ICE Special Agent | Education, Career, and Salary Insights

ICE Special Agent

The role of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, has increased significantly since the events of 9/11. ICE special agents are also known as ICE criminal investigators. This job requires an intensive understanding of terrorism, the law, and threats to the United States. ICE special agents play a prestigious role in immigration and customs enforcement, so the hiring process is fairly intensive. If you want to work in the area of customs enforcement, contact the schools in our directory to learn how you should proceed with your education.


 

ICE Special Agent Job Description

As an ICE Special Agent, you may work in a variety of settings and situations. One of your main duties may be the enforcement of immigration laws and regulations, particularly as a new agent. You may work at the border, take in those who are in the country illegally, and even work in deportation.

However, as you move up the ranks, you may move into more criminal investigation activities. Special agents often investigate and collect evidence on crimes that take place in multiple countries and affect American citizens. You may investigate national security threats, illegal arms export, identity fraud, terrorism, and child exploitation. To help keep the country and its people safe, you must be ready to answer the call of duty at any time. Typically ICE Special Agents are on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

An ICE Special Agent may be privy to some of the most technologically advanced investigative tools and techniques in the industry. These techniques and tools may be used to look into a range of serious crimes. Other crimes covered by ICE Special Agents include money laundering, drug smuggling, and human trafficking. You may look into crimes that go beyond the borders of the United States; you may investigate international crime rings and criminal organizations.

There are many ways that you can qualify for a job as an ICE Special Agent. Those who have a bachelor’s degree may be considered highly qualified, so earning a four-year degree may be an excellent way to become adequately prepared for the demands of this job. However, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency notes that you can also qualify for an ICE Special Agent job with military experience, law enforcement experience, leadership experience, or fluency in a foreign language.

 

How to Become an ICE Special Agent

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is fairly flexible in how special agents enter the field. For many students, the most straightforward to become a special agent is to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Technically, the bachelor’s degree can be in any field or specialty. However, you may have a greater amount of relevant experience and knowledge if you complete your education in criminal justice or another related field. Relevant degree choices include law enforcement, foreign language, and law.

Applicants that do not have a bachelor’s degree may still be qualified for this position if they have other types of experience or skills. ICE notes that applicants with military experience, experience in the field of law enforcement, or leadership experience in a professional environment may be considered highly qualified. Another valuable skill that’s needed by ICE is fluency in a foreign language. They may require you to take a foreign language exam to demonstrate your verbal proficiency and your understanding of the language.

There’s more to the ICE Special Agent application process than your educational and work qualifications. Any criminal history may disqualify you from consideration as an ICE Special Agent. You must pass a firearms exam that proves that you know how to safely use and store firearms. In addition, your agency may subject you to random drug tests and physical examinations to ensure that you can still perform your expected job duties.

Once you make it through the multi-step hiring process, you have to go to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia. The program lasts for 22 weeks and it is a paid training period. It can take some time to get to this point of the process. The hiring process for ICE Special Agents tends to last two to four months, since you must undergo extensive background testing.

 

ICE Special Agent Salary and Career Outlook

In general, the job outlook for ICE Special Agents is positive. ICE hires agents for 70 offices that are located in 47 countries around the world. Currently, over 20,000 people are employed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The job outlook may be better for those with specialized skills or the freedom to travel, as this job may require agents to travel at a moment’s notice and spend weeks or months away from home.

According to O*Net, special agents earn an average salary of $79,970 per year as of May 2017. It’s important to note that ICE reports that agents earn a base salary plus locality pay. As a result, your specific salary will depend on where you live and what office you are assigned to.

To learn more about working as an ICE special agent, contact the schools below to learn more!

 

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Learn About Becoming a Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agent

One of the most crucial parts of minimizing illegal immigration and travel into the United States is protecting the border. Border Patrol Agents work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, guarding approximately 6,000 miles of our borders with Mexico and Canada. If you’re willing to live in these parts of the country and want to keep our borders safe, this may be a great job option for you.

