Special Agent Recruitment Information for Federal Air Marshals (2023)

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What positions are open to Federal Air Marshals at the Secret Service?
The U.S. Secret Service (USSS) is currently recruiting personnel of the highest caliber to carry out its integrated mission. As a result of the 2020 Presidential Campaign, during which the Federal Air Marshal Service assisted and supplemented the USSS, an exclusive recruitment opportunity is being offered to qualified Federal Air Marshals (FAM) interested in becoming a special agent/criminal investigator with the USSS.

Throughout their careers, special agents carry out assignments in both investigations and protection and may be assigned to multiple duty stations throughout the U.S. and abroad. Duties include:

  • Providing protection for various protectees.
  • Conducting criminal investigations pertaining to the United States financial infrastructure and payment systems.
  • Planning and implementing security designs for National Special Security Events.

While this hiring initiative is focused on recruiting Federal Air Marshals to the special agent positions, there are several other positions and opportunities within the USSS available for qualified FAMs. These include Uniformed Division (UD) officers and Investigative Protection officers (IPO). Anyone interested in learning more about one of these opportunitiescan call the U.S. Secret Service Employment Line at 1-888-813-USSS (877) or TTY: 202-406-5370 or visit www.careers.secretservice.govfor further information.

2. What are the Qualifications to be a Secret Service special agent?
To be considered for aspecial agent position, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 21 years of age at the time of application, and younger than 37 upon receipt of a conditional offer of employment. Applicants with veterans' preference must be at least 21 years of age at time of application and younger than 40 upon receipt of a conditional offer of employment.
  • Possess a current valid driver's license.
  • Possess uncorrected visual acuity of no worse than 20/100 binocular, or possess corrected visual acuity of 20/20 or better in each eye. Lasik, ALK, RK, and PRK corrective eye surgeries are acceptable eye surgeries for special agent applicants. Applicants will be considered eligible for the special agent position provided specific visual tests are passed. The following are waiting periods for visual tests: 3 months after Lasiksurgery, 6 months after PRK surgery, and one year after ALK and RKsurgery.
  • Pass a hearing exam. Hearing loss, as measured by an audiometer, must not exceed 25 decibels (A.S.A. or equivalent I.S.O.) in either ear in the 500, 1000and 2000 Hz ranges.
  • Have no visible body markings. The Secret Service prohibits special agents from having visible body markings (including but not limited to tattoos, body art, and branding) on the head, face, neck, hand, and fingers (any area below the wrist bone). A tattoo of a wedding band is permitted. Other visible body markings must bemedically removed at your own expense prior to entering on duty with the Secret Service.
  • Be in excellent health and physical condition. The USSS fitness evaluation measures strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity in four core elements. The core elements are push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, and the 1.5 mile run. Fitness evaluations will be administeredat the beginning, duringand end of training.
  • Qualify for a Top Secret clearance and undergo a complete background investigation, including driving record check, credit check, drug screeningand medical and polygraph examinations.
  • Sign a mobility agreement stating a willingness to accept assignments anywhere within the United States and overseas.
  • Certifyregistrationwith the Selective Service System, unless exempt(if you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959).
  • Be appointed to this position under an excepted appointment which is limited to 3 years and 120 days. Upon completion of this period, appointees are either be converted to career status or separated based on the expiration of the appointment.
  • Carry and use a firearm. Maintaining firearm proficiency is mandatory. Applicants are ineligible to occupy this position if convicted atany timeof a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, unless a pardon was granted or theconviction was expunged or overturned.
  • Qualify for the GL-07, GL-09, or GS-11 level:
    • The Secret Service will review your resume and supporting documentation to ensure the minimum qualification requirements are met.
    • A four-year college degree (i.e. bachelor’s degree) is preferred; however, it is not required. Applicants are minimally qualified based on education, experience, and/or a combination of both.
    • Applicants who successfully complete a master's or equivalent graduate degree (such as an LL.B. or J.D.), or at least two full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree in a related field, within 9 months of their application date should apply to all three grade levels (GL-07, GL-09, and GS-11). An official transcript will be required upon completion.

3. How will the Secret Service special agenthiring process work for interested FAMs?
FAM applicants to the special agent/criminal investigator position will be able to apply here.

The USSS entry-level hiring and selection process is separated into two phases. Phase I of the process will remain the same for the FAMs as it does for any other applicant; however, Phase II may be modified given that the FAMs currently possess a Top Secret (TS) security clearance.

