Page updated 10/28/2014
Investigators, Police Officers, Secret
Service, FBI, CIA, Special Agents, Prison Guards, and Others
Federal law enforcement jobs are available in most federal agencies.
However, the largest numbers are employed by Homeland Security, the
Justice, Treasury, and Defense Departments. There are law enforcement
nationwide and overseas. Homeland Security (DHS) was
formed after the September 11th 2001 attacks, to protect the nation
against terrorism. The Department was the first addition in over 40
years to the Executive branch. Explore viable federal law
enforcement careers on this site to find a suitable position that
matches your experience, education, and background.
Homeland Security is now the third largest department, employing over
180,000 federal workers. This new agency consolidated 22 agencies from
various departments to unify the war on terror. The Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) has had a significant impact on federal law enforcement
jobs and many law enforcement functions were transferred to
Law Enforcement Menu
The federal government employs law enforcement personnel in more
than 40 job series (see table 11-1 for detailed
information. Most agencies incorporate federal law enforcement jobs in some capacity or another. It’s
important to realize that work in law enforcement is not limited to
investigative, police, compliance and security positions. There are tens of
thousands of federal employees working in occupations that provide direct
support to these groups. Use our site to search all of the federal law enforcement careers available.
Many federal law enforcement jobs including investigative jobs are
subject to age requirements, applicants must be 21 years of age and under
age of 37 when they receive the appointment. Other law enforcement positions
require you to be 21 years old and you must be a United States citizen. Age
requirements often vary between federal agencies. The job announcement
always lists job qualifications for the position. If you desire to work in
the law enforcement field, and you are over age 37, your have limited
options and may have to work in a support positions that doesn't have an age
FBI agents must investigate over 200 categories of Federal laws and they
conduct highly sensitive national security investigations. They often
conduct surveillance, monitor authorized wiretaps, investigate white-collar
crime, examine business records, or participate in undercover assignments.
FBI Agents investigate a wide range of criminal activities. Numerous
FBI jobs are filled to investigate organized and
financial crimes, public corruption, bank robbery, kidnapping, terrorism,
espionage, drug trafficking, and cybercrime.
Many other Federal agents enforce laws including the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) that enforces regulations relating to
illegal drugs. The U.S. marshals and deputy marshals work for the Federal
courts to provide security and to ensure the judicial system operates
effectively. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents
enforce and investigate Federal firearms and explosives laws
violations, as well as Federal alcohol and tobacco tax regulations. The
battle against terrorism is managed by special agents with the U.S.
Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employs many law enforcement
officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border
Protection, and the U.S. Secret Service. More than 8,000 miles of
international land and water boundaries are protected by U.S. Border Patrol
agents. Immigration inspectors interview and examine people seeking entry
into the United States and its territories. Customs inspectors enforce laws
governing imports and exports by inspecting cargo, baggage, and articles
worn or carried by people, vessels, vehicles, trains, and aircraft entering
or leaving the United States. Federal Air Marshals provide air security by
guarding against attacks targeting U.S. aircraft, passengers, and crews.
U.S. Secret Service special agents and U.S. Secret Service uniformed
officers protect the President, the Vice President, their immediate
families, and other public officials. Secret Service special agents also
investigate counterfeiting, forgery of Government checks or bonds, and
fraudulent use of credit cards.
The Department of Homeland Security transferred functions from the Department
of the Treasury, Justice, HHS, Defense, FBI, Secret Service, GSA, Energy,
Agriculture, Transportation and the U.S. Coast Guard. The new organization is
comprised of five major Directorates and the losing agency is listed in
Border and Transportation Security
U.S. Custom Service (Treasury)
Immigration& Naturalization Service (Justice)
Federal Protective Service
Transportation Security (Transportation)
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (Justice)
Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (Agriculture)
Office for Domestic Preparedness (Justice)
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Strategic National Stockpile & National Disaster Medical System (HHS)
Nuclear Incident Response Team (Energy)
Domestic Emergency Support Team (Justice)
National Domestic Preparedness Office (FBI)
Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection
Federal Computer Incident Response Center (GSA)
National Communications System (Defense)
National Infrastructure Protection Center (FBI)
Energy Security and Assurance Program (Energy)
Science and Technology
CBRN Countermeasures Program (Energy)
Environmental Measurement Laboratory (Energy)
National BW Defense Analysis Center (Defense)
Plum Island Animal Disease Center (Agriculture)
The Secret Service and the Coast Guard are also with the DHS. They will
remain intact and report directly to the Secretary. In addition, the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) adjudications and benefits programs report
direct to the Deputy Secretary as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Other Federal agencies employ special agents and police that carry firearms
and have arrest powers. These agencies include the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Office of Law Enforcement, the Postal Service, the Forest Service, and the
National Park Service.
