Secret Service Agent — Degree, Career & Average Salary
The United States Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and more than 150 offices throughout the United States and abroad. The Secret Service was established in 1865, solely to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Today, the agency is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of national and visiting foreign leaders, and criminal investigations.The Secret Service also investigates people who make threats against the president, vice president and any of the other people the agency protects. These are probably Secret Service’s most serious cases because it must be determined whether the person making the threat really wants to hurt one of these people or whether they may have some medical problems of their own, for which they need help.
Applicants should have either a four-year college degree or a combination of education and criminal investigative experience, be in good physical condition, and have a record that is clear of criminal behavior. Lots of people apply to become Secret Service agents, so the process is very competitive.
All new agents spend eleven weeks in Glynco, Georgia, at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, where they are taught basic police skills. These basic skills include law, firearms training, defensive tactics and report writing. After completing the first school, all Secret Service agents come to Washington, D.C., where they undergo 16 additional weeks of training.
The second school is only attended by Secret Service agents and officers. During this second phase of training, the curriculum is specific to the Secret Service mission including how to detect counterfeit money and credit card fraud, physical protection, and advanced driving techniques. Even after agents or officers have completed both schools, they continue to receive advanced training throughout their careers.
Secret Service agents usually make about $50,000 during the first four years of service. That pay scale increases with time and experience, and some agents can make up to $100,000 per year.