Secret Service Special Agent Career, Salary and Training Info

The Secret Service is charged with a dual mission as a law enforcement agency. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with numerous offices and Secret Service Special Agents located across the country, this law enforcement agency is well known for the protection they provide to the President, Vice-President, and other administrative officials and their families.

Secret Service Special Agents are also involved in investigation and prosecution of crimes such as financial fraud, falsifying documents and identification, computer fraud, electronic funds transfers, and money laundering. Computer attacks on financial, banking, and telecommunications infrastructure are violations pursued by the Secret Service.

Secret Service Special Agent Requirements

You must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 21 and 37 at the time of appointment and have a valid driver’s license. A current study and analysis of maximum entry age restrictions is under way by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and it is possible that age limits may be waived in the future for veteran’s preference applicants.

You may qualify to enter the Secret Service at the GL-7 or GL-9 designation. At the GL-7 entry level you must have a bachelor’s degree and meet the academic standards set by the agency.

The GL-9 entry requires a master’s level or equivalent degree such as an LL.B. or J.D.

Both the GL-7 and GL-9 levels also provide for qualification based on experience in investigation, surveillance, undercover activities, and evidence presentation. These experience based qualifications attract those with military and law enforcement experience. The GL-7 requires work experience at the GL-5 level while entry based on past work experience for GL-9 would raise the standard to past history of enforcement that equals the requirements for GL-7.

Those fluent in a foreign language may qualify for a one time recruitment bonus of 25% of basic annual pay by passing the language skills test.

Applicants must pass a physical fitness evaluation and stringent medical exam which includes meeting specific vision requirements.

Applicants will undergo a series of in-depth interviews and must pass all of them to remain in consideration for the Secret Service Special Agent career. Top Secret security clearance eligibility is required. This includes a polygraph, drug screening, and an extensive background investigation that must be completed prior to appointment.

Secret Service Special Agent Education and Training

New trainees must complete the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Basic Criminal Investigator Training program in Georgia for 10 weeks. This is followed by a 17 week Special Agent Basic Training program conducted at a training center outside Washington, D.C. Trainees must pass both of these training programs on their first attempt to remain in the Secret Service.

You will carry a firearm as a Secret Service agent and be required to maintain your proficiency with that weapon.

Secret Service Special Agent Salary

Pay is based on your salary grade as well as on your assigned location. In 2009, starting salary ranged from $43,200 to $73,354.

Secret Service Special Agent Career Opportunities

As a federal employee you participate in insurance plans, retirement, and savings plans available to federal workers.

You must be able to relocate throughout your career but you may have opportunity for frequent travel on assignments throughout the U.S. and through liaison assignments in foreign countries.

You may work long hours in less than desirable conditions or be required to travel away from home for anywhere from one day to a full month with little notice. There is also the potential for undercover assignments. It is the changing nature of the Secret Service Special Agent position and the opportunity for travel that attracts many applicants.

There is a high level of prestige associated with working in the Secret Service in the Special Agent position as it is designated as a key profession by the Department of Defense (DOD).

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.

6 comments… add one
  • Matthew Bacchus


  • ganaa

    i want to work in secret service.

  • James Peaugh

    I want to join the secret service but my grades aren’t perfect.

  • Agent007

    Once a person gets a four year degree in Criminal Justice. What would be the next step in becoming a secret service Agent?

    • Chris

      I talked to a secret service agent I dad knew for an career essay I have to do at my high school. He told me they won’t hire anyone straight out of college. He said you must have already held another job for a while before applying. He was a cop for 15 years. He says most of the guys were ex military, and a lot of people from ex special ops backgrounds, (seals, green berets, force recon/marsoc, etc) he told me there can also be age waivers for veterans. I also want to work in the secret and plan on going military after college.

  • Frank

    Mind set-Dedicate-
    Eat sleep breath
    Learn train protect.
    Live by s.o.p.

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