ATF Agent — Degree, Career & Average Salary

Agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – or ATF –  work under the umbrella of the U.S. Treasury Department. Applicants must be U.S.  Citizens, at least 21 years of age, pass physical and written testing,  background and drug screening and a four-year college degree. A job as an ATF agent involves investigating violations of laws governing the  possession and sale of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. ATF agents  take part in a wide variety of investigations that involve obtaining search  warrants, making raids, searching for physical evidence, conducting  surveillance, interviewing suspects and witnesses and making arrests. ATF agents  work in close contact with other local, state and federal law enforcement  agencies supplying ongoing assistance in the struggle against violence and  crime. ATF agents also assess all evidence at the close of an investigation and  organize specific case reports that assist the U.S. attorney in preparing for  trial.

Once hired as a new ATF Agent there will be a significant amount of law  enforcement training. Trainees spend nine weeks in Glynco, Georgia, where  training in surveillance, arrest techniques, firearms training and other skills  are provided. New agents then spend thirteen weeks at FLETC where they are  trained on explosives, bomb scene investigation and other areas.

New agents are hired on at either the GS-5 or GS-7 level. As a GS-5 a new  agent will earn between $28,349 and $36,856 a year and as a GS-7 an agent will  earn between $35,116 and $45,648. In most cases, at yearly intervals an ATF  agent can be promoted up through GS-13 level. To qualify as a GS-7 based on  education a new agent must have 1 full year of graduate-level education.

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