active service. The agency will only continue to grow and hire more dedicated professionals as border protection continues to be an imperative that cannot be ignored.
In 2012 alone, CBP inspected 448 million travelers and 25 million cargo containers that moved through America’s border crossings and ports of entry. The movement of this much traffic wasn’t without incident. In just one year, Border Patrol Agents and CBP Officers at official entry locations intercepted 145,000 inadmissible aliens and seized some $1.2 billion worth of bootlegged intellectual property, 2,100 tons of narcotics and $100 million in smuggled currency. Another 327,000 illegal aliens were intercepted away from official entry points as they attempted to enter the U.S.
The professionals with U.S. Customs and Border Protection are charged with preventing terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the United States, while at the same time enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws. These dedicated professionals serve in several specialized roles, but with one common objective: To protect, manage and control America’s borders.
Becoming a Border Patrol Agent – Meeting the Basic Requirements
Becoming a Border Patrol Agent starts with meeting certain basic criteria. A strong preference is shown to candidates who hold an associate or bachelor’s degree. In most cases, candidates without law enforcement or relevant military experience will need to hold a degree in criminal justice or a related field in order to compete on a level playing field with experienced law enforcement professionals vying for the same positions. Some of the higher-skilled technical and leadership roles within U.S. Customs and Border Protection are only open to candidates with college degrees.
Applicants interested in learning how to become border patrol agents must be U.S. citizens or legal residents who have held residency status for at least three years. There is also an age restriction for candidacy, which excludes those older than 40 from being considered as new hires. As is standard of all law enforcement jobs, candidates must submit to drug testing, a comprehensive state and federal criminal background check, physical fitness testing and exams that assess judgment and problem solving skills.
Spanish language proficiency or the ability to learn some Spanish is also a basic requirement. Border patrol jobs very often involve interactions with non-native English speakers, and just as often individuals who speak no English at all. This means that border patrol job candidates must either be able to demonstrate their ability to communicate in Spanish, or demonstrate a level of language acquisition competency that assures their ability to learn some basic Spanish.
Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.