Daily Activities of a Border Patrol Agent
One of the obvious job responsibilities of a border patrol agent is what is called line watch. These are patrols that occur along the border trying to find terrorists, undocumented aliens, and any kind of illegal drug activities. You will also be expected to analyze and utilize physical evidence of those activities and even track those coming across the border undocumented.
You might be assigned to transportation inspections which is where you are inspecting vehicles as they cross the border. You might also be assigned to watch towers to monitor border activity as well. It is also important to note that the monitoring of the border will can occur in inclement weather as well as some rough terrain.
As with most criminal justice careers, documentation and reports are also a part of border patrol responsibilities.
Below you will find a detailed account around the career of a border patrol agent. In order to understand what this career entails, we pulled the requirements involved with being a border patrol agent, the career outlook, and daily activities being a border agent.
There are times when a border patrol agent job can require physical demands which means you will need to meet their minimums that are set. That means if you have any existing conditions you could be turned away if they believe it might prevent you from being a successful border patrol agent. Your vision will be required to be at 20/100 in each of your eyes without contact lenses or glasses. You must also show that you can see in color according to their requirements. You are also expected to be able to hear in both ears at certain levels (3,000 Hz) which should be evaluated in your pre-employment examination. According to that same resource, you will also need to meet the physical demands that come with the job which include the ability to complete the following:
- 20 push ups within a minute
- 25 sit ups within one minute
- 120 steps a minute for 5 minutes (the steps are 14 inches tall)
If you are unsure if you can meet those physical demands, we recommend that you start training before officially applying to the Border Patrol. They actually provide a pre-test prep guide that you can go through to measure yourself against their physical requirements. After you complete the first set of physical requirements, you will move to the second set of requirements which include:
- Complete a 220 yard run in 46 seconds or less
- 25 sit ups within one minute
- 20 push ups within a single minute
- 1.5 mile run completed in 15 minutes or less
You will want to understand what the schedule of these physical tests will look like (all within one day or spread out) to know if you can complete them in the required amount of time.
Outside of the physical requirements, the Border Patrol has several other requirements as well. We have summarized those below based off the US Customs and Border Patrol website.
- Background Investigation: You will go through a questionnaire and asks about any past legal issues or past addresses to better look at your history. The Border Patrol will want candidates that are honest, trustworthy, and represent the agency in their desired fashion. They will require various documents from you (birth certificate, marriage license, college degree, etc.) during this process so be ready to provide them.
- Polygraph Exam: You will need to go through a polygraph test and if you refuse (or don hat complete) your application will be turned away. The questions you hare asked during this polygraph will vary but could be based upon your application info or what you filled out on your questionnaire. You will be given the questions you are asked before the actual polygraph takes place which should allow you to address any concerns.
- Drug Test: As illegal substances are a big part of border patrol and customs officers, you are required to test for any of those illegal substances to insure the ethical and professional standards of the agency are met. You cannot schedule this test as it will be randomly assigned to you by the scheduling company. If you have concerns about any of your prescription medications appearing on this test, you should bring those prescriptions with you to the test.
Make sure to review the details in-depth around both the physical requirements and the other aspects. A lot of these requirements, if not met, can result in your immediate application dismissal.
We always try to give an idea of what the current career outlook is to the specific job but utilizing ONET showed that the title of Border Patrol Agent wasn hat available. Instead, we pulled the ONET statistics for Immigration and Customs Inspectors, as that seemed to be the closes career profile of border patrol agent. Here is a snapshot according their site:
- Median wage as of 2014: $38.40 an hour or $79,870 annual salary
- The growth Immigration and Customs Inspectors from 2012 to 2022 is expected to be minimal (+ or – 2%)
- 27,700 job openings are expected from 2012 to 2022
You will want to make sure that you understand the growth for each state because it can vary greatly.