U.S. Customs and Border Patrol: Agriculture Specialist

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Do you want to put your scientific training to help keep America safe? If you do, you can consider becoming an Agriculture Specialist for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. As an Agriculture Specialist, you can protect the United States from harm by preventing the introduction of plant viruses, diseases, and bio-threats into our soil. From physical inspection of cargo, conveyances or passenger baggage to seizing prohibited or contaminated items to treating and decontaminating agricultural materials and commodities, you play a big role in protecting America’s economy, environment and food supply.

To be considered for this position, you must hold U.S. citizenship and have a valid driver’s license at the time of appointment. At the most basic, all applicants are required to have a bachelor’s or higher degree with a major field of study in biological sciences (including botany, entomology and plant pathology), agriculture, natural resource management, chemistry or a field directly related to the position. A combination of experience and education that includes twenty-four semester hours in the disciplines listed above and job experience in areas such as pest control, pesticide application, inspecting aircraft or passengers, x-ray or environmental monitoring, or farm management related to disease control, insect detection/eradication or pest control may also qualify you for the GS-5 grade level.

If you meet all the above-mentioned basic qualifications and have in addition, Superior Academic Achievement (SAA), or one year of graduate level education in a field of study directly related to the position, or one full year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-5 level, then you can qualify at the GS-7 level. Examples of qualifying experience include inspecting vessels, vehicles, aircraft and baggage for the presence of restricted plant material, pests or diseases; and reviewing/analyzing passenger and/or commodity documents to assess the agricultural risk of their entry into the United States.

If you meet the basic qualification requirements at the GS-5 level and have specialized experience equivalent to the GS-7 level, as described above, or a master’s degree or two years of graduate education in a field of study directly related to the position, then you can qualify at the GS-9 level which would, of course, command higher pay.

Before you can be hired, however, you will have to undergo a strict selection process involving a thorough background investigation, drug test and medical examination. If you do get selected, you will have to successfully complete ten to twelve weeks of paid training at the Professional Development Center located in Frederick, MD before you officially start working as an Agricultural Specialist for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.