Border Patrol Training: What It’s Like

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After passing the rigorous selection process and receiving a job offer from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, you and all the other new recruits will be send to the Border Patrol Academy to commence training. You will be living in the Academy located in Artesia, NM for 58 days to get instruction on both Border Patrol and federal law enforcement subjects. Since you are already considered an agent of the Customs and Border Protection agency, you will receive full pay and benefits during your training period. 

All BPAs will be taught such courses as Immigration and Nationality Law, Criminal Law and Statutory Authority, Spanish, Border Patrol Operations, Care and Use of Firearms, Physical Training, Operation of Motor Vehicles, and Anti-Terrorism. These courses are categorized as Border Patrol courses. You also get training on Communications, Ethics and Conduct, Report Writing, Introduction to Computers, Fingerprinting, and Constitutional Law which are courses from the Federal Law Enforcement Center (FLETC). 

So what is training like at the Academy? Let’s start with the good news: Room and meals are free. Everything you need for training except for tennis shoes is provided for. You don’t have to worry about towels, bed linens, and even physical training clothing as these are given and even laundered at no additional cost to you. In fact, all trainees are paid a modest per diem for incidental expenses in the academy apart from the regular salary.

Now for the challenging news: Expect training to be strenuous and tough. The academic and physical training courses are certainly going to test your mettle. You need to be physically strong if you want to become a Border Patrol Agent so the exercises and tests that you have to pass in order to keep you fit and healthy are surely going to be very rigorous. At the end of 55 days, you will have to pass the Physical Fitness Test requirements. These include being able to do a 1.5 mile run in 13 minutes or less; hurdle a confidence course in 2.5 minutes or less; and run a 220 yard dash in 46 seconds or less. As for the academic courses, well, they also require a lot of reading and studying on your part. Most of the time, you will need to utilize your time after formal training to study and do activities that are related to your training to become an agent. For those who still need to study Spanish, be prepared for a very intensive Spanish course. Remember, you need to pass a qualifying Spanish language test before you leave the Academy so that you can work as a BPA. 

With Border Patrol Academy training this tough, married recruits will have to be prepared to be away from their families for 58 days. They don’t have accommodations for spouses or children of trainees in the Academy so if you want to bring them with you, it will be rather costly as you have to find a place for them to stay. Besides, you won’t be able to spend much time with them because of your training schedule and other responsibilities. Thus, you should discuss this with the rest of the family before training starts. Also, it is advisable not to bring your car to the Academy as parking is quite expensive there. There are car rentals in the area if you find a need to rent a vehicle to tour the area or if you live nearby, want to go home on weekends.