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Secret Service Agent


You'll face quite a laundry list of requirements for a Secret Service agent job. After all, you might be protecting the President or Vice President of the United States.

You’ve got to be a United States citizen between 21 and 37 years old when you're appointed. You'll need either a bachelor's degree from an accredited educational institution, or three years work experience in the law enforcement or criminal investigative fields. Within this experience, you must have demonstrated knowledge and proper application of criminal violation laws, or a combination of education and applicable experience.

You must have uncorrected vision of 20/60 binocular or better, correctable to 20/20 in each eye. If you've had some corrective eye surgeries, you might be accepted if you can pass certain visual tests. You'll also have to be in top-notch health and physical condition, as some of your work, such as protective detail duties, could get quite strenuous.

If you've had any past drug use, even if you've cleaned up your act, it's possible that could automatically derail your application. Although the Secret Service will evaluate each case individually, here are the usage issues that will definitely get your application sent to File 13: (1) using pot in the last 3 years; (2) using any illegal drug since age 23, including anabolic steroids; (3) involvement of any type in making or selling an illegal drug for money; or (4) using an illegal drug while you worked in a law enforcement, prosecutorial or public trust position, or while working in a government security clearance-required job. This means that, even if you smoked one joint as an off-duty cop 10 years ago, you're toast. The Secret Service means business.

Now let's get to the nitty-gritty. You'll have to pass a medical exam, a drug screening test, a polygraph test, and some type of written examination, although maybe that's a secret, too. If you thought that was the end of it, get ready for a six-to-nine-month background investigation. You certainly can't expect to get a Secret Service agent job, or a Top Secret clearance, without one.

Here's how it works. First, you complete all sorts of paperwork about your entire life up to that point. You tell the investigators where you worked, where you went to school, and where you lived. If you served in the military, they want that info, too. Then the interviewers get to work. Yes, they grill your former neighbors, employers, and maybe even people you met on the street 20 years ago. Investigators search through your credit history and look for your name in varied police databases. If you make it through all that, you get to pass “Go” and get a Secret Service appointment.