Targeted Entry Level Assessment Centers (ELACs) will be scheduled for FAM applicants to expedite the hiring process. During an ELAC, the Special Agent Entrance Examination (SAEE) is administered, followed by the Special Agent and Uniformed Division Pre-Employment Review (SUPER interview), and resume/experience review. If an applicant successfully passes the SAEE examination, SUPER interview, and resume/experience review, they are able to continue in the hiring process and the resume/experience review.

Once an applicant has successfully moved through Phase 1 and received a conditional offer of employment, Phase II of the hiring process begins. Phase II includesa security interview, polygraph examination, medical examination, drug test, and background investigation. Since FAM applicants are required to maintain a TS security clearance as a condition of their current employment, the USSS may be able to reciprocate many of the background factors. Reciprocity regarding the TS security clearance factors will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Reciprocity for the required polygraph is currently under review, but applicants should expect that they will be required to undergo and pass a polygraph examination as part of the hiring process.

4. Will pay be matched?
Given the level of related experience that FAM applicants have, and their current tenure as federal employees, this employment opportunity is being offered at the GL-7/9 and GS-11 levels. This will help the USSS more closely match the current base salary of successful FAM applicants. The base pay for a GL-7, Step 1 is $42, 273 (Step 10 is $53, 460). The base pay for a GL-9, Step 1 is $47, 148 (Step 10 is $60, 837). The base salary for a GS-11, Step 1 is $55, 204 (Step 10 is $71, 764).

Like FAMs, USSS special agents receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) in addition to their base and locality pay.

5. Will FAMs need to attend an entire training academy, or will they be eligible for a modified academy?
The Secret Service Office of Training was provided with the current FAM training curriculum. After a thorough review of the Federal Air Marshal Training Program-I/II(FAMTP-I/II) and Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) course curriculum, it was determined that a partial waiver of CITP will be granted if FAMs training was completed within5 years of the waiver request date.

The partial CITP waiver means that successful FAM applicants will attend the following modified USSS training:

  • Special Agent Introductory Training Course (SAITC): 1-week orientation to the Secret Service
  • Special Agent Training Course (SATC): 18-week training course at the Secret Service's training academy in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C. This course focuses on specific Secret Service policies and procedures associated with the dual responsibilities of investigations and protection. Trainees are provided with basic knowledge and advanced application training in combating counterfeiting, access device fraud and other financial criminal activity, protective intelligence investigations, physical protection techniques, protective advances and emergency medicine. The core curriculum is augmented with extensive training in marksmanship, control tactics, water survival skills and physical fitness.
  • Investigative add-on: Academic and practical course focused on criminal investigations techniques and tactics.

6. What initial post of duty (POD) locations will be offered to FAMs? If required to relocate, will the Secret Servicepay for the move?
After successful completion of Phase I and Phase II of the USSS hiring process, applicants will receive their job offer and initial PODlocation options. The USSS provides applicants with POD options at the time of the job offer, rather than waiting until training is completed. Every effort will be made to minimize the number of FAM applicants who will have to relocate for their initial POD assignment. Many of the major USSS field offices and FAM field offices are located in the same cities, such as Washington, D.C., New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. If relocation is required (i.e. no available positions in a particular field office), the USSS will fund the permanent change of station (PCS) move.

7. What is the typical career progression of a Secret Service special agent?
Frequent travel and reassignments to a variety of duty stations (occasionally including liaison assignments in foreign countries), are some of the unique opportunities that await a special agent.

A typical special agent career path begins with the first three to five years on the job assigned to a field office. Newly-appointed agents may be assigned to field offices anywhere in the United States.

After their field experience, agents are transferred to a protective assignment in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where they will stay for six years to eight years, depending on the assignment.

Following their protective assignment, many agents return to the field or transfer to a headquarters office, a training office, or other Washington, D.C. based assignment.

During their careers, agents also have the opportunity to work overseas in one of the agency's international field offices. This typically requires foreign language training to ensure language proficiency when working alongside the agency's foreign law enforcement counterparts.

For additional information please visit the Careers portion of the Secret Service websiteor attend one of the information sessions:

Event: FAM Information Session
Date: Thursday, March 4, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
Location: WebEx
Please RSVP to recruitFAM@usss.dhs.gov by 5:00 p.m. on on March 3, 2021 to receive WebEx link


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