Secret Service Agent Overview:
Founded in 1865, the United States Secret Service is one of the most elite law enforcement organizations in the world. The Secret Service is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with more than 150 offices throughout the United States and abroad. The Secret Service is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of national and visiting foreign leaders, and criminal investigations. During the course of their careers, Secret Service Agents carry out assignments in both of these areas and must be available to be assigned to duty stations anywhere in the world.
Job Duties - Investigation:
The Secret Service has jurisdiction in the United States for investigations involving the counterfeiting of U.S. and foreign obligations and securities. This authority has expanded to include the investigation of financial institution fraud, access device fraud, computer crimes, fraudulent government and commercial securities, fictitious financial instruments, telecommunications fraud, false identification and identity theft.
Job Duties - Protection:
The Secret Service's protective mission has expanded over the years to include protection for the president, the vice president, the president-elect and vice president-elect and their immediate families; former presidents and their spouses for their lifetimes; children of former presidents until age 16; visiting heads of foreign states, distinguished foreign visitors, and official representatives of the U.S. performing special missions abroad; major presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election; and National Special Security Events.
Secret Service Agent Qualifications:
To qualify at the GL-7 level you must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with either: superior academic achievement, at least one full year of graduate level education or at least one year of related experience equivalent to the GL-5 level.
To qualify at the GL-9 level you must possess a master's or equivalent graduate degree (such as LL.B. or J.D.) from an accredited college or university or possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GL-7 level, which is in or directly related to the line of work of the position.
To become a Secret Service Agent, you must be a U.S. Citizen between the ages of 21 and 37, possess a current valid driver's license and visual acuity no worse than 20/60 uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 in each eye. As a condition of employment, 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. Applicants must also pass a physical fitness evaluation, Treasury Enforcement Agent Test and a series of in-depth interviews as well as obtain Top Secret clearance.
Secret Service Agent Salary:
Secret Service Agents are generally hired at the GL-7 or GL-9 grade levels depending on qualifications and education. Based on those grade levels and the assigned geographic area, the 2009 starting salary range is $43,200 - $73,354. An additional 25% Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) is added to locality pay. A Foreign Language Recruitment Bonus of 25 percent of basic annual pay is paid to newly hired special agents who test at the skill level required.
Secret Service Agent Work Hours:
While assigned to field offices, special agents are normally assigned to work a 40-hour work week. Due to the receipt of LEAP, special agents usually work an average of two additional hours per day. The hours worked by special agents vary depending on the nature of their assignments. Special agents are required to work hours other than normal business hours (e.g., 12 a.m.-8 a.m., 4 p.m.-12 a.m., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 6 a.m.-2 p.m., 2 p.m.-10 p.m., etc.) with the addition to 2 or more LEAP hours, on a daily basis.
Source: United States Secret Service