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Diplomatic Security Special Agent

If you're looking for a criminal justice career that can take you all over the world, look into a career as a diplomatic security special agent (also known as DSS agent). These special agents are part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, an agency that offers protective services to members of the government, leads worldwide investigations into crimes, and ensures that Americans abroad are safe. Explore our site to learn more about similar careers, then contact the schools in your area to compare their programs. We make it simple to contact multiple schools at once, so you can gather all the right information before you make a decision to enroll.



Diplomatic Security Job Description

As a Diplomatic Security Special Agent, you may travel abroad, especially to countries that have American embassies or consulates. Special agents often confer with ambassadors of different countries to ensure that people here and in other countries are kept safe during security threats. Some special agents work in the United States. Domestic agents may offer protective services to visiting leaders and the Secretary of State. Other agents may look into serious immigration crimes, like passport and visa fraud.

According to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the vast majority of special agents are first given a domestic assignment. This is due to the fact that international assignments tend to require more experience. While working domestically, you may investigate visa fraud, protect foreign dignitaries and leaders, work on security assignments for the Secretary of State, and take part in other investigations as you are needed.

After proving yourself in your position, you may be assigned overseas. Special agents are often stationed at US embassies, where they run and manage security programs that protect embassy workers, American visitors, and sensitive information. Diplomatic Security Special agents occasionally come into contact with dangerous individuals, as investigating terrorists and those who commit crimes against Americans is part of the job description.



How to Become a Diplomatic Security Special Agent

A DSS agent typically jumps through three hoops prior to entering this field. Specific education, work experience, and training requirements help prepare one for the responsibilities a diplomatic security special agent holds.

Education Requirements

Education is an important part of this career. You should have at least a bachelor's degree to begin at the FP-6 level. Any bachelor's degree can permit you to start at this level. Having a related degree, such as a criminal justice degree, can help you start out at a higher salary. You must also have work experience that's relevant to this field.

You may wish to earn your degree in a field related to this career. Examples include international policy, criminal justice, and law enforcement. A related degree may count as experience, so you may be able to start at a higher salary than those who have unrelated bachelor's degrees.

Work Experience

In addition to educational requirements, you must have a certain amount of work experience to qualify for a DSS agent job. The Bureau requires at least one year of work experience that demonstrates your ability to take on increasing amounts of responsibility, use information to make informed choices, and communicate well with other people. The Bureau may investigate your work experience to determine if it is eligible. Further education may take the place of this work experience requirement. You need at least 18 credits of post-bachelor's degree study. A master's degree can fulfill this requirement and make you a more well-rounded job applicant.

Training Requirements

After you are selected for a diplomatic security special agent job, you must complete additional training to prepare for your new career. The necessary training for this position is fairly extensive. You can expect to spend about seven months in training and employee orientation. First, you must go to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers in Brunswick, Georgia. This initial training period lasts for about three months. As a trainee, you may learn about how to protect people abroad and in the United States, investigate crimes, and handle those who would threaten you or the people you are protecting. This training program is very physical in nature. Upon the completion of this training program, you can go to Washington D.C. for the remainder of your orientation.



DSS Agent Salary and Career Outlook

The career outlook may be promising for those with a lot of experience and relevant education. DSS agents receive the highest level of security clearance, so only a small percentage of those who apply make it through the hiring process. Gaining experience in international affairs or learning a second language may be that something extra to officially enter this field of work.

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security reports that the 2017 base salary for diplomatic security special agents is between $43,226 and $58,092. You may get an increased salary if you have military or law enforcement experience. Your salary may increase by one step for each year of experience.

On top of your base pay, you receive locality pay. If you are stationed overseas, this is equal to 16.52% of your base pay. In the United States, locality pay is dependent upon the cost of living where you are stationed.

If you look into the accomplishments of diplomatic security special agents, you'll realize that they play a major role in solving serious crimes. For example, in May of 2018, diplomatic agents were able to track down and catch a man who had been stealing people's identities for over a decade.

Find out more about the security-focused positions in the field of criminal justice that you can pursue. Contact the schools in our directory to find out more and compare programs today!



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