How to Become an ATF Agent in Ohio

Special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are highly skilled and trained investigative professionals who are responsible for investigating criminal violations of federal laws related to firearms, arson, explosives, and the diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.

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From gathering and analyzing evidence to preparing in-depth investigative reports, ATF agents, both in Ohio and throughout the nation, are an important part of our legal system.

ATF agents in Ohio are part of the Columbus Field Division, which supports the following field offices in the Buckeye state:

  • Columbus (Industry Operations): 614-827-8470
  • Independence (Cleveland Group I Field Office): 216-573-8100
  • Independence (Cleveland Group II Field Office): 216-573-8120
  • Independence (Cleveland Group III Industry Operations): 216-573-8140
  • Cincinnati (Group I): 513-684-3354
  • Cincinnati (Industry Operations): 513-684-3351
  • Toledo: 419-245-5115
  • Poland: 330-707-2300


Meeting the Requirements for ATF Jobs in Ohio

Individuals interested in pursuing ATF agent jobs in Ohio must meet the agency’s minimum requirements for employment. Specifically, they must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be between the ages of 21 and 36
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Possess excellent health, including vision and hearing

There are also a number of educational requirements regarding education and experience, depending on the level at which they are hired.

Candidates pursuing an ATF agent career at the GL-5 level (the entry level for this federal position) must either possess a bachelor’s degree or at least 3 years of experience that displays a general progression of responsibility. Further, their experience must include at least one year of experience equivalent to the GL-4 federal level, which includes experience in criminal investigations or law enforcement.

Candidates may also be hired as Ohio ATF agents at the GL-7 and GL-9 levels, which require more advanced educational and experiential accomplishments.

Training for ATF Careers in Ohio

Training is a necessary and mandatory component of any ATF agent career. All new agents, upon completion of the pre-employment process (which includes a written assessment, physical fitness assessment, background investigation, and a structured panel interview, among others) must attend the ATF’s two-part training program, which takes about 27 weeks to complete.

The first part of the training program occurs at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. The Criminal Investigators Training Program (CITP) provides new ATF special agents with fundamental training in concepts and methodologies of conducting criminal investigations. Topics covered include:

  • Handcuffing
  • Interviewing
  • Surveillance
  • Crime scene management
  • Photography
  • Federal court procedures

Upon completion of the 12-week CITP, new hires must then complete Special Agent Basic Training (SABT), which includes more advanced studies. This 15-week program is designed to meet all of the foundational requirements for becoming an ATF agent in Ohio.

The ATF’s Strong Presence in Ohio

The role of the ATF in Ohio cannot be understated, particularly given recent press releases. For example, special agents with Ohio’s ATF, along with the help of the Lakewood Police Department, arrested four individuals related to their roles in an arson fraud scheme that involved a murder-for-hire case.

The ATF’s presence is also reflected when the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio announces its firearms indictments each year. In 2012 alone, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed 176 illegal firearms indictments as part of Project Safe Neighborhood. There were 146 defendants for firearms crimes during the same period, with the average sentence lasting more than 6 years.

Firearms indictments for previous years were as follows:

  • 2011: 218 indictments
  • 2010: 166 indictments
  • 2009: 156 indictments
  • 2008: 157 indictments
  • 2007: 191 indictments

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