The Book of U.S. Government Jobs
describes the federal law enforcement field in depth with contact
information, job descriptions, and internet links to agency recruiters. You will find information about specific organizations like Alcohol, Tobacco
& Firearms (ATF), U.S. Marshals, Investigators, the U.S. Secrete Service,
Diplomatic Security, the National Park Service, US Border patrol, Federal
Protective Services, CIA & FBI,
and many more.
Median annual wages were $73,170 in Federal Government, $53,910 in State
government, and $55,930 in local government. Median annual wages of detectives
and criminal investigators exceeds $60,910. The middle 50 percent earned between
$45,930 and $81,490. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,500, and the
highest 10 percent earned more than $97,870.
Median annual wages were $48,960 in Federal Government, $50,440 in State
government, and $35,810 in local government. Median annual wages of fish and
game wardens exceeds $48,930. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,500 and
$61,290. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,400, and the highest 10
percent earned more than $81,710.
Median annual wages of transit and railroad police exceeds $46,670. The
middle 50 percent earned between $37,640 and $57,830. The lowest 10 percent
earned less than $31,300, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $72,700.
Median annual wages were $49,370 in State government, $43,720 in local
government, and $56,300 in rail transportation.
Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees who serve in
law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents and inspectors receive law
enforcement availability pay (LEAP)—equal to 25 percent of the agent's grade and
step—awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are
expected to work. Salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where the
prevailing local pay level was higher. Because Federal agents may be eligible
for a special law enforcement benefits package, applicants should ask their
recruiter for more information.
In addition to the common benefits—paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and
life insurance—most law enforcement careers provide officers with special
allowances for uniforms an
early 20 year
There are attractive federal law enforcement careers for public service
because the jobs are challenging and involve much personal responsibility.
Many law enforcement officer positions qualify for the
Enforcement Officer (LEO) retirement program where they can retire after
20 years of service at age 50, or 25 years of service at any age. The number
of qualified candidates exceeds the number of job openings in federal law
enforcement agencies because of the attractive benefits and salaries that
are offered. This results in higher hiring standards and employer
selectivity. Competition is considerable for higher- paying jobs with both
state and federal agencies and police departments in more affluent areas.
The best opportunities are for those applicants with military police
experience, college training in police science, or both.
Employment of detectives and police is anticipated to increase on pare
with average for all occupations for the foreseeable future. Concerns about
drug-related crimes and a more security-conscious society is contributing to
increasing demand for police services. Federal level employment growth is
the result of the war on terror; however, continuing budgetary constraints
are a consideration for all law enforcement agencies. Keep these factors in mind when considering a federal law enforcement job.
Federal law enforcement work is often considered dangerous and very stressful. In
addition to the obvious dangers associated with criminal confrontations, law
enforcement officers must be constantly alert and ready to deal
appropriately with a number of other threatening situations. Many law
enforcement officers are confronted with situations that result in death and
suffering from criminal behavior and accidents. Law enforcement careers
often impact officers’ private lives.
Most officers work 40-hour weeks and are paid overtime. Shift work is
essential to provide around the clock services. The newer recruits and
officers frequently work weekends, holidays, and nights. Police officers and
detectives are subject to work whenever their services are needed and they
often work long hours during investigations. In most jurisdictions, whether
on or off duty, officers are expected to be armed and to exercise their
arrest authority whenever necessary.
Some federal agents such as DEA special agents and U.S. Secret Service
agents travel on very short notice frequently. They may relocate a number of
times over the course of their careers. Some special agents in agencies such
as the Border Patrol work outdoors in rugged terrain for long periods and in
all kinds of weather.
- Working Conditions
- Training and Qualifications Overview
- Job Outlook
- Information Resources - Further information about employment
opportunities with specific agencies are included here. Use this information
and the resources provided in Chapter Three and Appendix C of The Book of
U.S. Government Jobs to research opportunities with all agencies. Also visit
over 141 agency employment web sites.
- Qualification Standards
- Correctional Officers
- Criminal Investigators
- Airport Security Screener Positions
The Book of U.S. Government Jobs
Includes law enforcement job
opportunities with all agencies
Available online, at your local library,
or purchase a copy online.
The Book of U.S. Government Jobs
includes information on medical requirements, interviews, required
certificates, testing, applications, interviews, use of fire arms, age
requirements and much more. Many libraries have this book in their reference
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