To find out how you can work as a border patrol agent, or other relevant career in criminal justice, contact the schools listed in our directory. By comparing several programs, you can be sure to choose the right one before you enroll!



Border Patrol Agent Job Description

Border Patrol Agents are responsible for many different tasks in the course of their jobs. You may have to check vehicles and people as they enter the country to ensure that they can legally be there. In addition, you must watch for people trying to bring weapons and illegal drugs into the country. Of course, one of the most significant parts of your job is preventing illegal immigrants from entering the country; this includes making sure that they are not being smuggled in or hidden.

As a Border Patrol Agent, you can have a huge influence on the safety and security of our country’s borders. And it’s not just on our southern border that illegal immigration is an issue; recent news articles point out the illegal immigration issue exists along our northern border as well.

On a day-to-day basis, your job duties may change depending on the needs of US Customs and Border Protection. You may spend long periods of time on foot, on bike, or in a vehicle. Since the terrain varies all along the border, you may get around in a variety of ways to work as efficiently as possible. The agency has a thorough border protection protocol that you must follow.

In addition, traffic checkpoints and transportation checks may be major parts of your new career. You may stop incoming cars, check them for illegal contraband, and check the interior of trains, buses, and other types of transportation. If you find someone or something that should not be entering the country, you may have to conduct arrests and transport suspects to the local law enforcement office. If you come across drugs or weapons, you may have to seize them and fill out reports on your discovery.

How to Become a Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agents are hired at a variety of levels. These levels determine your possible promotions as well as your minimum and maximum salaries. The lowest level you can qualify at is the GL-5 level. You can qualify by having work experience in leadership, stressful situations, and working with the public. Law enforcement experience can be helpful, but it is not necessary. At this level, a bachelor’s degree in any field can also make you qualified for a border patrol agent job.

At the GL-7 level, you need one year of law enforcement experience. This work experience must include making arrests, using firearms safely, working courteously with the public, making prompt decisions in law enforcement situations, and maintaining a network of informants. If you do not have the required work experience, you can qualify with a bachelor’s degree and one year of graduate-level education in criminal justice or a related field. The GL-9 level is the only level that requires experience and does not allow you to qualify via education.

Upon making it through the hiring process, you may be expected to attend a rigorous training program. Training takes place at the US Border Patrol Academy in New Mexico. You’ll complete 58 days of training while learning about immigration laws, marksmanship, and physical fitness. If you do not speak Spanish, you may need to complete 40 additional days of training to learn Spanish. You may be tested rigorously on your skills before you get assigned to a spot on the border.

Border Patrol Agent Salary and Career Outlook

In recent years, illegal immigration has become an even bigger problem in the United States. The government is under lots of pressure to stop the problem in its tracks and keep our borders secure. As a result, the job outlook for Border Patrol Agents may be very good. The job outlook may be better for those who are already fluent in Spanish or who have experience in immigration law.

Your potential salary range depends on what level you get hired at. Border patrol agents are hired on a latter, starting and progressing from GL-5, to GL-7, to GL-9, to GS-11 and GS-12. According to the Office of Personnel Management, the average starting salaries for border patrol agents at the GL-5 level starting in December 2017 were $52,583, including locality and overtime pay. Those at the GL-7 level get starting salaries of $62,949 as of December 2017. 2018 starting salaries at the GL-9 level are $70,784. As you gain experience as a Border Patrol Agent and get more seniority, you may be able to increase your salary and move up levels.

Start working towards a career in criminal justice today. Take the next step, and reach out to schools in your area to request more information!

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Become a Customs Border Protection Officer | Search Schools

Customs Border Protection Officer

When it comes to the nation’s security, there are many potential threats to keep in mind. Customs Border Protection (CBP) Officers watch different ports of entry to catch terrorists, illegal weapons, and those who try to bring illegal goods into the country. Becoming a Customs and Border Protection Officer requires you to obtain a high security clearance, demonstrate your skills via education and experience, and go through a rigorous hiring process.

