Federal Agents

Federal agents within the Federal Department of Justice (DOJ) include agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); United States Marshals Service (USMS); and Office of Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). Each one of these organizations has both common and specialized qualifications with the ability for being mentally and physically tough as one of the primary prerequisites.

The common qualifications for federal agents include being a United States citizen, typically between the ages of 21 and 36, have a valid driver’s license, pass a medical examination including drug testing, pass a polygraph examination, and a background investigation for a security clearance.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)

Federal agents for the ATF serve a unique role and responsibility for investigating violations of Federal law with regards to firearms, explosives, arsons, alcohol and tobacco. Investigations may involve surveillance, information gathering, interviewing suspects and witnesses, serving arrests, and executing search warrants. ATF agents must be able to handle personal risk, odd working hours, and extensive travel duty. The specialized qualifications to become an ATF agent include taking and passing several examinations including the Treasury Enforcement Agent Examination (TEA), the ATF Special Agent Applicant Assessment Test, and the ATF Pre-employment Physical Task Test. Agents must also successfully pass an oral and written exam before a select panel.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Federal Agents for the DEA have a responsibility to enforce controlled substance laws and regulations of the United States. DEA agents are involved in investigations relating to terrorism, controlled substance growing, processing, and unlawful manufacturing and distribution. The specialized qualification to become a DEA agent is a college degree where special consideration is given to those with Criminal Justice degrees and skills in criminal justice or police related sciences, foreign languages, and telecommunications.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

FBI Agents are on the front line of federal investigations that include bombings, mail fraud, kidnappings, serial killers, and identity theft. They work side by side with local law enforcement and in conjunction with other federal agencies to keep an investigation moving forward. The specialized qualifications to become an FBI agent include a four-year degree from a college or university and the availability for assignment anywhere within the FBI’s jurisdiction.

United States Marshals Service (USMS)

Established in 1789, the US Marshals Service is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country. USMS agents are primarily charged with the protection of the federal judicial process. This includes security for judges and the jurors during federal courtroom proceedings. They are also responsible for providing law enforcement and tactical support services in response to national emergencies and incidents related to homeland security. The specialized qualifications to become a USMS agent include a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience. They must also undergo a rigorous seventeen week basic training program at the US Marshals Service Training Academy.

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