Secret Service Careers in Illinois

Although the Secret Service is vital to the protection of the President and the Vice President, the responsibilities of this federal law enforcement agency actually extend much further.  In fact, in addition to its protective mission, the Secret Service has a strong investigative mission in place, which includes the investigation of financial crimes and, more recently, cybercrimes. Some of the major areas of investigation in Illinois include:

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  • Computer fraud
  • Telecommunications fraud
  • Crimes affecting federally insured financial institutions, such as U.S. government checks, bonds and securities
  • Credit and debit card fraud
  • Counterfeit currency
  • False identification

Within Illinois, the Secret Service works out of two field offices:

  • Chicago: 312-353-5431
  • Springfield: 217-726-8453

The Secret Service also has two of its national task forces operating out of the Chicago field office: the Financial Crimes Task Force, which combats threats to the country’s financial payment systems; and the Electronic Crimes Task Force, which prevents and investigates a number of electronic crimes that threaten the nation’s infrastructure.

How to Become a Secret Service Agent in Illinois

Individuals without prior experience working in an investigative or surveillance law enforcement capacity may still be able to qualify at the GL-7 level (the minimum for special agents) if they possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a history of superior academic achievement or if they possess at least one year of graduate studies.

Superior academic achievement is defined as graduating in the upper third of a graduating class, being a member of a recognized, national honor society, and achieving a 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.5 GPA in all major-related courses.

Individuals pursuing Secret Service agent positions in Illinois often choose to complete their bachelor’s degrees in one of the following, related fields:

  • Emergency management
  • Homeland security
  • Public safety administration
  • Criminal justice administration
  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Forensic psychology

A four-year degree in homeland security, for example, provides students with a solid framework in law enforcement, intelligence gathering, and emergency planning. As such, just a few of the areas of study in a homeland security program include:

  • Criminal law
  • Law enforcement operations
  • Ethics in criminal justice
  • Computer investigation
  • Introduction to terrorism
  • Criminology
  • Organized crime
  • Conflict management
  • Global comparative justice
  • Emergency planning
  • Multi-cultural communication for law enforcement
  • Legal issues in homeland security

Once candidates have met the minimum employment requirements, they are assessed on the successful completion of the following:

  • Physical fitness test
  • Treasury Enforcement Agent examination
  • Report writing test
  • Structured panel interviews

Further, all candidates for Illinois Secret Service agent jobs must be able to obtain a top-secret clearance, which includes passing a comprehensive background investigation, polygraph examination, and drug screening.

Pre-Employment and Training: What to Expect

Candidates for Secret Service jobs in Illinois can expect to undergo a litany of pre-employment assessments, including:

  • Written examination
  • Physical assessment
  • Polygraph examination
  • Medical examination
  • Drug screen (urinalysis)
  • Structured interview
  • Extensive background investigation

All new Secret Service agent hires must, upon acceptance of employment, complete an extensive course of training, which includes 11 weeks at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Georgia, followed by 16 weeks at the Secret Service training facility outside of Washington D.C.

Just some of the advanced topics covered in the second phase of training include:

  • Firearms marksmanship
  • Use of force tactics
  • Emergency medical techniques
  • Financial crimes detection
  • Event protection
  • Water survival training

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