How to Become an ATF Agent in Nebraska

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) contributes to reducing violent crime in the US with a particular focus on identifying those who traffic in illegal firearms.  In fiscal year 2012, over 7,200 criminals were convicted as a result of ATF efforts, more than 80% of which were career criminals that had prior arrest records.

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Becoming an ATF Special Agent in Nebraska

To join the ranks of this elite agency, residents of Nebraska must demonstrate a strong background in law enforcement or else have attained a high level of education.  A variety of educational backgrounds can qualify applicants to obtain jobs as ATF special agents.  The exact requirements differ depending upon the grade level of the position that applicants apply for.

Education for GL-5 Positions – Nebraska residents who have a bachelor’s degree in any field can apply for ATF jobs as GL-5 special agents.

Education for GL-7 Positions – The ATF requires a more specialized educational background for those who would join the agency at this grade level.  Applicants must either have completed a year of graduate school or have a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to law enforcement.  This can range from sociology and psychology to political science or criminal justice.

Applicants must also show some evidence of superior academic achievement with their undergraduate degree.  This can range from having a high GPA to having been elected to a national honor society.

Education for GL-9 Positions – The agency requires an advanced degree for its GL-9 level applicants.  This can be one of the following types of degrees:

  • J.D.
  • LL.B.
  • Graduate


Special Agent Training

The ATF provides two types of training for its recruits.  Prospective agents start their careers with a Criminal Investigator Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.  They learn the basics of performing criminal investigations with recruits from other agencies.

The second phase of training provides more specialization in how to become an ATF agent.  It takes place at the ATF Academy.  There is a unique course for special agents that provide basic training in such things as using firearms and other tactical protocols.  This is where recruits learn the specialized techniques of the ATF, such as identifying explosive material and processing evidence from crimes that involve arson and explosives.

Recent ATF Cases in Nebraska

ATF agents in Nebraska are involved in a wide variety of criminal cases.  Some recent ones are delineated below:

Members of a violent group that robbed stores in Nebraska and Iowa at gunpoint received a combined federal sentence of over 139 years in 2013.  Their crimes also involved:

  • A drive-by shooting
  • A large burglary of guns
  • An aborted robbery

In a drug related case, an Omaha resident was sentenced to five years in prison for having distributed at least 28 grams of crack cocaine. In another case, a man from Omaha had been involved in a conspiracy to buy crack in Omaha and resell it in Iowa.

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