The United States Secret Service has evolved significantly since its inception in 1865. This federal agency, although originally created to combat counterfeit currency, is now responsible for the protection of our highest elected officials and visiting leaders and dignitaries, both in the United States and abroad. Now, more recently, the Secret Service has extended its mission once again, extending beyond financial crimes to cybercrimes, as well, thereby addressing threats to our nation’s infrastructure.
The United States Secret Service, which upholds a mission of being both an investigative and protective federal law enforcement agency, has a strong presence in Georgia, thanks to the three field offices located here:
- Albany 229-430-8442
- Atlanta 404-331-6111
- Savannah 912-652-4401
The Secret Service also has two task forces in place in Georgia, both of which operate out of the Atlanta field office:
- Electronic Crimes Task Force: Designed to investigate any number of electronic crimes that could result in terrorist attacks against infrastructure and financial payment systems
- Financial Crimes Task Force: Designed to investigate financial crimes that threaten the nation’s financial payment systems and critical infrastructure
How to Prepare for a Secret Service Job in Georgia
The path to a career in the Secret Service is not an easy one, as this federal agency chooses only the most qualified individuals to become part of its elite secret agent team. As such, individuals interested in learning how to become Secret Service agents in Georgia must understand the agency’s many, minimum requirements for employment.
Standard Requirements – In addition to being a United States citizen and being between the ages of 21 and 36 at the time of appointment, candidates must also possess a valid driver’s license, they must be in excellent health, and they must have no felony convictions.
Further, only those individuals who can successfully pass a medical examination, polygraph examination, physical skills assessment, written examination, and a complete background investigation as to achieve a top-secret security clearance should apply for a job as a Secret Service agent.
Education and Experience – Although jobs within the Secret Service have different requirements regarding education and experience, the majority of Secret Service agents are hired at the GL-7 to GL-9 federal level; therefore, to qualify for a job as a Secret Service agent, they must meet the minimum requirements of the GL-7 level which, for candidates without prior experience, includes possessing, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree that reflects superior academic achievement. This is often achieved by earning at least a 3.0 GPA in all courses and a 3.5 in courses related to the academic major.
Individuals who have achieved bachelor’s degrees but have not attained superior academic achievement may also qualify if they have completed at least one year of graduate-level study or if they have completed at least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level.
There are no specific requirements regarding the field of study; however, individuals pursuing jobs with the Secret Service often complete programs in one of the following:
- Police science
- Criminal justice administration
- Homeland security
- Forensic psychology
- Public safety
- Emergency services administration
- Legal studies
A bachelor’s degree in emergency services administration, for example, is focused on the following topics, all of which may provide a solid framework for a career in federal law enforcement:
- Conflict management
- Principles of management
- Principles of emergency services
- Legal aspects of emergency services
- Emergency and disaster preparedness
- Financial concepts for emergency services
- Emergency services leadership
Training – All candidates for Secret Service agent jobs should also be prepared to undergo an extensive course of training following their hire. The first training period takes place at the Federal Law Enforcement Agency Training Center (FLETC) in Georgia for a period of 11 weeks, while the second training period takes place at the James J. Rowley Training Center in Washington D.C. for a period of 16 weeks. The inability to complete either training program results in an individual’s separation from the Secret Service.
All new Secret Service agents in Georgia must also obtain and maintain firearms proficiency, which is part of the basic training program.