Diplomatic Security Special Agent Career, Salary and Training Info

Diplomatic Security Special Agents are federal law enforcement officers who are highly skilled. They advise ambassadors on security matters and manage security programs to protect personnel, facilities and information. In the U.S., Special Agents protect the Secretary of State and visiting foreign dignitaries, investigate passport and visa fraud and conduct personnel security investigations.

As a Diplomatic Security Special Agent, you will represent your country to the world. You will have an unprecedented opportunity to travel the world and experience different cultures.

Diplomatic Security Special Agent Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen with a B.A. or B.S. degree and be between 21 and 36 years of age when appointed. You will undergo a thorough background investigation and must qualify for a Top Secret security clearance as well as pass a stringent medical examination.

Diplomatic Security Special Agent CareerYou must also pass written and oral assessment exams as well as physical fitness tests. Fluency in a foreign language is desirable but is not mandatory.

Education and Training

New Agents receive six months of training in personal protection techniques, criminal law and investigations, firearms, specialized driving, first aid and background investigations. Training begins with orientation in Washington, D.C. followed by basic and specialized training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia. Candidates must pass all required tests at FLETC.

Before being assigned overseas, Special Agents are trained in security management, post operations, counterintelligence and electronic security. Additional training may be required in advanced firearms techniques, explosive device detection, arson investigation and medical assistance.

Diplomatic Security Special Agent Salary

Starting salaries range from $37,413 to $51,788 and depend on qualifications, specialized experience and location of assignment.

Benefits include life insurance and medical coverage, law enforcement availability pay (LEAP), federal retirement benefits, paid education for K-12 dependent children and generous paid leave. The U.S. Department of State provides paid housing or housing allowance for overseas service and you will receive extensive language training.

Diplomatic Security Special Agent Career Opportunities

Special Agents spend half their careers working inside the United States and the other half living and working abroad.

Overseas assignments offer good opportunity for career growth in Diplomatic Security. Those who prove themselves on the job may be promoted to Regional Security Officer with the responsibility for managing security operations for an embassy or several diplomatic posts in a specific region. The Regional Security Officer serves as operational supervisor of U.S. Marine Security Guard detachments assigned to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities.

Bureau of Diplomatic Security is part of the U.S. Department of StateDS Special Agents are armed and have arrest authority. They are first assigned to a field office in the United States for up to two years and spend a great deal of time traveling on protective security assignments for the Secretary of State / dignitaries thereafter.

Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

8 comments… add one
  • Rodney

    Hi All, Just wanted to post that the State Department is currently accepting applications for Diplomatic Security Special Agents. I think the cut off date is 8/26/2010. If you love to travel and think living overseas would be fun, this might be the agency for you. Check it out of the State Departments website or at USAjobs. I don’t work for them yet but am on their list to get hired. Wish me luck. Hope this info helps some people.

  • Daniel Roberts

    So any information on when they will be hiring again, or if they have programs for graduate students? I should be finishing up my Criminal Justice Masters degree this fall and this certainly looks like an interesting career.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      none as of yet

  • Devin

    Hi, im a junior in high school and i plan on getting a degree in cj so i was wondering if a bachelors degree in cj and experience as a diplomatic security special agent could help me obtain a job in the CIA or FBI which is my ultimate career goal.

    • Maria

      to obtain a job with CIA or FBI u need to do alot of interning for them during your summer breaks all thru college and you can apply with them as soon as you graduate with ur B.A. or B.S. degree. Its helpful to know a foreign language but its not mandatory. Try keeping yourself in top shape also helps. Good Luck!!!! :)

    • david

      Working any federal law enforcement agency (like DS) will help you get ANOTHER federal law enforcement job (like the FBI), but I ASSURE you, once you have worked for DS (and stayed a week in Tokyo, and London, and Lagos, and Ouagadougou, and Barcelona, and stayed at the best 5-star hotels in several capital cities, and run with the Olympic torch, and swam in the Arctic Ocean, and protected Angelina Jolie and Bono, and, well you get the idea) you won’t want to work for the FBI (or any other FLEO, for that matter). For the majority of CIA law enforcement jobs, you need only a high school degree (their “federal agents” don’t appear to have the same authority as other 1811’s). CIA clandestine work (if your career research is primarily taken from the movies) follows a TOTALLY different career path (intel degrees, SPEC OPS or paramilitary experience, difficult languages like Chinese, Arabic, Korean, and Russian) and DS may or may not help you with these depending on what your experiences IN DS are. DS, like other 1811 jobs (though DS agents are actually 2501’s, the only FLEO’s with that job series), only requires a Bachelor’s degree from ANY accredited college or university (in Ohio or not).

  • Patricia

    hi im in highschool and i really want to be a diplomatic security special agent are there any good colleges in ohio for this

  • Sarah

    Hi, I’m interested in being a Diplomatic Security Special Agent. I wanted to know what college degree’s would help me land this job? Also how selective are they?

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