The United States Secret Service is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for ensuring that security is in place for all National Special Security Events, for protecting the President, the Vice President, and other world leaders visiting the country, both for personal protection and for safeguarding their residences and other facilities, and for investigating crimes involving fraud, identity theft, and cyber-attacks.
The Secret Service has field offices throughout the United States and across the world, including Honolulu, Hawaii. Because the President frequently travels to Hawaii on an annual basis for family holidays, the Secret Service agents in Hawaii must have detailed protective operations in place. In fact, during the President’s annual, two-week vacation in Oahu, the Secret Service, according to reports, essentially takes over the island and coordinates security by land, by water, and by air.
Secret Service Agent Education Requirements
Basic Qualifications – Secret Service agents are federal law enforcements who possess a high degree of education, training, and skills. It therefore makes sense that qualifying for a job as a secret agent takes a great deal of preparation, both before and after an offer of employment is made.
Because Secret Service agents carry firearms, candidates for these jobs must be able to secure a gun permit, which means they must have no felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions on record. They must also have no visible tattoos or body art.
Educational Qualifications – Beyond the agency’s minimum requirements, candidates for entry-level jobs must meet the requirements of the GL-7 federal level, which includes possessing one of the following:
(a) A bachelor’s degree with superior academic achievement;
(b) One year of graduate level study; or
(c) At least one year of specialized experience at the GL-5 level.
Qualifying for Hawaii Secret Service agent jobs at the GL-9 level requires either one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GL-7 positions or a master’s degree or the equivalent (LLB or JD degree) from an accredited college or university.
Typical bachelor’s and master’s degrees pursued by individuals with their sights set on Secret Service agent jobs include:
- Public safety administration
- Emergency management
- Homeland security
- Criminal justice
- Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology degrees often provide individuals with a comprehensive background into the criminal mind, thereby making it an ideal choice for many. Coursework in this type of program often includes:
- Criminal behavior
- Abnormal psychology
- Ethics in criminal justice
- Police organization
- Serial crime
- Life course criminology
- Criminal profiling
Candidates for Secret Service agents in Hawaii must complete a number of pre-employment steps as to achieve a top-secret security clearance:
- Drug screening
- Background investigation
- Polygraph examination
Candidates must also successfully pass a physical fitness test, the Treasury Enforcement Agent examination, and a number of in-depth interviews.
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)
Becoming a Secret Service agent also involves a considerable amount of pre-employment testing and assessments, including a written examination, a physical abilities test, a medical examination, a polygraph examination, and a thorough background investigation.
Training is also an important component, as new agents must complete at least 28 weeks of training: 11 weeks at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Georgia, followed by another 16 weeks of training at the Secret Service’s training academy, which is located just outside Washington D.C.
Just a few of the areas of study at the Secret Service’s training academy include: financial criminal activity, combat counterfeiting, physical protection techniques, and emergency medicine, among others.