Customs and Border Protection is one of the most far reaching components of the Department of Homeland Security. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the responsibility of maintaining the nation’s borders, ensuring that visitors and goods entering the country do so legally. The CBP is also on the front line of national security, keeping potential terrorists and their weapons from entering the country. Border Patrol agents are responsible for enforcing hundreds of U.S. immigration and drug laws. The CBP offers a variety of career choices, both on the front lines and behind the scenes. Border Patrol agent is one of the many positions available with Customs and Border Protection.
The Border Patrol is responsible for patrolling 6,000 miles of border between the United States and Mexico and Canada. The patrol also maintains 2,000 miles of coastal borders around Florida and Puerto Rico. Agents work on line watch around the clock. Line watch can be conducted through a variety of methods, including covert observation, traffic stops and aircraft sightings. Open positions with the agency are listed on the CBP website and at USAJobs Those candidates who are interested in seeking a position with the Border Patrol can complete their initial application on line.
The Border Patrol issues announcements for positions in three categories. Open announcements are open to the general public and anyone who meets the age and education requirements may apply for the position. Other positions may be restricted to only current Federal employees or only Border Patrol employees. These restrictions are found in the “Who May Apply” portion of the announcement.
Those interested in a career with the Border Patrol can find the prerequisites for employment on the CBP website. Applicants must be under 40 at the time of their initial appointment. There is an examination and an oral interview before the agency makes a tentative offer of employment. The examination is given in three parts and includes logical reasoning, language ability and past experience. Those taking the examination are given the option of taking either the Spanish language test or an “artificial language test”. Even those who speak Spanish may wish to take the artificial language test, which assesses the ability to learn language, rather than the Spanish test which places a strong emphasis on grammar and standard vocabulary. This is especially true for those candidates who speak “Tex-Mex” or “Spanglish”. The oral interview is conducted by three Border Patrol agents and is designed to assess the candidate’s emotional maturity and judgment.
Those who are successful at completing the examination and oral interview must also pass a physical exam, drug screening and a background check. The background check includes criminal and credit history, a verification of birth and education. The check also includes interviews of neighbors and employers covering a ten year period. Issues involving poor credit, criminal convictions or association with individuals who are considered undesirable associates.
The CBP website offers complete application information, including study guides to assist individuals taking the employment examination. The website also features a “walk through” of the application process.