Border Patrol Agent

Become a Border Patrol Agent

Is housing supplied?

Living quarters and meals are provided free at the Border Patrol Academy. You are responsible for your own housing at your duty station. However, a relocation service company is available for candidates who require relocation assistance. You can also pull information from the Internet by searching the Chamber of Commerce for a particular city.

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How much overtime and shift work?

A Border Patrol Agent is required to work overtime and may work long hours. Sixty-hour weeks and 10 to 16 hour days are not that uncommon. An Agent works irregular rotating shifts every two to four weeks. These shifts are subject to change, often on short notice.

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What are the work hours like in the U.S. Border Patrol?

Your work week consists of 40 hours of regular time plus another 9-10 hours of what is termed Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) for covering shift changes, illegal alien processing and other tasks that can’t be scheduled. This is generally the same in all other federal law enforcement positions, and is the reason you will make up to 25% over and above your base salary. Since law enforcement is a 24-hour-a-day job, you will often be working nights, and, depending on your schedule, weekends or holidays.

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As a Border Patrol Agent, where will I be stationed?

When registering online you will be able to indicate one of 4 geographic locations along the U.S. Southwest border with Mexico. You can expect your first posting to be in California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas. (Many stations are in small isolated communities, some of which have poor schools and medical facilities.) Here you will learn the many challenges and rewards of the CBP Border Patrol job more quickly than anywhere else in the country. As one recent academy graduate put it, “This is where all the action is!” Additionally, if you have a location within the border region that you prefer, you can tell us and we will try to place you there, though we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to. Placements are made based on the current needs of each post.

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Who pays travel costs?

You pay the initial cost to your assigned sector and then the government pays the cost to and from the training Academy.

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Can I bring my family to the Academy while I am in training? What about my car?

We respectfully discourage trainees from bringing family or automobiles to training. As stated above, Border Patrol training is rigorous. Your off duty hours will be consumed by study and other training-related activities, and the additional responsibilities of family life often prove to be too much for new trainees. The training facilities, in addition, only have living accommodation for trainees. This makes it costly to bring family members. Regarding your car, parking is at a premium at the Academy, and, since in most cases you must fly from your first duty station to training, it is very difficult to bring your car with you. We recommend that you rent a car on weekends if you would like to tour the area.

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What about expenses at the Academy?

Living quarters and meals are provided free at the Border Patrol Academy. In addition, towels, bed linens, and physical training clothing (except tennis shoes) are furnished and laundered at no expense. Trainees are paid a small per diem for incidental expenses in addition to their regular salary.

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How difficult or rigorous is the training?

Both the academic and physical training at the Academy are considered to be quite strenuous. Many new Agents say that the amount of academic study required at the Academy was much more than they had anticipated. They also strongly advise those who do not know Spanish to prepare themselves mentally for an intensive Spanish course. The physical part of the program is extremely demanding. Among other physical requirements, at the end of the 55 days, trainees must be able to complete the following: a 1½ mile run in 13 minutes or less; a confidence course in 2 1/2 minutes or less; and a 220 yard dash in 46 seconds or less.

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What is the training like?

As one of the most rigorous and demanding law enforcement training programs in the country, CBP Border Patrol training has become the envy of the federal law enforcement community. For 55 days, you’ll receive instruction in both Border Patrol and federal law enforcement subjects. Specific CBP Border Patrol Courses include: Immigration and Nationality Law, Criminal Law and Statutory Authority, Spanish, Border Patrol Operations, Care and Use of Firearms, Physical Training, Operation of Motor Vehicles, and Anti-Terrorism. Federal Law Enforcement Center (FLETC) courses are: Communications, Ethics and Conduct, Report Writing, Introduction to Computers, Fingerprinting, and Constitutional Law. The CBP Border Patrol Training Academy is located in Artesia, NM. While in training, you will receive full pay and benefits.

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I have experience working with canines (or I just want to work with canines). What are my chances of getting a dog handler position?

With the large emphasis in the Border Patrol on drug and narcotics interdiction, the use of dogs is becoming more and more common, so your chances of working with a dog are relatively good. In order to do this; you must first be promoted to the journeyman level. Not every station has dogs, and dogs are trained for detection of humans and narcotics, not for attack. They can be a heavy responsibility since you will assume all kenneling responsibilities.

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