How to Become an ATF Agent in Iowa

Located at the crossroads between Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City, hundreds of weapons are illegally trafficked through Iowa every year.

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ATF Agents come from an educated background and have more than half a year of initial training under their belts before being assigned to active investigations. In Iowa, investigations have recently included cases involving a firebombing, an improvised explosive device, and the take down of a group responsible for a rash of armed robberies.

Last year the ATF recovered 1,475 firearms in Iowa, with the top-five cities and gun counts as follows:

  • Des Moines – 333
  • Keokuk – 117
  • West Burlington – 116
  • Sioux City – 88
  • Cedar Rapids – 71


ATF Special Agent Candidate Requirements

Citizens who would like to learn more about how to become an ATF Agent in Iowa can begin by researching the initial requirements for application. To start what could potentially be the beginning of a lifelong ATF careers in Iowa, candidates can begin by confirming they meet some basic qualifications they’ll need in order to be considered for special agent jobs:

  • Be between the ages of 21-36, with some exceptions for veterans and federal law enforcement
  • Be a US citizen who is height-weight proportionate and in good shape
  • Be able to obtain a top secret security clearance
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a bachelor degree in any subject, or either:
    • At least three years of experience with increasing responsibility in the fields of law enforcement and criminal investigations
    • An equivalent combination of education and experience

Candidates who pursue the bachelor degree route for qualification can be eligible for entry at a higher rank and pay if they are in good academic standing and major in:

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

Once applicants are satisfied they are able to meet the minimum requirements for ATF jobs, they can find postings for available positions on the federal government’s USA Jobs website. Applicants can also register with the ATF to be notified of job openings. In addition to the application, they will also need to compete several exams and a questionnaire:

Those who have had their applications for hire approved will next begin a rigorous instruction regimen, with 12 initial weeks spent at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia where they will obtain essential ATF training.

Next they will receive 15 weeks of Special Agent Basic Training where they will learn everything necessary to begin their first official assignment with a running start.

Important ATF Milestones in Iowa

A demonstration of what prospective agents can expect in their Iowa working environment can be seen from a few recent high profile ATF accomplishments:

  • Nine members of a robbery gang were recently sentenced after the ATF and several other law enforcement agencies gathered enough evidence for numerous convictions, mostly related to robbery, burglary and firearms violations. Several of the group’s thefts took place in and around Sioux City.
  • ATF Agents were recently able to submit enough evidence for the Des Moines conviction of two men accused of throwing three Molotov cocktails at an apartment leasing office to conceal a burglary they had committed in another unit.
  • ATF Agents were notified of a homemade grenade-like device discovered by Shelby County sheriff’s deputies on a suspect who had attempted to evade them. Upon investigation agents determined the explosive object contained a timing devise similar to a grenade.

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