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Special Agent

The United States Secret Service is mandated by statute and executive order to carry out two significant missions: protection and criminal investigationsDuring the course of their careers, special agents carry out assignments in both of these areas and must be available to be assigned to duty stations anywhere in the world.

The Secret Service protects:

  • The president, the vice president (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the president-elect and vice president-elect
  • The immediate families of the above individuals
  • Former presidents, their spouses for their lifetimes, except when the spouse remarries. In 1997, Congressional legislation became effective limiting Secret Service protection to former presidents for a period of not more than 10 years from the date the former president leaves office
  • Children of former presidents until age 16
  • Visiting heads of foreign states or governments and their spouses traveling with them, other distinguished foreign visitors to the United States, and official representatives of the United States performing special missions abroad
  • Major presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election
  • Other individuals as designated per Executive Order of the President
  • National Special Security Events, when designated as such by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

The Secret Service investigates:

  • Violations of laws relating to counterfeiting of obligations and securities of the United States
  • Financial crimes that include, but are not limited to, financial institution fraud, false identification documents, access device fraud, advance fee fraud, computer and telecommunications fraud, electronic funds transfers and money laundering as it relates to the agency's core violations
  • Computer-based attacks on the nation's financial, banking and telecommunications infrastructure
Foreign Language Proficiency

A one time recruitment bonus, 25 percent of basic annual pay, will be paid to newly hired special agents, who are identified as having a foreign language skill and can test at the S-3 level.

This level requires that the applicant be able to speak the language with sufficient structural accuracy and vocabulary to participate effectively in most formal and informal conversations on practical, social and professional topics.

The recruitment bonus must be approved prior to the applicant's first day of employment and will be paid as a lump sum, upon successful completion of all required training and graduation from the U.S. Secret Service training program. The actual payment will depend on the availability of funds.

The Secret Service also has a Foreign Language Cash Award Program. This program pays a cash award of up to 5 percent of basic pay to any individual who possesses and makes substantial use of one or more foreign languages in the performance of official duties.


Newly appointed special agents may be assigned to duty stations anywhere in the United States. Throughout their careers, agents may experience frequent travel and reassignments to Secret Service offices located throughout the United States or liaison assignments in foreign countries.


  • U.S. citizenship
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and younger than 37 at time of appointment
  • (1) Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university; or (2) three years of work experience in the criminal investigative or law enforcement fields that require knowledge and application of laws relating to criminal violations; or (3) an equivalent combination of education and related experience:

  • According to the Office of Personnel Management regulations, non-qualifying law enforcement experience is as follows: Experience as a uniformed law enforcement officer where the principal duties consisted of investigations and arrests involving traffic violations, minor felonies, misdemeanors, and comparable offenses; or in which the major duties involved guarding and protecting property, preventing crimes, and/or legal research without the application of investigative techniques.
  • Uncorrected vision no worse than 20/60 binocular; correctable to 20/20 in each eye.
    (NOTE: Lasik, ALK, RK and PRK corrective eye surgeries are acceptable eye surgeries for special agent applicants provided specific visual tests are passed. The following are the waiting periods before visual tests are conducted after the surgery: Lasik surgery – three months; PRK – six months; and ALK and RK – one year.)
  • Must pass the Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) written examination
  • Complete background investigation to include in-depth interviews, drug screening, medical examination and polygraph examination


  • Hired usually at the GS-5, GS-7 or GS-9 level, depending on qualifications and/or education
  • Special agents receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) that entitles them to receive an additional 25 percent of their annual base pay
  • Applicants and their immediate families are eligible for membership in low-cost federal health benefit plans
  • Annual leave is earned at the rate of 13 to 26 days per year, based on length of employment. Prior federal civilian or military service is creditable, as authorized.
  • Sick leave accumulates at the rate of 13 days per year without limit
  • Paid holidays
  • Retirement benefits. Additional retirement credit is granted for prior military or government service, as authorized.
  • Flexible Spending Account Program

Conditions of Employment

As a special agent, certain demands are required, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Work long hours in undesirable conditions on short notice
  • Travel away from home for periods ranging from 1 to 30 days or possibly longer
  • Carry a firearm while performing duties and maintain firearms proficiency
  • Carry out assignments in the areas of protection and investigations
  • Relocate to duty stations throughout the U.S. and abroad as organizational needs dictate
  • Initial appointment to the special agent position is in the Excepted Service
  • Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must certify that they have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under Selective Service law
  • The special agent position is designated as a key position in accordance with Department of Defense Directive 1200.7. As such, employees occupying this position who are in the military reserve will have their status changed to either Retired Reserve or Standby Reserve, or may be discharged, as determined by the military.

Additionally, you may be requested to work undercover assignments.


Newly appointed special agents receive approximately 11 weeks of intensive training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Upon successful completion of training at FLETC, they receive approximately 16 weeks of specialized instruction at the James J. Rowley Training Center outside Washington, D.C.

For More Information

For further information, please contact the U.S. Secret Service field office nearest your current residence, or the Recruitment and Hiring Coordinating Center at
(202) 406-5830 or follow this contact the Recruitment and Hiring Coordinating Center. For offices in your area, follow this link to a directory of U.S. Secret Service field offices.

How to Apply & Download Application Packet

An Equal Opportunity Employer

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