Join the US Secret Service

Working for the U.S. Secret Service is a great way to serve your country and protect high profile government officials. As a Special Agent, you will also be tasked with investigating criminal cases like money laundering, fraud, and counterfeiting. Though this position can be stressful and requires long hours, it can be a rewarding way to work for the U.S. government and travel the world. With a few requirements, tests, and a formal interview, you can join the Secret Service and dive into an exciting new career.


Meeting the Basic Requirements

  1. Be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years of age. You will need to provide you are a U.S. citizen by providing a valid passport or other government issued documentation. You must be at least 21 years old and younger than 37 at the time of your application.[1]
    • If you are a veteran, you must be at least 21 and younger than 40 to apply for the Secret Service.
  2. Have a valid U.S. Get-Your-Driver's-License-in-the-USA. Special Agents may have to drive government officials around, so you will need a valid, up to date driver’s license.[2]
  3. Maintain a healthy physique and have a clean bill of health. You should be in excellent physical and mental shape, as you will need to pass several health tests to become a Special Agent. You will also need to have a clean health record with no major health problems and 20/20 vision.[3]
    • Sticking to a Maintain-a-Balanced-Diet and exercising regularly can help you stay in shape for the job.
  4. Have no visible body markings on your head, face, neck, hands, or fingers. You cannot have any tattoos, piercings, or branding ‘s on these areas. You will need to remove piercings or tattoos in these spots to qualify for the position.[4]

Applying for the Position

  1. Apply for open positions on the USAJOBS website. Access the website here: The U.S. government will post available positions in the Secret Service on their hiring website regularly. Check the website often to look for jobs by searching "secret service jobs" or "special agent positions."
    • The online tool on the website allows you to search for positions by location, though you will need to spend significant time in Washington, D.C. and abroad if you join the Secret Service.
  2. Submit your resume and qualifications. As part of your application for a job, submit a resume that includes any relevant experience you may have, such as military experience and experience in law enforcement or security. You should also list any educational training you have that might apply to the position, such as a degree in criminal justice, conflict resolution, forensics, or law.[5]
    • If you are fluent in another language besides English, list this on your resume. Applicants who are fluent in other languages tend to be favored and may receive a bonus if they are hired.
  3. Pass the written Special Agent Entrance Exam. Once your application is processed and you have been moved to the next round in the hiring process, you will need to take the SAEE. The SAEE consists of 5 sections that cover logic-based reasoning, language ability, detail observation, and mock experiences or situations. You will be timed 30-40 minutes per section and must complete each section to the best of your ability.[6]
  4. Complete the Applicant Physical Abilities Test. Another test you must pass to move forward in the hiring process is the APAT. The APAT measures your strength, endurance, and aerobic abilities. You will need to complete a fitness test that consists of push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and a {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} run. You will need to complete the test successfully at the beginning, during, and end of your training.[7]
    • As part of your fitness test, you will also have to undergo a full medical and psychological examination to ensure you are in good mental and physical health.
  5. Have a formal interview with a Secret Service representative. Once you have been declared competent for the position by passing the SAEE and APAT, you will have a formal interview with a hiring representative from the Secret Service. You will be asked questions about your resume and qualifications as well as your passion for serving your country. You may also be asked questions about how you will contribute to the Secret Service based on your skills and background.[8]
    • You may have several formal, in-depth interviews with different representatives as part of the hiring process.
  6. Pass a complete background check to show you have a clean criminal record. You will also need to get a credit check and do a security interview where you answer questions about ethics and morality.[9]
    • You will need to provide fingerprints and financial documents so the background check can be completed.
    • You may also need to take a polygraph exam where you are hooked up to a polygraph machine that measures your responses to yes or no questions to ensure you are answering honestly.
  7. Receive a formal job offer. Once you have passed the required tests and training, you will meet with a hiring panel, who will then give you a formal job offer. You will be hired on a specific grade level, based on your training and experience, and given an assigned geographical area. Your salary and benefits will depend on the grade level you are hired at in the Secret Service.[10]

Doing Well in the Secret Service

  1. Complete the required training program for Special Agents. Once you have accepted a position in the Secret Service, you must complete a 10-week training program and a 17-week Special Agent basic training course. The 10-week program will train you in investigation techniques and criminal law at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. The 17-week course is more specialized and takes place at the Secret Service Training Academy in Washington, D.C.[11]
    • You must pass both training programs on your first attempt to become a Special Agent. If you fail, you will not move into an official role in the Secret Service.
  2. Be prepared to work long hours and travel often. As a Special Agent, you may end up working more than a normal 40 hour work week and you may be assigned special details that require working very long shifts. You will also need to be willing to travel across the country and the world as part of the job, often on short notice.[12]
    • You may also be called for duty in the event of a national crisis or disaster.
  3. Stay in the investigations detail if you want to maintain your family life. Most Special Agents will be required to work at least 2 years on an investigations detail, where you investigate various criminal activities for the government. You can then choose to stay in investigations or move to the protective detail. Working in investigations can allow you to maintain a more stable work schedule, leaving you time to have a healthy family life.[13]
    • This may be a good option if you are married or have a spouse and children, as you will have the ability to still spend time with them once you are done working.
  4. Maintain good mental and physical health to succeed in the job. Being a Special Agent can be a difficult job, as you will be putting your life on the line everyday to help protect and serve the nation’s most important officials. Maintaining a healthy routine where you stay physically fit and take time to focus on your mental health will allow you to do your job well.[14]
    • Having a good life and work balance, where you spend time with family or loved ones outside of your job, can also help you stay grounded and succeed.


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