Is The Border Patrol Salary Worth The Risk?
Keeping our nation secure is a huge responsibility, and a large portion of that duty belongs to the men and women of the United States Border Patrol. It’s not an easy job, and it’s often dangerous. If you’re interested in this branch of law enforcement, you’ll want to consider the potential risks, average border patrol salary and the opportunities for a unique, rewarding career.
How To Become A Border Patrol Agent
Your U.S. citizenship and a willingness to learn Spanish are starting points for an application with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Acceptance involves passing physical and drug tests before taking the agency’s Border Patrol entrance exam. A background in the military or law enforcement combined with a college degree allows service entrance at a higher level with better pay.
It’s easy to start the process at the CBP website where you’ll find more detailed information. Once you’ve made the grade, training spans 58 days and includes courses on immigration law, firearms training and field operations. The entry-level border patrol salary does vary by region.
Performing a Dangerous Job
Agents deployed along the Mexican border cover more than 1,900 miles of rugged, desolate terrain. The work is dangerous ranging from confrontations with drug smugglers to intercepting gangs involved in human trafficking. According to the Houston Chronicle, 116 agents have died in the line of duty since 1919.
Gun battles, auto accidents and helicopter crashes account for most fatalities while harsh desert conditions also take a toll. Controlling illegal immigration makes up the bulk of the work and involves long shifts in the field patrolling rugged territory. Agents also man border crossing checkpoints, and they oversee search and rescue missions.[easychart type=”vertbar” height=”150″ width=”150″ title=”Criminal Justice Salaries” groupnames=”Border Patrol, Police Officer, US Marshal” valuenames=”Low, Medium, High” group1values=”36000, 46000, 70000″ group2values=”32000, 55000, 89000″ group3values=”38000, 49000, 61000″] Considering Risk and Compensation
Comparing salaries across law enforcement agencies is difficult. The pay scale for police officers, state troopers and similar positions varies from one area to another. However, entry-level border patrol agents earn from $36,000 to $46,000 during their first three years of service. The CBP sponsors a Border Patrol Recruiter site that outlines potential earnings of up to $70,000 along with health, disability and life insurance.
A successful border patrol career includes promotions to supervisory and administrative positions, and it’s possible to retire after 20 years with full benefits.
When considering a position with CBP, you have to balance the risks of the job against the border patrol salary. You’ll receive ongoing training with opportunities for advancement, but keep in mind that 30 percent of new recruits leave during their first two years. It’s an extremely hard job fraught with danger, but those who succeed are satisfied with their career choice and rightfully proud of their profession.