According the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), since its inception in 1924, the Border Patrol’s primary mission remains unchanged: to detect and prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States. This may include apprehending individuals who are in violation of the laws of immigration. Border Patrol agents also help prevent terrorists and terrorists weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, from entering the United States.
In order to start a border patrol career a person must be under the age of 40, unless the individual is a Veteran’s preference candidate or if they have experience as a federal law enforcement agent. In addition, an individual must be a citizen and resident of the United States of America, already be fluent in Spanish or able to learn Spanish, have a state driver’s license that is valid, and pass a thorough medical examination, background investigation, drug test, and fitness test.
There are certain individuals that may be found to be unsuitable for a position with the Border Patrol. If a person has been arrested, convicted on any charge, dismissed from past jobs, has financial issues, abuses alcohol, or uses any type of illegal drug.
While there are no formal education requirements for applying for a job with the border patrol, it is a good idea to have at least an associate’s degree in a subject such as criminal justice. In addition, while it is not required to know the Spanish language when applying for a border patrol agent position, a person will have to learn Spanish before they begin their career in the border patrol. For this reason, it is recommended that individuals study Spanish in both high school and in college in order to learn to speak the language fluently before applying for a border patrol position.
Anyone that is planning a career in the border patrol will need to understand that the training academy is extremely demanding. Once a person is accepted into the training academy they will spend 58 days learning both federal law enforcement and border patrol subjects.
The specific courses that are taught during the training academy include:
- Criminal law
- Statutory authority
- Immigration law
- Border patrol operations
- Care of and use of firearms
- Physical training
The physical training at the academy is quite rigorous as is the academic training. Many recruits state that the academic requirements of the academy are more than anticipated. The physical aspect of the training academy is very demanding as well.
While knowing Spanish prior to the academy is not necessary, it is recommended that individuals prepare for an intensive Spanish course while at the academy. This can be extremely difficult for those that are completely unfamiliar with the language.
Overall, a person that is interested in working for the Border Patrol will need to prepare both mentally and physically for the position. Learning Spanish is required and those that do not show signs of being able to learn a second language will automatically be disqualified from becoming an agent.