How to Become an ATF Agent in Alabama

Illegal drugs, weapons, and the criminals who smuggle them have identified key locations throughout Alabama. Major urban areas like the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area, as well as Huntsville and Mobile provide much of the local demand for illegal weapons. However, Alabama is also a crossroads for traffickers moving to and from Mexico, Miami, Atlanta, and the densely populated cities on the east coast. ATF Agents work out of four field offices strategically located across the state to provide their investigative and tactical expertise in cooperation with local law enforcement.

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As its name suggests, one of the ATF’s areas of specialization is firearms. Compared with its population, Alabama has one of the highest ATF seizure rates in the county for fully automatic machine guns, with 15 of these illegal weapons seized in 2013 alone. The distribution of illegal firearms in Alabama is evenly spread throughout the state, with the following seizure numbers being recorded for 2013:

  • Mobile: 526
  • Huntsville: 426
  • Autaugaville: 416
  • Birmingham: 325
  • Tuscaloosa: 309


Meeting the Requirements for ATF Jobs in Alabama

There are several basic requirements those interested in ATF jobs anywhere in the country must meet, starting with education. Having a bachelor’s degree will fulfill the education requirement, and having a good academic record with a major in the following subjects will confer the possibility of entry at the higher pay level of GL-07:

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Forensic Science
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Criminal Justice

Having a bachelor’s degree, or substituting for this with three years of experience in criminal investigations, or having some combination of the two is the minimum requirement for entry at the GL-05 salary level.

The non-educational basic requirements that must be met in order to pursue a career with the ATF includes:

  • Being between the ages of 21-36, with veterans and federal police eligible for an exemption
  • Being capable of obtaining a top secret security clearance
  • Being a US citizen with a valid driver’s license


Final Steps Towards a Career with the ATF

The application and training process starts by signing up with the Bureau to receive an email notification when there are openings for ATF jobs. Applications must be filed on the USA Jobs website.

Training for ATF Agents takes place in two phases, with the first being a 12-week program held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

A 15-week Special Agent Basic Training course follows, and the critical skills acquired over the combined 27 weeks of training include:

  • Running undercover and sting operations
  • Firearms and ammunition identification
  • Firearms and explosives training
  • Driving and pursuit techniques
  • Close quarter countermeasures
  • Federal court procedures


The ATF in Alabama

There is no shortage of action or investigations for ATF agents in Alabama. The ATF often becomes involved in a case when there are illegal firearms present. The ATF has recently busted:

  • Ten suspects involved in a Birmingham-area cocaine and heroin trafficking network
  • Three Tuscaloosa suspects involved with drugs and violent crimes
  • A Montgomery man who made a bomb threat at a courthouse to avoid making his court appearance

To better serve the population of Alabama, the ATF maintains office locations across the state in:

  • Birmingham at 920 18th Street North
  • Redstone Arsenal at 3750 Corporal Road
  • Mobile at 41 West Interstate 65 Service Road North
  • Montgomery at 2 North Jackson Street

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