How to Become a CBP Officer

The competition to obtain an Officer position within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is fierce, so only the most qualified are selected for the few available jobs.  The minimum educational requirement for applicants is a high school diploma or GED, but there is a requirement for three years of professional experience involving meeting and dealing with people, which may also be fulfilled with a bachelor’s degree.  There is no formal requirement for major of study, but coursework in ROTC, criminal justice, or law often provides some competitive advantages.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for CBP Officer Job Candidacy

A bachelor’s degree or three years of experience in a supervisory or lead position is a basic requirement for entry with a GS-5 rating.  In order to enter as a GS-7, a full year of graduate education, a master’s degree or higher is required.  GS-7 candidates should also possess at least one year of specialized professional experience in screening or inspection operations at a border, port or airport.  Candidates must be able to demonstrate working knowledge of laws or regulations governing imports/exports and passenger screening. Candidates should be able to perform analytical evaluations of data and information gathered from investigations.

Other basic qualifications that applicants should possess include

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be younger than 37 years of age
  • Resided in the U.S. for the three years prior to applying
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Pass a medical exam
  • Pass a drug test
  • Pass a security background check

Applying for CBP Officer Jobs

Applicants should visit the initially to determine if a CBP officer job is available.  If a position is available, the applicant must follow the link to the Office of Personnel Management and complete the pre-test form.  If the responses to the pre-test are approved, the candidate will be asked to submit personal information for a cursory background check.

Applicants must successfully pass a five hour written test that assesses the candidates abilities in

  1. Reasoning skills
  2. Writing skills
  3. CBP experience

The candidate must also submit an application package that contains the following:

  • Resume
  • Form 306 if a prior federal employee
  • CBP Officer agreements
  • College transcripts
  • Career Transition Assistance Program documentation
  • Veterans preference documentation

The CBP Officer Application Process

CBP Officer candidates must successfully pass two fitness tests.  A medical exam and drug test will be administered.  A structured interview with a panel of CBP Officers will assess the candidate’s emotional maturity and personal character.  Finally, a polygraph and comprehensive background check will then be performed.

If the candidate is approved, then they must enter a 15-week, highly intensive training program.  Candidates assigned to Miami, Puerto Rico or the Southwest Border are required to know or learn Spanish, which may necessitate an additional 6 week training program.

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