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U.S. Secret Service

U.S. Secret Service

Not Exactly Your Typical Job

The U.S. Secret Service was created on July 5, 1865, as a federal bureau under the Department of Treasury. At that time, its main function and purpose was to suppress the counterfeiting of U. S. Currency. In 1901, the functions of the U.S. Secret Service were expanded to include the important responsibility of protecting the President of the United States.

This responsibility has since been extended to:

  • -Presidential immediate family.
  • -Vice President and immediate family.
  • -Former Presidents and spouses for life and their children until age 16.
  • -Visiting heads of foreign States and Governments and spouses traveling with them.
  • -Major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates and spouses.

U.S. Secret Service investigative responsibilities also expanded. In addition to investigating counterfeiting, many more investigative areas were added. These included investigating financial crimes relating to banks, access devices (to include credit/debit cards), computers, telecommunications, and telemarketing.

Special Agent

Special agents are charged with two missions: protection and investigation. During 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 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.

Employment Opportunities

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) and equivalent combination of education and related experience. According to the Office of Personnel Management regulations, nonqualifying 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 one year after surgery. Applicants who have undergone Lasik surgery may have visual tests three months after the surgery.)
  • -Excellent health and physical condition.
  • -Must pass the Treasury Enforcement Agent.
  • -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 also receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP), that entitles them to receive an additional 25 percent of their annual base pay.
  • -Applicants are eligible for low-cost life insurance.
  • -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.
  • -Excellent retirement benefits. Additional retirement credit is granted for prior military or government service, as authorized.
  • -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 will have their military status changed to either Retired Reserve or Standby Reserve, or maybe discharged, as appropriate.

Conditions of Employment

As a special agent, demands will be required of you, which will include but not be 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.

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 or Artesia, New Mexico. Upon successful completion of training at FLETC, they receive approximately 11 weeks of specialized instruction at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Laurel, Maryland.

For More Information

For further information, not included on this website, please contact the U.S. Secret Service field office nearest your current residence, or the Personnel Division at (202) 406-5271, or click on Contact the Personnel Division, to send an electronic message. For a directory of offices in your area, click on U.S. Secret Service field offices.

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