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Job Description & Duties for a Secret Service Agent

A Secret Service Agent is a part of an elite group of law enforcement personnel attached to The United States Secret Service (USSS). The qualifications and requirements to become a Secret Service Agent are demanding since admission includes passing various tests and a tough training program. A typical special agent's career starts with five to eight years of field service. A Secret Service Agent's career is competitive because The USSS promotes agents based on performance. Agents must reach the highest security and performance grade levels before serving a President.

Responsibilities

Secret Service Agents carry out assignments in protection and investigation. The Secret Service protects the president, vice president and leaders who can succeed to the Office of the President. Agents also protect former presidents and their families for 10 years after they leave office.

Secret Service Agents also protect visiting heads of governments, distinguished foreign visitors, presidential candidates and official representatives of the U.S. performing special missions abroad. Special Service Agents also provide security for events as required by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Secret Service investigations often concern violations of laws related to computer-based attacks on U.S. financial and communication infrastructures, counterfeiting, U.S. security and financial crimes such as money laundering. New agents should expect to relocate and travel frequently. Applicants must sign an agreement with the USSS acknowledging their willingness to accept assignments anywhere in the world.

Qualifications

Special Agent positions have very specific requirements. All applicants must be a U.S. Citizen, between 21 and 37 years of age at the time of hire and possess a valid U.S. driver's license. The USSS will waive the maximum entry age requirement for eligible U.S. veterans. All candidates must have visual acuity no worse than 20/60 uncorrected or corrected to 20/20 in each eye. Applicants with corrected eye surgery must wait 3 months after Lasik surgery, 6 months for PRK surgery and 1 year for ALK or RK surgeries before applying.

Security Clearance

All applicants require top-secret security clearances at the time of employment. Candidates should expect to undergo a full background investigation including in-depth interviews with family and friends, full drug screening, a medical physical and a polygraph test.

Education

An undergraduate degree in law enforcement or related field is preferred but applicants can have three years of work experience in criminal investigation or law enforcement instead. A combination of three years of college and work experience is also acceptable. Individuals seeking to attain higher pay levels at the time of employment will need some prior work experience with graduate work or a degree.

Treasury Enforcement Agent Exam

All Secret Service Agent candidates are required to pass the Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) Exam. The USSS highly recommends that applicants study prior to taking the exam by purchasing a study guide. Appropriate business attire is required when testing and candidates should allow six to eight hours for testing. Applicants who have already taken the exam with another agency may submit their TEA results at the time they submit their application.

Training

Trainees must complete a 10-week Basic Criminal Investigator Training program and a 17-week Special Agent Basic Training. The Secret Service will ask any individuals to leave the service if they fail to pass either training program.



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