Federal Law Enforcement Job Guide


Personnel Office Department of Justice 633 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington DC 20531 (202) 724-7725

The FBI is the law enforcement arm of the Department of Justice. It investigates federal crimes such as bank robbery, organized crime, civil rights violations, kidnapping, terrorism, drug violations, and hundreds of other categories. The FBI has 59 field offices around the country. The FBI has the following career paths available to Special Agents:

* ACCOUNTING - Requires a college degree with a major in accounting. All applicants to this career path must be qualified to take the CPA examination.

* ENGINEERING/SCIENCE - Requires at least a BS degree in mechanical, computer science, or electrical engineering. Other science related four-year degrees may also be accepted.

* LANGUAGE - Requires a four-year college degree. The applicant must be fluent in at least one foreign language as determined by the FBI.

* LAW - Requires a law degree from an accredited law school.

* DIVERSIFIED - Requires a Bachelor's or advanced degree in any field of study. The applicant must have two to three years of work experience, depending on the degree held.

Special Agents enter the service at the GS-10 level. Supervisory positions are available up to and including the GS-18 level.

The FBI also has several non-agent positions available in the following fields: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Cryptology, Languages, Photography and Physics. Entry to the positions is at the GS5-7 level. These positions require four-year degrees.

The agency also has various clerical positions available. Applicants for the position of Special Agent must be at least 23 years of age but must not have reached their 35th birthday. Applicants must be a citizen of the United States and must be in excellent physical condition.



Border Patrol Agents are responsible for enforcing the immigration laws of the United States. Agents patrol to check for illegal border crossings, operate vehicle check points, inspect trains, ships, aircraft, etc. for immigration violations, and perform other duties. Entry level openings usually require duty along the border of the United States and Mexico in Arizona, Texas, California and New Mexico.


Applicants must have one year of volunteer or paid experience comparable in difficulty to the GS/4 level. This experience must show your ability to learn law enforcement methods, etc. One year of college study leading to a bachelor's degree may be substituted for three months of general experience; two years for six months; three years for nine months; and four years for the entire year of general experience.


Applicants must have one year of law enforcement experience equivalent to the GS/5 level. An advanced degree in law or a law enforcement related field can be substituted for the whole year of specialized experience. The maximum entry age for Border Patrol Agents is 37. Applicants may not have passed their 37th birthday at time hired. This age limit may be extended if the applicant has previous federal civilian law enforcement experience.

Applicants must know or be able to learn Spanish.

Applicants must pass a written test and a test to determine the applicant's ability to learn Spanish. A Spanish oral test is given to those applicants who speak Spanish. Applicants must also submit to a pre-employment physical and interview.

A thorough background investigation will be conducted on all applicants.

New agents ar appointed to the GS/5 or GS/7 level. Promotions to the GS/9 level are possible. Promotions to higher grades are through "servicewide" competition.

Prospective applicants can receive an OPM Form 5000-AB Test Scheduling Card from any Federal Job Information Center listed under "U.S. Government" in the telephone directory. Applicants may also call the "College Hotline" at 1-900-990-9200. There is a per minute charge for "900" number calls.

Lincoln Place
600 Army-Navy Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
(202) 307-9400

The Marshals Service is also an arm of the Department of Justice. The Service provides security in federal courts, serves federal court orders, apprehends and transports federal prisoners, administers the Witness Security Program, and other duties. The beginning position is the Deputy U.S. Marshal at the GS 5/7 level. This position requires a Bachelor's degree.

Personnel Staffing Specialist
Personnel Division, Rm 1215
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20226
(202) 566-7321

The ATF enforces all federal laws relating to alcohol, tobacco and firearms, including explosives and arson. The ATF also inspects breweries, wineries, explosives plants and other related industries. Entry is at the GS 5/7 level and requires a Bachelor's degree.

1301 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20229

Office of Human Resources
2120 L Street, Room 7402
Washington, DC 20229
(202) 634-5025

This agency controls the entry of merchandise into this country. It investigates fraudulent crimes and activities that defraud the U.S. Government of revenue. It investigates the illegal importing and exporting of drugs, currency, arms and the exporting of technology. Applicants to this agency are subjected to a thorough background investigation. Entry is at the GS 5/7 level and requires a Bachelor's degree.

Chief of Staffing
1800 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20223
(202) 535-5800

The Secret Service is charged with protecting the President, Vice President, former presidents, visiting heads of foreign countries, and their families. The Secret Service also enforces all laws concerning counterfeiting and forgery of government checks and other related criminal activities. The Service is also responsible for White House security. Entry is at the GS 5/7 level and requires a Bachelor's degree.

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