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Working for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Part 1)

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) designs, prints, and finishes all of the Nation’s paper currency and many other security documents including White House Invitations and military identification cards. They also advise and assist other agencies to produce government documents. This agency is part of the Department of the Treasury. The BEP is also responsible for the printing of security documents in the United States.


WASHINGTON D.C. - JUNE 26 2014: United States Bureau of Engravin [1]

This agency has approximately 1,808 employees at two primary locations; Washing, DC and Fort Worth Texas. According to the BEP website, “employment opportunities include, but are not limited to, administrative support, police officers, security specialists, acquisition specialists, chemists, engineers, attorneys – just to name a few.” Other occupations include IT specialists, scientists, machinists, printers, and engravers. The printer and engraver occupations are in the Wage Grade system [2].

Bureau of  Engraving and Printing 

The United States began printing paper money in 1862 to finance the Civil War. The law of July 11, 1862, authorized notes to be engraved and printed at the Treasury. In 1864 the BEP printed forms for the Treasury, engraved passport plates for the State Department, and numbered money orders for the Post Office.

The Act of March 3, 1877 officially made the BEP the exclusive printer of all U.S. currency and securities. In 1894 the agency also started printing postage stamps and continued doing so until June of 2005.

The BEP designs, engraves, and prints all U.S. paper currency.  In 1996, the agency began creating new designs for our money. This was the most comprehensive overhaul of our currency since the 1860’s. Other government printing services are also provided by the BEP including the printing of Presidential appointment certificates, military identification cards, naturalization documents, Small Business Administration financial documents, Coast Guard water use licenses, Presidential portraits, and vignettes of various Washington, D.C. historical buildings. The agency also is responsible for treasury securities, military commissions, award certificates, invitations and admission cards, and many other types of identification cards, forms and other special security documents for a variety of government agencies. The BEP is the largest producer of security documents for the United States. Incidentally, they do not make coins which are produced by the United States Mint.

Programs and Services

U.S. Currency Reader Program

The BEP has developed an iBill® Talking Banknote Identifier at no cost to eligible blind or visually impaired persons who request one. The iBill® is a currency reader device that provides a convenient means for blind or visually impaired individuals to identify Federal Reserve notes (U.S. currency). Its compact “key- fob” design allows it to be carried in a pocket or purse, clipped to a belt, or attached to a keychain or lanyard. The iBill® is a fast and accurate means to identify all U.S. currency in circulation: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100.

The BEP provides currency readers, free of charge to all eligible blind and visually impaired individuals. This program has only been in existence since January 2015. To take advantage of this program applications must be submitted along with a competent authority who can verify their eligibility.

Through this program the BEP has developed EyeNote® a free mobile device application for use on the Apple iOS platform. It scans U.S. currency and announces its value back to the user. They also assisted in the development of another currency denominating app called the IDEAL® Currency Identifier. It operates on the Android platform. For information about this program visit this helpful link http://www.loc.gov/nls/ [3].


Redeem Mutilated Currency

Every year the Treasury Department handles approximately 30,000 claims and redeems mutilated currency valued at over $30 million.

Mutilated currency is currency which has been damaged to the extent that: Its condition is such that its value is questionable and the currency must be forwarded to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for examination by trained experts before any redemption is made. One example of mutilated currency may be bills missing relevant security features.

Currency can become mutilated in any number of ways. The most common causes are: fire, water, chemicals, and explosives; animal, insect, or rodent damage; and petrification or deterioration by burying.

Shredded Currency

You can purchase five pounds of shredded currency through the BEP. These are small amounts, that are pre-packaged souvenirs are available at either their Washington D.C. and the Fort Worth visitor centers.

U.S. Currency Facts

Read about federal job listings [4] for more information on credentials needed and how BEP workers impact U.S. currency.

In our next article we will focus on two job occupations engraver (WG-4413) and platemaker (WG-4416).


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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

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