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Qualifications

There are several qualifications that you must meet before you can even apply. Applicants have to be between the ages of 21 and 36, be U.S. residents, and have a valid driver's license. When applying, you must complete the ATF agent questionnaire, pass the ATF Special Agent Exam, pass the ATF Special Agent applicant assessment test, pass an ATF-Pre-employment Physical Task Test, and complete a field panel review. Additionally, applicants must be able to pass a drug and background test. That's a lot of stuff to pass. Just be sure you don’t pass anything else. People are trying to work there.

Once you've been hired, you're ready to go into a two-part training program. The first part is called the Criminal Investigators Training Program (CITP). In CITP, you will learn the methodologies, techniques, and concepts of conducting a criminal investigation. Some of what is covered includes handcuffing, driving techniques, operation of firearms, photography, crime scene management, surveillance, and federal court procedures. The first part of the training takes about 12 weeks to complete. You'd better set a bunch of series recordings on your DVR, because you won’t have much leisure time during that stretch. Tell the gang at 30 Rock you’ll see them in the spring.

The second part of training is more intense. Agents learn alcohol/tobacco diversion investigations, undercover techniques, physical conditioning, field operations, ammunition identification, interviewing techniques, and close quarter countermeasures. You may have use for some of those close quarter countermeasures with your college roommate. Unfortunate that it will be too late by then.

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