The Secrets (And Not-So-Secret Aspects) of Working tor the Secret Service
The Inside Scoop on the President's Personal Protection Force
By Brendon O'Neill
Everyone has watched a Hollywood action movie and pictured themselves in the role of the hero. We've all seen the movies that depict the President taking matters into their own hands and saving America from the bad guys.
But in reality, we all know that if something happens to the Secret Service, the President is probably in trouble – in real life, that is.
If you are wondering what it's like to work for the Secret Service, we've already done the research and gathered the basic facts for you. We don't know all of the secrets of the secret service, but we can help you determine if this would be a good career path for you.
If this type of work would interest you, then maybe it's time to think about a degree in criminal justice, and a career in law enforcement. We have relationships with schools that offer programs in your area.
And yes, they can talk to you about working for the Secret Service!
First of all, let's look at the duties of Secret Service agents…
"What does the Secret Service do," you ask? The primary job of the Secret Service is to protect the President, Vice-President and their families. Once elected into office, the past POTUS and VPs are given this protection for the remainder of their lives. So, agents may work for current or former heads of state and their families.
They also deal in some criminal matters, such as fraud and identity theft. Who gets Secret Service protection will also depend on election years, when presidential candidates may receive temporary protection while running for office.
Second, candidates for the secret service will need to meet the following qualifications:
• Bachelor's degree
• No visible tattoos or other types of body modifications
• GPA of 3.0 or above
• Pass physical and mental examination
• Written skills test
Job training starts with an intense 10-week program, which is followed by a 17-week course that involves policies and procedures. The 10-week training is focused more on investigative techniques and criminal law topics.
The investigators are the secret service behind the scenes--workers that you never hear about. If you make it through this rigorous training, you can expect to earn an average wage that can range from $43,964-$74,891, according to an article by Forbes.
Third, as a secret service agent, you need to have a flexible schedule and mindset.
Agents need the ability to move or travel anywhere upon given the order. To work in this role, your life is really at the mercy of the people you serve. This is the extra level of commitment that this type of work requires compared to police officer roles. While both can be stressful, having a familiar beat might be more appealing to some than the high stakes of Secret Service agent positions.
What Responsibilities Do Secret Service Agents Have?
Their responsibilities are dependent on whether they are working in an investigative or protective role. This is why the secret service offers a wide variety of careers. It's not an impossibility or pie in the sky dream to work for this agency – but you do need to work hard and take this goal, and your job seriously. As you can imagine, the lives of our leaders and types of crimes this agency investigates are highly relevant to our national security.
Some other characteristics of working for the Secret Service:
• You must spend 2 years on investigation detail before you can work in protection detail
• Protection detail is probably a better fit for agents without families, due to the unexpected nature of the work
• Most agents aren't the people in dark suits and sunglasses hovering around important people. They are mostly working behind the scenes on investigations
• The agency hires professionals in four areas: Special agent, uniformed division, administrative and technical, and special officers
Just because this is a high-profile position in law enforcement, doesn't mean it's out of reach. Your best bet is to speak with local colleges that offer criminal justice programs for students in your state.
There are online programs that cater to working professionals and result in the same career outcomes as campus-based programs.
If you're interested in working in a position like this, don't hesitate to take the next step today.