How to Become an ATF Agent in Washington

ATF agents in Washington State routinely work with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to combat federal crime throughout the North West. For example, during a prostitution and human trafficking sting operation in 2011, the ATF worked with other agencies including the King County Sheriff’s Office, the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as other law enforcement agencies in nearby Oregon.

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ATF agents have also worked with local law enforcement agencies in Washington, including the Tacoma Police Department, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Bellevue Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Seattle Police Department, and the Spokane Police Department.

The ATF says that Washington is the fourth largest source in the nation for illegal guns that are smuggled into Mexico. Washington’s ATF agents have worked in recent years to combat this problem, which is greatest in the eastern part of the state. Guns that would sell at Washington gun shows for $1000 will sell for as much as $4000 in Mexico. While Washington ATF agents routinely police gun shows in the state, they must not appear to be too aggressive or otherwise prevent citizens from legally purchasing firearms. ATF agents must walk a fine line when it comes to gun control in Washington State.

Complying With the Requirements to Become an ATF Agent in Washington

Those who are interested in becoming an ATF agent in Washington will need to make sure they meet these basic requirements:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Age 21 to 36 ½
  • Can legally carry a firearm
  • Can pass a drug screen
  • Can relocate
  • Can pass a background check, including polygraph test
  • Can pass a physical examination, including:
    • Uncorrected vision of 20/100 in each eye
    • Corrected distance vision of at least 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 in the other
    • Good hearing
    • Weight proportionate to height

Education and Experience Requirements

Before applying for an ATF agent job in Washington, applicants should have a bachelor degree in any field, or three years of work experience in criminal justice or law enforcement.

Bachelor’s degrees such as these are the most helpful to Washington State’s ATF agents:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Law and Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Forensics

For those with graduate degrees, Grade 7 and Grade 9 ATF agent jobs in Washington may be possible. Degrees like the following will help these prospective ATF agents in Washington:

  • L.L.B.
  • J.D.
  • Master of Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Security


Training for Washington ATF Jobs

All new ATF agents in Washington must complete two specialized trainings in Glynco, Georgia:

The first training is the Criminal Investigators Training Program (CITP) and lasts 12 weeks. Basic criminal investigation techniques are taught, as well as specialized techniques and procedures for firearms, explosives and the types of crime scenes ATF agents in Washington are expected to encounter.

The second part of a new ATF agent’s training consists of Special Agent Basic Training (SABT), for 15 weeks. This training gets more into identification of explosives and firearms, trafficking of firearms, interviewing, surveillance and other techniques necessary to the success of a Washington ATF agent.

ATF Offices Located in Washington State

Washington’s ATF agents are under the Seattle Field Division’s jurisdiction. Field offices are located throughout Washington, in:

    • Seattle:
      • Industry Operations
      • Criminal Enforcement Group I
      • Criminal Enforcement Group III (Arson and Explosives)
      • Criminal Enforcement Group IV (Intelligence)
      • Criminal Enforcement Group V (Group Supervisor)


    • Spokane:
      • Industry Operations
      • Criminal Enforcement (Resident Agent in Charge)


  • Yakima:
    • Criminal Enforcement (Resident Agent in Charge)

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