CBP Officer Job Description

As a Customs and Border Protection Officer, you may have to interact with lots of people. As people enter the country, you may inspect their belongings, look for signs of illegal activity or possessions, and seize items that cannot enter the country. You may also have to ensure that those who are entering the country are legally permitted to do so. Part of your career may be learning about human traffickers, narcotics dealers, and other dangerous criminals. This allows you to intercept criminals before they enter the United States.

CBP Officers have a fairly physical job, so physical fitness is very important. You’ll have to prove your fitness level in several different ways during training, so it’s essential to begin preparing as soon as you know you want to pursue this career. These are also numerous experience and education requirements to keep in mind.

How to Become a CBP Officer

US Customs and Border Protection requires those who apply for CBP Officer jobs to meet a stringent list of requirements. The requirements vary, depending on which grade level you want to enter at. The higher the grade level, the higher your starting income is.

Your experience and background dictates which general service (or GS) level you are qualified to enter the force under. To enter at the GS-5 grade level, you need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution. You can earn a bachelor’s degree in any field. However, it’s important to note that this is a very competitive career choice. As a result, having a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field can be beneficial. If you would rather qualify for a GS-5 position with experience, you need three years of general work experience in working with people.

To start a CBP Officer job at the GS-7 level, you need a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of graduate-level education. A master’s degree can make you even more qualified for this position. Consider earning a master’s degree in criminal justice, law, or a similar field to enhance your qualifications. If you do not have a master’s degree, you need at least one year of work experience in inspections or the screening of people as they enter the country. For both GS-5 and GS-7 positions, you can use a combination of experience and education to meet minimum requirements.

After passing two fitness tests and receiving a position with Customs and Border Protection, you need to complete the agency’s required training program. Training takes place at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Glynco, Georgia. Your training covers quite a bit of physical work, including exercise training, interactive scenarios, and passenger processing training. In the classroom part of your training, you learn about Title 19 Customs law, Title 8 Immigration law, and other laws related to your new position. This training lasts 89 days.

CBP Officer Salary and Career Outlook

Though Customs and Border Protection has a significant need for officers, the hiring process is very challenging. As a result, the job outlook is best for those who exceed the agency’s minimum requirements. In addition, you may have a better job outlook if you are willing to relocate anywhere in the country. Customers and Border Protection sends officers to a range of locations. Regions include: the Southwest, Texas East, Northwest/Northern Border, West Coast, Midwest, Northeast, Central/East Coast, Southeast, Florida, Pacific, Alaska, and Hawaii. Clearly, the demand is greatest near United States borders and coasts.

Salaries for border patrol agents are set according to the general services pay scale. GS-5 Officers start with a salary of $28,945 to $37,630. GS-7 Officers earn between $38,854 and $46,609 to start. These are base salaries. On top of your base salary, you earn locality pay, which corresponds to the cost of living in the area that you’re stationed.

Given how many borders and sea ports are protected by Customs and Border Patrol, it’s no surprise that CBP Officers do a lot to keep the United States safe. In April of 2018, border patrol agents in California seized $623,000 of hard drugs. Also in April, a man who was convicted for kidnapping was arrested by border patrol.

Your work environment will depend on whether you work at a border, seaport, or other entry point. If you work at a border, you may have to stop and search cars or watch for people trying to enter the country via other means. Those who work at seaports often check cargo and ensure that travelers are legally permitted to enter the United States. Some CBP Officers are trained dog handlers. If you work with a police dog, you may work specifically in the detection of illegal drugs and drug smuggling.

CBP Officers work closely with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies. As a result, you may sometimes be sent to other locations to carry out an investigation or assignment. No matter where you’re assigned, you can feel confident knowing that you are one of the people that help keep the United States safe.

If you are ready to learn more about starting a career in the field of criminal justice, contact the schools in our directory to compare their programs!


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