Secret Service Agent Career, Job, Degrees and Training Information

The Secret Service, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, serves as a national law enforcement agency.

The primary purpose of the United States Secret Service is to carry out two imperative missions: protection and criminal investigations. During their careers, secret service special agents will be required to perform assignments in both of these areas and will be require to work in many locations both domestically and abroad.

Secret Service Duties

The secret service Protects:
  • The president, the vice president (or other individuals next in order of succession to the Office of the President), the president-elect and vice president-elect
  • The families of the president and vice president
  • Former presidents, their spouses for their lifetimes, except when the spouse remarries
  • Children of former presidents until they reach the age 16
  • National Special Security Events, when designated as such by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
  • Visiting heads of foreign states or governments and their family members traveling with them, other distinguished visitors
  • Major presidential and vice presidential candidates, and their spouses within 120 days of a general presidential election
  • Other individuals as designated per Executive Order of the President

The Secret Service investigates:
  • Violations of laws relating to counterfeiting of United States financial notes
  • Financial crimes that include financial institution fraud, access device fraud, false identification documents, advance fee fraud, computer and telecommunications fraud, electronic funds transfers and money laundering as it relates to the secret service agency's core violations
  • Computer-based attacks on the nation's banking, financial, and telecommunications infrastructure

Secret Service Agent Qualifications

  • A candidate must be a U.S. citizen
  • A candidate must pass a medical exam
  • A candidate must pass a drug screening
  • A candidate must pass a written test
  • A candidate must pass a thorough background investigation
  • A candidate must pass a polygraph exam
  • A candidate must pass an extensive interview
  • A candidate must pass an entrance exam
  • A candidate must obtain a Top Secret clearance
  • A candidate must be at least 21 and under 37 at time of application
Secret service candidates must have a bachelor's degree or 3 years of law enforcement or criminal investigation experience.

Secret Service Agent Training

Secret service agents spend 3 months training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia or New Mexico. Following this training, agents spend 3 months at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Maryland.

For more information on how to become a secret service agent you can contact the Secret Service Recruitment Program at 202-406-5830, or TTY 202-406-5390. You may also call 888-813-8777 for a listing of our current vacancies.

Secret Service Agent Salary, Earnings and Wage Information

New recruits of the Secret Service begin their careers with their pay based on either the GS-5, GS-7 or GS-9 level. As with most careers, salary is dependent on previous work experience and education background. Demand for security service agents is expected to continually increase. Since competition is intense, candidates can improve their opportunities by learning a foreign language or earning advanced degrees.

Source: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,,

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