Customs Agent Career Overview
Any time you've crossed an official border from or to the United States, you've likely encountered a border patrol agent, otherwise known as a customs agent. Customs agents are the uniformed law enforcement arm of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. Customs agents are responsible for detecting and preventing the illegal entry of aliens into the United States. Since September 11, 2001, their focus has been on detecting, apprehending, and deterring terrorists and the smuggling of terrorist weapons.
Customs agents enforce 8,000 miles of territory at the Mexican and Canadian borders and along coastal waters surrounding the Florida Peninsula and Puerto Rico. New recruits must be willing to relocate with little notice; many border patrol stations are located in isolated communities throughout the United States.
Customs Agent Education & Training
Customs agents do not need a college degree. Work experience in police jobs or security jobs may suffice. However, candidates can better their chances of getting hired by obtaining criminal justice degrees. Similar to the training programs associated with other federal law enforcement careers, border patrol agents receive fifty-five days of law enforcement training at the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico.
Customs Agent Employment
There are currently more than 16,500 customs agents nationwide.
Customs Agent Job Description
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the Border Patrol has seen unprecedented growth, meaning more jobs for new recruits.
Customs Agent Salary Range
*Starting salaries depend on experience and range from $41,729 to $46,542. After reaching the journeyman grade level of GS-11, talented, dedicated agents can make approximately $70,000 per year.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics