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If you know your calling is law enforcement then one of the best places to work is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. The pay scale and benefits are among the best in the world!
Border patrol agents, depending on education and experience, are hired at the GL-5, GL-7, and GL-9 levels. Since they are Federal law enforcement personnel, they are paid at a special salary rate. Their base salary can be anywhere from $38,619.00 – $63,259.00 annually. Marine Interdiction Agents earn slightly higher starting pay at $49,029.00 per year. They also have a lot of chances to work overtime and earn additional pay as a result. Agents can earn anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent additional pay as compensation for doing extra duty time. Deferential pay, Sunday pay, and holiday pay can also increase an agent’s salary.
But salary and overtime pays are only part of the compensation package of new agents. If you pass the selection process, you also get the Federal benefits package that include life insurance, health insurance, generous retirement benefits, and a thrift savings plan similar to a 401k in private companies. You may also be entitled to special locality pay. To learn more about the pay you are entitled to, you can search the Office of the Personnel Management (http://www.opm.gov/). Agents will also receive a uniform allowance of $1,500.
Border Patrol Agents also earn annual vacation leaves depending on how long they have served the CBP. This includes creditable military service. If you have less than three years of service, you earn 13 days leave per year; those with three years of service but less than 15 years get 20 days leave per year; and those with 15 years of service or more get 26 days of leave each year. Employees are also eligible for 13 days of sick leave each year which they can accumulate from year to year.
You will start receiving your regular salary plus a small daily allowance for incidental expenses even when you are still attending the Border Patrol Academy for basic training. Board and lodging are given free at the Academy.
The chances for moving up the career ladder are also high if you are in law enforcement. Agents who were hired at the GL-5 level are eligible for promotion to GL-7 after successful completion of a probationary period of 6 ½ months. Those who were hired at GL-7 can get promoted to GL-9. Career progression to the GS-11 and GS-12 follows after one year at the preceding lower grade level. Above the GS-12 level, positions are filled through merit promotion competition.
Fast forward to the future: Border Patrol Agents and other law enforcement officers and certain supervisory personnel who have been promoted from law enforcement positions enjoy special retirement benefits. If you have at least 20 years of service, you are eligible for retirement when you are 50 years old even if the mandatory retirement age for this with 20 years of service is 57 years old. Agents can work beyond 57 until they meet the combination of age and service requirements to retire under law enforcement provisions.