5 Great Jobs with U.S. Border Patrol

Working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) opens up a variety of possible careers. Most require a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent amount of work experience, and you’ll have to complete special training and pass tests to qualify for your desired position. No matter where your interests lie, there’s a CBP career for you.

1. Border Patrol Agent

Over 20,000 Border Patrol Agents (BPA) are on duty at any given time in the U.S., working to protect 6,000 miles of border land and 2,000 miles of coastal waters. As an agent on active patrol, your job is to prevent illegal entry of people and commodities, protect against terrorism and enforce local laws. A BPA often performs checks of property, vehicles and items to ensure that everyone is complying with regulations. This is a demanding job that often includes overtime work, and you must be comfortable with carrying and using a firearm in the line of duty.

2. Customs and Border Protection Officer

Working as a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO) means you’re responsible for protecting U.S. citizens from major criminal activities such as drug and weapons trafficking. You’re also on the alert against the growing threat of terrorism. Part of your job includes performing inspections and ensuring trade compliance. Along with many other CBP agents, CBPOs work for one of the 20 major branches of the Office of Field Operations (OFO) to safeguard the country and its economy. Before becoming a CBPO, you receive special training to prepare you for all aspects of the job.

3. Import Specialist

Being an Import Specialist means working with other legal professionals and law enforcement agents to assess the legality of merchandise being brought into the country. This OFO job includes duties such as protecting against drug smuggling, unlawful arms dealing and human trafficking. Import Specialists have the authority to inspect incoming shipments, seize or detain suspicious cargo and issue penalties or fines when necessary. Your goal is to preserve the health and safety of the U.S. population while keeping trade fair by shutting down illegal activities and preventing exploitation of the trade system.

4. Air and Marine Operations

If aeronautics interests you or you’ve always wanted a job that puts you out on the water, working for the Air and Marine Operations (AMO) may be the CBP career for you. Joint efforts between air and sea help the Department of Homeland Security protect major ports of entry around the country. Officers in the AMO patrol waters and airspace within U.S. jurisdiction to guard against terrorism and illegal trafficking. As part of this group, you may work with a wide variety of vessels and aircraft in any one of 74 locations and be in touch with government agencies at every level.

5. Agricultural Specialist

A safe food system is essential to the health of the U.S. population, and CBP Agricultural Specialists work to maintain this safety. Whether you have a degree in biology, botany or plant pathology, you can get a job protecting U.S. agriculture from bioterrorism and other threats. Specializing in agriculture makes it your responsibility to perform inspections of goods entering the country and be on the lookout for prohibited or contaminated items. This requires diligence and attention to detail along with an understanding of regulations put in place by the FDA, CDC, USDA and other agencies, according to Emergency Management Degree Programs.

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Working with the CBP provides you with a stable career and the satisfaction of knowing that you’re keeping the country safe. These unique jobs bring fresh challenges every day, and each new experience will help you refine the skills that you need to be a successful agent.